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Articles
Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps
For houses with non-ducted heating systems such as radiant panels, space heaters, and hydronic heating systems, ductless mini-split heating and cooling systems make a great addition. They can also be a perfect solution for spaces that are added onto a house where ductwork extension is not feasible for one reason or another.

Similar to air-source heat pumps, which are standard, mini-split systems have two major components: an indoor air-handling unit and an outdoor condenser/compressor. The outdoor and indoor components are linked via a conduit, which houses refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, a condensate drain, and a power cable.

Mini-splits are small and therefore have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to zoning for heating and cooling of individual spaces. They are also very flexible within the space. Mini-splits can be mounted flush into a drop ceiling or can be suspended from the ceiling. They also have flexibility with appearance outdoors. Many types of mini-splits can actually have four indoor units hooked up to one outdoor unit, depending on how much heating or cooling is necessary for the indoor space. The outdoor unit can also be as much as fifty feet away from the indoor unit, which makes it possible to heat or cool spaces at the front of a structure while still keeping the outdoor component hidden from view in the back of the house.

As mini-splits are ductless, they do not require air to be forced and therefore do not have the energy loss of other duct systems. In fact, in a common system with ducts, duct losses can account for thirty percent over the overall energy usage of the system. Therefore, mini-splits are energy efficient. Many areas also offer incentives for energy-efficient appliances, so mini-split systems may qualify for additional savings, too.

Installation of a mini-split system can be more expensive than other systems, however, due to a decrease in energy loss, operating costs can help to offset the initial cost. And although the mini-split system does allow for flexibility over some other heating systems by way of appearance, some may still not like the appearance of the system on the interior of the house. The appearance of the indoor part of the unit has a high-tech looking jacket, and it does not always blend in with the existing appearance within a home.

A qualified installer should always install a mini-split system. The installer must properly size each indoor unit and must also determine the best location for installation. Improperly sized units result in poor temperature and humidity control, which leads to a loss of power and other problems. To find a reputable installer in your area, it is a good idea to speak with a local heating and cooling contractor, who will likely know someone that is fit for the job. They should also be able to let you know how common the use of such systems is in your area, which will help inform you as to who will be available for repairs should they be necessary.


 
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