If you are in the market for a new heating system for your home, mini-splits are one of the newer HVAC technologies. These systems are based on the efficient technology of a heat pump with the convenience of room-by-room heating flexibility. This allows you several different opportunities to save money with a mini-split system over other HVAC heating options once you have covered the initial cost of the system. Read on to learn more about these benefits.
How Mini-splits Generate Efficient Heating and Cooling
Mini-split systems work through the compression of a refrigerant. This process works in a manner similar to the way that a refrigerator motor, heat pump or air conditioner work. However, mini splits and heat pumps have a reversing valve to change the flow direction. This lets you use the device to both heat and cool.
Mini-splits take advantage of the chemical properties of refrigerants. When evaporated within the coil, the refrigerant becomes colder as a part of the physical/chemical process. When the refrigerant inside the same coil is condensed, the coil becomes warmer. The temperatures within the coil can then be redirected, by way of a fan, into the home. Because electricity is used just for a fan and a condenser, this is a much less expensive way to heat your home than traditional electric heat. Other heating sources use a physical concept called resistance. This is a very inefficient technology and draws a lot of electrical current. Many resistance-heat appliances require a higher-level 220-volt electrical circuit to avoid overloading your home’s breakers. Your most energy-hungry electrical appliances, like electric stoves, ovens or dryers, also use resistance to generate heat.
The two key differences between mini-split systems and heat pumps are the reliance on ductwork and the number of indoor air handlers that connect to the outdoor compressor. A heat pump has a single indoor air handler that redirects the air through your home’s ductwork. Mini-splits do not rely on ductwork. Instead, they connect to one or more locations where an indoor air handler will redirect heat from the compressor just for a single room. This creates a different set of money-saving opportunities for homeowners.
Mini-splits Save Money on Heating New Home Additions
If you have added a single room to your home or you have decided to insulate and heat a location like your garage, a mini-split system can save you the cost and demolition associated with rerouting your ductwork to accommodate an additional room. Furnaces and heat pumps are sized by a professional to heat just the amount of space that you have. Adding an additional room can overwork your existing system, creating inefficient heating and premature wear. Mini-split systems for a single room are more cost-effective than adding ductwork and a new central heating system for your whole home.
If your new addition has both interior and exterior rooms, it is still possible to use a mini-split system in this space. While the indoor air handler must be attached to the outdoor condenser through an exterior wall, the air from this handler can be directed through an exhaust fan into more than one room. This technology is used to heat an entire apartment through a single air handler in some multifamily green apartment complexes.
Mini-split Systems Offer Zoning Opportunities
If you want the ability to heat only the rooms that you live in during the day and night, mini splits can allow you to do this. If you spend time in your downstairs living areas during the day and upstairs in your bedrooms at night, you can concentrate your heating just to the areas where you spend your time with a mini-split system. This becomes as easy as setting a routine or tapping your phone if you pair this technology with a smart thermostat.
If you live in a home where you have lots of unused bedrooms or you have a home office that is only used for part of the day, zoning is a great way to prevent paying to heat these areas all day and night. This is also a great way to provide occasional heat to a mother-in-law apartment or attached vacation rental unit that sees periodic use only. Smart thermostats paired with a designated mini-split air handler can provide you with the information you need to break out the cost of heating just the portion of your home that is used for rentals. This can save you money when it comes time to report this expense on your taxes.
Mini-split Systems Reduce Duct Efficiency Losses
If you are considering the benefits of adding mini splits to a new home instead of ductwork, these systems are especially helpful in homes where the ductwork would travel long distances in an unheated area like a crawl space. Energy.gov estimates that you can lose up to a third of a home’s heat through poorly insulated ductwork. Even if your home does have well-insulated ducts, they come with additional costs of maintenance, inspection, re-sealing and re-insulation on a periodic basis. These tasks need to be factored in when considering a long-term cost comparison. If you are in the design phase of a new home, consider working with an HVAC professional and your design team to see if there are savings to be had by choosing a ductless home that is heated and cooled by mini-splits.
Mini-splits Are Sized for Smaller Areas
If you have a smaller home, mini-splits can save you money compared to a whole-house heat pump or furnace due to the size they are designed to fit. Tiny homes, in particular, are typically smaller than the smallest heat pump’s minimum size requirement. While you can still use one of these systems, there are many cost inefficiencies that come with using a larger heating system than you require for an area. Heaters that are too big for a space will often short cycle, which will cause premature wear on the unit. This may result in more expensive utility bills, more frequent maintenance visits and even a shorter lifespan for your heat pump.
When searching for a new system, ask professional HVAC installers what the range of square footage typically is for the unit that they are suggesting. If your heat pump’s minimum capabilities are close to your home’s square footage and a smaller unit is not available, this is a situation where a mini-split system may save you a lot of money to install and operate.
We Can Answer Your Questions
If you are looking to explore more about installing a mini-split system in La Puente, CA or anywhere within the greater Los Angeles County area, call Temp Air System Inc. to set up a consultation. We can look at your individual home’s current system and provide suggestions on whether we think that mini-splits are a cost-effective choice for you. We can also help you to design a mini-split system or traditional heating and cooling project for your new construction.
If you’re not in the market for a mini-split, we can also maintain, repair or install air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps. We offer air quality products, such as air purification and filtration systems and UV lights. We also service and install water heaters. Call us today to learn more about how our qualified technicians can keep you and your home safe and comfortable.