Guidebook to Mini-Split Air Conditioners: What They Are and How They Work

August 18, 2017

Many homeowners are most familiar with central air conditioners.

Mini-split systems are a form of ductless heating and cooling. Rather than giving conditioned air to the entire home with a network of air ducts, they heat and cool a lone room at a time. This provides more targeted temperature control, enhancing comfort and energy efficiency.

How Do Mini-Split Air Conditioners Work?

Mini-splits most closely resemble heat pumps in the way they cool. Both models of equipment provide electric cooling, just like an air conditioner. This involves using refrigerant to remove heat from within a building and discharging that heat outside. Then, a reversing valve allows the system to run backward, warming your house in the winter by pulling heat from outdoor air and adding it inside.

The biggest contrast between mini-splits and heat pumps is that mini-split systems don’t require ductwork. As an alternative, the indoor unit has a built-in air handler, which fits directly on the wall or ceiling in the area you are looking to heat and cool. Copper tubes, wiring and a condensate drain line connect to an outdoor condensing unit through a narrow conduit in the wall. This exterior component looks similar to an air conditioner or heat pump condenser.

More than one indoor unit can work off of an individual outdoor condenser, allowing you to heat and cool your complete house with this system if desired. This arrangement also makes zoning possible, a highly attractive feature that allows you to choose when, where and how much you heat and cool specific spaces.

Mini-split basics infographic Raleigh 

Is a Ductless Mini-Split the Best Choice for My Residence?

Mini-splits are a great solution for the majority of households. Think about these reasons why installing a ductless mini-split may be a good choice for your needs:

  • You can heat and cool an entire home that has no existing ductwork.
  • It’s possible to turn off the heat and air conditioning in unused areas to save on your heating and cooling costs.
  • Mini-splits deliver additional heating and cooling for rooms that are difficult to keep cozy.
  • Use a ductless system to heat and cool a house addition or enclosed porch without the expense of putting in ductwork or the inconvenience of having window AC units.
  • Mini splits are the ideal choice for spaces where traditional ducts is impractical. A few examples might be historic homes, tiny homes, temperature controlled sheds or workshops, or garage conversions.
  • What are the Advantages of a Mini-Split System?

    Ductless mini-splits are extremely effective systems, but you could still be considering why you would want to install it over a traditional furnace and air conditioner. Here’s why more Raleigh homeowners are using ductless mini-splits:

    • Avoid the drawbacks of ductwork: By delivering heated and cooled air directly, air doesn’t go through leaky air ducts on its way to every room. This can save you as much as 30 percent on your heating and cooling expenses. Also, if your house doesn’t already include ducts, you avoid the inconvenience and price connected to putting them in.
    • Find the right temp for all rooms: With zoned heating and cooling from a ductless mini-split, you can keep an office refreshing while maintaining a cozy nursery—all while optimizing energy efficiency.
    • Save money and energy by not heating and cooling vacant spaces: Shutting supply registers in a central HVAC system can throw it off balance, putting strain on the equipment and negating any potential savings. But with independent air handlers in each room, you can heat and cool specific rooms only when you need them.

    Rely on Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to Put in Your Mini-Split Air Conditioner

    As with regular HVAC systems, ductless mini-splits need careful sizing and Expert installation to ensure the best performance. Our skilled mini split installers in Raleigh can help you determine if a mini-split system will match your needs. We can then assist with figuring out the precise equipment size and model to make your home as comfortable and energy-efficient as possible.

    For more details, or to book an appointment, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning at 919-578-4329. You can also schedule an appointment online.

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