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Mini-splits are small units that can provide heat and AC to single rooms of your home. A mini-split is a wall unit that runs independently of any central air system that has been installed in your home.
Installing mini-splits in new additions to your home can prevent overworking the current central air unit that has already been caring for the older parts of your house. You can also install mini-splits in rooms that never seem to cool as much as the rest of your home.
What is a Mini-Split?
Mini-splits, or ductless HVAC systems, are small HVAC units that allow users to control the temperature in individual rooms of their homes. While mini-splits are similar in concept to window units, they don’t need to be fitted into a window, and they are generally more cost-effective, which we will get into later. Like normal HVAC systems, mini-splits have two main components: an outdoor compressor and an indoor air-handling unit. Mini-splits use conduits to link the indoor and outdoor units. This connection includes the electric line, refrigerant lines, and the drain line, and it typically only requires a three-inch hole through the connecting wall.
Advantages of Mini-Splits
One main advantage of mini-splits is that they require little-to-no ductwork, and they won’t lose energy the way that central forced-air systems do. The amount of energy lost in ductwork can be up to 30 percent, especially if the ducts are in a space that is unairconditioned. The duct systems that central air systems require is also expensive. To have ductwork installed in a home is also a very intrusive process.
When compared to window units, mini-splits are more advantageous to the homeowner, because they only need a small hole to work, instead of sitting in a window where air is bound to leak both in and out of the room. Window units are often loud, and they are quite the eyesore as well.
Another advantage to mini-splits is that they give you the ability to change the temperature in a single room of your home without changing the temperature of the whole house. This is very helpful if you have a room that doesn’t seem to heat or cool as well as the others or a member of your household has different temperature needs than everyone else.
Mini-splits are very energy efficient. Like previously mentioned, central air systems waste a lot of energy that you still have to pay for each month. Ductless systems will lower your monthly energy bills and help you conserve energy.
Disadvantages of Mini-Splits
The initial costs associated with mini-splits are high, which scares many people away from purchasing mini-splits. Mini-splits will cost several times more than a window unit or baseboard heating unit. For people who want to replace their existing central air systems with mini-splits, it can cost two to three times more to supply your home with mini-splits than it would to just replace the central air system.
Maintenance on mini-splits is also more involved than one might think. To keep your mini-splits working properly, you will need to clean the filters at least monthly. Unlike central air systems, ductless systems can’t handle the accumulation of dirt and dust. If you don’t stay on top of cleaning the filters, they will require professional service to get them back in working order. Professional cleanings are expensive, and you are likely to shave years off the life of your ductless system.
Many people dislike the look of mini-splits. While they aren’t very pleasing to the eye, they can’t be covered up. You can purchase mini-splits in beige or white, and they will be visible. For many homeowners, this is a deal breaker.
When Should You Consider Mini-Splits?
Mini-splits aren’t right for everyone, but there are a few instances where mini-splits just make the most sense for solving HVAC problems. These are the times that you should consider going ductless with mini-splits:
New Additions to Your Home
If you are building a new addition or converting your garage into an apartment, mini-splits are perfect for you. They are great for single-room spaces, and the new room won’t be stealing air from other rooms in your home or overloading your original HVAC system.
Adding AC to a Home Without Ductwork
If you live in a home that doesn’t already have ductwork, mini-splits are a great option. While they aren’t cheap, it will be less expensive to install mini-splits than it would be to add ductwork into an already built home.
Making a Room in Your Home More Comfortable
If your family is always fighting over the thermostat or you have certain rooms in your home that don’t get as warm or cold as the rest of the house, mini-splits are a great way to solve your problems. Change the temperature in only one room instead of making the whole house less comfortable so you can enjoy one room.
Downsizing Within a Larger Home
If you are no longer using your entire home, you won’t want to heat and cool the whole thing. For many retirees, for example, using an existing HVAC unit isn’t cost-effective, but mini-splits can be. Many people will continue to use their central air systems and close off vents, but this can lead to mold and pressure problems. Instead, it is better to install mini-splits in the rooms you want to heat and cool, and then turn your main thermostat on a minimal temperature depending on the season.
Installing Mini-Splits in Your Home
Unless you are a professional, you probably shouldn’t try to install mini-splits in your home yourself. They require knowledge of the system, as well as knowledge of electrical work. It can be very dangerous for you to attempt to install a mini-split yourself.
While it may seem costly to have a professional install your new system for you, consider the money lost if you damage your system after voiding the warranty, mishandle the refrigerant, or install the system improperly. Instead of risking it, if you live in the Kansas City Metro Area, call Cates Heating and Cooling to install your mini-split system for you.
Zoned HVAC systems are a great way to further control the temperatures in different areas of your home. Cates Heating and Cooling can help you determine whether or not one of these systems is right for you.
Heating and cooling systems can be costly to repair or replace. If you are in need of either service, Cates Heating and Cooling would love to help you by allowing you to make payments with one of our financing options.
Finding time to have an HVAC technician come to your home for heating and cooling repairs or installations can be a hassle. Use our online scheduling service to select the time and day that best works for you.