What is a Ductless Mini-Split System?
A “split” system separates the compressor from the air handler, making a more efficient and quieter system. Just like a central split, the compressor will sit outside and the air handler will be mounted inside. They will connect together with copper lines and send Freon through those lines to one another. “Mini” means it’s much smaller than a normal central system. For instance, the air handler is a small system that looks very “hi-tech” when mounted to your wall. Ductless mini-splits provide a flexible solution for indoor temperature management and are a good alternative to central, forced air systems when installing ductwork is either not feasible or not cost-effective.
How does it work?
Ductless Mini-Splits consist of three primary components:
1. An outdoor condensing unit.
2. An indoor air handler/evaporator
3. A 3”-4” diameter conduit housing a power cable, refrigerant tubing, and a condensate drain.
The condenser is installed outside the home or structure and the conduit is run from the outdoor unit to the individual rooms where a controlled temperature is desired. Wall-mounted interior units are then placed in the desired spaces to cool or warm air as needed by means of refrigerant flowing between the outdoor and indoor units through tubing in the conduit.
How is a Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump different than central air conditioning?
The amount of cold air entering the room can be controlled by a thermostat, or it can be regulated by an infra-red remote control. One room or area of a building can maintain a different temperature from another room or area in the same building. In a central air conditioning system, refrigerant is pumped from the outdoor condenser coil to a single indoor coil from which cooled air is distributed to each room through a system of ducts. In many houses and businesses, the amount of cold air in one room cannot be regulated without changing the temperature of every room in the building.
Why is a Ductless Mini-Split air conditioner system more efficient than a central system?
The easiest answer is the fact that you can lose up to 40% of your energy in your ducts. Estimates for energy loss in ductless systems range from 1% to 5%. If you factor in energy consumption, you can save 50-60% by switching to strictly ductless. Here’s how - in comparing a 2-ton Central System to a 2-Ton (24,000 btu) Ductless Mini-Split:
1. The central system requires 2-220v amp disconnects at 30 amps each.
The Ductless system only needs one 220v 30 amp disconnect.
2. The central system will draw 20 amps inside and 20-30 amps outside while running.
The Ductless system will only use 10-11 total amps while running.
3. Each component of the central system will draw about 2,000 watts (4,000 total).
The Ductless system will only use 2,000-2,500 total watts.
4. A central system generally caps out at SEER-18.
The Ductless system (most are ENERGY STAR® qualified), can achieve up to SEER-26, greatly reducing utility bills.
What are Comfort Zones?
Unlike forced are systems which distribute either warm or cool air throughout an entire house via ductwork, ductless systems manage environments individually with remote, handheld thermostats that control the temperature and air flow for each room or “zone.” In multi-unit ductless systems, which feature a single outdoor condenser connected to multiple indoor units, the heating or cooling is directed precisely where it’s needed, with less energy wasted to heat or cool unoccupied areas. This “zoning” capability also means temperatures can be simultaneously set according to individual preference, with one room warmer or cooler than another, as desired.
What are the advantages of Inverter Technology?
Another key element contributing to the energy efficiency of many ductless mini-splits is the use of Inverter Technology in the outdoor condensing unit. Conventional compressors generally operate at fixed speeds, regulating temperatures by alternately running at maximum capacity and shutting off altogether. These starts and stops are controlled by a thermostat, which measures the temperature of the room. Compressors with Inverter Technology eliminate these harsh start/stop cycles with the use of variable frequency to drive the compressor, causing it to operate at a more steady revolution and increase/decrease power more gradually. The result is that the desires temperature is reached more quickly and maintained more evenly for better comfort, efficiency and energy savings. There is also less wear and tear on the components, adding to the product life overall.
How quiet is the operation of the system?
Because it’s the noisiest component – the compressor – is installed outside and can be placed up to 100 feet away from the indoor unit. Because of this, Ductless Mini-Splits are much quieter than window mounted air conditioners. Additionally, the rumbling noises often associated with typical forced-air systems is missing in ductless systems whose controlled-air distribution is barely audible on the low setting.
What are the added benefits of Ductless Mini-Split systems?
v Unlike bulky window air conditioners which block outside views and can present a security risk, the tiny refrigerant lines and wiring come indoors through a 3” hold in the wall. The indoor units of ductless mini-splits are compact and stylish and can be mounted high on the wall, out of the way. When properly positioned, three ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump indoor units can easily cool an entire house. A typical indoor unit is only 32”x11”x7”.
v Since each indoor unit is only responsible for the comfort of one room, it is typically equipped with convenient features like sleep modes and other customizable options to suit individual preferences.
v 3”-4” conduit is much easier and faster to install than ductwork, reducing overall project costs and allowing more flexibility. A professional HVAC installer can set up a ductless mini-split system in a few hours.
v The concept of Ductless Air Conditioning has been around for over 70 years, and they not only cool the area but they dehumidify also. The temp may be ok, but if the humidity is high, you will still feel hotter than normal. High humidity causes a lot of respiratory problems to older people and young children. In addition to cooling and dehumidifying, these mini-split air conditioner systems act as a filter for the indoor air, they will increase your indoor air quality and create a safe environment for you and your family.
Where can I use a mini-split system?
- Room additions/remodels
- Bonus/rec rooms
- Home offices
- Computer rooms
- Mobile homes
What is ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. In 1992 the EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ENERGY STAR label is now on over 60 product categories and the EPA has extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. With ENERGY STAR labeled products, you can save more than 30% per year on your energy bills, with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions.
What is SEER? EER? HSPF?
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is most commonly used to measure the efficiency of a central air conditioner. SEER measures how efficiently a cooling system will operate over an entire season. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system.
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a measure of how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (95°F). The higher the EER, the more efficient the system.
- Heat Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is the most commonly used measure of a heat pumps heating efficiency. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the heat pump.
Does a ductless system improve indoor air quality?
Studies show that the ductwork in forced-air systems can be a source of indoor pollutant such as allergens, dust, and mold, liberally dispersing these contaminants throughout a house. By contrast, the interior units of a ductless system have advanced filtration capabilities and purify the air being emitted into individual living spaces. On some models, up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses can be eliminated for improved air quality overall. Models with built-in filters are often more effective than a central filter for removing larger allergen particles.
Why is indoor air quality important?
The Environmental Protection Agency lists indoor air quality among the top five risks to human health, probably because indoor air can be 2-3 times more polluted than outdoor air. While homeowners can’t see the majority of indoor air contaminants, every cubic foot of air you breathe carrier missions of microscopic particles such as pollen, mold spores, and dust mite debris. In small concentrations, these particles and gasses may cause discomfort in the home. In significant concentrations, they can cause sickness as these are among the most troublesome triggers of such ailments as asthma and allergies.
Are mini-split systems environmentally friendly?
Because of their operational efficiency and zoning capabilities, ductless mini-splits waste less energy overall and thus have a smaller carbon footprint. Additionally, all of the newer systems use eco-friendly R410-A refrigerant, which does not deplete the ozone layer and is better for the environment than the old standard, R22.
Can I install a mini-split system myself?
Your new cooling and heating system will only perform at optimal efficiency, comfort and safety levels if it is well installed. In fact, an improperly installed system could reduce the system’s efficiency by as much as 50%. In addition, any applicable warranties will only be valid if properly installed by a licensed contractor. For these reasons, we recommend that you have a licensed contractor install your mini-split system.
What is a PTAC?
PTAC stands for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner. They often have heating and cooling components all in one box. You often see this style in hotel rooms, but more recently, quite a few people are adding them in various places in their homes or offices. They’re also great for recreational properties. A through the wall unit like this is different than a window mount product because unlike a window mount product, these machines have an air intake and discharge through the back of the unit. Often, PTAC units have better cooling and heating efficiencies than your traditional window unit, and also generally better fan systems for distributing the conditioned air.
Is a PTAC easy to install and maintain?
Our Gree GA series provides ease of installation, service and maintenance with easy troubleshooting thanks to LED onscreen displays. These units have a nine-point diagnostic system with self-check and self-correct capabilities. There is also easy access to the condenser coil for cleaning, as well as to the cleanable lifetime air filters.
Does a PTAC help indoor air quality?
Many models allow for the introduction of fresh outdoor air with a unique fresh air vent system that provides up to 65CFM of fresh outdoor air into the living space. A simple two-position leveler that is easily accessible to the building owners (but hidden from guests) is available to activate ventilation without removing the unit from the wall sleeve.
How easy is it to control the temperature with a PTAC?
Many models have the capability to connect to a wall thermostat for ultimate comfort control and an upgraded room appearance. The Gree GA series makes it easy to connect to either wired or wireless wall thermostats. Whether your needs require a simple non-programmable or complex 7-day programmable wall thermostat, the Gree GA series can accommodate.
Why use a window air conditioner?
Window AC’s have many benefits such as reduced space requirements, better efficiency, and ease of use. They also work in almost all environments; dry or wet. Most models cool effectively and keep moisture levels down too. Many options offer adjustable thermostats for cooling control, quiet operation for nighttime cooling, and many are available with an ENERGY STAR rating to save you money on your energy bill.
Are window air conditioners energy efficient?
Because they’re installed into the window, these air conditioners vent directly to the outdoors. There is no exhaust tubing to re-release heat into the room. The cool air this AC generates is not mixed with hot outdoor air, thus reducing the ACs run time and maintaining cooler temperature simultaneously.
How hard is it to install a window air conditioner?
All window coolers come with an installation kit and usually install in 15-20 minutes. Simply follow the provided installation instructions and then just plug it in.
How much maintenance will the system require?
Ductless systems are easy to maintain, many of them featuring washable filters and only requiring periodic cleaning. Because of their outdoor location, the condensing units provide easy access for any contractors when scheduled maintenance is indicated.
How do I know how to select the proper equipment?
Information such as the current system location, attic, crawl space, basement and fuel source must be known to select the proper equipment for your application. An analysis of heat loss and gain must be performed on the residence to determine how much heat the home gains or losses during the seasons. Items such as window surface area, window type, shingle colors, siding color, insulation value, and overall cubic feet of the residence affect the heat loss and gain of the residence. We recommend that you have a qualified professional perform a Manual J Calculation to determine exactly what unit is right for you.
If I buy one of these systems online, will I still have a factory warranty?
YES – Provided you have the unit properly installed by a licensed professional. Please see the Warranty Information at the bottom of the Product Detail page for a specific item’s warranty information.
Who takes care of my warranty work if I should need service after my equipment in installed?
Please contact an authorized licensed contractor to perform any necessary warranty service or repairs.