Why Install a Ductless Mini-Split?
Mini-split, or ductless, air conditioning units are gaining popularity, thanks to their energy efficiency and potential to create a range of temperature zones within the same home. While they can get expensive, they’re easy to retrofit into homes without HVAC ductwork. But are these the best A/C units for your home?
If you’re trying to choose between a mini-split A/C system and a traditional HVAC system, you need to know what a mini-split system is and how it works. For some homeowners, a mini-split A/C system can be the better choice – it can allow you to downsize while remaining in your home, for example, or keep family members from fighting over the thermostat. Here’s what you need to know.
In a traditional HVAC system, a unit outside your home cools air and distributes it through your home via your ductwork. But a mini-split system doesn’t rely on ductwork to supply your home with cold air. Instead, refrigerant moves through insulated lines from the outdoor unit to indoor units located in each of your home’s cooling zones. Some outdoor units are powerful enough to divide your home into as many as nine cooling zones, each cooled by its own separate unit. Each indoor unit cools the room or zone it’s in.
Mini-split A/C units don’t require ductwork, which makes them a good option for installation in homes that don’t have ductwork, because adding ducts can significantly increase the cost of installing a traditional HVAC. Mini-splits are also good for installing climate control in additions or mother-in-law units.
Mini-splits are popular with homeowners who want more precise control over the temperature of individual rooms in their homes. If you have rooms in your home that you aren’t using, one or two mini-split wall units can help you cool the rooms you are using, while keeping the whole-house thermostat at a higher temperature. This prevents mold and other problems that can arise from merely closing the vents in unused rooms.
The drawbacks of mini-splits include their installation price, which can be higher than for traditional systems. You might not love the look of a wall A/C unit in every room, either, although there are floor and recessed ceiling models, too. You’ll need to clean the filter every month, and more often if you have pets – the fans in mini-splits can’t handle dirty filters, so falling behind on monthly maintenance can shorten the life of your unit. You’ll still need to have a yearly A/C tune-up from a professional technician, who will check your unit’s refrigerant pressure and flush the condensate lines, among other things.
If you already have a traditional HVAC system, it may be cheaper to just go ahead and get another one. But if you’re installing A/C in a home that doesn’t have ducts, or you’re looking for a small air conditioner to cool a specific room or rooms, a mini-split system may be the best choice. It can give you more precise control over the temperature in individual rooms in your home and slash your energy bills.