News

Ductless Split-System Heat Pumps (Mini-Splits)

 This article is reproduced from the U.S. Department of Energy Website.??Ductless split-system heat pumps (mini splits) make good retrofit add-ons to houses with “non-ducted” heating systems, such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters (wood, kerosene, propane). They can also be a good choice for room additions, where extending or installing distribution ductwork is not feasible.

 

Like standard air-source heat pumps, mini splits have two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser, and an indoor air-handling unit. A conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, links the outdoor and indoor units. The indoor unit, however, is the only point of airflow. There is no ductwork which carries the air to other rooms.

 

Advantages

The main advantages of mini splits are their small size and flexibility for zoning or heating and cooling individual rooms. Many models can have as many as four indoor air handling units (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit. The number depends on how much heating or cooling is required for the building or each zone (which in turn is affected by how well the building is insulated). Since each of the zones will have its own thermostat, you only need to condition that place when someone is there. This will save energy and money.

Ductless mini-split systems are also often easier to install than other types of space conditioning systems. For example, the hook-up between the outdoor and indoor units generally requires only a three-inch hole through a wall for the conduit. Also, most manufacturers of this type of system can provide a variety of lengths of connecting conduits. If necessary, you can locate the outdoor unit as far away as 50 feet from the indoor evaporator. This makes it possible to cool rooms on the front side of a building house with the compressor in a more advantageous or inconspicuous place on the outside of the building.

Since mini splits have no ducts, they avoid the energy losses associated with ductwork of central forced air systems. Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic.

In comparison to other add-on systems, mini splits offer more flexibility in interior design options. The indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall. Floor-standing models are also available. Most indoor units have profiles of about seven inches deep and usually come with sleek, high tech-looking jackets. Many also offer a remote control to make it easier to turn the system on and off when it’s positioned high on a wall or suspended from a ceiling.

Split-systems can also help to keep your home safer since there is only a small hole in the wall. Through-the-wall and window mounted room air-conditioners can provide an easy entrance for intruders.

 

Disadvantages

The primary disadvantage of mini splits is their cost. Such systems cost about $1,500–$2,000 per ton (12,000 Btu per hour) of cooling capacity. This is about 30% more per ton than central systems (not including duct work) and may cost twice as much as window units of similar capacity.

The installer must also correctly size each indoor unit and judge the best location for its installation. Oversized or incorrectly located air-handlers often result in short-cycling, which wastes energy and does not provide proper temperature or humidity control. Too large a system is also more expensive to buy and operate.

Some people may not like the appearance of the indoor part of the system. While less obtrusive than a window room air conditioner, they seldom have the built-in look of a central system. There must also be a place to drain condensate water near the outdoor unit.

Qualified installers and service people for mini splits may not be easy to find. In addition, most conventional heating and cooling contractors have large investments in tools and training for sheet metal duct systems. They need to use (and charge for) these to earn a return on their investment, so they may not recommend ductless systems except where a ducted system would be difficult for them to install. Here at AAC Services, we service and install Mini Split systems on a regular basis.

 

Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy. 2008. Energy Savers: Ductless, Mini-Split Heat Pumps. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12630. (Accessed July 23,2009)

 

Thermostats

Home Furnace Thermostat
Adam’s video pick to help with your project-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cXvcs9VXXI&feature=related

The furnace thermostat is the nerve center of your home heating system. It’s the main control point that determines when and how much heat will be produced by the...

Air Duct Cleaning: Scam or Not?

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?
Adams video picks-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omygm7z9fZU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu6u8KiA-o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLV6tdjXzUs&feature=related

First and for most I want to suggest that if or when you hire a...

Furnace Air Filters

Understanding Your Furnace Air Filter
Adams video pick-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5bII3ZW3Jk&feature=related

When you have a central furnace and air conditioning system, air quality often becomes an issue. These types of systems use duct work to transport air throughout your home. As one vent...

Heating with Gas

A guide to choosing furnace size, efficiency, and features
Replacing or improving a furnace may not pay off as handsomely as it did during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. But it may deliver steady, modest savings. And efficient heating isn’t only...

Get Your Furnace Tax Credit Now

Consumer Tax Incentives
Home Heating & Cooling Equipment
What are the incentives for home heating & cooling equipment?
Purchasers of highly efficient heating, cooling, and water heating equipment can take tax credits of 30% of installed cost for purchasing qualifying equipment,...

Invisible killer

Carbon Monoxide in Your Home
Adams video pick-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lchtRTDsHSM

Carbon monoxide could be leaking in your home right now, and unless you have a detector installed, you wouldn’t even know that it was happening until you were poisoned. Yet, every day you...

Money Lost in the Attic

Attic Insulation
Adams video pick-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK4Z8Tf-y3Y&feature=related

If you look at a weather map you will notice it’s not just Detroit, but the entire Northeast portion of the country that is being hit by harsh winter weather so far this year. Many homeowners...

High Efficiency Furnace, will save you Money….

High Efficiency is all the talk
Efficiency is in demand today. Whatever you do, you are expected to be highly efficient in it. Well, this is true with our home appliances as well. With the bills reaching the sky, the environmental issues and...

Know who to call

The Right Repairman for the job
It’s cold outside and your heat cuts off! It’s a problem most of us will probably encounter at some point in time. Don’t get burned when it comes to having a furnace doctor make a house call to...

How to choose Central air conditioning

From Consumers reports 2006:

What’s the best way to ensure that the central air-conditioning system you choose is
installed properly, and will provide the most efficient and reliable cooling for your home?
The pointers below can help you to...

Get your Home in the Zone and Save $$$

What is Zoning and Zone Control?
Zoning and Zone Control of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems are two ways of saying individual temperature control from one central HVAC System. Typically with almost all forced air systems there is only one thermostat...