What is a Mini Split AC?

Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning

Gaithersburg HVAC Contractors


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Air conditioning uses up more energy than almost anything else in a building, especially in warmer climates. Homeowners and landlords are always on the lookout for ways to keep their buildings cool while also reducing costs, and that often means considering replacing the air conditioner. During your research, you might have wondered, what is a mini split AC?

In buildings that do not currently have an air conditioner, shopping for one can be tricky. You do not want to end up with an energy-hogging air conditioner that drives your power bill up too much, but you also do not want to buy an energy-efficient unit if it will not adequately cool the building.

One of the most popular types of air conditioners is the mini split AC. It is not always clear, though, if this type of air conditioner is right for you, and many people do not even know what it is. This guide will explain what a mini split AC is and why it might be the right choice for you.

Defining a mini split

Mini split ac on the side of houseMini split units are, in many ways, an evolution of window units. In fact, they combine some basic design principles from central air units and shrink them down to a much smaller size. Like larger, central units, a mini split consists of an indoor evaporator and an outdoor condenser.

The indoor unit and outdoor unit both have fans for creating airflow. A refrigerant line, electric line and an air hose connect the two units through a three-inch hole drilled through the wall. One condenser unit can be connected to several evaporator units, although this can make it tricky to adjust the temperature in any one room. The evaporator is usually mounted in a window since that requires the least amount of work.

How mini splits can save you money

The exact way in which a mini split unit can save you money will depend to some degree on whether you are installing an AC in a building that does not have one or replacing an existing air conditioner. If you are installing an AC system in a building that does not have one, a mini split is far more affordable.
Even if you have to install several mini splits to make sure that every room has climate control, it is still cheaper than a central air conditioning system. That is because the installation is far simpler. There is no ductwork to install and no heavy equipment to haul up to the roof or attic. The installation is not much more difficult than installing an old-fashioned window unit.

If you are replacing existing units, you will save on energy costs. Mini splits are very efficient. In fact, they are more efficient than a typical window unit, and so they will save you money on your energy bills even if the initial installation cost is higher than it would be for a window unit.

Advantages of getting rid of ductwork

Man saving money in jarIf you are installing a system into a building with no climate control, the ductwork for a central air unit can be the most expensive part of the process. It also can quite easily ruin the visual appeal of the building, as many older buildings were never designed with ductwork in mind.

From an energy efficiency standpoint, ductwork is a huge liability. Ducts develop leaks easily, and air leaks in your ductwork force your air conditioning system to work much harder. Ductwork losses can easily account for up to 30% of your monthly energy bill.

Getting rid of the ductwork is enough on its own to lower your energy bill. For installation and building costs, it can also save you a bundle. Central air conditioning does have many advantages, but ductwork definitely is not one of them. In fact, the inevitable leaks that develop in the ductwork are a pretty strong argument against traditional central air conditioning units.

Contemporary changes for your modern home

Mini splits can offer a lot more than energy efficiency. They often look nicer than central units because of the lack of ductwork, and they look better than a typical window unit. Window units are rarely made with aesthetics in mind, and having one jutting out of your windows, surrounded by wiring and insulation foam, is not going to add to your home’s visual appeal.

Because one condenser can connect to multiple evaporators, mini splits still make an excellent cooling solution for the whole home. They are able to easily cool or heat the rooms (if you buy a model with a heat pump) at a much lower cost with less energy expenditure than traditional heating and cooling.

As energy becomes more and more expensive and concerns over energy use grow, modern homes are shifting towards ever more efficient appliances. Mini split air conditioners offer exactly what the modern world needs: energy-efficient climate control that is actually effective. You will save money without having to sacrifice comfort.

Professional installation

technician installing acIf there is one downside to mini splits, it is that they still require professional installation. Anyone can install a traditional window unit, but a mini split is beyond the abilities of non-professionals. The outdoor condenser unit needs to be placed on a concrete slab or other solid, stable surface. Holes have to be cut and drilled through the wall for the refrigerant, power and air lines.

If you are mounting the evaporator somewhere other than the window a hole will have to be cut for that, too. The entire installation process is more involved than a window unit, even though it is much more straightforward than installing a central air system.

If you are going to be installing a mini split unit or would like to purchase one, contact Presidential Heating and Air. Our professional staff can help you with every step of the process, from selecting a model that will be sufficient for your building’s needs to the installation itself. Call now and learn just how much you can save in energy costs.

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