At Advantage Home Performance we have had great success in both existing homes and custom homes with mini split air conditioners and heat pumps. These units are small and do not require any ductwork, making them a versatile option for many different applications. We have used them extensively in new construction projects where the architecture does not always permit the installation of a larger conventional forced air system. Our customers have been delighted by these mini-split systems because they are so quiet and energy efficient.
Mini-splits work especially well for zones (groups of rooms with similar characteristics) or for heating and cooling individual rooms. One outdoor unit may be connected to as many as four indoor units, for four zones or rooms. Mini splits can be wall mounted, floor mounted, compact cassettes or slim duct systems that are enclosed in a wall or ceiling.
Each zone or room would have its own thermostat, allowing you to condition that space only when it is occupied, saving both energy and money while providing more comfort. The number of units that make up a home or building’s mini-split system will depend on heating and cooling needs and on how well insulated the space is. At Advantage Home Performance we properly size equipment using Manual J to make sure the equipment can meet both the heating and cooling load of the room or zone.
Inverter technology is used in state-of-the-art air conditioning systems. It is like cruise control in a car. The compressor only runs as fast as it it needs to handle the heating and cooling demand. Most heating and air conditioning systems have a single stage (or speed), which is not nearly as energy efficient or as quiet as a mini split system that ramps up and down as needed to maintain even temperatures and comfort.
Because mini-splits do not require a duct system, they avoid the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork or heat gain or heat loss through the actual ductwork. Duct losses can account for over 30% of energy consumption in central forced air systems, especially if those ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic. Not only will you be saving energy with mini-splits, but you’ll also be avoiding the potential for poor indoor air quality due to duct leakage.
There are ducted mini-split systems, which work very well when air distribution is desired and space is limited. These are not as efficient as single head mini-split systems, but we have had great success with them. We have measured static pressures and airflow and know they deliver the performance that the manufacturer promises. They are remarkably quiet, and the feedback we have received from our customers on these systems has been outstanding.