Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Ductless mini-split systems are an excellent choice for new homes that require only a small space conditioning system.   Mini-split systems can also be a great choice for room additions where extending or installing ductwork is not feasible, and they also work very well for retrofit additions to a home or business.

Most miMini Split Comfortni-split systems are very efficient, meet Energy Star requirements and are much more efficient than a conventional heating and cooling system.  In fact, mini split systems can reach energy efficiency ratings as high as 32 SEER.  Similar to standard air-source heat pumps, mini splits have two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. Typically, a conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, links the outdoor and indoor units.

How does a ductless mini split work?

Mini Split DiagramLike any air conditioner, we are taking the heat from the house and transferring it to the outside, much the same way your refrigerator does when it operates to keep your food cold. The evaporator (inside the house) and condenser (outside) work together to transfer and dissipate heat via the refrigerant pumped between the two units. When used in heating mode, we simply reverse the process and pump heat from outside to the inside. It’s all a matter of capturing and moving heat.

Why are mini-split systems so much more energy-efficient?

outdoor mini-split condenserMini-split systems are an efficient means of heating and cooling because they work similarly to cruise control in your vehicle. They only use the minimum energy required to perfectly match the need for heating or cooling required in your home. If the need for heating or cooling in the home decreases, so too does the mini split electrical consumption.  This avoids cycling, or turning on and off over and over again, which is a big waste of electricity. The variable speed of every moving component means you always have a perfectly sized unit to do the job. Eliminating ductwork and associated energy loss is also a big factor.

What savings can be expected compared to a traditional heating or cooling system?

Mini-Split HallwayThe actual savings will vary depending on how often the system is used and what the original source of heating or cooling was. It’s not uncommon to experience up to 50 percent savings when compared to conventional systems. With rebates available from the state, manufacturers and utilities the decision to go mini-split is often the obvious energy efficient and monetary savings option.

How well do mini-split systems perform during extreme heating or cooling seasons?

Mini-Split Living RoomDuctless mini splits are designed to cool in temperatures as high as 115F and heat in temperatures as low as -15F.  In fact, many people are abandoning their conventional electric heat pumps and electing to install mini-split systems as an immediate energy efficiency upgrade because the mini-split actually heats and cools at a much wider range of temperatures.  The performance of these systems on the have improved drastically over the past decade.  If you think about how technology in general has evolved over the last 10 years, the same can be said for mini-split systems.

Other than energy efficiency what are the advantages of a mini-split system?

Mini split air handlerThe main advantages of mini splits, in addition to their energy efficiency, are their small size and flexibility for zoning or heating and cooling individual rooms. In fact, utilizing a mini split system can allow you to heat and cool simultaneously in different parts of your home. Many models can have as many as four indoor air-handling units (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit. The number depends on how much heating or cooling is required for the building or each zone (which in turn is affected by how well the building is insulated and air sealed). Each of the zones has its own thermostat, so you only need to condition occupied spaces. This will save energy and money.

Are ductless mini-split systems hard to install?

Living Area Mini-SplitDuctless mini-split systems are easier to install than some other types of space conditioning systems. For example, the hook-up between the outdoor and indoor units generally requires only a three-inch hole through a wall for the conduit. Most manufacturers of this type of system can provide a variety of lengths of connecting conduits, and, if necessary, you can locate the outdoor unit as far away as 50 feet from the indoor evaporator. This makes it possible to cool rooms on the front side of a house, but locate the compressor in a more advantageous or inconspicuous place on the outside of the building.

Mini splits have no ducts, so they avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork of central forced air systems. Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic or crawl space.

Where can I have the mini-split located?

IMini Split in Kitchenn comparison to other add-on systems, mini splits offer more interior design flexibility. The indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall. Floor-standing models are also available. Most indoor units are about seven inches deep and have sleek, high tech-looking jackets. Many also offer a remote control to make it easier to turn the system on and off when it’s positioned high on a wall or suspended from a ceiling.

A & C Trades and Services has installed many of these mini-split systems in the greater Knoxville area and would be happy to come out and give you a free quote on installing one in your residence or business.