How Does a Ductless Mini-Split System Work?

Posted On: April 12, 2016

Did you recently finish building a home add-on, but were unable to extend ductwork to the new space? Perhaps your home is heated with baseboard or radiant heating and lacks the ductwork needed for air conditioning. If you’re hesitant to block your view out the window with a portable or room air conditioner, you fortunately have another option: a ductless mini-split system. Learn more about how this equipment works to keep your home comfortable all year round.

What is a Ductless Mini-Split?

Are you familiar with heat pumps? These devices work exactly like air conditioners in the summer, and when switched to operate in reverse, they can also heat your home in the winter.

Ductless mini-splits are a type of heat pump able to provide both heating and cooling. The first system component is located outside. This unit contains the compressor and condenser.

The second component is a sleek unit located inside. It contains the evaporator coil and air handler to deliver heated or cooled air directly into the room with no need for ductwork. By mounting unobtrusively to the wall or ceiling, the mini-split leaves the window accessible for looking outside or opening on nice days.

The indoor and outdoor components of a ductless mini-split are connected by a conduit running through a small hole in the wall. You can locate the outdoor unit as far as 50 feet from the indoor unit, meaning you can instill a mini-split in any room or on any floor and still enjoy flexible installation options.

You can even pair up to four indoor air handlers with a single outdoor condensing unit to create heating and cooling zones in your home. The ability to independently control the temperature in each room ensures every occupant is comfortable at all times.

How Does a Ductless Mini-Split System Heat and Cool?

If you’ve never felt a mini-split in action, you might be wondering how a single unit can produce both warm and cool air. It comes down to the way air conditioning works. Contrary to popular belief, ACs don’t cool the air in your home; instead, they extract heat and expel it to the outside while sending the resulting cooled air back to the inside.

With the addition of a reversing switch, a mini-split can perform this process in reverse. In the winter, heat is extracted from outdoor air and circulated into your home. The cold waste air is expelled back outside.

It might surprise you to learn that even very cold air still contains some amount of heat for the mini-split to extract. Of course, as the temperature continues to drop, the available heat in the air decreases. This is why, as a resident of Northern Utah where the winters can be quite bitter, you should have another form of heating equipment available when the temperature drops below freezing.

Why is a Ductless Mini-Split a Good Idea?

The ideal option might be to install a central air conditioner or heat pump, but if your home doesn’t have ductwork, a mini-split is the next best thing. Performance is far superior to portable or window air conditioners. A mini-split also operates more quietly and doesn’t occupy the window. Plus, since it’s a permanent fixture on your wall, you don’t need to worry about packing up the unit for half the year. The ability of a mini-split to provide heating makes it useful year-round anyway.

If a ductless mini-split system sounds like the right heating and cooling solution for your home, please contact the experts at Mountain Air Conditioning & Heating today to learn more.