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About the Ductless Mini Split
If you have been putting off getting air conditioning for your home or office owing to the costs and effort involved in installing a central system or a window system, then it is time to think again. This time, think about putting in ductless air conditioners, also known as mini splits. These make for a good alternative to central air conditioning and window air conditioners for a variety of reasons.
Ductless mini split air conditioners are suitable for commercial, institutional, and residential buildings. These are also ideal for small apartments, residential extensions, and other such spaces where putting in distribution ductwork might not be an option. It is also suitable for a place which has had no prior duct work done.
What is Ductless Mini Split?
Similar to a central system, a ductless mini split air conditioner comprises some primary elements–an indoor unit, an outdoor unit, and a conduit linking the two units to the refrigerant tubing, power cable, and a condensate drain. While the indoor unit, which releases cool air, can be mounted on the wall or ceiling, the outdoor unit is a condenser that provides the cool air indoors. The major difference between this and a central system is that here there is no need to put in ducts for the purpose.
Why Buy a Ductless Mini Split
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While the initial costs of a mini split air conditioner might be higher than of others, the long-term benefits justify this expense. Besides avoiding the hassle of installing ducts for your air conditioning, other advantages are:
Convenient Size and Temperature Control
Their small size makes them suitable for cooling all kinds of spaces including small ones. They also afford flexibility when it comes to zoning with the option for up to four indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit in certain models. Each zone comes with its own thermostat enabling you to control the amount and time of cooling as required.
This system consumes lesser energy than the other types. Buying an energy-star certified unit can cut down your energy bills by nearly 30 percent. In duct air conditioners, the energy consumption is higher owing to the need for space conditioning, particularly when the ducts are situated in unconditioned areas like the attic.
Unlike window air conditioners which can be noisy, these perform silently and ensure just as much cooling.
The process of installing a ductless mini split air conditioner is simple and can be easily completed. People who are adept at home improvement or electrical projects might get this done with no professional help. However, it is advisable to get an HVAC technician to do the installation to ensure everything is done the right way.
Ducts are a magnet for all kinds of debris, moisture, and dirt. Over time, this build-up can lead to health issues such as allergies and rashes. Thus, the ducts have to be cleaned on a regular basis and this can be an expensive proposition not to mention the complicated process it entails.
Since these air conditioners are not affixed to the window and do not have to be placed through the wall, they do not in any way compromise the security of your home or office. Just a small hole in the wall will be enough to place the system.
How to Choose a Ductless Mini Split
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Once you have weighed the pros and cons of different air conditioning systems available to you and go with the ductless mini split, you might be wondering about the right unit for your individual requirements. There are some factors to consider while making this decision.
The initial cost of buying a mini split air conditioner is what gives many people pause. It can range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on whether you are looking for a basic model or a premium one. The price will also vary depending upon whether you are looking for a ductless air conditioner to cool just a single large room or one that can cool multiple rooms. The models with a heat pump to be used in winter are also likely to be on the expensive side.
Installation and Energy Costs
Apart from the money it will cost you to purchase a ductless air conditioner, you will also have to factor in the related installation charges as well as the energy bills you are likely to incur every month. If you are capable of undertaking such installations on your own or with some help from a friend, then you might be spared the installation expenses. As for energy bills, it is likely that you will witness an increase in the expenditure here if you had not been using any kind of cooling prior to this. But, if you have switched from other types of air conditioning to a mini-split system, then it is possible that you will see a significant decline in the costs from what you are used to.
Buying an air conditioner is a long-term investment and hence, the one you should buy must last you for quite a few years. Frequent repairs or even the need for replacement is not a pleasant thought. A lot of models are accompanied by warranties and opting for one of these might give you some peace of mind. Checking reviews online and seeking the opinion of friends and family can help you make a good decision.
Mini split air conditioners can be broadly divided into two categories – single zone and multi-zone. As the term indicates, the former can cool one room, while the latter can be used to cool more than one room. The cost will increase with the number of zones that have to be cooled. However, each zone can be controlled individually and you can set different temperatures for each of the rooms.
Power or BTU Specifications
The BTU is a measurement that indicates the power of the air conditioning system. A system with a higher BTU will be able to cool a larger space more effectively. In some systems, the recommended room size will be provided but if not, you can calculate the requirement on an approximate basis.
Look at the energy rating associated with the model you like. The SEER rating can offer you some guidance if you are confused about which one to go with. This will be specified on the unit and the greater the number, the better the energy efficiency is likely to be overall.
While most mini split air conditioners are in the 110-220 volt segment, it is likely that more powerful systems will have a higher requirement. If this is the case with the model, you have shortlisted; it is a good idea to check with an electrician to see if it is possible to get an upgraded plug in the place where the system is to be installed. Otherwise, it can lead to a blown fuse or a fire.
Type of Installation
It is essential to know some air conditioner manufacturers make it mandatory for their products to be installed by professional technicians for the warranty terms to be applicable. Thus, in such cases, you may have to rethink your options if you were planning on DIY installation. Also, some models might involve a complicated installation process which can cost extra. Doing some research by speaking to contractors who specialize in air conditioning systems will give you an idea of the charges.
Check for Bonus Features
Some multi-split air conditioning systems come with a heating function while others might feature the dehumidifier option. Your need for these or the lack of need will depend on the weather at your location.
The presence or absence of a remote control is something else to consider. You might also want to look at a multi-split air conditioning system with a programmable timer to help with keeping the temperature at different settings during different times of the day. Find out about the frequency with which the filters need to be replaced. There are models with reusable filters and these can prove cost-effective in the long run.
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The benefits of ductless mini split air conditioners are many placing it firmly in the contention when looking for a new cooling system for your home or office. Being informed about the various aspects of such a system as well as things to look out for based on your specific requirements will help you arrive at the right decision when the time approaches. Reviews and brand reputations are definitely of value when looking to make such a substantial investment and it is always advisable to be thorough with your research well in advance of the purchase process. This will make it easier to make an informed choice.