When it comes to heating and cooling your home, your options are not limited to traditional air conditioners and furnaces. Ductless heat pumps, known as mini-split systems, do a wonderful job without the need for a lot of space-eating machinery. For older homes without standard HVAC units or homeowners looking for an upgrade, mini-splits can be the ideal solution. But what exactly is a mini-split system?
The mini-split defined
Ductless, or mini-split, systems utilize heat pump features to deliver cool air on hot summer days and in winter they absorb outdoor heat and bring it inside to circulate. Mini-splits include two main components—an outside condenser unit and indoor air handlers installed on walls or ceilings. The indoor unit contains evaporator coils over which warm inside air blows, is absorbed by the coils, and is then transferred to the outdoor unit.
The system circulates refrigerant through conduit connecting the outdoor unit to the air handlers. One of the biggest advantages of ductless systems lies in their name: they don’t require a tangle of ductwork throughout the house, which is great news for owners of older homes or those short on space to begin with. Some homes have more than one indoor air handler.
Is a mini-split right for your home?
Consider the following when deciding if a mini-split is the right choice for your home:
- You live in an older home without a central HVAC system or ductwork
- You wish to control temperatures in a particular area of the home
- It’s time for an HVAC upgrade, sans ductwork
- You live in an area with fluctuation temperatures and/or very cold winters
- Someone in the family suffers from allergies
Mini-split pros and cons
What’s great about mini-split systems?
- Save energy by heating or cooling only occupied or otherwise targeted areas of the home
- Eliminate air escape through ductwork
- Quieter operation than traditional air conditioners
- Easy and fast installation
- Maintain consistent temperatures without cycling on and off
- Establish different temperature zones in the home
- No more cleaning ducts of dust, pollen, mites, and other allergens
What’s not so great?
- Ductless systems are generally much more expensive than window or baseboard units
- Some people don’t like their look, as mini-splits usually only come in white or beige
- Ductless systems include filters that require at least monthly cleaning of dust and debris
- If you live in a very cold climate, your ductless system might need a fuel backup