Does A Mini Split Heat And Cool The Whole House?

Mini split heat pump systems are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners in New Jersey and across the Mid-Atlantic area. Unlike traditional HVAC systems, mini splits are ductless and can be installed in individual rooms or zones. This setup gives you precise control over the temperature in each space.

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I’ve seen how these systems have become more widespread over the past decade as a product manager with the HVAC distributor Pierce-Phelps for more than ten years. But, many homeowners still have a lot of questions about them.

One of the points people need clarification on is whether a mini split, or ductless system, can both heat and cool your home. The answer is yes, and there’s a good reason for the confusion.

As an HVAC expert with nearly 15 years of experience, I’m very familiar with heat pumps and ductless mini splits. I’ve been a product manager for Peirce Phelps for over a decade, specializing in high efficiency equipment.

The job also involves working closely with dozens of HVAC contractors in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey about the latest innovations and features, and what questions and concerns they hear from homeowners.

In this article, I’ll let you know all about how mini splits can make your home comfortable all year round. You’ll learn about how they work, other benefits they offer, and more.

If you’d like more specific information about your home or area, use our dealer locator to find a certified contractor near you. They offer free consultations so you can learn everything you need to know.

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Do Mini Splits Heat And Cool?

A mini split system provides both heating and cooling. The heat pump can draw in enough ambient heat outside to keep a house warm. Today’s best models work in sub-zero temperatures. In the summer, the system works in reverse to remove heat from your home (it also dehumidifies the air in the room).

Homeowners are often unsure about this because they hear these referred to as “ductless air conditioners.” Or, they heard that heat pumps don’t work in the winter.

Those points aren’t true – at least not anymore. I’ll explain more about how they work, how they’re set up, and what options you have.

How A Mini Split Works

A mini split system operates similarly to a central air conditioning system. When heating or cooling is needed, the refrigerant flows from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit in a closed loop.

This process is how the system can transfer heat into or out of the room.

A mini split system consists of two main components: an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. A lineset, or conduit, runs through the walls to connect these units.

Ductless Heat Pump

A mini split heat pump, or outdoor unit, uses the same principles as a traditional air conditioner. But, it can operate in reverse, drawing heat from the outside air and transferring it into your home.

Air Handlers

The indoor unit of a mini split system is also known as an air handler. It contains a fan and an evaporator coil that work together to circulate and condition the air.

The air handler is typically mounted on the wall and can be adjusted to direct airflow in different directions. Other models are installed in the ceiling for a wide range of airflow. You can choose where to install your units based on the air handler’s size and where they can operate most optimally.

How a mini split provides heat

A mini split provides heat when the heat pump draws heat from outside, amplifies it, and sends it into the home via the refrigerant liquid. Even when it’s cold out, there’s enough thermal energy available to do the job.

Some models have an electric resistance heating element as a backup for when the outside temperature drops too low. But you can find models rated to work in sub-zero temperatures.

This process uses much less energy than burning gas or oil and less electricity than it takes to heat coils (electric resistance heating).

As a result, ductless systems are Energy Star-rated to provide savings on your monthly bills.

How a mini split provides cooling

A mini split system provides cooling by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring it outside. The air handler draws in warm air from the room. The refrigerant in the system absorbs the heat and transports it to the outdoor unit.

Then, the indoor unit dehumidifies and circulates the now-cool air.

Benefits of Multi-Zone Mini Splits

Multi-zone mini splits allow you to create different zones to heat or cool your home. It’s more precise than having one thermostat control the entire house. Plus, installation costs are cheaper than rerouting or adding ductwork. 

Here are some of the benefits:

No More Hot and Cold Spots

Each mini split indoor unit has a built-in thermostat and sensors that check the temperature in different parts of the room. Then, the unit uses specialized fans to direct warm or cool air to the exact spots that need it. These features eliminate hot and cold spots.

Save Money On Energy Bills

Since multi-zone mini splits allow you to control the temperature in each room individually, you can cool or heat only the rooms you regularly use.

You’ll save money on your heating or cooling bills by only using the ac units and heating systems when and where you need them. That’s on top of their superior energy efficiency.

Customize Each Room

You can customize each zone to your preferred temperature without affecting the rooms around it. Different bedrooms can be warmer or cooler than others.

Set the upstairs to a different temperature than downstairs at different times of the day. Or, set each unit the same for a consistent temp across the whole house.

Examples of Single-Zone Ductless Setups

Single-zone mini splits are an excellent option for one room in their home. Here are three examples:

Ductless for a Sunroom

A single-zone ductless air conditioner for a sunroom turns a seasonal oasis into a four-season room. You can control the temperature without adding extra ductwork and raising your energy bills.

Ductless for a Home Office

A ductless mini split system can cut the costs of working remote. A single-zone setup in a home office eliminates the need for expensive space heaters or loud window ACs.

Ductless for a Bedroom

Bedrooms on the second floor are often too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter because they’re far from the thermostat.

Since a single-zone ductless mini split air conditioner has a dedicated thermostat, you can keep the room at the best temperature for a good night’s sleep.

More Mini Split FAQs

Still have questions? Keep reading. Or, click below to speak to a certified Bryant mini split dealer in your area.

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Do mini splits use a lot of electricity?

Mini splits are energy-efficient systems. They use much less energy than traditional window AC and furnaces. They use slightly less energy than central air. The amount of electricity a mini split uses depends on the size of the system and how often it runs. You can save even more with the proper settings.

How many rooms can a mini split heat?

Generally, one air handler heats or cools one room. A single unit can handle a large open-space area. Most heat pumps accommodate up to eight air handlers. One home often needs a single outdoor heat pump and four to six indoor units.

How many years do mini splits last?

On average, ductless mini splits last up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. They require two tune-ups a year, one for the heating season and one for cooling. An annual deep cleaning eliminates dirt, dust, and other buildup that affect performance and air quality.

Learn more about mini split installations in Cherry Hill, NJ or anywhere in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or Maryland.