Mythbusters: Ductless Systems Require More Maintenance than Ducted

Cozy and Modern living room with a ductless unit.

The Truth:

The earliest ductless HVAC systems earned the reputation of being high-maintenance compared to their ducted conventional counterparts.

In decades past, that may have been true. The earliest ductless systems were typically only single-zone systems. They were compared to window units and were limited in performance. Only once multi-zone ductless systems were introduced with heating capability did contractors start considering them for replacing central ducted systems.”

At the time, these systems had complex technology in comparison to central ducted. They came with features that needed explanation and know-how to use, such as microprocessor and remote controls, that required more advanced contractor training. The outdoor units were compact and the indoor units had unfamiliar components, making even well-trained technicians hesitant to open them up for servicing.

Window units, on the other hand, were relatively simple to understand and cheap enough to easily replace if they were broken beyond what a contractor was comfortable fixing. Many people paused at the idea of installing a ductless system while the window units were so uncomplicated and affordable. Thus, the high-maintenance stereotype was born.

Today’s ductless options are vast, with multiple styles of indoor units and multi-zone systems, such as Mitsubishi Electric Zoned Comfort Solutions®, now able to provide whole-house heating and air conditioning. With multiple indoor units to factor in, homeowners may assume more servicing is needed than traditional systems. However, many ductless systems actually end up saving homeowners money in the long-term in utility and servicing costs compared to ducted systems. How could that be, you ask?

Longevity and Reliability

One major appeal of modern ductless units is their longevity. These systems have been engineered to last with the same level of reliability and high-quality performance from day one to year 20. The systems’ reliable operation translates to less frequent maintenance needs and concerns for repairs, saving homeowners money and stress.


Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems are equipped with INVERTER-driven compressor technology, so they use only the precise amount of energy needed to heat or cool a space. This makes them up to 40 percent more efficient than fixed-capacity ducted systems.

The systems’ INVERTER-driven compressors run smoothly, increasing speed when needing more performance and lowering speed when conditions are at set point. Traditional, fixed-speed compressors, on the other hand, cycle on and off to reach and maintain set points, essentially running at either 100 percent or 0 percent without middle ground. This start/stop cycle leads to greater wear-and-tear on the equipment and therefore, more frequent servicing. Think about driving your car. If you’re consistently flooring the gas pedal and slamming on the breaks, your engine components will need replacement sooner than a car that’s driven at a steady speed with gradual starts and stops.


Our ductless units use a two-step filtration process, which not only keeps the air you’re breathing clean and healthy, but also helps prevent dirt and dust from clogging your units and causing them to malfunction. But proper care and maintenance is a crucial part of the filters’ performance.

Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining our ductless units’ filters couldn’t be easier! The units are designed so the filters are easy to remove, wash and reinstall. Homeowners simply open the access door, take out the screens, clean them and then slide them back into place. Making filter maintenance easy for homeowners improves the lifespan of both the filters and the units.


The filters are not the only easily-accessible part of our indoor units. Unlike ducted systems, which commonly require technicians to enter attics, crawl spaces or mechanical closets to service indoor units or ductwork, ductless systems’ air handlers are in the common, more accessible areas of the home.

Many of our units, including the EZ FIT™ Recessed Ceiling Cassette, are designed so they can be serviced from below. This allows technicians to diagnose, troubleshoot and resolve issues more quickly and with less disruption to the home.

No HVAC system is maintenance-free, but our modern ductless systems make maintenance easy, compared to conventional systems. Through advancements in efficiency, filtration and unit design, we’ve made it simple for homeowners and contractors to keep their systems in good working condition. We’re hopeful that someday soon the myth of high-maintenance ductless systems will be a thing of the past.

To learn more about our maintenance-friendly heat pump options, visit

For more information on all of our efficient heating and cooling offerings, contact Vailes Home Improvement Services today. This blog was originally published on

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