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Buyer's Guide: Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Purchasing a ductless mini-split will be a decision that you will not soon regret. In fact, it may be one of the smartest decisions that you make. Not only are they one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool a home or commercial space, but they are also quiet, discrete, quite affordable, and often easier to install than other systems. They are most commonly used in multifamily housing, but can also be a great fit for apartments or older/historic buildings where it can be difficult to add ducting for a central system.

What is a ductless mini-split?

Ductless Mini Split Great for Residential Applications

Named for its split design, a ductless mini-split system is a popular HVAC solution that does not require a ducted system to operate. A reliable and efficient alternative to portable or window air conditioners, they provide whisper-quiet comfort while cooling and/or heating, as well as dehumidifying year-round.

No ductwork? No problem. An outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air handler are connected through refrigerant tubing, condensate drain, and power cables that run between the units, usually through an exterior wall. The final components are the unit's piping connections and drainage connections.

READ OUR SIZING GUIDE FOR MORE INFO


Types of Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Single Zone Ductless Mini-Split System

There are a variety of different ductless mini-split systems you can choose from to fit your needs and requirements for your environment.

  1. There is the ductless mini-split system air conditioner, which only focuses on cooling.
  2. Then there’s the ductless mini-split system heat pump which is designed to deliver complete ductless air conditioning features, including both heating and cooling functionality.
  3. Lastly, there is the ductless hyper heat unit that is specifically for heating a space.

Most of these units require an HVAC technician for installation, but there is one Do-It-Yourself mini-split series that we carry, manufactured by MRCOOL. This DIY ductless split system can be installed on your own because it comes with a pre-charged line set(s). However, we do recommend and encourage you to have an electrician take a look at the installation to ensure everything is set up correctly from an energy perspective.

Browse MRCOOL DIY Ductless Systems

Single Zone and Multi-Zone Options

Ductless Mini Split Multi Zone System Arrangement

One of the advantages of a mini-split is that you can choose between a single-zone system that conditions a single room/area, or a multi-zone unit, that conditions multiple rooms in a home or building. MRCOOL and Pioneer make models that can connect as many as five indoor air handlers to the condenser outside. The number depends on how much cooling is required for the building or each zone. Learn more about sizing by using our Sizing Guide.

Browse Single Zone Systems

Choosing Your Indoor Section (Air Handler)

You can choose between five different types of air handlers. There are wall-mounted, ceiling recessed, ceiling cassette, or floor standing units.

Considerations for choosing condenser and air handler size:

  • Square footage for each zone
  • Insulation and window sealing
  • Window size/number and how much direct sun that zone receives

Read more about this in our sizing guide.

Identify Accessories You May Need

It is important to also include other potentially necessary parts in your order. Some accessories you may need include:

  • Condensate Pump
  • Line Sets
  • Line Set Covers
  • Condenser Brackets: for hanging the outdoor unit on the exterior wall
  • Equipment pads

Browse Mini Split Accessories

Benefits of Ductless Systems

Benefits of a ductless mini-split heat pump system

Inverter and Dehumidification Technology

Ductless mini-splits use an inverter that essentially provides consistent comfort around the clock. No shutting on and off, it consistently regulates the temperature in the room and runs the unit accordingly. Most units even have a dehumidifier built within the system to help keep a space dry.

Energy and Money Savings

Each zone is controlled by its own thermostat, providing zoned climate control, allowing you to heat or cool individual rooms or spaces. The multi-zone models also allow you to achieve even temperature control throughout your environment. In addition, the energy-efficient inverter compressor technology provides supplemental heating and cooling at a fraction of the cost of traditional HVAC units. They only heat (or cool) an area when you need it, saving you money and energy. Ducted systems can lose up to 30% of energy consumption in an unconditioned space like an attic or crawl space, whereas you don’t have that type of energy loss with a ductless mini-split.

Whisper Mode

These units are designed to interfere as little as possible with your space. They are operate on average at 19db, which is quieter than a normal conversation. They are built to blend into the ambient noise in your space. You’ll set it and forget it.

Health and Environmental Impacts

Ductless mini splits also act as a solution for those with allergies and asthma, since they do not push around dust, germs, or pollen. Additionally, ductless systems are more environmentally friendly than window units because they run on electricity and not on ozone-depleting refrigerant.

Energy Rebates

Due to their efficiency, plus many have Energy Star ratings and performance, mini splits can qualify you for equipment-related tax benefits and credits under many circumstances. These rebates will vary by state and Zip Code.

Warranty

In general, a good Ductless Mini-Split will have a warranty covering the components of the system anywhere between 5 and 10 years. Keep in mind that in some cases you must register the warranty to receive proper coverage. But you will have many years of support if you purchase a system with us.

Conclusion

Identifying the right ductless mini-split air conditioning unit for your needs does take a bit of research, and we highly recommend consulting a professional for their educated opinion. However, the tips and ideas we provide above can help a lot. You can use them as a guide as you browse through multiple models. Contact us to for any assistance or questions.

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