Here’s a scenario:
You’ve been looking for a cost-effective way to cool your Tallahassee home. Florida summers are stifling and unbearable, and all the fans in the world aren’t going to cut it. Window units are too expensive to run. On top of that, they’re noisy, and they don’t look the way you want. Unfortunately, central air isn’t a cost-effective option. Perhaps your home doesn’t have the ductwork to handle a split system– or perhaps it does, but not enough of it.
Maybe you’re even looking for a way to cool off an addition or new renovation, but you’ve been told that adding ductwork to that part of the house will overstress your current HVAC system, which is tailored to the size your house used to be. We’ve seen all of that, and more.
Whatever is going on, the right answer just doesn’t seem to be there. It’s frustrating, and you’re asking everyone you know for answers. You’re hoping someone knows something you don’t. Something that will solve all of your problems.
Then, you hear about the Mitsubishi Split AC, or, generically, the ductless mini-split. They sound, at first listen, like exactly what you need, but you’re not sure. Maybe they’re just fancier window units, and that’s not what you had in mind.
Then you do what any red-blooded American would do in that situation: you Google it.
Luckily, you’ve found your way here. Lots of our friends in Tallahassee and neighboring Florida towns have questions about mini-splits, and we’re just the AC repair and installation experts to answer them. We’ve sold, installed, and repaired ductless mini-split air conditioning systems since they first hit the market, and – without sounding like braggarts – we definitely know our stuff.
Over the years since mini-splits gained prominence in our industry, we’ve answered dozens of questions about these innovative alternatives to window units. For this article, we’ve distilled it down to the five that we think matter the most.
These matter the most because they all affect your bottom line. The will they/won’t they of buying HVAC equipment almost always comes down to that.
Buckle up, and let’s tackle these thorny questions one at a time. We’ve got some great answers for you!
What It Is
A ductless mini-split doesn’t have the most creative name. It’s really on the nose. It’s a ductless, miniaturized version of a split system, or what most of you think of as central air. A central air conditioner uses a condenser unit and an evaporator unit. A ductless mini-split does the same.
The primary difference, obviously, is the lack of ductwork in the Mitsubishi Mini Split AC. That’s potentially one of it’s biggest advantages over central air, as well. It removes leaky ductwork as a potential risk factor that could affect your monthly bills.
The three major components of a ductless AC are:
Because the condenser is outside the home, a ductless mini split is quiet – like central air. But because there is no ductwork involved, they’re simpler to install, like window units.
They can be placed differently than window units, as well, making them much more flexible and effective, and they come with a remote control that functions quite like a thermostat in traditional central air conditioners.
When is a Mitsubishi Mini-Split the Right Answer?
Ductless units are great for situations where a window unit is not desirable and a central air unit is cost-prohibitive. Their relatively simple installation makes them perfect for a variety of applications, including:
How Mini-Splits Differ From Window Units
Because both are designed to cool a single space without the use of ductwork, it’s easy to assume that mini-splits and window units have a lot in common. In reality, they are quite different. Mini-splits have much more in common with central air conditioners.
First, a window unit is a one-stop shop, condenser and compressor all in one. Because of that they’re noisier and less efficient. Cheaper to buy upfront, but more expensive to operate and less aesthetically pleasing to the home.
Mini-splits can also be expanded. A single condenser unit can power up to four evaporator units, allowing a single mini-split system to cool up to four rooms. In homes with open floor plans, that could be all or most of the living and sleeping areas. And because mini-splits allow such simple zoning, a second condenser unit could easily be installed, allowing two mini-split condensers to cool an entire home with multiple evaporators.
Lastly – and this is one many people don’t think about – window units are a natural safety hazard. In Florida, there have been reports of burglars and home invaders removing haphazardly installed window units (which is most window units, let’s be honest) and entering the home through the exposed window.
How Hard is it to Install a Ductless AC Unit?
It’s not something we’d recommend doing as a DIY project.
However, for a qualified contractor, like any of the expert technicians on our own team, it’s a cinch. An installer will enter the home and plot the most advantageous location for the evaporator unit and mount it. Then, they will install the condenser outside. Last (and this is the tricky bit), they’ll drill a three inch hole straight through a wall to the outside for the conduit to connect the two.
Part of the installation process is, of course, sealing and insulation the hole after the conduit is installed.
There isn’t a practical limit to the length of conduit, so it is quite simple to place the evaporator unit near the front of the home and the condenser at the back, out of sight.
Part of the installation process is also selecting the tonnage, or power, of your unit. Too small, and the system will be overworked. Your energy bills will go up. Too large and it will do what we call “short cycling,” where it will cool things too fast and shut itself down. This is hard on the compressor, which is the most expensive part of your system. Also, it won’t have time to dehumidify the air before the target temperature is reached.
However, a perfectly sized system will keep your home very comfortable at a price window units simply can’t match.
Call us today for a free consultation!
How Much Does a Ductless Mini-Split Cost?
Several things go into your final price, including the SEER (energy efficiency) rating of the unit, the size of the system, the number of evaporator units installed, and the brand. Personally, we highly recommend the Mitsubishi Ductless Mini-Split, which is the pioneer and remains at the forefront of this subset of the HVAC industry.
Installation will, of course, add to the final bill as well. However, a good ballpark range is something like $1500-$2000 for every 12,000 BTU of cooling power. Central air is a bit lower than that per cooling ton, but that doesn’t factor in the cost of ductwork, which is considerable, to say the least, and often requires some construction projects within the home.
Window units are less expensive, but we’ve gone over the pros and cons of that already. Essentially, mini-splits are a comfortable middle ground, and a great option for homeowners that can’t install central air.
Get a FREE In-Home Estimate from Our Team of Expert Installers
That’s just an estimate, and it’s hard to get specific.
If you want straight answers on how a ductless mini-split would fit your home, and you’re anywhere in the Tallahassee, Florida area, we can help you. We’ll send a Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer installation specialist out to see your home and give you a tailored estimate.
All of our installations come with our hassle-free guarantee and the industry’s most competitive warranty. We even cover the compressor, which, as we’ve told you, costs more than any other component in an AC system.
Contact us online, or give us a call. We’re available 24/7/365, and we’re anxious to help you get the answers you need!