Rules of Thumb for Ductless Mini Splits
You're soon going to get a ductless mini split system installed in your home. You’re very excited, as you’ve heard countless good things about how mini splits can make your home more energy-efficient and save on your energy bills.
However, mini splits are such a big switch from traditional HVAC like furnaces or central air conditioners that you can use a bit of guidance.
Here are some handy rules of thumb for ductless mini splits.
Select a Location for the Compressor Wisely
The condenser or compressor is the outdoor component of your ductless mini split system.
The compressor collects air, cools or warms it, and–through a series of wires–sends it to your indoor air-handling units, where the air comes out into your home comfortable and pleasant..
A compressor can only work as well as where you place it.
You must have a slab of concrete poured for the compressor if your yard is mostly lawn or lawn and deck. The concrete slab gives the compressor a place to sit that won’t experience thawing throughout the seasons or get saturated with water as rain falls or snow melts.
The compressor should not be placed in the path of direct sunlight, as that can limit its efficiency. It’s best if you have an awning or similar overhead protection that keeps the compressor dry when it storms and shady in the summer.
Other than that, the compressor can go in your yard wherever you have the most space.
If your backyard is already kind of cramped and narrow, the mini split technicians might be able to install the compressor in your side yard, but the same considerations as above would still have to apply.
A Zone Is Not a Room
The indoor component of a ductless mini split system is the air-handling unit. Some people think you need one of these units in every room of your house. This is tremendously wasteful, not to mention it’s expensive too!
Instead, ductless mini split systems provide heating and cooling according to what are known as zones.
A zone does not have to be a room. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.
Rather, the rule of thumb is this. A zone is a part of the home that needs more heating or cooling than most rooms in the home.
For example, an uninsulated basement that you’ve converted into a recreational area or home office is going to be a lot colder than the rest of the house. The basement might be one or two zones depending on its size.
A drafty corner of your home that’s always warmer or cooler depending on the season can be a zone, as can your upstairs hallway that doesn’t have any return vents.
You will only need as many air-handling units as you have zones. If that means your home has two zones, then so be it. Some homes will have up to five zones.