What is a Ductless Mini Split?
A ductless mini split is a variant of the basic central air setup. In this case, instead of a single condenser feeding a single air handler, a ductless mini split can have multiple units stationed throughout a home. For homeowners ductless means new freedom and efficiency, plus a more modern, responsive HVAC system.
In comparison, central air uses ductwork to give all rooms the same air treatment. With a mini split unit, each room is served individually by its own air handler. There’s no ductwork involved, allowing loads of versatility in placement and and control, allowing each room or zone to be monitored and adjusted by remote control or wi-fi apps.
How Do Mini Splits Work?
The installation process for a mini split system is much easier than that of a traditional system. This comes from the inherent simplicity of a mini split unit.
Ductless mini split air conditioner systems consist of two main parts. The first is an outdoor compressor or condenser. This is paired with one or more indoor air handling units (these are the devices that you can see inside a structure, as they actively heat and cool rooms). Another great feature of ductless air is the variety of air handlers available:
- Wall Mounted
- Ceiling Cassette
- Concealed Duct
- Floor Mounted
The outdoor and indoor components are connected by simple conduits generally referred to as “line sets”. This AC lifeline includes a drain line, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, wrapped in a durable insulation. The result is a 3 inch line that delivers all that is needed, meaning homeowners need only make a single entrance hole in their home.
How Are Ductless Mini Splits Installed?
Mini split AC installation is remarkably simple, especially when compared to the need to build out complex duct networks for a central air system. Most DIY systems follow a 3-step process:
1. Installing the condenser (this happens outside).
2. Running charged or pre-charged (*DIY) refrigerant lines through a 3-inch hole in the exterior wall.
3. Installing the air handlers (these go indoors) and attaching them to the refrigerant lines.
* a ductless mini split installation can be made so easy by the use of pre-charged line sets that DIY systems available for homeowners carry manufacturers warranties and bypass the costs of professional installation.
How Many Square Feet Does a Mini Split Cool?
The decentralized aspect of this ductless heating and cooling solution means a mini split can easily cool a large house with over 3,000 square feet. The important thing is to ensure that the equipment has the appropriate BTU rating. Professionals tend to agree that each Ton or 12,000 btu’s will heat and cool up to 550 sq ft under normal conditions. Naturally adjustments are made for factors like the presence of machinery in a workplace project, or for residential uses, things like extreme or constant humidity, extreme cold and structural conditions such as large glass walls, northern exposure, high ceilings etc.
Depending on these factors: geographic location, ceiling height, insulation depth, and the number of windows, you can expect to need between 25 and 60 BTUs per square foot of living space. You will find all you need at hand here: our sizing guide.
Why Choose a Ductless Mini-Split System?
Understanding a cutting-edge heating and cooling solution is one thing. Deciding whether it’s right for you is another question altogether.
By now Industry professionals across the board understand that ductless systems are no longer “New” or “The Future of HVAC”. The reality is here now. Mini splits are in fact a major sector of the HVAC marketplace. Billions of dollars are spent each year now on both DIY and professionally installed ductless systems.
The main decision for contractors, builders, architects, and homeowners is very simple: Am I using ducts, replacing ducts, or eliminating ducts?
Let’s compare these two different climate control solutions and consider some of the advantages of mini split systems in particular.
Remember: Central air uses powerful equipment to move large amounts of air throughout an entire house via ductwork. Mini split systems use in-room air handlers to isolate the air movement to the rooms where it is needed
The Main Benefits of a Ductless Air Conditioner
The primary benefits that come from using a mini split include:
• Efficiency: The use of independent handlers means less overall power to run the system.
• Zone climate control: This equates to energy savings.
• No ductwork: This makes for an easy and accessible installation.
• Scalability: Multiple air handler options allow a system to adapt to your home’s needs.
• Noise: The absence of ductwork makes these units one of the stealthiest ways to heat and cool a home.
Let’s consider each of these in a little more detail.
Mini split systems tend to be a lot more efficient than your typical central split systems. Many mini splits boast high SEER ratings. (SEER is short for seasonal energy efficiency ratio and is an industry standard for measuring the efficiency of air conditioners.)
SEER for mini split systems can be impressive. The ratios usually range from 18 SEER all the way up to an amazing 42 SEER. With ratings like that, your future system will be able to reduce your energy bills significantly compared to other heating and cooling solutions.
These efficiencies also qualify for various rebates as well, another incentive to consider.
Zone Climate Control
Have you ever wanted different rooms in your house set at different temperatures? Multi-zone mini split systems allow you to keep each zone at a different temperature. This gives you the power to control the temperatures throughout your house easily and keep each area exactly the way you want.
The lack of ducts offers an easy workaround. It makes these ventless air conditioner systems an especially smart choice when installing ductwork would be too costly, difficult, or unnecessary. This allows you to place your air handler directly in the space where you want it. When it comes to caring for your system over time, it also means you won’t have to invest in as much mini split maintenance. This contributes to the versatility and ease of mini splits for homeowners.
One of the major appeals of mini split systems is that they’re able to adapt to the sizing needs of a home. They offer homeowners and builders alike real convenience, simplicity and affordability. They can even grow with a structure if you build an addition in the future.
Mini splits are available to control anywhere from one to nine zones. The typical home will need four or five indoor air handlers. These air handlers are available in a variety of mounting options including wall, floor, and ceiling mounts, making them easy to fit into any space. Homeowners can even mix and match air handler types to adjust to conditions on the ground.
Ductless mini split air handlers have sound ratings as low as 19 dB. With sound ratings that low, it means that they can operate quieter than a whisper. This allows you to stay comfortable without being distracted by annoying noises.
Major Considerations for Mini Split Units
Here are a few questions to keep in mind when shopping for mini split units:
Do Mini Splits Use a Lot of Electricity?
One of the biggest concerns about a mini split is if it uses too much electricity. The primary issue here is the correct sizing of units for each zone in your home in order to assure maximum efficiency. (Again, refer to our sizing guide to make sure you get the size unit you need). At the end of the day, the cost of running a mini split will depend on various factors, from the units you choose and how you use them to your environment and home’s energy efficiency. If you’re concerned about electricity consumption, you can use a mini split energy consumption calculator to compare a unit to your current cooling costs.
Do Mini Splits Really Save Money?
Mini splits can save you an incredible amount of money, primarily by removing the need to install ductwork throughout your home. In addition, there is the financial benefit of mini split heater efficiency to consider. Rebates are also a contributing factor when understanding the true costs involved, with hundreds of dollars available to homeowners.
Even when shopping for the best mini split AC or heating units, you can save cash. You can use a site like ours to look for a mini split AC for sale and shop discounted mini split heaters, too. From Mr Cool mini splits to other name brands, like Fujitsu and Mitsubishi, we can ensure that you get the best mini split AC and heater units at a good price.
Can One Mini Split Cool Multiple Rooms?
When comparing mini split vs central air, another factor to consider is the number of handling units you’ll need. Fortunately, a mini split handler doesn’t have to be restricted to a single space. If positioned correctly, the cold or warm air can flow between closely connected areas of a home, allowing a unit to control the climate in a larger area.
With that said, these are still units that are meant to be used in larger numbers. It is best to plan on purchasing at least a couple of handlers when there are multiple bedrooms or walled off zones as opposed to cooling a studio apartment or loft for example.
Do Mini Splits Provide Heating & Cooling?
Most mini-split systems are heat pumps, supplying both heating and cooling efficiently and reliably, remarkably delivering heat to temperatures well below zero. The air cooling efficiencies are higher that traditional ac systems as well.
HVACDirect.com carries a wide variety of mini splits, meaning you can find exactly what you need for your situation. Several of our mini split brand partners have systems that provide reliable heat to 23 below zero! Clearly in places like North Dakota or New Orleans the needs are quite different, and professional consultation is always recommended. It may be necessary to have a back-up heating source in some areas where extreme cold and winds are a factor for weeks on end.
What Is the Life Expectancy of a Split AC Unit?
As is the case with any heating and cooling solution, the lifespan of your mini split heat and air unit will vary depending on a variety of factors. The quality of the unit, how well you maintain it, and how often you use it can all factor into the equation. HVACDirect.com has put together a roster of major brand partners who typically offer manufacturers warranties that run from 7 to 12 years.
Our experience with our partners tells us that you should reasonably expect a decade of reliable comfort with confidence, and possibly even two. At Hvacdirect.com we believe the purchase of any HVAC system should guarantee such assurance given the expense and importance to home and family.
Are Multi-Zone Mini Splits Worth It?
The million-dollar question here is: should you invest in a multi-zone mini split ac unit?
Multi-zone mini splits can save you a lot of money. They’re also a pain-free installation option, which you can even install yourself. They’re efficient, scalable, and impressively quiet.
It’s hard to argue with the takeaway here. With lower energy bills, lower installation costs, minimal maintenance, and the ability to heat and cool your home’s zones individually, multi-zone mini splits are an excellent heating and cooling solution.
Why Buy a Mini Split from Us?
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Ductless Mini Split Questions
Have questions? We’ve got answers. In fact, part of our goal at HVACDirect.com is to make home heating and cooling decisions not just affordable but simple and easy too.
Our customer service staff and HVAC technicians are ready to help you choose the right ductless AC system for your situation. You can call us toll free at 1-888-295-2009, instant-chat with us Mondays through Saturdays, or email us at email@example.com