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How Should You Use a Ductless, Mini-Split System?

How Should You Use a Ductless, Mini-Split System?Ductless mini-splits have been enjoying slow growth in popularity in this country, as more homeowners discover the benefits of using these systems to heat or cool. Here’s a brief explanation as to how they work, and what the best uses of mini-split systems might be.

How Mini-Splits Work

Ductless mini-splits are, as the name implies, a mode of heating and cooling that doesn’t use ducts. They are in fact a type of heat pump, with an outdoor condenser and an indoor air handler. The parts are connected by a conduit that contains the refrigerant and electrical line. Refrigerant is pumped into the home where it absorbs heat, and then is pumped out again and exhausted to cool the home. The process is reversed to heat the home.

Heat pumps are generally not recommended for extreme climates, particularly places where winter temperatures fall consistently below 32 degrees F. Often an auxiliary form of heating is needed during freezing weather — such as a gas furnace or heating strips, the latter of which can be expensive to run.

When to Use a Mini-Split System

Homeowners typically install mini-splits to heat or cool a part of the home that is too cold or too hot. Or, they might be used in an add-on, or when a garage, attic or basement space is finished out. Such spaces may represent challenges when it comes to running existing ductwork to them: it may be too expensive or too complicated.

Ductless mini-splits offer clean technology, without combustion, since they run on electricity. They are also considered efficient, quieter and less intrusive when they turn on than a central HVAC system.

They are also versatile as far as mounting options. The air handlers may be mounted on the ceiling, wall or floor, or be left freestanding. Since the air handlers are compact, they can be placed in a location where they are out of the way.

The main drawback of mini-splits is they are considered somewhat expensive, in terms of purchase and installation.

To learn more about mini-split systems, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Portland.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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Should You Consider Using Ductless Mini Splits in Your Home?

Should You Consider Using Ductless Mini Splits in Your Home?A ductless mini split offers a solid option for heating and cooling areas in your home that would otherwise pose challenges. Ductless systems work just like central HVAC systems, except they don’t use ductwork for air delivery. They’re one of the most energy efficient and flexible alternatives with a proven record for performance and comfort.

Mini Split Components

The two primary parts of a ductless system are the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser. A thin conduit that contains refrigerant, power and a drainpipe connect the two. Larger mini splits can support four separate air handlers, making it possible to condition multiple rooms or spaces.

The air handler can sit on the floor or hang from a wall or ceiling. The condenser is more compact than those associated with central systems. Installers drill a small hole in an exterior wall to run the conduit that connects the condenser to the air handler.

System Advantages

Since they don’t use ductwork, mini splits are ideal appliances for conditioning spaces where running ductwork would take too much space or be costly. They’re often used in retrofitted spaces or new additions. Each air handler has its own thermostat to ensure individual comfort. If you don’t plan to use a space continuously, you can save energy by turning the system off without affecting comfort levels in the rest of the home.

Ductless systems offer greater energy efficiency because they don’t have any thermal or air losses from ductwork that central systems do. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mandates that a ductless mini split must meet the same minimum energy efficiency requirements as central forced-air HVAC systems do.

Heating with a Mini Split

In this climate, a ductless heat pump can provide year-round comfort. Look for a HSPF (heating season performance factor) rating that exceeds the current minimum rating of 8.2. One with a scroll compressor or that uses inverter technology will provide comfortable heat even during our coldest weather.

If you’d like more information about a ductless mini split, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing Portland-area homeowners with outstanding HVAC services since 1976.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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