Ductless mini-split air conditioners are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to energy hogging central air conditioning. Mini-splits -- which can often also supply heat in the cold weather -- consist of an outdoor unit containing the condenser and compressor and an indoor unit, which is often connected to a furnace or heat pump.
Many models of mini-splits can have up to four indoor units connecting to one outdoor unit, providing different cooling or heating zones that may be individually controlled. With a touch of a button, you can raise or lower the temperature of specific rooms without cooling or heating unoccupied spaces.
The energy savings offered by mini-splits are further enhanced by their ductless technology. According to energy.gov, duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning.
Mini-splits are ideal add-ons for homes with non-ducted heating systems, such as hot water heat. When we renovated the first floor of our own home, we combined Runtal radiators with a mini-split ductless heat pump so we could heat the entire first floor or direct the heating and air conditioning just where we need it.
In the photo above, you can see the indoor portion of the mini-split above the artwork on the wall. Mini-splits can be hung on a wall, mounted flush in a drop ceiling or suspended from the ceiling, but they can't totally disappear. In addition, they need to be accessible for servicing.
Mini-splits can pose a bit of a design challenge, but one that can be addressed with a little bit of creativity. This slide show from Houzz offers some interesting ways to incorporate a mini-split into room designs. To read the entire article on houzz.com, please click any of the images.