9 Key Features of Mini-Split Heating and Cooling Systems

If you are considering a new heating and cooling system for your home, one of the best options with the best key features is a mini-split system. Also known as a ductless HVAC system, the mini-split offers a unique system that helps provide more control for each individual room. This is because instead of running ducts throughout the home, the system uses a single outdoor unit called a compressor/condenser and individual indoor units called air handlers in each room or “zone”. 

The air within each room is heated or cooled within the indoor unit and then delivered directly back into the space. As a result, no heat or cooling is lost while being transported via the ducts. Because you don’t need ducts, you can use the system in any room in the house, whether it is a basement with low ceilings, a heated garage, an addition to your home, or even as a whole-home solution. Here we explain the 9 key features of mini-split heating and cooling systems to help you understand why this could be the ideal system for your home.

1. Improved Temperature Control

This is really one of the most impressive features of the mini-split heating and cooling system. As briefly mentioned above, your mini-split uses individual indoor units to heat and cool each space. 

As a result, you have specific controls for each room in the house. You can control the heating and cooling level based on personal preferences. This allows you to adjust the unit based on if the room is in use, or on specific heating/cooling needs. 

For example, in the summer, a south-facing room that tends to heat up more than the rest of the house can be cooled, while the rest of the units are kept on a lower setting, or even turned off.

These improved temperature controls not only provide more comfort but also reduce energy use. Better yet, you can operate each room via remote control. That way, you don’t even have to get up to adjust the temperature. Other control features include:

  • Programmable timers to schedule heating and cooling based on when you are in the home, sleeping, or away
  • Airflow adjustment for ideal room temperature
  • Automatic switch over to the heat pump in the winter months
  • Ability to dehumidify specific rooms
  • Fan-only option

All of these control features make it easy to maintain ideal temperatures throughout the year.

2. Multiple Cooling Zones

One of the key features of a mini-split is that you can install the multiple cooling zones where you’d like them, using the individual indoor units called air handlers. The installers can place the handlers in the zones of your choice, providing complete comfort in each room or area. Instead of trying to constantly adjust the overall temperature of a traditional system, you adjust the ideal temperature for the rooms in use. As a result, you are always enjoying the ideal temperature instead of having rooms that are too hot or too cold. If you have certain family members always complaining that their rooms are uncomfortable due to the single setting of your traditional HVAC system, you can keep peace in your home because everyone has their own zone and personalized temperatures.

3. Increased Energy Efficiency

This feature is worth repeating. Because of the individual cooling zones, you have complete control over the heating and cooling of your home. This unique approach to home comfort provides you with complete control over how much energy your mini-split heating and cooling system uses. Many larger homes benefit from the mini-split because it allows you to focus energy use based on occupied rooms. 

Whether you are an empty nester with bedrooms no longer in use or have a very large home with many room options such as a living room, family, room, game room and home theater, you either turn off the handlers in unoccupied rooms or greatly reduce the heating or cooling levels for exceptional energy efficiency. Everyone in the home is comfortable because you aren’t adjusting temperatures for the entire home up or down to save energy. Instead, you are only heating and cooling rooms in use.

4. Impressive Indoor Air Quality

Because the mini-split heating and cooling system is ductless, you also enjoy improved indoor air quality. There aren’t any ducts to collect debris such as dust, allergens, dust mites, etc. Instead, the air is circulated and treated directly within each room, so your air is much purer. Most homeowners are unaware that condensation in ducts can make the debris buildup toxic. This is why your family might experience symptoms such as dry, burning eyes, scratchy throat irritation and an ongoing cough. Poor air quality can also affect your skin.  You also don’t have to invest in annual duct cleanings to help reduce the allergens, germs and bacteria in your home.

5. The Design and Lack of Ductwork

The beauty and one of the key features of a mini-split ductless system is that you don’t have to worry about the design of the ductwork and how they are installed. If the ducts aren’t properly balanced in a traditional system, you can’t keep your home comfortable. The longer the “run” of ductwork, the less efficient they become at delivering conditioned air. 

So often, a home with a second or third floor will find the upper levels tend to be less comfortable because, by the time the air reaches these areas, the air has cooled down or heated up. Ductless mini-splits, however, are a great option for new-build homes because they can be built without ducts. Additions are also excellent areas of the home for ductless systems as you don’t face the cost of running new ductwork from the old system to the new rooms.

6. Location of the Indoor Unit

The installation process for your mini-split heating and cooling system ensures your indoor units are installed to your specifications. You have a choice of wall or ceiling-mounted options to suit the configuration of your room. Units can be installed to make sure the room remains comfortable, but that the air blowing into the room isn’t directly above or beside the main area occupied by family members such as your couch, desk or bed. If you aren’t sure which type of unit is best, your certified ductless installer can offer advice to make the most of your system’s efficiency and placement.

7. Location of the Outdoor Unit

You can choose your outdoor unit’s location to suit your home’s needs. Your installer will make sure the unit has the minimum clearance to allow for proper airflow. One of they key features of mini-split heating and cooling systems is that the outdoor unit can be up to 50 feet away from an indoor air handler. This makes it suitable for the average medium to larger home. This also means you can keep the outdoor unit tucked away at the side or back of the home.

8. The Condenser and Refrigerant

The condenser for a mini-split heating and cooling system is made up of aluminum “fins” that cycle hot refrigerant and convert it from gas to liquid. With a ductless system, the handlers and outdoor compressor are connected via a conduit (or cable). The cable transfers electricity, signals, and refrigerant. 

The indoor unit’s evaporator coils, in hand with the refrigerant, produce cold or warm air. The refrigerant heats or cools the evaporator coils depending on whether you want to produce warm or cold air. So, if it is warm outside, warm air from the room blows over the indoor unit. It’s there that the evaporator coils absorb it. The refrigerant then transfers all of the heat from that air to the outdoor unit. Once the heat is gone, the cool air in your indoor unit gets sent back into your room by the handler. In the case where the weather is cold, the reverse happens. Cold air circulates into your ductless unit. The evaporator coil’s refrigerant warms it and then circulates it back into your room.  

9. Air-Filter Location

We’ve explained the benefits of ductless mini-split heating and cooling systems when it comes to air quality. However, another feature that helps contribute to improved air quality is the air-filter location for your mini-split. Each indoor unit has its own high-quality air filters in place. These filter out dust, pollen, and other particulates that can make you sick. You can clean the filters easily to keep these irritants to a minimum in each room.

Are these key features of mini-split heating and cooling systems something you’d like to experience in your home? Contact us here or call us at (360) 615-2803 to see if a Ductless Heating system is right for you!

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