Here’s a riddle: What’s smaller and more efficient than a central HVAC system, easier to install than whole-house ductwork, and more attractive than a window unit? If you’ve already read the title of this month’s article, you may have guessed “a mini-split?”
You guessed right! Congratulations! You win an article about how ductless mini-split heat pumps can help improve your home’s comfort!
What Is a Mini-Split?
At its most basic, a ductless mini-split is simply a small heat pump (see last month’s article) with an outdoor condenser unit connected to a small evaporator unit located inside the room or “zone” the unit is serving. The two components are connected by a conduit, usually about 3 inches in diameter, that carries an electrical cable, two refrigerant lines, and a drainage tube.
For decades in the US, the residential air conditioning market was dominated by two main types: window units and central air systems. Each has several advantages, depending on where they’re installed, but each also has some disadvantages:
- Window units are bulky and unattractive. Most are considerably less efficient than other air conditioners, and cooling an entire house usually requires several units in a few different rooms.
- Central air systems require an entire house to be maintained at a single temperature. Ductwork is bulky, expensive, needs regular cleaning, and is a significant source of lost efficiency in most systems. Additionally, retrofitting an existing home with ducting can be cost-prohibitive, accounting for half or more of the installation cost.
The design and function of a ductless mini-split overcome many of these obstacles, providing an excellent heating and cooling option for a wide variety of applications.
Mini-Splits Are Easy to Install
For homes built without central heating or air installed during construction, mini-splits offer a simple way to install an efficient and attractive system without requiring the intensive effort of retrofitting ductwork into a cramped attic or crawlspace.
With a mini-split, installation is usually as simple as drilling a 3-inch hole in a wall, running the system’s conduit through the hole, setting the outdoor unit in place, and hanging the interior unit on the wall or ceiling. Without the need for bulky ductwork, installation can take as little as one hour, even in older construction.
Mini-Splits Offer Flexibility
We know that everyone in your house likes it to be exactly the same temperature all the time, right? No?
Yeah, us neither. With a traditional central heating and air system, household temperature is always a matter of compromise, sometimes a subject of debate, and occasionally a source of considerable friction in an otherwise perfectly loving family. A ductless mini-split system can divide the house into multiple zones, each serviced by a separately controlled interior unit.
That way, the cold-natured members of the family can have their space toasty and warm while the folks who run a little hotter can have their room at their preferred temperature of “arctic tundra” year-round. Beyond that, if there are rooms in the house that seldom get used (the spare bedroom, the attic bonus room, or – in some cases – the home gym), their units can be turned completely off or set to an energy-saving temperature to reduce energy consumption.
Mini-Splits Are Efficient
Ducts are not efficient. In fact, they’re super-duper not efficient. Anywhere from 25-40% of a home’s heating and cooling energy expenditure can be lost in the simple process of getting conditioned air from the air handler to the living space. That number can go even higher if your home’s ductwork is leaky, poorly insulated, or clogged with dust and debris.
Mini-splits completely eliminate energy loss from ductwork, meaning an automatic energy savings of 25-40% over a similarly-sized ducted unit. If you use multiple mini-split units to create temperature zones throughout your home and keep your less-used spaces at a more efficient temperature, you can see savings even more significant than that.
Mini-Splits Aren’t Perfect
Ductless mini-splits are great for almost any home but are particularly well-suited for:
- Small homes or detached buildings like workshops and garages
- Retrofitting air conditioning into older homes or those where central air would be prohibitively expensive
- Home additions or extensions
- Replacing existing window units
There are some drawbacks, however, that you need to keep in mind when shopping for an HVAC system:
- Mini-split interior units are larger and more noticeable than the small vents used in central HVAC applications, and some people don’t like the look of the unit inside the home.
- A mini-split system is more expensive than a central air system of similar capacity, particularly in new construction, when installing ductwork won’t be a significant problem.
- Each interior unit in a mini-split system has its own air filter that must be changed monthly, increasing regular maintenance requirements.
- Based on heat pump technology, some mini-split units will be less effective at heating or cooling in extreme temperatures.
Hot? Cold? Call the Man! Pruett Air Conditioning Proudly Offers Carrier’s Full Line of Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps.
Whether you’re retrofitting an older home or trying to make that bonus room over the garage a little more comfortable, our technicians are ready to install your new efficient Carrier mini-split! Call today:
Pruett Air Conditioning has offices in Warner Robins and Eastman, GA, so no matter where in Middle Georgia you’re located, Pruett is your local HVAC company.
- Bonaire, GA
- Byron, GA
- Centerville, GA
- Cochran, GA
- Dublin, GA
- Eastman, GA
- Fort Valley, GA
- Kathleen, GA
- Macon, GA
- McRae, GA
- Perry, GA
- Warner Robins, GA