Do Mini Splits Heat and Cool a House? How Do They Work?

Do Mini Splits Heat and Cool a House? How Do They Work?

Today’s ductless mini splits can heat and cool an entire house for year-round comfort. They’re also incredibly energy-efficient, costing less than other common HVAC solutions.
These systems are more popular than ever here in Florida. Starting this year, more local rebates and federal incentives are available for homeowners who install heat pumps, mini splits, and other high-efficiency heating or cooling systems in their homes.

In this article, we’ll explain a mini-split, how it operates, and how it compares to the heating and cooling systems we typically see in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Manatee Counties.

What Is a Mini Split?

A mini split, also known as a ductless HVAC system, works by moving heat from one place to another. Transporting only that thermal energy, not air, provides heating and cooling throughout the house without ductwork. Indoor air handling units heat and cool the air in the area where they’re located, and the outdoor unit handles the heat transfer process.

Single Zone and Multi-Zone Systems

Single-zone mini-split systems heat or cool an individual room or area of a home. This setup has one indoor unit connected to the heat pump outside. These are great for additions, third-floor rooms, or any space that needs extra treatment.

Alternatively, add up to eight air handlers to a heat pump for a multi-zone system. It’s an excellent option for heating and cooling every room in a house that doesn’t have ductwork.

How a Mini Split Works

A mini split is a heat pump system that moves heat energy to different parts of your house using two main components and the laws of physics.

Heat Transfer

The heat transfer process relies on heat, or thermal energy, naturally moving toward cold spaces. A mini split moves that heat using a very cold refrigerant liquid that absorbs heat in the air around it. The refrigerant travels through the system via narrow piping to transport the heat from one place to another.

Mini Split Heat Pumps

The heat pump, or outdoor unit, regulates how much refrigerant moves to the indoor units, thereby controlling how much heating or cooling your home gets. It either moves heat into the house or removes it, depending on the season.

Air Handlers

The indoor unit is called an air handler. It includes a blower fan, evaporator coil, and air filter. It draws in the air from the room, heats or cools it, and then recirculates it. You can set the temperature on each one separately using a remote control. The air handlers are connected to the outdoor unit by a conduit that houses the power and refrigerant lines as well as the condensation drain.

How a Mini Split Heats a House

Mini splits heat a house by having the heat pump extract heat from outside air and transfer it indoors via the refrigerant line. The indoor unit then distributes the warm air through the room.

How a Mini Split Cools a House

In the summer, mini splits work in reverse by removing heat from indoor air and transferring it outside. The indoor unit absorbs warmth from the air and sends it to the outdoor unit through the refrigerant line. It also removes humidity from the air. The outdoor unit then releases the heat into the outside air. The air handler redistributes the now-cool air in the room.

 

Ductless Heating and Cooling Vs. Other HVAC Systems

Ductless mini split systems offer several advantages over traditional HVAC systems:

Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps Vs. Forced-Air Furnaces

Forced-air heating systems lose pressure through the ductwork, which means that rooms further away from the system often don’t get enough heating. It’s also a centralized system: Only one thermostat for the whole house. Since mini splits don’t move air, and every air handler has a thermostat, each room gets the exact treatment it needs.

These systems are also:

  • More energy-efficient, which means lower utility bills
  • Quieter, with less noise pollution
  • More versatile, able to both heat and cool a home
  • More affordable to install

 

Mini Split Systems Vs. Central Air Systems

Central air conditioning systems use the same ductwork as your furnace — and suffer from the same limitations. Without the linking of ductwork to a central forced air system, mini splits offer more customization and better performance. Virtually all mini split systems are Energy Star-certified, which means they meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Ductless Mini Split System Vs. Baseboard Heating

While baseboard heating or space heaters let you set the temperature in each room, they use a lot of electricity to heat the coils that produce warmth. And they don’t provide cooling. Mini split systems only need a little power to run the heat transfer. Plus, they double as air conditioners.

Mini Splits Vs. Window ACs

Window air conditioning units are expensive to operate, tend to be noisy, and are not aesthetically pleasing. A mini split is permanently installed, doesn’t take up window space, operates quietly, and costs less.

FAQs

Here are the answers to a few more frequently asked questions about mini splits:

What is the advantage of a mini-split system?

Mini split systems offer several advantages, including energy efficiency, quiet operation, and zoning capabilities that allow temperature control in specific areas of the home. They are also easy to install and do not require ductwork, making them an ideal option for retrofitting or new construction.

Do mini-splits use a lot of electricity?

Mini-splits use much less electricity than electric furnaces and less energy than gas, oil, or propane heat. With their variable speed compressors that run in low-power mode, and zoning for precise temperature control, mini splits help homeowners save money on their energy bills.

How long do mini-splits last?

On average, mini splits last between 15 to 20 years. The lifespan depends on several factors, including the quality of the unit, maintenance, and usage. With proper care and regular servicing, homeowners can ensure their mini-split system operates efficiently and lasts for many years.

Contact Pronto Service Pros today to learn more about installing a mini split in your home or to schedule a free consultation!

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