What You Need To Know About Ductless Indoor Air Handlers: Ceiling Cassettes

image of a ceiling cassette for a ductless hvac system

There are several HVAC system options available on the market. Some of them include a window A/C, a central HVAC system, or various options of ductless mini-split systems. However, if you value the aesthetics of your home and wish to have a discrete system, then you might want to look into a ceiling cassette ductless unit.

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What Is A Ceiling Cassette For A Ductless System?

A ceiling cassette is a type of mini-split system wherein an HVAC contractor places the indoor air handler in the ceiling. Most of the unit’s mechanics are hidden behind the ceiling, and only a discreet discharge grille is visible. This innovative design makes it a perfect fit for any room as it can blend well with its surroundings.

The conditioned air is distributed via two, three, or four sides of the unit. Whereas, the outdoor unit or the compressor is mounted outside, much like how a conventional mini-split unit would be. This type of unit is more powerful than its wall-mounted counterpart. It is due to this reason that a ceiling cassette is mostly used in commercial or office areas.

Features Of A Ceiling Cassette

Ceiling cassette units come with many features. Some of these are as follows:

Quiet Design

Ceiling cassettes have large-diameter fans. This brings the noise level down. Not only is the volume of airflow greater, but it is also pushed through at a slower speed. A ceiling cassette can be as silent as 38 dBA, which is slightly higher than a whisper.

Comfort Control

The indoor air handlers of ceiling cassettes are equipped with return air sensors. These sensors monitor the conditions of the room so that the unit can adjust its settings. This way, your thermal preference is kept at a consistent level at all times. The indoor unit also has adjustable vents so you can send the air to the direction where it is needed the most.

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Improved Indoor Air Quality

Most ceiling cassette models have easy-to-clean and accessible filters. These filters are easy to remove, wash, and reinsert. This way, you never have to operate your HVAC unit without a filter again. You can rest easy knowing your filters are in place and doing its job of trapping pollutants and contaminants out of your house.

Not only that, but you also save money this way as you don’t have to buy new filters several times a year. Ceiling cassettes are also designed to bring in fresh outdoor air. Instead of repeatedly recycling the same air in your home, the unit can draw in and cycles fresh air throughout your home. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about poor indoor air quality.

Your ceiling cassette can also act as an air purifier. This is made possible when you choose to install photocatalytic purification filters. These filters allow the unit to eliminate air pollutants and other harmful contaminants from your home.

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Remote Operation

Ceiling cassettes also have several controller options so you can choose which one would best suit your needs. These remote controllers allow you to customize your system so that it operates based on your thermal preferences and other specific requirements.

You can even choose to have a smart controller so that you can control your system via your smartphone or tablet. With a smart controller, you can manage your system even while you are away on vacation. You won’t have to return to worry about coming home to a frigid or sweltering house after a long day at work.

Other Features

Ceiling cassettes may not have as many features as their wall-mounted counterparts. However, they have several features for various applications. Many of these features are dependent on the make and model of the cassette unit. Therefore, it is recommended that you determine the features you are looking for so that you have the perfect unit for your home. Some of these features include:

  • They are compact and lightweight.
  • Conditioned air can be released at all four directions.
  • They have modern designs so that it can match any home interior.
  • It uses R410A refrigerant, which is ozone- and environment-friendly.


The Pros And Cons Of A Ceiling Cassette

One of the many advantages of having a ceiling cassette unit is that the conditioned air is distributed well into the room. They are equipped with powerful fans that make sure that the conditioned air circulates in a larger space compared to other types of cooling systems.


A ceiling cassette also has powerful cooling capabilities. For example, if you have a ceiling cassette in a large family room and also wish to condition the room adjacent to it, then you might not need to install another unit. Instead, you can opt to install a branch duct if possible. The branch duct will allow some of the conditioned air to flow to the other room so you can cool both places with one unit.

This type of unit is space-saving and, therefore, allows you to maximize the floor and wall space. Due to the indoor air handler being in the ceiling also means that the units keep a low-profile.

Most importantly, a ceiling cassette unit is also energy-efficient. It is equipped with advanced technology such as variable speed fans and a programmable thermostat. This means that it can adjust its settings to give you a consistent temperature without wasting energy.

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On the other hand, one of the disadvantages that a cassette AC unit has is that it can be costly and time-consuming to install. This is especially true if you are installing the unit in a large building. As the compressor is to be mounted outside, the conduit line between the indoor unit and the outdoor unit can be significantly longer. This also means that many holes need to be drilled in the walls during installation.

Ceiling cassettes are also less suited if you have a small space. Moreover, you need to ensure that there is enough space in the ceiling to install the indoor unit. Otherwise, you will be forced to choose another type of ductless HVAC system, which might not be as efficient as a ceiling cassette.


Choosing A Ceiling Cassette System

A ceiling cassette unit hides most of its indoor unit behind the ceiling. Only a one-inch grill is visible from the ceiling. If you want a cooling system with improved coverage but is hardly noticeable, then a ceiling cassette might be what you are looking for.

Although commercial or office spaces use ceiling cassettes, this mini-split is also perfect for a big room in a residential home. If you notice cold or hot spots in your living space, then you can remedy that with a ceiling cassette. It releases conditioned air on all four sides so you can be sure that it distributes air evenly throughout the room.

Ceiling cassettes are also an excellent choice when wall-mounted split systems or other types of HVAC systems are not an option. It is energy-efficient and gives you the control and performance, so you achieve optimum personal comfort.

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image of a ceiling cassette installation

Ceiling Cassette Unit Installation

Before starting the installation process, you have to ensure that the unit will fit into the selected space. The dimensions of a ceiling cassette indoor unit begin at 24 by 24 inches. Rafters in homes usually are 16 inches apart. If this is the case in your home, then customization is necessary to ensure that the unit fits.


An HVAC contractor places the bulk of the ceiling cassette above your ceiling. Therefore, it needs to be hung by cables or rods from the edifice above it. There needs to be at least 10 to 12 inches of space above the ceiling to fit the bulk of the indoor unit.

An HVAC contractor usually places the ceiling cassette unit at the ceiling’s center. This is because it operates best when all four vents can evenly distribute the air around the room. However, an experienced HVAC contractor can also install it in the corner of your ceiling. If, for some reason, this is the case, then make sure to close off the vents that direct air towards the walls.

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Lift Pump

They also have a built-in lift pump, which is responsible for eliminating the condensate from the cooling cycle. The lift pump connects to the exterior unit via a 1-1.25-inch PVC pipe.


You also need to keep in mind that if you are installing a ceiling cassette in a previously unconditioned room, then you need to insulate it. Otherwise, you risk condensation buildup on the unit’s exterior. The water will then end up dripping down into your home. This can cause issues such as mold and damage to your walls and ceiling.


Ceiling cassettes have built-in thermostats that read the indoor temperature so that it can adjust the output and maintain a consistent temperature. Make sure that the units are not installed in a space that is colder or warmer than the rest of the room. Otherwise, the unit will end up inaccurately reading the room temperature and, thus, cannot deliver conditioned air that is according to your thermal preferences.


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It is recommended that you consult a professional HVAC technician to help you determine the proper ceiling cassette unit as per your specifications. An expert will assist you in choosing the right unit and installing the unit correctly. Conducting a DIY ceiling cassette installation without the proper tools, knowledge, and experience to do so can only lead to costly and time-consuming consequences.


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If you are ready to switch to a ductless HVAC system or have more questions, call Townsend Energy today. Our experienced NATE-certified technicians will discuss your needs and requirements to help you find the best ductless HVAC system for you.

Townsend Energy is a full-service HVAC company that services residential and commercial properties throughout New England. We offer a range of heating and cooling services, including HVAC installations, repairs, tune-ups, and more. Our experienced, NATE certified professionals can find the best home heating and cooling solutions for your home while working with your budget. We aim to improve your home’s level of energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality. Our work is backed by a warranty to ensure your satisfaction. We also provide free, in-home estimates. Call Townsend Energy today.

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