Here’s a scenario: you’re considering a ductless air conditioning system ( also known as mini split or ductless mini split), but you aren’t sure that it will handle all of your cooling needs. Your home, budget, or aesthetic sensibility makes them the best option for you – except you’ve got multiple rooms. Can a mini split AC from Mitsubishi handle that?
Ductless air conditioners – or mini splits – have gained popularity with homeowners largely due to their efficiency and ease of installation. Compared to window units, they offer a pleasing visual and they only require a hole about 3” in diameter, as opposed to the extensive work required to install or repair ductwork.
Now: as we’ve discussed in previous articles, there seems to be occasional confusion regarding these mini split systems. Every homeowner has different needs, and every home will call for different solutions, but mini splits are easily adaptable to many situations.
Homeowners may have questions regarding their capabilities, particularly relating to their use across multiple rooms. If you’re about to buy a Mitsubishi mini split, and hope to use it to cool more than one room or space in your home, you’ll have several things to consider.
Choosing the correct BTU for the space.
This piece of wisdom applies to any kind of air conditioning solution; it is no less true with a mini split AC. Your HVAC professional will be a crucial partner in the selection process, but an appropriately sized standard mini split AC will have no trouble cooling more than one space, provided there is adequate airflow between the space containing the indoor unit and the adjacent spaces.
Obviously, if you’ve got doors and halls in between, the air will not be able to circulate fully with a single air handler, but for most homes, it’s a workable solution. If you’ve got a relatively open floor plan, many HVAC contractors suggest placing the air handler high on a wall or even in a ceiling, to help the cool air distribute as evenly and widely as possible.
Kitchens are a fairly typical place to mount the indoor unit – and it will likely have no problems at all cooling the entire main level of your home.
Single-Zone vs. Multi-Zone Systems
When meeting with customers and helping to design a mini-split system for their home, larger spaces are often mentioned as sources of concern. Another option we may recommend, particularly if you want to maximize temperature control inside your home, is a multi-zone system, which would allow you to enjoy the comfort benefits of a traditional central air conditioner without the expensive ductwork.
Let’s go over the differences...
Single-Zone Systems: First off, ductless heat pumps and air conditioners work on the same principles as traditional forced-air systems. A single-zone Mitsubishi mini split consists of one outdoor unit, which contains the condenser, and one indoor air handler.
They’re best used in open spaces or spaces where adjacent rooms don’t need cooling, such as supplemental or bonus rooms, garages, and workspaces. Based on the size of the system you choose, it may be capable of cooling an entire level of your home. However, in multi-level homes, it is less likely that a single-zone mini split AC will be an effective solution.
Multi-Zone Systems: Mitsubishi also manufactures multi-zone systems for multi-room applications. These systems pair a single condenser unit with multiple indoor units, allowing you to create multiple cooling zones inside your home.
It offers a cost-effective alternative to purchasing multiple single-zone mini splits, while also allowing you to avoid multiple outdoor condensers. The condenser will be matched to the air handlers to ensure maximum efficiency, and it simplifies the creation of cooling zones.
If, for instance, you have family members who disagree on thermostat settings, a multi-zone Mitsubishi mini split will allow different areas of the home to be maintained at different temperatures.
Your specific needs will vary, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Here’s a pro tip: don’t ignore the advice of professionals. Load calculations and systems design are complicated by many variables: budget, efficiency, home design, size, ceiling height, insulation, windows, climate, and more.
Some homes will call for single-zone systems, and others will call for a single multi-zone system.
A note on efficiency:
Efficiency is a critical factor in any residential HVAC system. Here’s an analogy we like: you don’t go into your home and turn every light in the house on with a single switch, do you? So why should that principle not apply to our air conditioning systems?
With forced-air systems, you’re often spending excess money to cool rooms that are largely or entirely unoccupied.
Sometimes, single-zone mini splits can be more efficient than multi-zone systems. For you, that could mean that using a large single-zone mini split (or multiple single-zone systems) would save you money, as it may provide similar cooling potential while using less electricity.
However, a multi-zone ductless AC system is often more cost-effective (and comfortable) than a large single-zoned unit or multiple single-zoned units would be. As with anything else, it really depends on the specific cooling needs of your home and its residents.
If you’re concerned that a mini split air conditioner won’t be sufficient to your cooling needs, rest easy – Mitsubishi AC systems can be tailored to your home. With a multi-split, anywhere from two to eight “zones” can be created, which is more than enough to handle small, medium, or even larger homes.
You can also mount them in walls, ceilings, or floors, connect them easily to the condenser unit outside, and live in comfort.
If you have further questions about mini split AC options for your home, please contact us today at 850-895-9712 for your free system consultation!