Why HVAC Professionals Want You to Go Both Ductless AND Ducted

Homeowners looking for the ultimate in flexibility, energy efficiency, and comfort control can have it all by matching ducted and ductless indoor units with highly customizable Zoned Comfort Solutions™.
Donna Boyle Schwartz Avatar
How to Incorporate Both Ducted and Ductless HVAC Components at Home
Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Homeowners looking to upgrade or modify an existing heating and cooling system are often confronted with a dizzying array of options and choices, starting with one seemingly either/or proposition: Do they install a traditional ducted configuration, or opt for one of the innovative new ductless (mini-split) systems? Going the traditional ducted route typically requires an all-out gut renovation, while choosing the ductless approach holds out the possibility of sidestepping major construction and benefiting from newer, more efficient technology. Fortunately, there’s an often-overlooked middle ground—one that’s advocated by HVAC professionals—that gives homeowners the best of both worlds.

With the right system, you can combine ductless and ducted indoor units for the ultimate in flexibility, system compatibility, personalized comfort, and even price point. All these advantages stem from the focus that an industry-leading supplier, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric), places on individual living spaces. A Zoned Comfort Solution™ makes it easy to employ ducted components in one zone and ductless technology in another. This results in more system customization, up to 40 percent more energy efficiency, and easier installation than traditional systems. Here are just a few of the most compelling reasons to choose a custom, zoned HVAC system from  Mitsubishi Electric.

Less Cost and Hassle During Installation
First, by combining ducted and ductless indoor units, you can reap the benefits of newer technologies without having to totally replace your existing HVAC infrastructure. Replacing your existing central air and/or furnace with a multi-position ducted system that makes use of existing ductwork can substantially decrease the cost of new equipment, labor, and installation. Advanced multi-position air handlers, such as the new PVA Multi-Position Air Handler from Mitsubishi Electric, are specifically designed to install in nearly any available space, either upflow or downflow, for maximum flexibility. This unit may be partially or fully disassembled to fit through tight openings and into small spaces, such as closets, attics, and equipment rooms, with ease.

While making use of existing ductwork simplifies installation, installing ductless systems can be just as painless. Mitsubishi Electric’s ductless systems connect indoor air-handling units to an outdoor condenser via two small pipes requiring only a three-inch opening in the outside wall—no extensive remodeling or renovations necessary. Many systems can be installed in less than a day by a qualified HVAC contractor.

Easy Accommodation of Room Additions
Homeowners who choose to expand their living space through the addition of bonus rooms, enclosed patios, or finished basements all face the same dilemma: How do they cool and heat the new additions? Often, these types of renovations do not have space for ductwork or the existing HVAC system lacks sufficient capacity to handle the additional load, and therefore cannot be connected to the rest of the home’s air conditioning. Choosing a flexible system like the Zoned Comfort Solutions, however, enables homeowners to install compact ductless units that operate in concert with the home’s existing ducted system. If you ever plan to add on to your home, it pays to invest in flexibility.

How to Incorporate Both Ducted and Ductless HVAC Components at Home
Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

Precise Treatment of Trouble Spots
Every home has its idiosyncrasies—for example, there’s often that one area that remains overly warm or, conversely, suffers dreadful drafts. In a single-zoned home, the existing ductwork cannot adequately address the discomfort without impacting temperatures in all of the other rooms. With the addition of a single-zone solution from Mitsubishi Electric, however, homeowners gain the ability to set and maintain the ideal temperature in any problem spot. And, unlike those outdated and awkward-to-install window air-conditioning units, Mitsubishi Electric systems can cool and heat—and do so more efficiently. A single-zone system can be installed quickly and with minimal disruption to the room, as it requires just a small opening to connect the indoor and outdoor units.

Individualized Comfort Control
Different people have widely divergent views on just what constitutes a “comfortable” temperature, and battling over thermostat settings can be a huge contributor to family discord. Installing a Zoned Comfort Solution, though, can put an end to that particular source of household strife. Unlike conventional HVAC systems that treat every room in your house equally, zoned systems divide and conquer individualized climate control. Separate thermostats let occupants set temperatures that make them feel comfortable without having to worry about how their comfort may be affecting people in other rooms. Air handlers within each zone measure the return air temperature and automatically adjust the conditions to match the local controller setting, rather than reacting to conditions elsewhere in the house. Additionally, zoned systems ensure energy isn’t wasted cooling or heating unoccupied rooms, saving homeowners energy and lowering operating costs.

How to Incorporate Both Ducted and Ductless HVAC Components at Home
Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

Pleasing Aesthetics
Despite their usefulness, wall-mounted ductless components can be a turnoff to homeowners who are unfamiliar with the technology and more accustomed to the vents typical of traditional AC. Choosing a system that blends ductless and ducted units, however, means greater design flexibility when choosing units, including the traditional ducted vents. There are also discreet options with units that recess into the ceiling or, if enough space is available, into the floor or soffit, and utilize short-run, low-profile ductwork. With their working parts fully concealed and only their air distribution vents visible, these recessed units easily escape notice. Conversely, there are also units that can match your home’s décor, like Mitsubishi Electric’s Designer Series, which have a sleek and modern design and come in silver, black, and white to match any space. Rather than avoiding appliances, this gives homeowners the option to design with them in mind.

Finally, the whisper-quiet operation of Mitsubishi Electric systems makes them nearly imperceptible. Unlike conventional HVAC equipment that noisily cycles on and off, Mitsubishi Electric systems run quietly and constantly as a result of their highly efficient inverter-compressor technology. Additional features like an insulated compressor compartment and vibration dampeners can make the outdoor units even quieter. When temperature adjustments are made, the compressors ramp up or down using the minimum energy required. The indoor units operate as low as 19 dB(A), quieter than a human whisper, while the outdoor units operate as low as 58 dB(A)—about the level of a restaurant conversation or background music.

The bottom line: You don’t have to settle for an all-or-nothing approach to heating and cooling. A combination of ducted and ductless units will allow you to create an advanced, personalized, energy-efficient, and exceptionally comfortable Zoned Comfort Solution that best serves the needs of your home and family.

This post has been brought to you by Mitsubishi Electric. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.