When considering your options for home cooling, it's common here in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey for homeowners to think "Central Air" or "Central AC". It's the technology most of us know, and for many years, the most logical option for adding cooling to a home that was originally designed and built without air conditioning.
If you are considering adding central air conditioning to your home and you do not already have ductwork, the cost of the job requiring the installation of ductwork is considerably more expensive, disruptive and time-consuming.
If you heat your home with radiant heat, it is likely your home was not designed with ductwork. If you add central air you will need ducts to carry the chilled air to the rooms or zones you want to cool.
If you have a sunroom it is unlikely the room was designed with ductwork. If you want to turn your sunroom into an all-season room, you have to figure out a way to get cooling and heating to the room.
If you put an addition on your home or want additional heating and cooling in your garage or basement, your current HVAC system is not designed to cool or heat those new spaces.
There are two ways an HVAC contractor can install new ductwork.
Your contractor can hang the metal ducts on your ceiling and run them up and along your walls, then box them in with drywall.
You wind up with an unsightly box taking up space in your room and disrupting the flow of your architecture, not to mention the mess involved in sheetrocking, spackling, sanding and painting.
Or your contractor can rip out your ceilings and walls to install the new ductwork behind them. This is certainly the preferable of these two options, but you still have to go through the mess, time and expense of reconstruction.
All of the above is not only expensive but very disruptive to home life.
A Ductless Mini-Split air conditioner, on the other hand, requires one single three-inch hole be drilled in your wall. The indoor unit mounts directly to a bracket that is secured to the wall and completely hidden once the unit is installed high up on your wall, usually out of your normal line of sight.
Refrigerant lines and power can be run behind your walls if necessary, through existing joists, returns, and crawl spaces.
Often the line set is run straight through the wall behind the indoor unit to the outside of the home where the lineset is encased in elegant "line hide" matching your home's exterior color scheme.
The lines run along the wall to your sleek outdoor heat pump, mounted on a raised stand to protect it from the elements.