Managing indoor air quality while you heat and cool.

Heating designers looking for the answer to a homeowner's inevitable question - “How do I cool the house in the summer?” - can now provide a ductless split system that offers indoor air quality as well.

Several manufacturers are moving toward healthier systems, and recent reports are the reason why. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently stated that indoor air is on average seven to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. New filtration packages and advanced technology to reduce fan noise are finally making headway in the North American market, all while offering zone control without the pain of ductwork.

How big is the ductless opportunity for U.S. contractors? Mini-split manufacturer Fujitsu General informed PM that there were 108 million total households in 2000; 29.7 million were without a/c, while 27.4 million used window units.

"Most service contractors haven't been properly introduced to the many uses for ductless mini-split systems, and therefore don't realize how easily mini-splits fit into their business," says Roy Kuczera, Fujitsu's vice president sales and marketing, HVAC. Here are a few IAQ offerings on the market today:

SpacePak, a Mestek company, recently introduced its PurePak electronic air filtration system (for its high-velocity units) that removes allergens, bacteria, molds, smoke and dust down to 0.3 microns. The carbon core filtration media also absorbs odors, and creates a polarizing field through an electrical charge, turning an air conditioning system into a whole house “air scrubber” quickly and efficiently, according to Bill Hick, SpackPak's national sales manager.

“Individuals who suffer from asthma and allergies will see a dramatic improvement to their air quality,” he says.

Fujitsu General features its full line of Halcyon ductless mini-split products. With 29 models in capacities ranging from 9,000 to 42,000 Btus, the Halcyon line is easy to install and zone. Copper tubing is run through either the wall or ceiling to connect the indoor and outdoor units while distributing refrigerant. IAQ models have an LED display that shows the operating status and alerts the user when the filter needs to be cleaned. Water and mild soap - and no additional tools - are all that is needed for cleaning.

Additional features of the Halcyon line include a programmable wireless remote control for easy system setting, a “dry mode” that helps improve indoor dehumidification , and an “auto mode” that will automatically select an optimal setting.