Ductless Mini-split Systems offer an Advantageous Alternative for Home Renovation Projects

With the baby boomer population nearing retirement age, many will consider remodeling their home to allow elderly parents or their children to move back in.  Ductless, mini-split air-conditioning systems are a great alternative to installing a complete separate heating and cooling system for an addition or renovated area. Our HVAC experts at Reliable Heating and Air can offer several options for installation.

Ductless, mini-split air-conditioning systems have many potential applications in residential homes.   The most common application are in multi-family homes where room additions or small apartments are being constructed.  These systems are ideal where extending or installing air distribution ductwork is not feasible, such as basement man caves or mother-in-law suite additions.  Like traditional central systems, mini splits have two main components: an outdoor condenser (containing the compressor) and an indoor air-handling unit.  Power, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain, link the outdoor section and the indoor section of the unit.  Before you think about using a space heater I have written previously about space heater dangers and safety tips.

Advantages of mini split systems:

  • They are small in size and flexibility for heating and cooling individual rooms.
  • Units can be zoned.  Some models can have as many as four indoor air handling units, connected to one outdoor unit.  Each zone has its own thermostat, so you only need to condition that space when it is occupied, saving energy and money.
  • In some applications, mini-split systems are much easier to install than a traditional central HVAC system.  The hook up between the outdoor and indoor units only require about three inch hole through a wall for the conduit.  This makes this an ideal unit for conditioning a basement space.
  • Since mini-split systems have no duct work, they avoid the energy loss associated with forced air systems.
  • Compared with other "add-on" systems, mini splits offer more flexibility in interior design options.  Indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall.
  • Mini-split systems offer higher security.  These systems only require a small hole in the wall, where window mounted room units are an easy entrance for intruders.
  • Trane includes their "Auto Clean" feature on all ductless indoor units.  Providing triple filtration, reduces moisture and keeps the air you breath clean.

Disadvantages of mini split systems:

  • Cost - mini split systems cost approximately 30% more than a traditional forced air equipment.
  • Installation calculations, by a reliable contractor are crucial - installers must correctly size each indoor unit and judge the best location for its installation.  Over-sized or incorrectly located air-handlers often result in short-cycling, which waste energy and does not provide accurate temperature and humidity control.
  • Aesthetics - some do not like the appearance of the indoor components inside the home.

Mini-split systems are a good investment for many commercial structures as well.  They allow spot heating and cooling that operates independently of a central system, allowing efficient, economical control for only those occupied areas.  With a mini-split zone system, each office can have its own temperature control, eliminating employees arguing over thermostat control.

Trane offers mid-efficiency and high-efficiency ductless mini-split system options.  Contact Reliable Heating and Air to discuss if this could be a viable alternative for your application.            

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