Ductless HVAC systems are becoming more and more popular not just with our residential customers, but with our commercial customers, too.
The reasons are clear: ductless HVAC technology offers a host of benefits that can be realized immediately upon the installation of a new system. Often, the energy efficiency improvements alongside the increased ‘zone control’ capabilities yield smoother, more effective, and more user-friendly HVAC operation compared with traditional central HVAC systems.
There are even more benefits to ductless HVAC for commercial customers than you may know. In this blog post, the HVAC professionals at Front Range HVAC are bringing you a cost/benefit analysis related to the purchase and installation of a new commercial ductless HVAC system.
[Note: While this analysis should serve well as a general guideline, every commercial HVAC situation is going to vary somewhat. For a more detailed analysis that is specific to your commercial property, please contact us.]
As a general rule, ductless HVAC systems are going to cost more—BTU for BTU—than most traditional combination AC units on the market today.
When we say ‘combination AC’, what we mean is a single AC unit that houses the condenser, coils, and blower all in one footprint. Ductless HVAC systems ‘split’ this equipment into a single condenser with multiple endpoint AC/heating stations. These stations can be ‘cassette-type’ for ceiling installations, or they can be floor- or wall-mounted, depending on what works best for the building.
The reason why commercial ductless HVAC systems cost more is because there is more material cost required to manufacture them.
So, how much does a commercial ductless system cost? High-efficiency ductless HVAC systems suitable for commercial use are going to be priced in the $2,500-$5,000 range for between three and ten zones. This is equipment cost, and installation expenses will account for another few thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the ductless HVAC installation and if other equipment is required.
There is also the ongoing maintenance and material cost that should be taken into consideration with commercial ductless HVAC systems. Because every endpoint station has its own air filter, and because these systems do not function well with dirty filters, maintenance and filter changes are more common and more important compared with traditional systems.
With all of the hard and soft costs that come with commercial ductless HVAC now outlined, let’s move onto the good stuff: the benefits!
Let’s start with the most significant benefit that is fundamental to commercial ductless HVAC technology: energy efficiency.
‘Mini-split’ air conditioning systems that use an externally installed condenser to serve refrigerant to multiple endpoints are much, much more flexible in how they cool indoor air. Because each endpoint is controlled individually, the overall system makes better use of the resource it needs to function (electricity).
Let’s say a traditional AC unit was responsible for cooling a 3,500 square-foot commercial space with five zones. This unit is going to use a lot of electricity in order to start its condensation cycle, which will in turn provide the refrigerant needed to cool the entire building, regardless of which zones actually need cooling.
A commercial ductless HVAC system, however, is only going to produce enough pressurized refrigerant as each endpoint needs, saving a massive amount of energy use in the process.
So, whereas a central AC unit might have had to send cool air through dozens of feet of ductwork (reducing efficiency along the way), a ductless system simply sends the refrigerant where it’s needed, resulting in highly optimized cooling overall.
In this way, ductless AC systems are able to save property owners a ton in heating and cooling costs throughout the year.
But, the benefits don’t stop there.
Get in the ‘Zone’
As we’ve said already, ductless HVAC allows for more precise indoor air temperature control. This benefit is only marginally available with central AC units, which rely on mechanical opening and closing of vents to manage cooling zones.
Imagine being able to cool just the areas of your commercial building that needed cooling, and no others. And, imagine being able to set individual thermostats for each zone. Commercial ductless HVAC makes it possible!
Curious about Going Ductless? Call Us!
Has ductless HVAC technology gotten your wheels turning? Want more information on the costs, installation specifics, and brands that are available?
We’ll help get you on the road to more efficient, more effective air conditioning for your commercial building.