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How to Make Sense of Mini-Split Air Conditioning Systems

 |  Air Conditioning, Blog

Mini-split air systems, also known as ductless air systems, offer homeowners a nearly silent, highly adaptable way of moving air independently in a room without the inconvenience or costs of a bulky outside air conditioner or internal air ducts. The use of mini-splits is growing in homes, conference centers, hotel rooms, and elsewhere.

Advantages of Ductless Air Conditioning

Clearly, the chief advantage of ductless systems over central conditioning units is that you can heat or cool individual rooms. That saves money, which is always a plus.

Many of today’s mini-split air systems come with capability of operating four indoor air handling units. This means that four zones or rooms can be cooled at the same time through one outdoor condenser unit. The units you choose will depend on the insulation and layout of your building, as well as your heating or cooling requirements. Each of these units comes with its own thermostat so you can independently control each room.

Rising Popularity of Mini-Splits

The popularity of mini-splits is at a record high. The market for ductless systems has grown a massive 221% over the past seven years, according to OilandEnergyonline.com. Additionally, Navigant Research says revenues for mini-split systems are expected to grow to more than $9 billion by 2020 from $3.9 billion in 2013.

This growth is partly attributable to inefficiencies from air duct leaks. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that air leaks from air ducts can be as high as 40% in certain homes. One reason homeowners look for ductless systems is to help solve that problem.

If you are contemplating getting a mini-split AC system, here’s a common-sense mini-guide to how they work and their benefits.

Three Parts of Mini-Split Systems

Mini-split systems are comprised of three parts:

  • A compressor or condenser unit for the outdoors,
  • An air-handling unit designed for indoors, and
  • A remote control to operate the system.

Heat transfer through air ducts in a regular A/C system is carried out using a compressor to pump refrigerant to absorb heat and transfer it from one place to another. In colder months, a heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoors, which is then transferred indoors to make it warmer. For warmer months, heat is transferred to the outside from the inside. Rather than generating heat, ductless systems move the heat. This means they are able to provide energy efficiency four times the amount that they consume. Many mini-split systems available right now range from 16 SEER to 27 SEER.

How to Install Mini-Split Systems

Apart from energy efficiency and increased performance, ductless air systems are a great addition due to their flexibility of installation and design.

Mini-split systems are easily installed via a small hole drilled in the wall and can be installed almost anywhere. This makes them much safer as compared to window units, which are more easily accessed by intruders.

Homeowners can mount mini-splits on the wall or suspend them from a ceiling. They can also be floor mounted. This can be more practical in certain rooms. Window or through the wall units must be positioned in one place, are normally pretty noisy, taking up lots of space and may be damaging the look of the interior décor.

Many of these mini-split units can also be run via apps on your smartphone, allowing you to set times and temperatures for your home or office no matter where you are. Mini-split systems come in a wide variety of models, sizes, and styles. You can get single unit heat pumps to provide heating and cooling, those with air conditioning only, and multi-port systems able to operate up to four different zones or air handlers at one time.

How Much Do Mini-Split Air Conditioners Cost?

Because of their convenience and flexibility, ductless systems are slightly pricier than through-the-wall or window air conditioning and heating units. The cost of installation depends on the specifics of your home. In homes that lack the ductwork or the capacity needed, it makes sense to have the ductless systems fitted. This provides a very quiet, super high efficient heating and cooling system that looks great and is reliable for years.

For newer constructions, the initial capital cost may be very comparable to the conventional equipment without the need to install ductwork. The energy efficiency and convenience makes up for the initial equipment cost.

Due to the great flexibility and convenience, it is safe to say ductless systems are here to stay. Ductless units can cool multiple rooms without incurring hefty energy bills. If you’re interested in mini-split air conditioner systems, contact the pros at Isley’s Home Service, Inc. We will assess your heating and cooling needs, check the status of your home, recommend the right unit for you, and install it the correct way.

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