A ductless mini-split can be an extremely effective and energy-efficient option for cooling and heating your home or for supplementing your existing heating and AC. They’re also the perfect choice for heating and cooling any rooms that aren’t connected to your central HVAC system, such as a garage or new addition, or for use in a shed, cabin or any other building without an existing HVAC system. Today we’re going to show you some of the biggest benefits a ductless mini-split can provide, but first, let’s take a look at exactly what mini-split systems are and how they work.
What Is a Ductless Mini-Split?
A ductless mini-split is a type of heat pump that uses refrigerant to add to or remove heat from the air inside a room. Traditional heat pumps are designed for use in ducted HVAC systems and they rely on a blower fan to circulate hot or cold air through the duct system and into each room. As the name suggests, ductless mini-splits don’t require any ductwork. Instead, the mini-split heat pump outside is connected to one or more air handler units that are mounted on the wall, ceiling or floor inside the building.
The outdoor unit supplies hot or cold refrigerant to the indoor air handler depending on whether the system is currently heating or cooling. When the system is running, the air handler unit constantly draws in air from the surrounding area and forces the air over a refrigerant-filled coil. When heating, the air handler draws in cool air, and the hot refrigerant is used to raise the temperature of the air before it is pumped back out into the room. When cooling, cold refrigerant is used to absorb heat from the air to lower the temperature in the room.
Mini-splits can be single-zone systems with only one air handler or multi-zone systems that can have up to eight individual air handlers. Single-zone systems are ideal for heating and cooling a garage or any room or area without existing ductwork. They’re also a great choice for supplementing your existing heating and cooling. For instance, let’s say that you prefer your master bedroom to always be cooler than the rest of the home. Installing a mini-split in your master bedroom would allow you to keep it cooler without impacting the temperature in the rest of the building.
If you wanted to heat or cool an entire building, you’d obviously need a multi-zone system. However, there are some situations where you may need two separate mini-split systems to effectively heat and cool your entire home. This is because the air handlers don’t work as effectively when they are further away from the outdoor heat pump. Most systems also require that each air handler is located within 50-100 feet of the outdoor unit. This means you are often better to have two systems with four air handlers each instead of one system with eight air handlers if your home is larger.
One of the biggest benefits of ductless mini-splits is that they are much more energy efficient than ducted HVAC systems. Mini-splits typically have higher energy-efficiency ratings than central AC units and ducted heat pumps. They are also far more energy efficient than furnaces and will use less energy than virtually any other heating option.
In addition to the higher efficiency ratings, the other reason mini-splits use less energy than ducted HVAC systems is that ducted systems tend to have lots of waste due to air leaks in the ductwork. On average, approximately 30% of the total energy used by a ducted HVAC system is wasted due to air leaks. If you’re looking for a way to keep your home comfortable without paying a fortune in heating and cooling costs, a mini-split is definitely the way to go as it will generally be much more energy efficient than any other type of system.
Independent Zone Control
Another major advantage of multi-zone systems is that they allow you to independently control the temperature in each room. Each air handler has its own controls that enable you to turn the temperature up or down without impacting the rest of the system. You can also simply turn off the air handlers in any rooms you’re not using or that don’t currently need heating or cooling, which can reduce your energy costs even further. This zone control is great if you have someone in the family that always likes their bedroom warmer or cooler, and it’s also helpful for overcoming issues with rooms that tend to always stay much warmer or colder than the rest of the home.
Lower Maintenance and Repair Needs
Ductless mini-splits have far fewer components than central HVAC systems, which means that the maintenance requirements for a mini-split are much lower. The fact that these systems have fewer components also tends to mean that they need fewer repairs simply because there are fewer parts that could break. Mini-split systems should still be maintained by a professional every year, but the process for servicing a mini-split is far easier and takes much less time.
The lower maintenance and repair requirements for a mini-split also mean that they usually have a longer lifespan than any central HVAC unit. Furnaces and central air conditioners will usually only last for around 12 to 15 years, while ducted heat pumps often only last for 10 to 12 years. A new mini-split system will usually last for at least 20 years and some can potentially keep working for up to 30 years.
Better Indoor Air Quality
Central HVAC systems will often contribute to indoor air quality issues as they will circulate airborne pollutants as well as allergens like pollen, mold and dust mites throughout the entire home whenever they run. Ducted systems also often have issues with bacteria and mold growing on the AC evaporator coil or inside the ductwork. Mini-splits obviously don’t have these issues since each air handler only circulates air in the room where it’s located. Each air handler also has a built-in filter that works to trap dust, allergens and some airborne pollutants from the air as the system runs.
Most new mini-split systems are also extremely quiet. The outdoor part of a mini-split system is generally always smaller than a central AC or central heat pump and thus produces less noise. You will hear the fan in each air handler whenever the system is running, but the air handlers still tend to be quite quiet and produce less noise than a central HVAC blower. Many ducted HVAC systems also have issues with loud whistling sounds coming from the ductwork or with the furnace making loud noises.
At Temp Air System Inc., we specialize in ductless mini-split installation and we carry an extensive selection of mini-splits suitable for rooms and buildings of all sizes. If you’re considering a mini-split for your home, our team can guide you through the various options and help you choose the system that best meets your needs and fits your budget. We can also help if you need any other heating or cooling service or if you’re looking for ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality. Give us a call today if you have any questions about mini-splits or to schedule a consultation or service call in La Puente or the Los Angeles County area.