Mini Splits: A growing option to efficiently heat and cool your home
People updating their homes and replacing outdated HVAC systems are starting to more frequently consider mini split heat pumps. This newer technology provides more flexibility and energy efficiency compared to many other options available out on the market. At Power Moves, we have received four times as many mini and multi split system rebates compared to this time in 2019.
Meet mini and multi split systems
Mini and multi split systems have an incredibly efficient outdoor compressor with the ability to ramp up and down to meet the heating or cooling needs of the space. Mini and multi split systems also have access to a wide range of ways to get the conditioned air throughout your home. The most common method is with a single indoor “head” without any ductwork. But you can also have multiple “heads” connected to the same outdoor compressor, turning your mini-split into a multi split system. The indoor heads can be mounted on the wall, ceiling, along the floor, similar to a baseboard radiator, or can be installed in ductwork to condition several rooms, similar to a traditional ducted heat pump.
These mini split systems are more flexible than most conventional cooling and heating solutions, and they can be installed in almost any room due to the lack of ductwork required. Each indoor unit is independently controlled, making them ideal for apartments and offices.
Considerations for mini and multi splits
They are a great solution to heat and cool challenging spaces. Yet, as they are a newer technology, there may be some factors for homeowners to consider about these new options:
- Consider a heating and cooling contractor to install the new equipment. While some homeowners may want to install these as a DIY project, it is not without its risks. The system needs to be properly sized, for example, which requires calculations that a contractor can help you with (more on that below). It can be easy to miscalculate if it is the first time you are doing these calculations yourself. Many contractors also provide additional warranties for their work, which you would not necessarily get if you were to install the equipment yourself.
- A heat loss/heat gain calculation will help determine home and system needs. Because mini and multi split systems can be called on to heat and cool specific rooms, it is really important to know just how much heating and cooling is needed for that specific space. The Manual J heat loss/heat gain calculation does just that! Your heating and cooling contractor should be able to provide the calculations, which will help determine proper system sizing for your home.
- Your local electric co-op’s energy advisor can help! If you are having trouble finding a contractor in your area that is able to install mini splits, you can contact your local electric cooperative. Co-op energy advisors frequently know local contractors, including those who install different types of equipment. They also work closely with the Power Moves team so they can provide greater insights on mini split systems to be sure they meet our rebate standards. They also can provide support with any calculations and additional questions about your home’s energy use.
- Extra bonus tip: Ask your contractor if the mini or multi split is a “cold climate” heat pump. Those models are often a little more expensive, but will be much more energy efficient at heating the rooms when the outside temperature drops down to 5 degrees and below.
By and large, mini and multi split systems are an incredibly efficient, flexible way to heat and cool your home. They are worth considering the next time you look to install a new or replace an existing heating and cooling system. By following this advice, you’re more likely to have a properly sized, efficient means of keeping your home comfortable on the hottest and coldest days of the year.