In this blog post, I will go over the 15 key terms that you should know about and consider when purchasing a ductless mini split.
1. Heat Pump
Some ductless mini split models can do both heating and cooling. The units with the label "heat pump" can reverse the refrigerant cycle and heat your home during the winter.
2. Air Handler
The air handler is the name of the indoor unit. This unit circulates air in the room to deliver the heating and cooling comfort to you.
The condenser is the unit located in outside. For a mini split to work, you will need both an air handler and a condenser. The flow of refrigerant between the condenser and the air handler allows for the air conditioner to work. The condenser can be located directly outside or mounted on the roof. If it is mounted on the roof, you will need a condensate pump to let the moisture out.
The compressor is a component inside the condenser that is the work horse of the air conditioner. This component controls the pressure of the refrigerant which allows for heat to be pump out of your room when you use an air conditioner.
5. BTU (British Thermal Unit)
BTU or British Thermal Unit is a measure of heating and cooling capacity. The higher the BTU, the more heating and cooling power your unit has. Most mini splits are rated for 9,000 btu; 12,000 btu; 18,000 btu; or 24,000 btu. The right size model will depend upon the size of your room. You don't want the units to be too big or too small.
6. SEER Rating
The SEER Rating is a measure of energy efficiency. The higher the SEER, the less energy is required to heat or cool your room. Higher SEER models will cost more money upfront but can save you money on your energy bill. Most mini splits have SEER rating of 16. Highly efficient mini splits have ratings of 20 SEER or more.
A ratio calculated by dividing the cooling capacity in BTUs per hour (BTU/h) by the power input in watts at a given set of rating conditions, expressed in BTU/h per watt. The EER is highly correlated with the SEER Rating.
HSPF is a ratio of BTU heat output over the heating season to watt-hour of electricity used. The higher the HSPF rating of a unit, the more energy efficient it is.
Ductless mini splits are generally rated at either 110 voltage or 220 voltage. For units with a 110 voltage rating, you can draw power directly from the electrical lines of your outlets. This means that the power source for the ductless mini split can be taken from any room. For units with a 220 voltage rating, you will need to connect the unit with an electrical line from your electrical panel. 220 voltage units generally require extra electrical work.
10. Inverter Technology
Ductless mini splits come standard with inverter technology. This technology allows the mini splits to be highly efficient (>16 SEER). This technology also makes the unit very quiet and delivers constant heating and cooling performance with the noise of restarting the system.
11. R410a Refrigerant
All air conditioners use a refrigerant to pump out the heat. The most common refrigerant in use is R410a.
12. Air Filter
Ductless mini splits have air filters inside the air handler. It is recommended that you clean out your filters every 3 to 6 months.
The noise level of the indoor and outdoor units are measured using the scientific unit called decibel. The higher the decibel, the louder the unit is.
14. Sleep Mode
Some mini splits have a sleep mode. Using your remote control, you can set the mode to "sleep" which lowers the air flow and significantly reduces the noise. Sleep mode can be used when you want a little bit of quiet time for reading or sleeping.
15. Dry Mode
Some mini splits have the capabilities of removing excess humidity from the atmosphere. In very humid regions, the ductless mini split can increase the indoor comfort through this mode.