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.