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Posted by Cris Carl | May 09, 2010

Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners

These energy-saving systems are more aesthetic than window units and allow for flexible cooling programs.

Ductless mini split air conditioners are beginning to grow in popularity in the United States. Already popular in Europe and Asia, ductless mini split air conditioners provide excellent energy savings and are more aesthetic than window units.

Learn about this energy saving air conditioning option and how to program it for optimal savings.

Advantages

Ductless mini split air conditioners are whisper quiet and can be programmed to provide optimal climate control in your home. As you can tell by the name, there is no need for the placement of ducts throughout your home. Ductless mini split air conditioners cost a bit more than central air, but the difference is quickly made up in energy savings.

They feature:

  • Easy installation. All that's required is a three-inch hole in a wall to place connecting pipes and wires.
  • No energy loss via ductwork (you can lose up to 30 percent of energy from ductwork, especially if it is located in a hot area such as an attic).
  • Complete flexibility in planning both the cooling and heating of zones/rooms in your home. Cool only the room you want.
  • Also works as an air filter.

How Mini Split Air Conditioners Work

Ductless mini split air conditioners work by drawing large amounts of air through a membrane that is refrigerated by a coolant. Today's reformulated coolants, Freon or hydro fluorocarbon, are eco-friendly and do not deplete the ozone.

Like central air units, they have two primary components: an outdoor unit or compressor and an indoor unit or air handler. Ductless mini split air conditioners also have a wireless remote which can be programmed for a 24-hour cycle. You can also program individual rooms for specific times or turn the system on only when people will be in the room.

Installation

If you have good technical abilities, you should be able to install your system yourself. Most systems come with installation instructions and kits. If you are not technically inclined, it is best to hire a HVAC professional. Installation averages about $200. It is important to note whether the company you purchase your system from will void the warranty if you install the system yourself. Some do, some don't.

Special Features

The indoor air handler can be placed nearly anywhere, including a ceiling. They generally can cool a room to 59 degrees and heat a room to 90 degrees. You do not need to cover outside compressors. You can purchase units that can supply from 9,000 BTUs to 36,000 BTUs.

Cost and Durability

The cost of a mini split air conditioner system will depend on the size of your rooms, insulation, if you have energy-efficient windows and how many BTUs your system needs to be for optimal use. You can purchase systems for roughly $1,500 to $2,000 per 12,000 BTU.

If you perform routine maintenance, such as changing or washing filters, your system should last 12 to 15 years. The systems operate best in temperatures of 14F to 109F. High humidity and salt will reduce the life of the system. A ductless mini split air conditioning system offers the best in flexibility and economy.

Even though split air conditioners are best for energy efficiency, if you're in the market for a new unit, you should still look at all your options, including central air and mini-air conditioners.

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