Guide to Mini-Split Air Conditioners: What They Are and How They Operate

August 18, 2017

Many homeowners are most familiar with central air conditioners.

Mini-split systems are a type of ductless heating and cooling. In place of delivering conditioned air to the complete house through a network of air ducts, they heat and cool a lone room at a time. This provides more advanced temperature control, improving comfort and energy efficiency.

How Do Mini-Split Air Conditioners Work?

Mini-splits are most similar to heat pumps in the way they cool. Both styles of equipment provide electric cooling, the same as an air conditioner. This involves using refrigerant to extract heat from inside a building and discharging that heat outside. Then, a reversing valve permits the system to work backward, warming your home in the winter by removing heat from outdoor air and bringing it inside.

The main contrast between mini-splits and heat pumps is that mini-split systems don’t need ductwork. As an alternative, the indoor unit has a built-in air handler, which mounts directly to the wall or ceiling in the space you wish to heat and cool. Copper tubes, wiring and a condensate drain line connect to an outdoor condensing unit through a small conduit in the wall. This exterior component looks similar to an air conditioner or heat pump condenser.

More than one indoor unit can work off of an individual outdoor condenser, permitting you to heat and cool your complete residence with this system if desired. This arrangement also makes zoning practical, a highly coveted feature that allows you to customize when, where and how much you heat and cool specific spaces.

Mini-split basics infographic the Wasatch Front region 

Is a Ductless Mini-Split the Best Choice for My Home?

Mini-splits are an excellent solution for the majority of households. Think about these reasons why installing a ductless mini-split could be a wise choise for your needs:

  • You can heat and cool an entire home that has no existing ductwork.
  • It’s possible to turn off the heat and air conditioning in empty spaces to save on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Mini-splits give additional heating and cooling for rooms that are tricky to keep comfy.
  • Use a ductless system to heat and cool a house addition or enclosed patio without the expense of installing ductwork or the annoyance of relying on window AC units.
  • Mini-splits are the natural choice for spaces where overhead ductwork is impractical. A few examples might be period homes, tiny homes, temperature controlled sheds or workshops, or garage conversions.
  • What are the Pluses of a Mini-Split System?

    Ductless mini-splits are very capable systems, but you could still be considering why you would want to select it over a common furnace and air conditioner. Here’s why a growing number of the Wasatch Front region homeowners are getting ductless mini-splits:

    • Avoid the drawbacks of ductwork: By giving heated and cooled air directly, air doesn’t move through leaky air ducts on its way to all rooms. This can save you as much as 30 percent on your heating and cooling expenses. Plus, if your residence doesn’t already use ducts, you avoid the inconvenience and cost associated with installing them.
    • Select the ideal setting for all rooms: With zoned heating and cooling from a ductless mini-split, you can keep an office refreshing while maintaining a comfortable nursery—all while making the most of energy efficiency.
    • Save money and energy by not heating and cooling empty areas: Shutting supply registers in a central HVAC system can disturb it, straining the equipment and negating any potential savings. But with detached air handlers in each room, you can heat and cool certain rooms only when you need them.

    Trust Barlow Service Experts to Install Your Mini-Split Air Conditioner

    As with regular HVAC systems, ductless mini-splits need careful sizing and Expert installation to provide the greatest performance. Our knowledgeable mini split installers in the Wasatch Front region can help you figure out if a mini-split system will meet your needs. We can then assist with figuring out the exact equipment size and model to make your home as comfortable and energy-efficient as possible.

    For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Barlow Service Experts at 801-436-8985. You can also schedule an appointment online.

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