When the summer heat arrives, all you want is to be cool. The answer to beating the heat in your home is usually window air conditioning units or a central air conditioning system.
Window air conditioning units are a hassle to install and once they are in, they get in the way of the room’s natural light. And if you have several window units operating at one time the utility bill, not the heat, will make you swoon.
Another option is a central air conditioning system. Designed to provide even, consistent cooling throughout your home they are an ideal solution for many homeowners. A central air conditioner requires an existing duct system to work, so if your home is not already set up for that with your HVAC system, this option could be cost-prohibitive.
If you’re feeling like Goldilocks right now – with a window unit set-up too small, inconvenient, or costly and a central air system too large or requiring too much infrastructure – we have the ideal solution: a zoned ductless air conditioning system.
What is a zoned ductless – or split system – air conditioner?
A zoned ductless air conditioner is sometimes called a split system air conditioner or a ductless mini-split air conditioner. How does it work? The answer is within its many names. This type of air conditioning system does not require ductwork to operate.
A split system air conditioner has two primary components: the outdoor compressor and the indoor air handler unit. A single air handler unit is installed on the wall or ceiling (floor units are also available) of each room to be cooled. The interior air handler units are designed to be space-saving and to blend in.
The indoor units are connected to the outdoor compressor by a refrigerant line. The connection also includes drain lines (for condensation) and power cables.
An air handler unit in one room can serve a broader area – or zone – of the home, making a split system ideal if there are areas of your home that are not regularly in use or if some rooms are warmer than others and require a higher setting to cool down. The split system allows you to cool each space you are using in the way that you need. This leads to energy efficiency and savings.
Can I Use a Split System Air Conditioners for Heating My Home?
Yes, technically, you can use a split system for home heating. You would need to add a heat pump to the system and that will provide warm air through the air handler units. This is a great way to supplement your existing home heating system in areas that might need extra warmth during the coldest times of the year.
How Many Zones Can I Include in a Split System?
Split system air conditioning units can operate as a single zone, dual zone, triple zone, all the way up to nine zones. You will want to consult with your home services provider to determine whether it’s best to add the maximum number of zones to one split system or to perhaps consider more than one system.
The Pros and Cons of Split System Air Conditioners
- Easier to install than a central air system if you do not have pre-existing ductwork.
- Operates more efficiently than window units or central air
- Some units have timers allowing you further control of when the system is operating within a specific zone.
- These units are definitely much quieter than window units and some central air systems.
- Zoned climate control adds flexibility of use and energy savings.
- No ducts to clean, which also improves air quality.
- Control units using a wireless remote or smartphone app.
- Installation cost. A split system will set you up for energy savings but getting there is more cost-prohibitive than a central air system.
- Choosing the right size indoor unit is crucial. Your installer must consider the right size and location of the air handler that will best serve the room/zone.
- Appearance. Some people do not like seeing air handler units located on the walls of their homes.
- Not having adequate space outside the home for proper drainage.
How Can I Be Sure a Split System Air Conditioner is Right for My Home?
When deciding whether to install a split system air conditioner, take these factors into consideration:
- The size of your home. How many rooms does the home have? If your home has many, smaller rooms, do multiple split system units make sense? It depends on the usage of those rooms.
- The age of your home. Does it have ductwork? Is installation of air handler units feasible?
Making Your Split System Air Conditioner Last
A split system air conditioner will last 15-20 years when well-maintained. Proper maintenance includes:
- Replacing the air filter in each air handler unit every 1-2 months.
- Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils.
- Inspecting and cleaning the drain line and pan, to avoid clogs.
- Making sure the blower and condenser fans are lubricated for proper rotation.
- Inspecting electrical wiring – connections and controls.
- Checking that the thermostat is working properly.
- Inspecting and cleaning air registers.
As long as you follow a regular maintenance schedule – either on your own or from your air conditioner provider – you should have no issues during the lifespan of the unit. The main issue we see is when the system doesn’t get the airflow it needs to operate properly. This is usually caused by dirty filters, registers or vents and sometimes if the fan isn’t working properly. Insufficient airflow can lead to the freezing of the evaporator coil and your unit will stop working.
Let Us Help
We have been servicing the region’s heat and air conditioning needs since 1935. Our highly-trained Moyer heating and air conditioning experts are experienced in installing, maintaining and repairing all brands of heating and air conditioning products. We have the solution that fits your needs and your budget. Call us at 215.799.2019 or visit emoyer.com/services/heating-air-conditioning/air-conditioning/ to learn more.