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Mini Splits – What is Ductless Air Conditioning?

mini split ductless air conditioner
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Several of the more popular questions I get asked are “How can I air condition my garage?” or “We are adding a room to our home and the existing air conditioner will not handle the added load, what should we do?” The answer is very simple. We need to install a ductless or mini split style air conditioning system.

First off, what is a duct less air conditioner? The concept is the same as a typical split system in that you have an indoor unit with a coil and a blower assembly, an outdoor unit with a coil and compressor and of course the same refrigerant lines that connect the two. This is where the similarities end. In a home with a traditional split system the air handler or indoor unit has a duct system that distributes the air throughout the space we want to condition. With a mini split, the indoor unit has osculating fins in front of the blower wheels that throw the air up to thirty feet or so in all directions.

As is usually the case, we in the United States need to be different than everyone else. If you look at many other countries in the world, mini splits are the norm and finding ductwork is very unusual. The mini split system has its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s start with the advantages. First and foremost space saving is one of the nicest features with the mini split system along with the fact they have much higher efficiency ratings than typical air conditioners and duct systems. These styles of systems are extremely quiet and with the right equipment, outdoor units can power more than one indoor unit. For example, if you have a laundry room and a garage that you want to air condition only one outdoor unit would be required. Another advantage is if you have a zoned mini split system the indoor units can be set at different temperatures.

The drawbacks are somewhat limited. The two biggest issues I find when it comes to mini splits are the aesthetics and the fact that the indoor units, due to their compact design, have fungal growth issues. The typical indoor unit is about three feet wide, twelve inches tall, sticks off the wall about ten inches and up until recently, white was your only color choice of color. The mini split industry is evolving with the times and several manufacturers are starting to develop designer lines of indoor equipment. These newer styles now come in different colors and one company is making a unit that becomes a picture frame after it is mounted on the wall.

You also have the option of indoor units that are mounted on the floor and there are also styles that can be flush mounted to the ceiling if you have the space in the attic. The industry has also come up with an ultra violet light that fits some of the indoor units to help combat biological growth on the blower wheel and coils inside. These lights do a fair job however, the mini split system will still require cleaning more often than split systems. The last negative thing is that you can’t really install any high quality air filters with a mini split system.

The final item you will need to consider if you are desiring to install a mini split system is the electrical requirements. Mini splits are available in 110V from some companies, however, primarily you will need a 240V circuit installed with a twenty to thirty-amp circuit breaker being added to your circuit breaker panel. I recommend having a qualified electrician assess your full electrical system before beginning the process of shopping for a mini split system.

Well my friends until our paths cross again does anyone else find it troubling that what doctors do they call practice? House Whisperer out!!


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