What is a Ductless Mini-Split System?
Unless your heating and air conditioning system has been recently updated, chances are your home is using a ducted system for heating and cooling. Did you know there are more efficient and quiet options available? Ductless systems are a great choice because they don’t waste the energy typically lost through cracks and leaks in ducts.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly heating and cooling system that will provide comfortable temperatures in your home year-round, perhaps it’s time to consider a ductless system. Check out what options are available to you below.
Overview of Mini-Split Systems
The concept of a ductless mini-split system is simple. Each system includes an outdoor compressor along with indoor air-handling units connected to the outdoor unit by a refrigerant line.
Installation is simple and unobtrusive since there’s no need for ductwork. Ductless systems also require less energy to run than traditional units. These systems usually only require a small three-inch hole in the wall to run the conduits between the indoor and outdoor units.
In general, there are three types of mini-split systems:
A single zone system consists of only one indoor and one outdoor unit. This is ideal for a single-zone space, such as a one-room addition to your home or if you’re installing heating and cooling for a garage or outbuilding.
A multi-split system connects several indoor units to a single outdoor unit. Unlike the single split system, the multi-split system allows you to create multiple zones in your house where each one can be controlled independently.
You can choose a different style and capacity unit for each zone in the home, providing a customized experience for each room. These different styles include:
- Wall mounted unit
- Ceiling unit
- Hidden unit
Each outdoor unit can usually accommodate 4 zones.
A flex zone system gets a bit more complicated. Like a multi-split system, you can connect many indoor units to the same outdoor unit, but the flex zone system allows for more indoor units.
The difference is that in a multi-split system, each of the units has a line running back to the outdoor unit. That’s not the case with a flex zone system. Instead, you might have only two lines running back to the outdoor unit, and then each one “branches” so the system can accommodate up to 8 zones.
While the multi-split system must be controlled via each indoor unit, you can control your entire home’s temperature through a single control with a flex system, which allows for better management.
Heating and Cooling Options
Before you jump on buying and installing one of the above systems, it’s important to note that there are different options for each. The most common is an air conditioning only system. These systems function like your typical air conditioning unit—only without the ductwork. In other words, it only functions to cool your home.
If you live in a climate where heating and cooling are equally important, then you’ll want to consider a heat pump. The heat pump system not only cools your home, but it can reverse the functions and heat your home by reversing the refrigerant flow.
Which Option Is Best for Your Home?
Deciding which option is best for your home will depend on numerous factors. The size of your home, for instance, can help determine how many zones you need.
Also consider if you’d like to completely replace your heating and cooling system or if you can use your home’s current duct system to supplement temperatures changes throughout the home. For instance, you could place a single-split unit in the main living area of your house and then use your current system for the bedrooms when needed.
If you need to manage different areas of the home independently, then a single-split system isn’t going to cut it. For instance, upstairs bedrooms may need cooling power while the basement may need to be heated. In that case, a multi-split unit is ideal.
If you’re not sure which option is best for your home and needs, contact a professional in your area for personalized advice.
For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.
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