SMO Energy

Ductless Mini-Split

Mini-Split Ductless Heating and Cooling System

Climate control is a necessity in the modern age. Imagine how difficult it would be to complete everyday tasks or even to relax in your home if there were no heat in the middle of winter or no air conditioning on sweltering summer’s day.

A mini-split ductless heating and cooling system lets you control your home’s comfort level while also reducing your energy use. You can install a ductless mini-split system in one part of your home, such as an addition, or use the system throughout your house to control the temperature in each room. Since the system can heat or cool designated zones, you do not need to worry about cooling or heating areas you are not using.

SMO Energy offers free in-home energy consultations to residents of Southern Maryland. If you are interested in installing a ductless mini-split system in your home or want to replace an existing system, learn more about how the systems work and the benefits of using one. Then, get in touch with us to schedule a consultation today.

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What Is Ductless Air Conditioning?

Ductless air conditioning systems work differently from other types of central air conditioning. A ductless system has a compressor that is located on the outside of the home or building. It also has a wall unit located on the inside of the building, usually in each room. Depending on the size of your home and the system, each compressor can have multiple wall units connected to it.

The wall units are small enough to be installed in tight areas, such as in the space above a door frame or underneath a window. Unlike window air conditioners, the wall units are meant to be permanent fixtures. You do not remove them in the winter. Instead, the units can provide heat to your home.

Unlike a traditional HVAC system, cool (or warm air, when the system is used for heating) does not travel through ducts to reach the room. A ductless mini-split system uses a heat pump to cool or warm the area. Instead of producing cool air or heat, a heat pump transfers warm air from one area to another. A ductless system will transfer warm air from the inside of the home to the exterior when cooling a room. The method of heating or cooling a room wastes considerably less energy compared to sending warm or cold air through ducts.

Using a ductless system in a home that does not have existing ductwork can also save a lot of money, as it can be expensive to install new ducts.

How Do Mini-Split Ductless Systems Work?

The function of a ductless mini-split air conditioning system is very similar to the function of a standard HVAC system or central air conditioning. The indoor unit of a split system transfers warm air from inside your home, sends it over cooling coils and blows the now cooled air back into your home. The heat from the air is sent to the outdoor unit and blown into the outdoors.

The big difference between a traditional central air conditioning or HVAC system and a mini-split system is the presence of ducts and the location of the indoor unit. If you have a conventional HVAC system in your home with ductwork, the indoor unit is typically in your basement or attic. The cooled air travels to each room in a home through ducts.

With a mini-split system, there is no ductwork, and the indoor unit is in the room it is actively cooling or heating. The unit pulls in warm air from the room and sends cold air back out. The heat then travels from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit and out into the world.

As mentioned, ductless mini-split systems do not only cool a home during the warmer months of the year. When it is cold outside, they can also work as heaters. That is because ductless mini-split systems are heat pumps. When used to heat a home, they work by transferring heat from the outside to the inside of your home. When they are used as an air conditioner, the indoor units of a mini-split system can be programmed to control the warmth of a particular room or area of the home.

What Is the Average Cost of a Mini-Split Ductless System?

How much you can expect to pay for a ductless mini-split system depends on a variety of factors. Those factors include the size of your home, how many zones you need to heat or cool, how energy-efficient the system is and whether you are replacing an existing system or not.

Generally speaking, ductless mini-split systems do cost more than centrally installed systems, often about 30% more. Mini-split systems used for air conditioning also tend to cost considerably more than similarly sized window units.

Although a mini-split system often has a higher upfront cost compared to other options, it does tend to pay off in the long run. You might pay more for a mini-split system itself, but you can also avoid the cost of installing ductwork in your home, which can help you save money. Also, a mini-split system often uses less energy compared to a window unit or central A/C system, which also helps you save money.

The design of the system itself also affects its price. A mini-split system with a lot of bells and whistles and features will cost more than a more straightforward system.

Every home is different, and the needs of one household can differ from the requirements of another. Your best bet is to get a free quote from SMO Energy to get a sense of what you can expect a mini-split system to cost.

How Do Multi-Zone Mini-Split Systems Work?

If you decide to install a ductless mini-split system in your home, you have the option of choosing between a single zone system or a multi-zone system. In the heating and cooling world, a “zone” is an area of a home that can be heated or cooled.

Most central HVAC systems are non-zoned systems, which means a single unit controls the temperature throughout the entire home. If someone in a house wants the living room to be 67 degrees Fahrenheit, then the rest of the home will also be cooled to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the case of a multi-zone mini-split system, each room or area of the home has its own indoor unit, also called an air handler. There can be an air handler in the living room, another one in the master bedroom and a third one in the guest room. If someone sleeping in the master bedroom likes things to be cozy at night, they can set the temperature on the unit in their zone to 72 degrees. Meanwhile, people lounging in the living room can turn the heat down to 67 degrees. If no one is staying in the guest room, the unit in that room can be turned off.

In a multi-zone system, each of the indoor units connects to one outdoor unit. How many indoor units can connect to the outdoor compressor/condenser depends on the overall size of the system.

It is also possible to have a mini-split system with just one zone. If you have a sunroom or an addition to your home and would like to heat or cool one room or area, you can install a single-zone unit.

Benefits of a Ductless Mini-Split Heating and Cooling System

Whether you are looking to add mini-split heat pumps to your whole home or new construction, or are retrofitting to an older home with no ductwork, there are many benefits you can enjoy by going ductless:


A ductless mini-split system tends to be more energy-efficient than other central heating and cooling systems. Ducted forced air systems are subject to energy loss. Sometimes, more than 30% of the energy produced by a central system is lost through the ductwork. That is especially true if the ducts are in unconditioned areas, such as the attic. With a mini-split system, you have the option of only heating or cooling the rooms you use, making the system even more efficient.

Supplemental heating or cooling where you need it

Some rooms of your home might need more heat or more cooling than others. For example, you might have a kitchen that gets very hot in the summer or a bedroom addition that never seems to get as warm as the rest of the house. Installing a mini-split system in such areas lets you add extra climate control where your home needs it the most.

Eliminates the need for window units

When you install a mini-split system at home, you no longer need to rely on window air conditioners to cool things off in the summer. Gone are the days of lifting a heavy unit into the window and adjusting it so that it is snugly in place.

No need for ductwork

Not every home has ductwork, and the cost of retrofitting a home with ducts can be prohibitive. Installing a ductless mini-split system means you can avoid the hassle and expense of adding new ducts.

Sleek and compact design

True to their name, mini-split systems are smaller than other heating and cooling systems. The indoor air handlers are compact enough to install above a door or window and usually blend in well with their surroundings.

Peace and quiet

Forced air systems tend to be noisy, especially when they are not sized appropriately for a home. Mini-split systems operate much more quietly. Many people who use them report that they can barely hear their systems working.

Individual temperature control

If you install a mini-split system with separate air handler units in each room or area, then people have the option of choosing to heat or cool the area they are in based on their preference. There is no need to fight over a single thermostat, as each room has its own set of controls.

Common Questions About Mini-Split Systems

Do you have questions about the benefits of a ductless mini-split system or want to learn more? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Yes, mini-split systems are energy efficient. They avoid energy loss through ductwork that is common with forced air and ducted heating and cooling systems. Since the systems allow you to control the temperature in distinct zones individually, they tend to use less energy compared to systems that heat or cool an entire house.

Mini-split systems can be used to heat or cool your home. Most ductless mini-split systems are heat pumps, which work by transferring heat from one area to another.


A mini-split system is ideal for use in a home that does not have existing ductwork. In a house with ductwork, it can make more sense to install another type of system, as the cost of a ductless system might not be worth it.


SMO Energy does offer rebates and specials from time to time. Learn more about our current specials to see if we are offering any discounts on ductless mini-split systems at this time.

SMO Energy is pleased to offer 0% financing to qualified buyers, plus many other great financing options. During your energy consultation, a member of our team will be happy to discuss financing options with you.

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your home’s heating and cooling equipment running smoothly and efficiently. SMO Energy offers regular tune-ups and inspections of ductless mini-split heat pump systems. We also provide service agreements and will repair or replace parts that become damaged as under regular use of your system.

SMO Energy is your total home comfort provider. We have many services to offer, such as heating fuel delivery, HVAC maintenance and HVAC repairs. We can install, repair or replace a variety of heating and cooling equipment, including furnaces, HVAC systems and fireplaces.


SMO Energy has a range of HVAC equipment available. We are happy to work with you and to evaluate the needs of your home to help you choose the equipment that is best for you. We can install, replace or repair furnaces, fuel tanks, air conditioners, boilers, heat pumps, water heaters, indoor air quality systems, and much more.


SMO Energy has been serving Southern Maryland since 1926. Our service area includes:

  • Anne Arundel County
  • Calvert County
  • Charles County
  • Prince George’s County
  • St. Mary’s County

What Is the Difference Between Central A/C vs. Split A/C Power Consumption?

Which one uses more energy: a central air conditioning system or a ductless mini-split heating and cooling system? It all depends on a few factors. Ductless systems avoid energy loss through ductwork, which often helps them use less power compared to a ducted central air conditioning system. The difference in power use depends in large part on the quality of the ductwork. Ducts that are well-sealed and that are located in climate-controlled areas will have less energy loss compared to poorly sealed ducts.

A mini-split system can also use less power than a central A/C system because you can use it to cool smaller areas. A central air conditioner often has to work hard to cool the entire house. A split system might only have to cool a single room.

Choose SMO Energy for Ductless Mini-Split Installation or Replacement

Is a ductless mini-split system the best option for you? The energy consultants from SMO Energy can discuss your needs and evaluate your home’s current setup. We will help you choose the heating and cooling equipment that is the best fit for you. If a ductless system does not meet your needs, we can discuss HVAC alternatives with you.

We are locally operated in Southern Maryland and have had the pleasure of serving Maryland since 1926, providing top-rated customer service. We look forward to helping many more generations to come and hope to have you as part of the SMO Energy family.

Contact us today to learn more about our heating and cooling services and the equipment options we have available.

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We provide HVAC services for Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, Prince George’s County, and St. Mary’s County.