What Is A Mini-Split? A Brief Overview for HVAC Newbies

Mini split heating and cooling systems use an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor air handler units connected via power, refrigerant tubing and condensation drain line conduit. Instead of the standard central systems that rely on ductwork for air distribution, mini splits provide ultra-precise room-by-room control.

How They Work

Mini-split systems differ from traditional duct systems in that they provide heat or cooling to individual rooms independently, making them an excellent option for old homes with damaged ducts, additions or renovations, new construction as well as rooms like an unfinished basement, attic space conversion, garage conversion or sunroom.

Mini-split systems combine an outdoor unit (www.thisoldhouse.com/hvac-installation-cost) with small wall-mounted units in your home to heat and cool your space, without needing extensive renovations or changes to the environment. Installation usually only requires drilling a hole through which flexible tubes deliver air and power from the outdoor unit to indoor units – the tubes themselves measure 3 to 4 inches in diameter so their presence has minimal if any effect on interior design of your home.

Indoor wall units use cold evaporator coils to absorb heat from your home’s atmosphere, sending it over to an outdoor unit where a compressor converts it back into gaseous form, heating your home during the winter as well.

Heat pumps transfer and reuse energy efficiently, offering both heating and cooling in one compact system, eliminating the need for separate furnaces and AC units. Mini-splits also make an excellent backup heating source in climates with extreme cold weather as they offer reliable backup heat sources for cottages, cabins, or seasonal residences.

Mini-split air conditioners have become increasingly popular with homeowners, yet some might object to their appearance – especially the fact that they resemble window air conditioners positioned on walls. LG provides several ways to make wall units less intrusive including frames that allow users to hang photos behind it or in bookcases or under stairwells while concealing its presence.


Ductless mini-split systems can be an excellent addition to many homes. Their energy efficiency makes them cost-effective, with room-by-room control. Unfortunately, ductless systems do have some drawbacks compared to whole home solutions with ductwork; they tend to be more costly and ineffective for larger spaces; however if you need heat or cooling in an addition or attic that needs additional heating and cooling capacity these may be worth investing in.

Installation can be straightforward; while each job varies slightly, there are some general steps that must take place for any installation project to go smoothly. The first step should involve understanding what each space will be used for so you can calculate the necessary thermal units to accurately size your system and plan your budget. Once this step is completed, capacity requirements and budget planning will come into play as you install your air conditioning unit(s).

Once you’ve determined the number of zones that you wish to create, installation can begin. First you will need to determine where your indoor wall unit will go as well as the space available – being as accurate as possible is vital because over-sized systems waste energy by short-cycling and shortening cycling times. Next up will be where to place the outdoor compressor unit.

Energy Efficiency

Ductless mini-split systems are highly energy efficient and provide the ideal solution for homes without existing ductwork. While central air and ducted heat pump systems do use ducts to distribute air conditioning conditioning, these options lack zone control capabilities that ductless mini-split systems can offer.

With a ductless system, cooling and heating are provided within the home or space by indoor air handling units mounted directly to walls in strategic locations of the space. Each of these air handling units are connected directly to an outdoor compressor – like those covered on this link – through thin conduit and can be programmed individually using an user-friendly remote for ultra-precise temperature control in each individual room.

One mini-split system can be used to cool one or more rooms at the same time, and many models allow up to four indoor air handlers connected to an outdoor unit based on your cooling requirements for each zone. This enables you to only condition areas when they’re being used – which helps lower utility bills!

Because ductless systems can be installed without any ductwork at all, they make an ideal option for homes recently renovated or built on slab foundations. Since ductless systems can be tailored specifically to each space’s heating and cooling requirements, they make an efficient yet flexible heating and cooling solution for newly constructed homes that desire both efficiency and versatility.


Ductless mini-split systems need regular upkeep in order to remain at peak efficiency, with some tasks best left to a professional while others can be taken on by homeowners themselves to prevent larger issues in the future.

Outdoor compressor/condenser units should be kept out of direct sunlight and placed on a level surface at least a foot from any walls in your home, preferably nearer the middle than nearer either end of your property. An air conditioning technician expert from https://bosqueplumbingandair.com and like companies can help ensure this location is suitable before installation of their unit. However, if you read your machine’s manual before calling in the professionals.

Filters that become dirty over time are one of the main culprits of mini-split malfunction. By regularly changing out their filters, homeowners can reduce dust accumulation that negatively impacts system performance and can eventually lead to serious mechanical failures over time.

Homeowners should refer to their owner’s manual for specific instructions regarding when and how often to clean their filters. Some filters require regular maintenance, while others might only require inspection once or twice annually. It’s essential for homeowners to remember that a dirty filter forces their system to work harder to cool or heat the space, leading to increased energy bills in the long run.

Maintaining your mini-split will help your system live up to its promise of energy efficiency. Dirty coils and condensers attract debris that compromises how the unit functions; cleaning isn’t hard either – just switch off power before taking steps such as taking out components to be cleaned with disinfectant cleaner and wiping down both interior and exterior components using disinfectant wipes.

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