Ductless mini splits, or often known as mini split ACs, are a more affordable way to customize the comfort in your home. Rather than retrofitting existing ductwork or installing brand new ductwork, these units, as the name suggests, do not require any ductwork at all. Contrary to the name, ductless air conditioners also both heat and cool using heat pump technology.
How does a mini split work?
They work by installing an outdoor condenser and one or more wall-mounted indoor air handler units in each of the “zones” you’d like to climate control. These air handlers work to distribute the air throughout the space. The outdoor unit and indoor unit are connected using a conduit that contains copper and refrigerant lines throughout the walls of the home. Depending upon the size of the outdoor condenser you choose, you can create up to 8 different indoor zones where you can choose the temperature for each individually. The mini split unit is powered off of 240 volt electric. Some models can even heat down to -13 degrees.
Where can I use a mini split?
Mini split air conditioners are especially useful in these cases:
Multiple story homes with large temperature differentials between floors
Three season rooms
Replacing window AC units
Older or historic homes with poor existing ductwork
Homes that want the highest efficiency ratings and lowest operating costs
What is considered a “zone?”
A zone is any space in your home that you want to temperature control. This is typically going to be one room or area like a living room, garage, bedroom or basement. If you keep the doors open to the space often, then you may be able to temperature control a wider area of the home with this zone, but most often you will want one indoor unit/zone per space you want to comfort control.
The question is often asked, “How big can one zone be?” The largest single zone mini split system is a 2 ton. This unit can heat or cool up to 1,000 square feet, depending on how many windows are present and the height of the ceiling. If your zone is larger than 1,000 square feet it is recommended to use a multi zone system.
What kind of filter does a ductless mini split use?
Mini split systems have a washable filter located in the indoor unit. The frequency with which you should clean this air filter depends on usage of the ductless air conditioner and where it is located. Sometimes it is recommended to clean these more frequently than standard central air conditioning systems, up to 2 or 3 times per year.
Pros of ductless air conditioners
Customized temperature control where you want it
No more hot or cold spots in the home
Turn off the heating or cooling in areas you aren’t using to save on energy bills.
Because ductless units do not use ductwork, you don’t have to worry about conditioned air being lost via duct leakage. According to gov, about 20-30% of air conditioned air leaks out through the ductwork.
Mini splits units are also higher in efficiency than standard central air conditioners.
Cons of mini split ACs
Unlike just having an outdoor unit on a traditional air conditioner, you will also have an indoor wall unit that you won’t be able to hide (unless you go with one of the upgraded mini split options from LG that double as a picture frame)
The installation cost will still be comparable or more than a standard air conditioning system if you have functional ductwork in place already. If you do not, then a ductless AC will actually save you a lot on the installation costs.
Many would list the appearance of a mini split line from the outside as a con as well, but at Quality Comfort we use a paintable line hide to cover the line set, drain and control wire if it has to run down the side of the home.
If you’re near the Cincinnati area and would like a free estimate on installing a ductless mini split, please reach out to us at 513.620.HVAC or you can book your estimate online at myqualitycomfort.com. Quality Comfort Home Services is an LG Excellence Certified Contractor.