Mini Split Systems - The Future of Residential HVAC
High Efficiency Ductless HVAC Systems For Homes
Ductless mini split systems are a much wiser way to heat and cool your home. What is a "mini split?" Well, chances are that if you have a central heating and air conditioning system in your home, that that system is what we call a "split system," and all that that means is that it has an air handler inside the home, either in the attic or in a closet, and a condenser outside. Most central heating and air conditioning systems in residential applications are split systems. Sometimes, however, older homes have a package unit that contains both the air handler, and the condenser in one big unit, and these a generally outside, and on the ground, but they could be on a roof, or balcony as well.
The typical home heating and air conditioning system is a ducted system, in which ductwork carries the return air back to the evaporator coil, located inside the air handler, and also the supply air, on the supply side of the air handler. Most people are generally very cognizant of their supply ducts, because they know where the air is coming from in their homes, people are often less aware of their return air duct, or what it's function or importance is. Ductwork is usually inside a homes attic, but it could also be located underneath the home. In any case, ductwork takes up a lot of space, is unsightly, a pain to install, or move around, and if it's in the attic or under a house, "critters" can get into those unlived in places, and damage the ductwork. I assure you, nobody likes doing ductwork, and especially if it's underneath a home with unknown "critters" involved.
Thus the first truly beautiful thing about a mini split system. Mini splits have no need for ductwork on either the supply or return side. Were you to have your home remodeled, and fitted with mini splits, then can you imagine just how much room for storage you would create in your attic? It would look like a completely different, and wide open place; and you'd soon find yourself less stressed for storage, or because of home clutter. So Let's take a look at one, shall we?
Above you see a picture with three parts to it, the smallest bit of the picture is simply the remote control for your mini split system, you see, these systems do not have or need a central thermostat, like a normal split system has, and mini splits all come with remote controls nowadays. You can also use your hands, and do what you wish, control wise, on the interface on the air handler for the mini split, and the longer of the three pictures in one that I've provided here, is the air handler, which mounts on a wall in the room for which the mini split will heat and cool. Often these are mounted above a window, but there is no reason why they can not be mounted wherever a homeowner wishes for them to be mounted. Of course that is something that you would have discussed with either your builder and a/c contractor for a new home, and/or remodel. The condenser in the picture, looks just like a condenser normally looks, but of course, it's smaller.
So maybe you're wondering by now,
"These things seem awfully similar to window units, so why wouldn't I just get a window unit?"
Simple, mini split systems are far, far smarter buys than any window unit, window units are LOW efficiency energy consuming monsters, they are usually cheaply made, and have a pretty short life expectancy. This wasn't always the case, and I recall days gone by when window units lasted for 30 years or more. Those days are gone, and once the "scroll" style compressor became the norm for window units, their durability became a thing of the past.
Mini Split Systems are HIGH EFFICIENCY systems, and oftem FAR EXCEED the standard 13. S.E.E.R. rating that is the minimum seasonal energy efficiency rating that you can buy from a contractor now. The mini split systems that I've personally had my hands on were all either 16 or 17 S.E.E.R. systems, and that means that those things will REALLY save you on the electric bill. But the ways that mini splits save you on electricity is not only found in their S.E.E.R. rating, oh now, the true gem and savings associated with mini splits is in their application.
Let me explain: When you are asleep at night in the month of August, and it's warm outside, and your central a/c system is running. Your system is cooling your kitchen, your dining room, your laundry room, etc; and nobody is likely to be in those rooms at the dead of the night, so that energy spent to cool those rooms is largely just wasted energy, and wasted money, and burned up fossil feuls down at the power grid. So, with mini splits, you have one system for each room that you want heated or cooled, and when you aren't using the guest bedroom, you don't run the mini split. Do you see how this can save you a ton of money? You only use the system for the rooms being used, rather than running one big system, and heating or cooling a whole home.
In addition, most mini splits are also heat pumps, which means that they reverse the refrigeration cycle, and use refrigerant gas to provide heat to your home in the exact opposite manner that they provide air conditioning. This can be a complicated topic, but I will elaborate on it in a future article here. Some, but not all mini splits also provide an electric heating element for additional, or emergency heat.
I hope that this has been an informative read for you concerning what a mini split system is, and how YOU can benefit yourself and your family by employing mini splits rather than just one big system, or several big split systems in your home. If you have an questions, then do not hesitate to ask me. Thank you.