What Is a Mini-Split?

Air Conditioner mini split system

A mini-split (also called ductless) air conditioner allow you to control the temperature in different spaces. Learn more about the technology in this guide.

It’s July. And if it hasn’t gotten hot where you are, the heat is coming. 

If the mercury is climbing higher each day where you are, you need to make sure that you’re home’s HVAC can keep up. And if your central air conditioning unit is older than your grade-school children (or if you don’t know how old it is at all), then it’s likely that it’s on its last leg. 

And while traditional central air conditioning gets the job done there are a number of problems that it causes, not the least of which is a great deal of handled air lost in the duct system. 

Enter the mini-split, a  system that combines heating and cooling into one unit. 

But what is a mini-split?

Well then, let us tell you!

Define Mini-Split

The name mini-split describes what it looks like and what it does. 

It’s a relatively small unit that splits the air treatment with a compressor and condenser placed outside of the home and air-handling unit, or evaporator, placed in the room to be heated or cooled. 

A quick A/C lesson: The compressor and condenser push cooled refrigerant, a chemical that transfers heat, into the evaporator. In the evaporator, fans blow warm air over the refrigerant. The air is cooled and blown into the room. The heat from the air is carried away by the refrigerant and expelled outdoors by the compressor and condenser. 

In central A/C systems, this is done in one unit that pushes the cooled air through a series of ducts in the home. 

This is where the difference between the mini-split and the traditional A/C becomes obvious. 

Mini-splits are much smaller, are ducted into a specific part of the house, maybe just one room. Since mini-splits treat just a specific space instead of the whole house, they only need a very small amount of ductwork, perhaps a 3 to 5 in. hole for the connection between the indoor and outdoor units. 

Why Does This Matter?

Mini-splits operate modularly and without ducting, meaning they work on controlling the temperature in a specific space. The “without ducting” part should be obvious; you don’t need to install bulky and labor-intensive (and therefore expensive) ducts for these units. 

Both of these factors mean savings. Controlling temp room by room means you pay for energy to treat rooms you’re enjoying only. The lack of ductwork saves on install costs in a big way. 

Ducting has a dirty habit of… well… getting dirty. You don’t need to clean ducts if you don’t have them. 

Where Is This Relevant? 

Mini-splits are a great option whenever throwing in ductwork isn’t feasible. 

These could include home additions, restoration projects with limited attic or crawlspace, retrofits of existing homes with some air treatment options, chimeric heating systems for older adults who only use a few rooms in their homes and so on. 

They also act as a great modern amenity for those wishing to make socially and environmentally responsible home decisions. Mini-splits use, on average, about 30 less energy than traditional A/C units. 

We Got This

Mini-splits offer all the pluses of central air with many of the minuses removed. We know how to assess your HVAC need to make sure you can get the most out of your home. Contact us today to help you stay comfortable where you live.