Whether you are building a new home and looking for a cost saving efficient way to heat and cool your home, or adding on to your current home with the same idea of heating and cooling in a way that will not cost an arm and a leg, you may be asking yourself “what are mini-splits?” An easy way to describe them would be to say that they are a cross between an older window A/C unit and a central air system.
What Are Mini-Split Heating Systems?
For those homes already possessing non-ducted heating systems, mini-splits are a great option to add onto existing heating elements. Typically, ductless heating systems require things like hydronic power (such as hot water heaters), or utilize space heating methods (which generate heat via Natural Gas, Electric, or propane). Mini-splits are ideal when making additions to a home, as expanding existing duct work can be problematic in some situations.
Mini-splits are comprised of two main components. A compressor or condenser is situated outside of the home, while an air-handling unit is outfitted indoors. These separate components are linked via a conduit, which consists of a power cable, condensate drain, refrigerant and suction tubing. If there are numerous air-handling units, each will contain an associated thermostat. This is helpful for regulating the air temperature in each room where the unit is placed.
Advantages of Mini-Split Heat Pumps
From improved energy efficiency to less involved installation, mini-split ductless heating systems provide a number of advantages to homeowners:
1. Better Heating of Individual Rooms/Zones:
When it comes to adequately heating individual rooms or zones within a home, mini-splits with heat pumps are highly effective. This efficiency has to do with the individual air-handling units that are placed within a given room or area in the home. These units can be adjusted to heat only those rooms which are currently being occupied, unlike conventional heating methods, which provide heat uniformly throughout a home. In most cases, better insulation of a home will have an impact on the overall efficiency of the individual air-handling unit. This can help homeowners save quite a bit on energy costs throughout the year.
2. Flexibility/Increased Placement Options:
Maintaining existing interior design is far easier when utilizing mini-splits. This is because the air-handling components provide a number of placement options, which is not always the case when installing other types of add-on systems. Air-handlers can be affixed to a wall, suspended from the ceiling, and even mounted into drop ceilings. There is also the option of floor models, which can be beneficial for certain circumstances.
3. Easy Installation:
Those who’ve undertaken duct work expansion are fully aware of just how difficult such projects can be. Conversely, installing a mini-split in one’s home is an extremely stress-free procedure. Coupling of outdoor and indoor components can be accomplished with a three-inch hole, which is much less invasive than other systems. Because conduits are available in a variety of lengths, outdoor units can be situated up to 50 feet away from the indoor evaporator. This increases discreet placement options for the outdoor components.
4. Improved Energy Efficiency:
Inefficient use of energy is not only detrimental to the environment, it can also greatly increase utility bills. Ducts are notorious for losing energy due to their construction, with up to 30% of generated heat dissipating while making its way through duct work. Because mini-splits don’t require ducts to disperse heat throughout a home, they aren’t subject to the same energy losses.
5. Ability to Customize:
Another great feature of mini-splits is the ability to customize. Most systems come with features like timers and built-in sleep functions, giving homeowners greater control of when and how they heat their homes. Traditional heating systems usually don’t allow for customized use, which can lead to unnecessary charges, as well as a less efficient use of energy.