How do I Choose a Ductless Split Air Conditioner?

Like all air conditioners, you need to know how many BTU’s accommodate the area you are trying to cool.  It is important to remember that Ductless Splits cool – heat a larger area for it’s BTU capacity than Portable or Window Air Conditioners.  The Below BTU key is good general guide for gauging zone capacities.

  • 9,000 BTU:   300 – 350 square feet
  • 12,000 BTU:  450 – 500 square feet
  • 18,000 BTU:  700 – 750 square feet
  • 24,000 BTU:  950 – 1000 square feet
  • 30,000 BTU:  1200 – 1250 square feet
  • 36,000 BTU:  1450 – 1500 square feet

How does a ductless Split Air Conditioner work?

Every building and every situation presents it’s own problems with climate control. Architects and engineers have realized this for years, of course, and they have struggled to adapt air-conditioning technology to modern living and working demands. Ductless systems now make the job much easier. Going ductless can mean changing indoor climates from variable and unpredictable to cool and consistent, without expensive renovation work or compromising the structures integrity.  And the work can often be done by a professional in a matter of hours.

With a ductless system, simple copper tubing and electrical wiring to indoor units connects a separately installed outdoor unit. Refrigerant is pumped from the outdoor condenser coil and compressor through the tubing to the indoor unit or units. A fan then quietly distributes cool air drawn across the unit’s evaporator coil.  The amount of cold air entering the room is regulated by a remote controlled thermostat. If multiple zones (air handlers) are being utilized, one room – area of a building can maintain a different temperature from another area in the same building thereby satisfying varying comfort levels.

In a central air-conditioning system, refrigerant is also pumped from the outdoor condenser coil indoors to a single indoor coil from which cooled air is distributed to each room through a system of ducts. In many houses and businesses, the amount of cold air in one room cannot be regulated without changing the temperature of every room in the building.

How do I install a mini split air conditioner, do I need a HVAC Professional?

Installing a mini split air conditioner is more advanced than that of a window or portable unit but far less complicated and far less costly than installing central air conditioning system. It is highly recommended that an HVAC professional performs the installation. If you are not sure what you are doing, you will probably end up installing it incorrectly and thereby loose the manufacturer warranty. An HVAC tech will start by doing the basic steps such running the coolant, electricity, and drainage lines, but the qualifications of a professional are most essential when it comes to setting the gauges to charge the lines. (All of our Ductless Splits come pre-charged with freon for the length of included line set).

What are the pros and cons of a mini split air conditioner?

Pros: Cons:
  • Less Complicated & Less costly to install than central air
  • The noisiest components (compressor fan – condenser motor) are isolated outside freeing indoor space and reducing noise pollution
  • The most effective and efficient “add on system” available
  • Unlike Central Air, gives you the option of specifying which areas to receive the most / least benefit.
  • Matches the effectiveness of central air without the expense of retrofitting ductwork.
  • Instead of large, bulky exhaust hose, only a small 2-3 inch hole is made in the wall to connect indoor and outdoor units.
  • More Advanced installation that Window-Portable Air Conditioners
  • In most cases, requires an HVAC technician to conduct or complete the final steps of the installation.
  • Unit is more expensive than Window or Portable AC’s of similar cooling / heating capabilities.
  • Considered a Permanent Installation relative to Portable units.

How big will the hole in my wall be?

Generally, a hole 3″ or less in diameter is all that is needed to run the refrigerant and connection lines from the outdoor condenser to the air handler mounted inside.

How much do they cost to run?

These energy efficient units provide localized cooling and heating for specified rooms of your home or office, rather than cooling or heating other areas that are not occupied. Since the air is cooled and released directly at the handler and doesn’t travel through a duct system, the air does not loose any of it’s coolness. This along with the localized climate control enables the ductless-split to operate the most energy efficient cooling system on the market. A 13 SEER efficiency rating is the base industry standard for mini splits – some advanced inverter units will feature SEER ratings in the 20-24 range.

What does the single – dual zone terminology mean?

Zone refers to how many air-handlers the unit comes with out of box.  Our Mini Splits come with either a single zone, dual zone, tri-zone or quad-zone setup.  The listed condenser capacity will be divided between the zone outputs in multi-zone systems. For example, a 48000 BTU Dual zone Mini Split will have 2 – 24000 BTU zones.  It is most ideal to get an air handler for each room, however, one air handler will be more than sufficient for multiple rooms as long as the total area you are trying to cool is within the limits of the unit’s BTU capacity.

What is the operating range of the unit?

Standard 13 SEER units can operate in outdoor ambient temperatures from 18° – 109° Fahrenheit. However, it is important to remember that a heat pump may struggle to keep up with demand once outdoor temps drop below freezing.  If you live in extreme cold weather climates, you may want to consider an inverter DC system or electric heat strips to make sure you have adequate heat for those cold winter nights.

Do the systems come pre-charged?

Yes, all of our mini split systems come pre-charged with enough freon (R410A) for the length of the included lineset.  If the distance between the outdoor compressor and indoor air handler is longer than 25 feet, your HVAC installer will need to add additional freon at time of installation.