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Mini Split Buying Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Mini Split

Product Expert

Installing a mini split in your home is one of the best decisions you'll ever make.

They are quiet, discrete, and the arguably the most efficient way to control the climate in any home.

Named for their split design (outdoor/indoor unit), a mini split is a ductless heating and cooling solution for countless applications.

Why Mini Splits?
Living Room UnitMini Splits offer flexible and compact installation options that make them ideal for almost any application.

Consisting of an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units, these ductless HVAC solutions can be utilized as a:

  • Standalone System
  • Supplemental System
  • Dedicated Room

Some common applications include providing heating and cooling to previously unconditioned spaces such as garages or additions.

They can also be used to supplement an existing system in areas that are under-served, or to serve as a whole house cooling and heating solution for homes without duct work.

Efficiency of a Mini Split System
By combining a number of energy saving technologies, mini split systems are among the most efficient options for conditioning your home. Nearly all systems on the market today include inverter-driven condensers.

This means your mini split will deliver only as much heating or cooling as needed to keep your space comfortable while minimizing your energy costs in the process.

Mini Split Efficiency

Efficient Comfort
With inverter technology present in nearly all mini splits on the market today, these units are the new standard for efficiency in the cooling technology.

Unlike traditional systems which are either off or on, inverter-driven units can vary the amount of cooling or heating they deliver.

This means that instead of swinging from too hot to too cold as your system turns on and off, the mini split air conditioner will deliver continuous cooling to minimize temperature variation and maximize your comfort.

As an added benefit, they even remove moisture the entire time they're running, making your home even more comfortable

Efficient Savings
In addition to the comfort benefits they provide, inverter-driven units are also more efficient than traditional systems. All air conditioners and heat pumps experience a 5-10 minute start-up period when they begin operating. During this period, the system will operate at a reduced efficiency.

With traditional on/off air conditioners, it is not uncommon for a system to enter a cycle in which it only operates for 10 minutes at time before the cooling or heating requirement is satisfied. This means traditional systems are often operating at reduced efficiency and costing you money.

An inverter-driven mini split will reduce its output to match the requirements of the space being heated. This will increase the runtime of the inverter-driven system, allowing it to operate at peak efficiency and save you money.

Using advanced control algorithms, intelligently designed heat exchangers, and inverter-driven compressors, mini-splits are able to achieve efficiencies in excess of 28 SEER. Compared to conventional forced-air, high-efficiency systems rated at 18 SEER, a mini-split can offer savings of over 30%.

quiet comfortQuiet Comfort
With sound ratings as low as 19 dB, mini split units can operate at sound levels quieter than a whisper.

This means your mini split will not only be unobtrusive, but you may even forget it's running at all.

Zone Your Home
Mini Split Unit in Laundry RoomAnother key benefit of mini split systems is the ability to zone your home into multiple areas.

Each indoor unit operates independently of the others in the system, providing you with individual temperature control in each space. The ability to zone your home will improve efficiency and comfort.

You can turn off your laundry room unit until laundry day, or you can adjust the unit in your kitchen when you're cooking a meal.

Zoning Mini Split

Zone Comfort
Mini splits are available in single-zone and multi-zone configurations. Single-zone systems consist of a single outdoor unit and a single, matching indoor unit. These types of systems are ideal for adding cooling and heating to previously unconditioned spaces such as garages or additions.

They are also often used to supplement under-served spaces in an existing system. These are often bedrooms residing over unconditioned garages or rooms with large windows and significant sun exposure. For any application including a single area that needs conditioning, a single-zone system is likely the best solution.

Multi-zone systems consist of a single outdoor unit and two or more indoor units. Multi-zone outdoor units are typically available in dual-zone, tri-zone, and quad-zone models, with some manufacturers offering outdoor units that will support up to 8 indoor units.

Systems using a two- to four-zone outdoor unit are all installed in a similar fashion and have a set of connections, refrigerant lines, and connecting wire running between each indoor unit and the outdoor unit. At least two units must be connected, but additional units don't (e.g. a dual-zone unit will support only systems containing two indoor units, but a quad-zone unit will support systems containing two, three, or four indoor units).

The indoor units do not have to be of the same output type, meaning you can select the perfect indoor unit for each area in your home. Although each unit has an independent temperature control, they must operate in the same mode. This means you can't heat your bedroom while another unit on the same system simultaneously cools your kitchen.

Systems using eight-zone capable outdoor units are more complex and require additional materials not needed with single-zone or smaller multi-zone systems. These materials include branch boxes, which direct refrigerant and communication signals to where they are needed, and tube separation assemblies, to supply multiple branch boxes in a system. Because of the complexity of these systems, we suggest contacting one of our product advisers to review your system before ordering.

Zone Control
The ability to zone your home with a mini split system gives you tremendous flexibility and control over your homes environment. You are able to condition only the spaces you need, when you need them. For example, you can condition your bedrooms during the night and your living room during the day.

You are also able to control each space independently, so people in separate rooms never need to fight over who gets to set the temperature. In all, zoned mini splits offer a combination of control, comfort, and efficiency that no other system on the market is able to match.

NEXT: How to Pick the Perfect Indoor Mini Split Unit(s)

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