If you are contemplating your heating and cooling needs, you may be asking, “What is a ductless mini-split system?”
This new cost-efficient technology is proving to be a popular option for year-round comfort in homes, businesses and commercial buildings.
The most common uses are in multi-family housing and as an add-on to an existing system, where there is not ductwork in place.
Here’s what you need to know.
Heating and Cooling
Ductless mini-split systems provide heating and cooling so in one system, you’re getting two great services from one device. In the colder months, the mini-split system warms in lieu of a furnace and in the warmer months, the mini-split system cools in lieu of an air conditioner.
The ductless mini system requires little to no ductwork, making it a good option for a home add on, garage, shop or other space where current ductwork does not exist. The cost of a mini-split system is pricier to purchase but alleviating the expense of adding on ductwork may sway you toward this option.
Even if you have existing ductwork, a ductless mini-split system could still make sense when it’s time to replace your current system. It has been found that up to 30% of heat escapes through the ductwork so switching to a ductless mini-split system still has its benefits.
Temperature controlled zones
One of the biggest benefits of mini-split systems is the way it allows you to control the temperature in different zones. If you tend to gather in the living room every evening, the temperature can be kept comfortable in this room while other rooms are left off or turned down. This allows you to save money by not heating rooms not being used. To reverse this for bedtime, bedrooms can be kept warm while you are sleeping and the other areas of the home can be turned down, allowing you to minimize your energy usage while staying warm through the night.
Pricing and cost recovery
One of the common themes with heating and cooling is the upfront expense of replacing a system. Ductless mini-split systems are no different. They do cost an average of $5,600 and range from $1,200 to $8,000 installed. For larger, multi-zone units, this can increase to as much as $20,000. Fortunately, with the energy efficiency of a mini-split system, the cost can usually be recovered in five to ten years of installation through the reduction on your electric bill. These systems last longer than traditional furnace or air conditioning units. In some cases, ductless mini-split systems last more than twenty years with proper service and maintenance.
It is important to select the correct size for a mini-split system. Much like a furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, a mini-split system has to have enough BTUs (British Thermal Units) for the square footage of your home. Selecting an oversized unit is not going to be the most efficient and selecting an undersized unit won’t keep your space warm enough or cool enough and requires the unit to run longer, reducing the efficiency of the system.
In general, here is a reference for sizing.
- 100 to 200 sq ft (approximate size of a bedroom) – 9000 BTU
- 200 to 400 sq ft (approximate size of a master bedroom) – 12000 BTU
- 400 to 700 sq ft (approximate size of a kitchen and living room) 18000 BTU
- 700 to 1000 sq ft (approximate size of a large living room) – 24000 BTU
For more information on ductless mini-split systems or for assistance determining the size you need, contact us at Three Rivers Heating.
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