Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner

Find out about the really popular air conditioner solution in many homes: the ductless mini split system that services each room in the house that needs it.

What do you want to know about this kind of cool air solution?

For starters, the best thing you can do before going out and buying an AC system like a mini-split for your home is to learn all you can about them, such as:

Right here in this article is where I'll lay out all this information for you so you can make your decision based on the facts and not just on what you saw on an advertisement on TV!

What is a Mini Split, Ductless AC?

ductless mini split air conditioner internal unitThis kind of AC is so called simply because it is made up of two main components, and internal and external component that is basically split in two, fixed on each side of an external wall and are connected by a short pipe that goes through a concealed opening in the wall.

Since it's not exposed to sight, making it very neat and tidy to look at yet remaining functional and efficient at keeping you cool indoors, it's called ductless because there is no ugly ducting or visible ductwork connecting the two units.

The two units work together as I will explain below to provide a cool and comfortable climate inside the home at the touch of a button.

How Does a Ductless Mini Split AC Work?

This kind of cooling system works on the traditional refrigeration principle used on all AC. The cool looking white box that's installed high on an external wall in the room up there has all the refrigeration mechanics inside that do the following job:

Room temperature air is pulled into the machine where it is passed through a super-chilled lattice of thin pipes like a kind of radiator. These pipes are filled with a refrigerant gas that is compressed by a big compressor which causes the gas to reduce in temperature dramatically.

The air is also passed through a dehumidifying process to strip the moisture from it. The now chilled and dried air is pumped into the room by a poiwerful fan and that's the cold air you can feel when you stand in front of the box. But that's not the end of the story.

Inside the box, the process that compresses the gas and all the other processes create a lot of heat along with the heat taken out of the air. All that hot, moist air has to go someplace and that place is outside the house.

For that to happen, on the other side of the external wall the white indoor box is fixed to lies another box with a big extractor fan and condenser inside. The hot air from the internal box is taken through a connecting pipe to the external box where its moisture is condensed and the hot air blown into the outside atmosphere by the fan.

That's pretty much the entire process explained without resorting to any technical mumbo jumbo to make it easier to read and understand by us mere mortals!

What Does a Mini-Split System Cost?

ac costsThe costs involved in this kind of system depend on how big your installation is, how many rooms in the house and how easy or difficult access is to the areas the installers need to work in. A ballpark figure for purchase is around $800-$1200 per unit pair (internal and external units plus connections and fittings) for a moderate sized setup per room.

Installers will charge whatever the general rate is in your area. That will vary enormously from place to place, so my advice there is to contact a few local installers and get quotes directly from them.

The running costs are also dependent on several factors, such as how well insulated your home is, how large it is, how many rooms, how high the ceilings are etc. It also depends on how you use it, whether you set the thermostat in each room to a sensible temperature or you go a little crazy and like to set it so it feels like the Arctic in there!

This kind of system can actually work out to be a reasonably good air conditioning economy solution if you are sensible with usage. For instance:

Installation, Placement and Space

I'll cover the next few points all together since they're pretty related.

You'll need a suitable external wall to fix the internal/external units to so they can occupy the same position either side of the wall to allow for the connecting pipe to be concealed behind each unit. Inside, the unit will need to sit fairly high on the wall so as not to get in the way of people or furniture.

Most internal units don't take up much space, with a moderate sized unit needing around three feet of width and eighteen inches to two feet of height with a gap at the top of around a foot clearance below the ceiling for cleaning access.

Outside, as long as there are no obstructions on the external wall, the outer unit generally doesn't get in the way and needs around three to four feet square of wall space to fix to. Just make sure there is adequate access space for the installers to get to the wall both indoors and out!

Who Can Install Mini Split Systems?

As a general recommendation here, I'd advise you to contact a trusted and experienced certified AC installer to get the job done in a professional and efficient manner. It will probably cost you more to hire a quality installer but it will be money well spent since the work will be guaranteed and certified by a professional body.

You could choose to save money and get a local handyman to install it for you. But while you might save a couple hundred dollars up front, it could cost you way more down the line if the installation is not 100% perfect and problems occur.

That's when you discover the work was not guaranteed and to put things right could end up costing you way more than the couple hundred you saved to begin with. Don't fall into that trap, where trying to save money proves to be false economy and could cost you a lot more in the future in costly repairs or re-installation if the initial setup turns out to be wrong or shoddily fitted.

The Good News

Assuming you have decided to buy a good quality brand model of ductless mini split air conditioner from a reputable source and you paid a certified professional installer, the road ahead should be a trouble-free one where you get to enjoy the comfort of a cool house in summer whatever the weather throws at you.

You can buy these systems from local hardware stores or you can get them online from some of the top stores in the world, just like other types such as portable air conditioners and evaporative coolers for example. Stores like Sylvane, Home Depot, Lowes etc all stock high end and lower cost models whole you can also get them from brick and mortar discount stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart or Costco if you shop around online or visit for more infomation.

The choice is yours.

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