If you’ve never heard of ductless mini-split HVAC systems, don’t be too hard on yourself – they are not too commonly used in the US. On the other hand, they are very popular in Europe as well as in Asia. Due to the compactness of the system compared to the regular system, these systems are much easier to fit into smaller European and Asian homes.
In recent years, these systems became more prevalent in the US as well. However, seeing how they are not exactly standard, their adoption in American homes has been somewhat slow. HVAC professionals from Gustave A. Larson Company give us a simple rundown of why mini-split systems should be considered if you’re planning to change your HVAC system.
What’s the Difference?
The most noticeable difference between the regular HVAC system and the mini-split is the absence of the bulky ducts in a mini-split that a more traditional setup requires. The mini-split system consists of an outdoor unit which is connected to the indoor unit (or multiple indoor units) via refrigerant lines. Essentially, that means that the only installation work that needs to be done on your home is drilling a 3-inch hole in your outdoor wall to connect these units.
Most of the mini-split systems can support multiple indoor units, with top of the line systems having as many as 8. Essentially, that means that you can have 8 separate zones of heating and cooling in your home, completely independent of one another.
Who Uses These Systems?
This setup is ideal for homes that have rooms which aren’t used all the time, so heating and cooling them would be a waste of energy. For instance, if you have a guest room which is only used once a month, having a ducted system wouldn’t allow you to effectively cut off that room from the central system.
Similarly, any new home additions or parts of the house which don’t have ducts running through them can benefit from this system in lieu of installing cumbersome ductwork and connecting to the central HVAC system.
You May Be Entitled to Some Rebates as Well
In some regions, opting for a cost-effective mini-split system can actually grant you a rebate from the local government. This largely depends on the region and the type of HVAC system you are replacing.
You can learn more about possible rebates here, all you need is your zip code and the website will find if you’re entitled to a rebate.
Is the Cost Worth It?
According to the Energy Star, these mini-split systems can save you as much as 50% on your heating bill if you are using a traditional electric furnace. These systems transfer heat instead of generating it, like a reverse AC system. That makes them much more effective than regular electric furnaces and can reduce electricity consumption by as much as 60%.
When it comes to furnaces with different fuel sources like natural gas, the savings depend on the part of the country where you live.
However, when it comes to cooling, the math is fairly uniform and simple – ductless mini-split systems can generate as much as 30% of energy savings thanks to more efficient heat pumps and compressors.
Does It Make Sense for Me to Make a Switch?
It ultimately comes down to simple math – put pen to paper and calculate roughly how much money you’re spending on heating and cooling, as well as potential savings. The answer should be fairly obvious.
Take into account the age of your existing system, as well as the tear-down and installation cost of the new system. However, if you’re just building your home or are in the process of replacing your HVAC system, a ductless mini-split system is certainly worth your consideration at least.