Ductless mini-split systems are the fastest-growing trend in home cooling and heating. That has a lot to do with recent innovations that have made the technologies involved more efficient, effective, and affordable while also requiring a smaller footprint. Is a ductless mini-split right for you? Let’s answer that question by exploring how a mini-split system works and what you can expect.
Centralized heating and cooling systems are still the most prevalent kind used in American homes. Such setups are known as split systems because they have two parts. One part is located outside the home and includes the compressor, and another part is located inside the home and includes the air handler. Mini-split systems take a similar approach but are just smaller, which is where the name comes from.
Central systems use ductwork installed above the ceilings or under the floors to deliver heated and cooled air to rooms throughout the home. A ductless system is localized. An air handler simply distributes the conditioned air directly into the room where it is located. While many modern homes are built with ductwork in place, a ductless approach is convenient for zoned systems, for older homes, as a means to heat and cool home additions, and as a solution for problematic rooms or areas within a home.
Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
There are two primary types of ductless mini-split systems: air conditioners and heat pumps. Ductless mini-split air conditioners are able to cool their area. Ductless mini-split heat pumps are able to provide both heating and cooling. Which solution is right for you really depends on where you live and the kind of heating and cooling equipment that you currently have in your home or for which it is outfitted.
Indoor Air Handling Unit
A ductless mini-split is a split system. The indoor unit, which is generally mounted to a wall, is the air handler. This unit has both supply and return ducts. The air handler draws air through the supply duct, which is then transported to the outdoor unit. Once that air is heated or cooled, it is returned to the air handler via a dedicated line. The air handler then blows the conditioned air through the return duct. The air handler unit generally encompasses the thermostat or is connected to a thermostat. Some consumers are concerned that mini-split systems are noisy but consider that the average noise level of an indoor unit is just 32 decibels. Central systems are usually rated at 50 decibels and above.
External Condenser Unit
There are dedicated supply and return lines between the indoor unit and the external condenser unit. This is the only aspect of the system that has to pass through the outer wall, which simplifies installation. The supply lines are used to cool or heat the air. The condenser sends used refrigerant to the compressor to be recycled and is also responsible for transporting the conditioned air back. Those lines are insulated in order to avoid energy loss during the return.
Thermostat and Remote Control
Mini-split systems can have onboard thermostat control. It is also possible to have a dedicated thermostat unit, as is common with central systems. Many mini-split systems often have remotes that indicate the current temperature setting and allow you to adjust it from afar.
Zoned by Design
There are a number of advantages to the ductless mini-split system. They tend to be more affordable up front and do not require expensive ductwork. Modern mini-splits are also very efficient, and you can install multiple air handling units throughout your home as needed. This is by far the easiest way to provide zoned heating and cooling to a home. Each unit has its own thermostat control, which lets you set the temperature in a room independent of the other areas in the home.
Your Ductless Mini-Split Experts in Austin
Totally Cool Heating & Air is locally owned and operated and has served the Austin Metro Area since 1982. That means that we have 40 years of experience meeting the heating and cooling needs of homeowners in Central Texas. Our technicians are fully certified and insured, and they install, maintain, and repair all manner of ductless mini-split systems. We also offer duct cleaning, perform environmental assessments, provide indoor air quality services and install, maintain and repair central heating and cooling systems.
Call us today or contact us online to book an appointment or to learn more about our services.