Pro #: Good For Additions And Renovations
Since mini-split systems cool single areas, they’re great for supporting forced air HVAC systems with cooling and heating
- New additions. Garages, sunrooms, and other new additions that might not have ductwork are great candidates for ductless HVAC systems.
- Areas that have heating/cooling problems. Mini-split systems are an efficient way to make rooms that struggle to stay cool or warm more comfortable, without having to freeze or roast the rest of the house.
- Spaces with unconventional layouts. The indoor air handlers of mini-split ACs can be mounted just about anywhere, as long as it’s flush into a drop ceiling or hung on a wall. As opposed to forced air systems, which need to connect the ductwork to the existing HVAC system.
Now, we’ll get into some ductless AC cons.
Mini Split Vs Central Air Which To Choose
Is a ductless mini-split or central air conditioner the best cooling system for you?
The mini-split system is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional central air conditioning.
The choice between purchasing a mini-split or central air system can be a difficult one to make, but this guide will help you make the right choice. You can also jump to the section you need most using this table of contents.
Ive installed hundreds of air conditioning systems in over a decade, working as a qualified Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning specialist. Ive compared split system vs central air conditioning extensively to help you find the best type of air conditioner for your home, lifestyle, and budget.
Before deciding which is best for you, its important to understand the key differences, pros, and cons of a mini-split vs central AC. Keep reading for all the information you need to make the right choice.
Mini Split Vs Central Air/heat: A Guide
Mini split systems and central HVAC systems often get mixed up, but there are a few big differences between the two. Understanding these differences will give you a better idea of which type of system to add to your home. And should you choose to go with a mini split system, youll want to study up on our free Multi Zone Mini Splits Buying Guide to find the perfect system for your needs.
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Ductless Vs Ducted Systems
Split-system HVAC can be ducted or ductless. Ducted split systems use ductwork to circulate the warm air generated from your furnace, fan coil, or heat pump, and the cool air generated by your air conditioner, heat pump, or fan coil. Ductless split systems use small air handlers located in specific areas in your home to heat or cool that individual space.
What Is The Best Temperature For Sleeping
For nighttime, you want the temperature to be lower. The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting your AC between 60 and 67 degrees to get the best sleep. Your body cools down as you fall asleep, so sleeping in a cool room helps you get to sleep better. Since the temperature cools down at night, you can lower your AC without increasing your energy bill too much the system won’t have to use as much energy to achieve the cooler temperature, and you’ll sleep better when you aren’t hot.
If you can sleep with the AC set higher at night, leave the temperature above 70. Use fans, open windows, thin pajamas and light sheets to help you stay cool while you’re sleeping. Summer nights are much cooler than days, so take advantage and let night air flow through your house with open windows for a natural alternative to using the AC.
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What Is The Best Temperature For Pets And Plants
We aren’t the only living things in our homes our pets and plants need to stay happy and healthy, too. Whether you have animals or greenery inside, set your house climate to something that suits them.
For dogs and cats, temperatures from 68 to 75 degrees during the day work well. Animals with longer hair might not handle heat as well as short-haired pets, so lower the AC if you have especially furry friends. If you have spiders, snakes, lizards, birds, rodents or some other kind of pet, they might have more specific climate needs. Do some research and talk to pet store employees to find out the best temperature for your pet.
If you have houseplants, you’ll need to keep them in the best growing conditions. Many houseplants, while highly adaptable, are tropical. Many plants can tolerate 58- to 86-degree environments, but keeping them in rooms 70 to 80 degrees is best for their health. At night, you can lower the temperature to 65-70 degrees. Use pebble trays with water for a cost-effective humidity-producer for your plants.
Pro #: Easy Installation
If your home doesn’t have ductwork, a mini-split HVAC system will be easier to install than installing ductwork for a forced air HVAC system.Installing ductwork is an invasive, not to mention expensive, process for your home.
With ductless systems, the outdoor unit only requires a small hole to connect to the indoor wall units. This makes them much easier to install than going through the expensive process of installing ductwork.
Plus, the small area of outdoor access mini-split ACs require offer better security than window AC units. While window units are also easy to install, they require an open window, which grants intruders easier access.
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Whats The Difference Between Mini
Mini-splits and central air conditioners operate using an outdoor compressor unit, which connects to an indoor unit that acts as an air handler. Beyond that, they use different methods of providing cool air throughout your home.
Mini-splits and central air conditioners are both effective at their job, but one or the other may not be the best option for your needs. Understanding the pros and cons of each system is key to making the right decision.
Lets take a closer look at the differencesbetween HVAC vs ductless systems and how theyll impact your choice.
Prepare The Refrigerant Piping
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What Is A Ductless Mini Split System
A ductless mini split system consists of an outdoor compressor or condenser unit that connects to an indoor unit to distribute heat or AC throughout a home. Mini split systems can include up to 8 indoor units to heat and cool individual rooms with or without the use of ducts. Each rooms temperature has the ability to be controlled individually, which makes mini splits an attractive option for those who want flexible control and all-around comfort.
To help you decide between a mini split system or central air/heat system, we go into detail about what these are and the pros and cons of each.
Different Types Of Split Units
When it comes to split units, there are different types out there. There is a split unit ac unit, a split unit heat pump, a split unit ac unit with a furnace and so on. There are also ductless mini-split systems as well, but we arent covering those in this post. Ill be sharing another post for that topic.
A split unit air conditioner is fairly simple. It will consist of the compressor and condenser coil located outside and the rest of the components, such as the evaporator coil, located inside. If there is not a furnace included inside, then an air handler will likely be included. There are ways to provide a heat source with an ac unit alone, but its not recommended for climates that get below freezing. A split unit ac unit with a furnace would be identical to a split unit air conditioner, but would include a furnace indoors as well for heating purposes. The furnace also acts as an air handler in that it disperses both the cool air and warm air throughout the home or business.
Lastly, a split unit heat pump system would be very similar to the split ac unit system. The compressor and condenser coil would be located outside with the rest of the components located inside. An air handler will typically be used inside in conjunction with a heat pump. The heat pump will provide a more effective source of heat in comparison to the split ac unit setup without a furnace.
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What Do You Have To Consider Before Shopping For The Air Split Conditioner
Do you wish to buy a Air split conditioner but have little experience with this type of product? Don’t be alarmed! We’ve put up a buying guide to help you pick the best solution for your requirements.
We investigated and tested hundreds of the Air split conditioner currently on the market to come up with the ideal advice for you to examine before purchasing .
However, some queries you may have regarding a product include:
What To Know About Ductless Ac
- Cost: A single-zone system with one indoor unit starts around $3,000, including installation. A four-zone system costs about $12,000, installed.
- Installation: You’ll need a pro to mount the indoor and outdoor units and connect the 2½-inch-wide bundle of refrigerant lines and electric cables.
- Maintenance: The filter on each indoor unit should be removed and cleaned every month. Once a year, have a technician check refrigerant pressure and flush condensate lines.
- Noise: Indoor units have whisper-quiet squirrel-cage fans driven by long-life DC motors. Decibel ratings run at about 25, roughly the same as rustling leaves.
- Warranties: Coverage ranges from 5 to 12 years, but you can expect this sort of mechanical equipment to last 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced.
- Rebates: A few utilities offer rebates for installing ductless AC systems. Many more incentives are available for heat-pump systems. To see whether you might be eligible, go to energystar.gov/rebate-finder.
Beware of installers who size a split AC unit using a rule-of-thumb estimate. More often than not, the result is oversize equipment that’s costly to operate and can’t effectively reduce humidity levels. Instead, insist on a Manual J heat-load calculation. It figures system size based on math and factors such as climate, insulation levels, and sun exposure.
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How Wed Pick A Brand
We found four leading brands in our research: Mitsubishi Electric, Fujitsu, LG, Daikin, and Panasonic . You probably dont have a ton of choice on which exact pieces of equipment you needthats determined mostly by your homes size, climate, and the heating and cooling needs youre addressing. But you do have a choice to make on what brand you go with, and in a big market, you can take your pick among qualified installers recommended by each of those four manufacturers. We evaluated the options by looking broadly at the characteristics common to the brands as a wholecomparing things like warranty, aesthetic options, smart features, and other factors that would make a meaningful impact if we were shopping for ourselves. Heres an overview by brand, in the order in which we would begin our search locally.
Daikin is another worldwide company that offers a large selection of units. They have a wide ranging network of installers and, like Mitsubishi and LG, a 12-year warranty for many of their products. The company offers many rebates as well as multiple control options.
There are other manufacturers out there, but we cant really imagine bypassing these four options for a niche brand with weaker availability, selection, and customer support.
Install The Drain Joint
You will need to attach the drain joint to the bottom of the unit. If it comes with a rubber seal, follow these steps:
If the drain joint does not have a rubber seal, insert it into the hold of the units base pan. Then, connect a drain hose extension to the drain joint.
Please check the installation kits for special tools.
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Why Not Just Get A Window Unit Or Portable Ac
All these advantages of a mini-split add up to increased comfort, especially when compared to the options for treating single rooms: window air conditioners and portable ACs. For one, mini-splits are much quieter. With the system split between an indoor and outdoor unit, the only noise in the room is the fan needed to move air. There is none of the loud compressor hum that is typical of a window unit. In addition, most quality mini-split systems, much like the best whole-house systems, use variable-speed motors in their compressors. De Stasio explained, On a mild day, a mini-split will actually run on a slower speed than on a hot day and save you energy, where a window unit will just come on and off on and off. He added that this constant cycling of the window unit consume a massive amount of energy. He explained: Think of it like trying to push a car from a dead stop to 5 mph versus pushing it as it’s already rolling forward. Which one requires more energy? The variable speed motors in a mini-split are never at a dead stop.
Another downside to window units, De Stasio said, is that every time that air conditioner shuts off and stays off for 20 minutes, youre not doing any kind of dehumidification. Since the mini-splits variable speed can dial down to near zero once the target temperature is reached, its actually at its most efficient when you leave it at the setting you find comfortablewin-win.
Anchor The Outdoor Unit
You could fix the outdoor system to the ground or wall with M-10 bolts. Follow the dimensions specified in the manual. Then, follow these steps to ensure the unit attaches to the ground:
If you want to attach the MRCOOL unit to a wall, youll be following similar steps.
Firstly, confirm that the wall is strong enough to support four times the units weight before you proceed with EASY DIY installation.
You may install electrical wiring after these steps.
Please follow proper safety protocols while setting up the wires. Ask assistance from a professional if you have no experience with the special tools and systems.
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Remote Control And Timer
Many mini split air conditioners come with a remote control that allows you to adjust the temperature or turn the unit on and off from across the room. This is a particularly helpful feature if you plan to install the interior air handling unit in the ceiling or high up on the wall.
You may also want to consider a model that features a programmable timer. That allows you to choose specific temperatures for your room based on the time of day to help you save money.
How To Install The Outdoor Unit
You can now proceed with the easy installation of the MRCOOL DIY outdoor system. Check the following criteria to find a suitable location for it:
- The location should meet the spatial requirements noted in the installation kit.
- Also, the area must allow good air ventilation and circulation.
- You need firm, solid ground that will not cause the MRCOOL outdoor and indoor units to vibrate.
- Moreover, keep the two units away from direct sunlight and rain.
If you have snow in your area, take the necessary steps to prevent coil damage and ice buildup. Otherwise, your new unit may struggle to efficiently heat your home.
Keep the outdoor unit away from places that meet the following criteria:
- Spots with plenty of nearby plants and animals
- Obstacles that may obstruct airflow
- Dusty locations
- Somewhere with salty air and forced water
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Efficiency Vs System Cost
All cooling systems carry a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating, which compares cooling capacity with the amount of electricity used over the course of a typical cooling season. Ratings on today’s systems range from 13 to 33 SEER. As the graph below shows, the higher the rating, the more you’ll pay for your system, and the lower your electricity bills will be come summer. To see what effect SEER ratings have on estimated operating costs in your area, go to the central AC life-cycle cost calculator at energystar.gov. System prices come from acwholesalers.com.
* Based on a 1-ton system in St. Louis at 12 cents per kWh
** Calculated from 1-ton pricing
What’s a Ton?
In the parlance of air-conditioning, a ton is not a measure of weight it’s a measure of cooling capacity. One ton of cooling extracts 12,000 Btus per hour from a space. That’s enough heat to melt 1 ton of ice within 24 hours, hence the connection between weight and comfort. The capacity of ductless systems ranges from 34 to 4 tons.