Mini-Splits & Ductless Cooling
Cool Your Home Without Ductwork Using Energy-Efficient Mini Splits
Mini splits (also called “ductless air conditioners”) are an increasingly popular option for cooling the home without relying on an inefficient window-mounted air conditioner unit or expensive central air. Cooling costs account for a major portion of energy bills in the spring and summer. Professional installation of mini splits is an investment in your home that can save you money on electricity long-term.
REenergizeCO is proud to help homeowners throughout the Colorado Front Range enjoy ductless air conditioning. To learn more about mini splits, call one of our local offices today:
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What Is a Mini Split?
Mini-split AC systems consist of two components:
- A compressor/condenser unit installed outside the house
- One or more evaporator units installed inside the home that distribute cool air
It is called a mini split because the air conditioning system is “split” between the inside and outside units. “Mini” refers to the fact that the units are connected by a bundle of lines and tubes. (Compared to central air conditioning, which requires an extensive ductwork system.)
You have the option of installing one mini-split unit in a single room or multiple units in multiple areas of your home. Choosing the latter option gives you the ability to set each mini-split air conditioner to a different temperature, resulting in efficient zone-based cooling.
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How Do Mini Splits Work?
A mini-split system uses the following process to cool your home:
- Warm air inside the home is drawn through a vent into the interior unit (the evaporator).
- The warm air travels across refrigerated coils which cool the air.
- A fan blows the cool air into your home.
- Refrigerant from the evaporator is converted into a gas that travels to the compressor outside.
- Heat carried by the refrigerant is absorbed by outside air while the compressor converts the gaseous refrigerant back into a liquid. The liquid travels back to the evaporator, and the process repeats.
Window-mounted AC units and central air conditioning both operate in a similar fashion. The principal difference is in the equipment. Window units are large and bulky, while central air requires ductwork (either existing or newly installed). Mini splits can provide climate control with much smaller, more efficient components.
What Are the Benefits of a Ductless Mini-Split System?
Upgrading HVAC is an expensive and time-consuming process. Window AC units may be easier and less expensive to install, but they are noisy, inefficient, and unsightly.
Mini splits don’t have these problems. Ductless air conditioning also offers a number of unique benefits:
- Maximum efficiency compared to other AC systems
- Affordability—a mini-split system will pay for itself in just a few years!
- Installation is simple and fast (especially when done by professionals)
- Compact and aesthetically pleasing design
- Flexibility—interior units can be installed on walls, ceilings, or floors
- Zone cooling gives you control over the comfort of your home & your energy usage
How Do I Install a Mini Split?
You can find any number of resources online that walk you through the steps of installing ductless air conditioning. However, we find that professional installation of mini splits gives homeowners the best results.
If you are interested in installing mini splits, the Energy Efficiency Experts at REenergizeCO can provide you with comprehensive assistance:
1. Performing an Energy Audit
We always recommend getting a home energy audit before investing in any kind of energy efficiency upgrade. Our certified energy auditors will fully assess your home’s efficiency and identify any issues that may prevent you from obtaining the maximum savings on your monthly electric bills.
Research shows that leaky air ducts lose 25–40% of energy used for cooling or heating a home. This can add up to hundreds of dollars in extra energy costs every year. If your ductwork is inefficient or your home doesn’t have the necessary air ducts, mini splits may be an ideal alternative to HVAC upgrades.
2. Designing the System
The next step consists of planning out where the exterior and interior unit(s) will be installed. A qualified contractor will work with you closely to understand your cooling needs, including what rooms in your house you use the most and want to make more comfortable.
3. Installing the Mini Splits
Mini split installation doesn’t require an overhaul or installation of new ductwork or resizing windows to fit an AC unit. All it takes is drilling a few holes in an interior wall, feeding lines and cables outside to the compressor, and installing and securing the interior and exterior units.
This might sound easy. However, installing mini splits requires working with electrical. Many homeowners find this intimidating. Fortunately, REenergizeCO can help.
Are Ductless Air Conditioners Worth It?
Ductless air conditioning with mini splits are a way to “future-proof” your house. Utility bills have risen sharply in the last year, and costs are expected to continue climbing. Given that air conditioning can account for more than 40% of your monthly electric bill, it is in your best interest to find an efficient option for cooling your home.
With mini splits, you can reduce your electric bill by up to 30% per year. Although a ductless AC system is more expensive to install than a window unit, the long-term savings vastly outweigh the initial cost.
If you get a mini split to heat or cool your house, you should think about bundling it with rooftop solar to negate any increase in electric bills from the utility.
Get Professional Ductless Cooling with Mini Splits
REenergizeCO specializes in making improvements to Colorado’s existing housing stock for maximum energy efficiency and savings. Mini splits represent an innovative way for homeowners to cool their homes without breaking the bank or increasing emissions.
Every member of our team is courteous, professional, and committed to helping you reach your goals. Our in-depth understanding of building science principles enables us to identify inefficiencies and recommend solutions specific to your needs.
Call REenergizeCO in Denver at (303) 227-1000 or in Fort Collins at (970) 323-3191 today to schedule your home energy audit and find out if ductless cooling is right for you. We are proud to provide professional mini split installation to homeowners throughout the Front Range of Colorado.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mini Splits
How Much Do Mini Splits Cost?
The answer to this question depends on several different factors. Some of the most important considerations when determining the cost of a mini-split system include:
- The size of the system (i.e., its BTU capacity)
- Where the interior units will be installed (wall-mounted units are less expensive than those installed on floors and ceilings)
- SEER rating (short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio; AC units with higher SEER ratings tend to be more expensive upfront but cheaper to run in the long term)
- The number of zones
- Parts and labor
A professional mini split contractor can provide an estimate for what a ductless air conditioning system will cost. Contractors can also identify any manufacturer rebates that may be available.
How Many Mini-Split Zones Will I Need?
Most homes will only need one compressor (outside unit) to power the system. How many interior units (evaporators) you need to keep the house cool depends on your needs.
When calculating how many mini-split zones you might need, consider the following:
- What rooms of the house do you spend the most time in?
- What room or rooms tend to be the hottest?
Generally, one mini split will provide air conditioning to one room of the house. HVAC professionals will evaluate the square footage of any and all rooms to determine how much power is required and how many air conditioner units need to be installed for the cooling you want.
Can You Use Mini-Split AC for the Entire House?
Yes, mini splits can be used to cool your entire home. Each room needs to be considered its own zone, but cool air can travel to hallways and other areas of the house to keep the entire structure cool.
If you plan to have AC in multiple rooms (zones), it is important to consult an expert HVAC installer. A knowledgeable professional can design a ductless air conditioning system that provinces you with whole house coverage.
Do Mini Splits Cool as Well as Central Air?
Large homes will likely need central air to regulate temperature effectively. However, smaller homes can be effectively air conditioned with a mini-split system.
With central air conditioning, you are cooling all areas of the house to the same temperature—even rooms that are not in use. Mini-split ductless AC is more efficient because you can cool individual spaces as needed. You can also set different units to different temperatures in accordance with each occupant’s preference.