Less obtrusive than window Air conditioner systems and space heaters, more efficient in cooling or heating rooms and less complex than central HVACs. If you’re looking to get a highly efficient, space-saving appliance to cool and heat specific areas in the house that does not require you to get two different home appliances, then a mini-split heat pump system is what you need.
A mini split or ductless heat pump (zoned HVAC) is designed to be ductless. It consists of an outdoor and one or more indoor units with access to electricity wiring.
The ductless design provides flexible installations. Mini splits are energy efficient which makes them cost-saving and they are able to deliver precise amounts of heating or cooling needed to keep a space comfortable thus, consumption of energy costs is minimized. The two main components of a mini-split systems are an outdoor compressor or condenser and an indoor air-handling unit(s).
Single Zone Or Multi-zone mini split or ductless heat pump?
A single-zone mini split system consists of a single outdoor unit and indoor unit. These systems cannot be converted to multi-zone systems at a later time. A multi-zone system consist of a single outdoor unit and up to 8 indoor units. These indoor units operate independently, providing individualized comfort in each space they are located.
In simpler words, single zones are designed to cool and heat a single room while multi zones are for cooling and heating multiple rooms, moreover an entire apartment unit or house. And the best part is, the flexibility of these units allows you to set different temperatures for each specific room.
What is SEER, EER and HSPF?
Common abbreviations that that you will encounter with these appliances, SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input. A SEER rating is actually a maximum efficiency rating. A mini-split system that has 21 SEER means that its maximum efficiency is indeed 21. SEER ratings commonly range from 13 to 22.
EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio gives information about how much cooling capacity a unit can provide from a specific amount of energy used. It is the ratio derived from dividing cooling output (typically expressed in BTU) with the energy usage in Watt (W) hours. The higher the EER, the greater energy-efficient it is. The importance of knowing the EER of a mini-split system is that it gives you the worth of the dollars you spent on it. The more energy-efficient a unit is, the more it cuts your energy costs of operating it. Units with higher EER are built with eco-friendly components with their refrigerant being ozone-friendly.
HSPF or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is a measure of heat pump efficiency. It is a ratio of heat output to electricity use over a heating season. The higher the HSPF, the greater the energy efficiency of the mini split system. The HSPF is basically the heat pump’s heating version of SEER.
SEER measures the heat pump efficiency in a unit’s cool mode and HSPF measures the heat pump efficiency in its heat mode.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of a Mini Split Heat Pump System
There are several advantages that a mini-split system can provide for you and your home, besides improved energy-efficiency for heating and cooling. Below are more of its advantages:
1. Flexibility of placement options
There are mini-split heat pumps systems for different placement and installation options, including wall mounted units, ceiling recessed units and concealed duct units.
Wall mounted units are the most popular types of mini-split systems. They are the simplest to install and typically the least expensive relative to other types of placement. Ceiling cassette units are installed in the ceiling, hence their name, and have a more unobtrusive look. Often, ceiling recessed units come with a built-in drain pump to make condensation removal simpler and easier.
Concealed duct units employ ductwork. Ductwork is installed to carry the air that is intended for a zone through a grill in the wall. These are like a hybrid between central air systems and mini-split systems.
Systems commonly come with features like timers, built-in functions, adjustable airflow that give you greater control to meet your temperature needs and preferences.
3. Adequate heating and cooling
The efficiency of a mini-split system has to do with its individual air-handling units that are placed within a room or area in the house that needs cooling, heating and dehumidification. Mini-split systems give you a highly versatile option for heating and cooling on a room-by-room basis when multi-zones are installed.
4. Quiet, almost soundless operation
Considered to be the A/C industry standard for quiet operation, mini-split systems can operate with sound levels as low as 19 db that is as quiet or even quieter than a whisper.
Like most home equipment, a unit can never be only advantageous, there are disadvantages but obviously, the good definitely outweighs the bad here. The placement of the system brings in disadvantages. For example; an improperly placed air-handler can actually cause short-cycling, wherein energy is utilized less efficiently. Installation costs is another disadvantage that can spike up spendings on top of the unit. Even though most systems today are advertised to be easy install or D-I-Y installation, they can still be cost ineffective, especially for certain types of houses.
5. Easy control
Whether right next to the unit or across the room these systems come with a wireless remote control that provides easy control of all of the unit’s features and functions at the palm of your hand. Additionally, a programmable timer can be set so that the air conditioner automatically turns on and off without requiring any human intervention whatsoever.
A Round Review of the Best Mini Split Heat Pump Systems
1. Pioneer WYS012-17 Air Conditioner Inverter + Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split System Heat Pump
Constructed using galvanized metal with electrostatic epoxy paint for longevity, Pioneer WYS012-17 Air Conditioner Inverter and Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split System Heat Pump is designed for commercial or residential use. It’s Wi-Fi enabled and can cover up to 300 to 450 sq ft room size. Once turned on, the unit starts on very low current, typically 4 amps then gradually increases to a maximum of 10.5 amps.
It uses new technology refrigerant leakage detection that is displayed on the front panel in the event of any leakage occurring in the outdoor unit.
The Pioneer WYS series is available with the following BTUs:
- 9,000 BTU with 110/120 V and 208/230 V
- 12,000 BTU with 110/120 V and 208/230 V
- 18,000 BTU with 208/230 V
- 24,000 BTU with 208/230 V
- 30,000 BTU with 208/230 V and;
- 36,000 BTU with 208/230 V
Features of the Pioneer WYS012-17 Air Conditioner Inverter Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split System Heat Pump
- Wide range of modes and functions - modes include – fan, cooling, heating, drying and defrosting modes. Straightforward functions include – forced operation function that consist of forced cooling mode and forced auto mode, auto mode, timer, economy, louver position memory, auto-restart, self clean, follow me, “silence” operation and point check functions.
- Self-clean and “silence” operation - the self-clean function of the Pioneer WYS012-17 keeps the inside of the indoor unit dry and free of mold that can eventually build up and clog the interiors. Silence operation, when activated, the noise is reduced to the lowest level that creates a quiet atmosphere while the room remains breezy inside.
- Refrigerant leakage detection - the detection is only available in cooling mode. If the outdoor unit detects refrigerant leakage, it will display a prompt alert saying “EC”.
- Louver position memory function - the louver automatically restores to its angle originally set before shut down.
- Comes with multi function wireless infrared remote controller for convenient programming.
- Permanent washable air filters
- Heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) rating of between 9 to 10
- High seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 19.5
- Quiet while running with a sound level of 25 to 40.5 dB
- Comes equipped with an internal overload protection for motor
- Fitted with season sensitive operational and self learning time-demand defrost logic
- Very low starting current – no spike with 4 amps then gradually increases to a maximum of 10.5
- Anti-mildew treatment on blower wheels to prevent clogging.
- Environment friendly Refrigerant R-401A
- Unit is quite heavy and professional installation may be necessary.
Majority of the customers love that the Pioneer WYS012-17 Mini Split System Heat Pump runs efficiently and quietly, it is almost like there is no unit operating. All the functions and modes worked as they were explained in the manuals and its wide range of options caters to different needs. Installation was easy for most customers, although some still opted to hire professional HVAC contractors to do the installation.
2. Senville SENL-24CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump
ETL and AHRI certified the Senville SENL-24CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump is energy-saving and has powerful performance. With fully adjustable louvers, wide range of functions and modes, the unit definitely caters to a lot of customer needs and preferences.
The Senville LETO series is available with the following BTUs:
- 9,000 BTU with 110 V
- 12,000 BTU with 110 V
- 18,000 BTU with 220 V and
- 24,000 BTU with 220 V
Features of the Senville SENL-24CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump
- 4-in-1 Design – This is the multipurpose mini split that can condition your air, heat your rooms, dehumidifier and fan.
- Variable inverter compressor - for efficient cooling and heating of up to 5 degrees F and -15 celsius, respectively, the Senville SENL-24CD is capable of giving solution and convenience for more temperate climate.
- Energy-saving operation - with 15.0 seasonal energy efficiency ratio and 8/8 heating seasonal performance factor, the unit surely saves energy while performing at an optimal level.
- Equipped with Eco mode - by setting the room temperature to the most efficient and optimal temperature of 75 degree F, the unit is engineered to reduce energy usage.
- Wide range of functions and modes - functions and modes include – automatic mode wherein the unit chooses the best operating mode to achieve desired temperature, sleep function that reduces energy usage and auto restart that automatically resumes operation to its previous settings in the case of a power outage. Additional features include – multiple fan speeds between low, medium, high and automatic, manual set of horizontal angle air flow and remote control operated adjustment of vertical air flow, as well as turbo setting that for quickly achieving desired temperatures.
- High Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 17 to 19
- Environment friendly flare refrigerant connector type.
- Fully adjustable louvers for directional air flow.
- Rotary compressor type
- Eco-friendly unit
- Professional installation is necessary.
Majority of the customers highly recommend the Senville SENL-24CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump for its absolute cooling and heating efficiency. Users say it’s so quiet that it seems turned off. A majority found the unit easy to assemble and install, but there are other customers who said that the unit’s installation manual needs revamping because the instructions are too generic.
3. MRCOOL Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump System
The Wi-Fi enabled MRCOOL Mini Split Heat Pump DIY can cover up between 500 to 1,500 sq ft. With a range of 16 to 17.5 SEER and 8.8 to 9 HSPF, a variable-speed DC inverter compressor technology, the unit can heat and cool a room efficiently and cost-effectively. The MRCOOL DIY series are known for its pre charged refrigerant and quick connect line sets that makes the unit easy for DIY installation.
The MRCOOL DIY series can cover a range of 500 to 1,500 sq ft and are available in the following BTUs:
- 12,000 BTU with 115 V
- 18,000 BTU with 208/230 V
- 24,000 BTU with 220 V and
- 34,400 BTU cooling capacity and 36,000 BTU heating capacity with 208/230 V
Features of the MRCOOL Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump System
- SmartHVAC mobile app - MRCOOL DIY Mini Split Heat Pump System is Wi-Fi enabled, fully compatible and downloadable with Android and iOS smartphones. Simply connect to the internet to control the unit even when you’re away from home.
- Variable-speed DC inverter compressor technology – this technology increases energy efficiency compared to other mini-split air conditioning units.
- Various operating modes – includes the Sleep mode ideal for night time sleep and switches off after 7 hours of operating in this mode. In cool mode, the unit increases the temperature by 2°F after 1 hour, and an additional 2°F after another hour. In the HEAT mode, the unit decreases the temperature by 2°F after 1 hour, and an additional 2°F after another hour.
- Precharged 410 quick connect line set - to make the unit even more easy to install, it has unique line sets that come precharged. This mini split heat pump was made for plug and play that does not require special tools or equipment and training to mount, install and operate.
- Has leakage detection - the unit can detect low coolant, once detected, an alarm will sound off. The detection of leakage prevents permanent damage to the compressor.
- “Follow me” feature - by keeping the remote control close, the unit will set the temperature relative to its location. The feature eliminates the tendency of the unit to stop cooling and heating due to the air temperature around it, reaching the set temperature.
- Easy D-I-Y installation – pre-charged with refrigerant and line set (25 ft quick connect line)
- Low ambient cooling cools down to 5 degrees F thus ideal for areas that require daily cooling all year.
- Equipped with an Auto restart feature to resume running in case of power outage
- Wifi-enabled – mobile application for iOS and Android
- Gold fin condenser that is corrosion resistant for long last durability.
- Making an error with electrical wiring during installation voids the 5 year/7 years warranty (parts/components)
According to the some users, the MRCOOL Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump System has the best “follow me” feature compared to other models in the market. For a majority of the customers, the performance and D-I-Y installation of the unit is as promised and advertised. Although, professional help may not only be necessary to ensure that there is no leakage and the unit is well and working, but also so as to not permanently damage the wiring and result in the voiding of the warranty.
4. Air-con Seer Ductless Mini Split DC Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System
Cooling, heating, dehumidification and ventilation squeezed in one unit, the Air-con Seer Ductless Mini Split DC Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System can be controlled using a remote control to keep a single zone at an ultimate comfortable level using automatic air louvers that can be adjusted to face any direction with varying air flow.
The Air-con units can cover small to large rooms with cooling SEER of 19.5 to 23.3.
The Aircon Blue series is available with the following BTUs:
- 9,000 BTU with 208/230 V ideal for 100 to 400 Sq Feet
- 12,000 BTU with 208/230 V ideal for 400 to 500 Sq Feet
- 18,000 BTU with 208/230 V ideal 500 to 800 Sq Feet
- 24,000 BTU with 208/230 V for 800 to 1200 Sq Feet
- 48,000 BTU ideal for 1800 to 2000 Sq Feet
- 60,000 BTU for 2000 Sq Feet and up
Features of the Air-con Seer Ductless Mini Split DC Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System
- Variable Speed DC Inverter HITACHI Compressor – making the unit more energy efficient for extended durability, quiet operation, and lower energy bills.
- Independent dehumidifying function – Unit is able to control the dehumidification function under low power consumption.
- Wide range of functions and modes - these include smart function sleep mode, self-diagnosis, auto-protection mode, compressor intelligent preheating, auto restart, auto defrost, auto cleaning, IFEEL mode, louver position memory as well as horizontal and vertical louver auto swing.
- Energy star and AHRI certified
- Outdoor unit is pre-charged with R104-A gas for line set length up to 25 ft
- Insulated pre-flared copper tubing and connection leak guard sealer included
- Complete package with 2-way draining connection (left and right)
- Chassis electric heater function
- 7 indoor fan speeds
- Copper wiring freezes eventually – needs to be defrosted every now and then.
Based on a Majority of the customers reviews, the Air-con Seer Ductless Mini Split DC Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System works as it is advertised. It has all the components, parts, tools and wiring needed to install and secure the unit in place. The 7 indoor fan speeds and directional louvers gave customers the liberty to control the air flow.
5. Daikin Seer Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System
The single-zone heat pump Daikin Seer Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System is energy efficient with up to 17 SEER, up to 9.0 HSPF and 11.5 EER to efficiently reduce operating costs compared to conventional systems in the market.
The Daikin 17 series are perfect for sun rooms, basements, attics, garages and works for renovations, remodeling and newly constructed house because of their aesthetic and physical features.
The Daikin 17 series is available with the following BTUs:
- 9,000 BTU
- 12,000 BTU
- 18,000 BTU and
- 24,000 BTU
Features of the Daikin Seer Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System
- Daikin Inverter Technology - to help prevent any common and uncomfortable temperature swings that normally occurs with non-inverter HVAC systems, the Daikin Seer Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System is equipped with advanced inverter variable-speed compressor that provides comfort of accurate temperature selection without any compromise and minimizes temperature fluctuations.
- Patented built-in Air Intelligence - the system unit creates pleasing indoor environment that provides comfort while using energy resources efficiently and effectively. Heat pumps are engineered to extract and reject heat from the outside air even during colder days. Typically reducing 30% energy consumption.
- Titanium Apatite Photocatalytic air purifying filters - filter is both an air purifying filter and has titanium apatite photocatalytic deodorizing filter to reduce unwanted odor once cold air is released.
- Indoor unit sound level as low as 23 to 37 dB – Activating indoor unit quiet operation to reduce sound level to as low as 2 to 3 dB – for gentler heating and cooling operation
- R104-A refrigerant gas for safe use
- Blue fin copper wiring protection
- Fitted with odor eliminating air purifying filters.
- Auto-restarts in case of a power failure.
- Anti-corrosion treatment for heat exchanger treatment
- Automatic defrosting and hot-start function on heat pump
- Professional installation needed so that the 10-year limited warranty can be honored in case of anything
Most of the customers say that the filters of the Daikin Seer Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump Systems are really efficient in making the indoor air smell great and fresher. Their cooling range gives a good selection relative to the indoor temperature as well as the outdoor thus the air intelligence really works.
6. Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split with Heat Pump
The single-zone Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split with Heat Pump has a 21 SEER and 13 EER. It’s Energy-star rated multi-purpose split system used to provide efficient and effective cooling, heating, and dehumidification to single zones.
This is available with the following BTUs:
- 9,000 BTU
- 12,000 BTU
- 18,000 BTU and
- 24,000 BTU
Features of the Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split w/ Heat Pump
- Straightforward 4-mode system - cool, heat, dry and auto modes are the four major functions of the Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump. In cooling mode, the unit can set temperature with wide range of BTUs and can exhaust up to 533 CFM airflow for optimal comfort level. The built-in heater can be set up to 88 degree F. In dry mode, the unit can eliminate musty odor and remove up to 2.5 pints of moisture per hour.
- Inverter technology – its unique inverter compressor is designed to work in conjunction with electronic controls in the air handler that maintains selected temperature which also eliminates constant temperature fluctuations.
- Econo cool mode – this mode enables the unit to swing its louvers in different directions so that air is distributed everywhere. In this mode, the temperature can also be set higher without compromising comfort.
- Smart operation - for automatic setting of desired heat and cool settings, the unit retains memory on the previous settings.
- Nano Platinum filters – ceramic particle that includes platinum nanoparticle are included into the filter material to provide semi-permanent antibacterial and deodorizing characteristics. The nano platinum filters uses a compound called catechin to release improved air quality that is free of bacteria and virus.
- Fully directional airflow and multiple fan speeds - the multi-position louvers can adjust airflow automatically and manually. To make it even better, there are 5 fan speeds to select from.
- Minimum indoor noise level of 26 dB and a maximum of 49 dB – Minimum outdoor and indoor noise level of 49 dB
- Automatic restart in the case of a power failure or outage
- Blue Fin Condenser with an anti-rust coating to prevent damage for durability
- Equipped with Nano platinum filters with antibacterial abilities to capture bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic particles.
- Fan won’t start running until the heat pump has warmed up, this eliminates cold drafts.
- Multi-position louvers that enable the airflow to be automatically or manually adjusted to specific directions.
- Flare refrigerant connection type
- Line set not included with the unit – needed to be purchased separately
- This unit requires professional installation by a licensed HVAC technician.
Most of the customers love that the Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump can efficiently and effectively heat as well as cool a room with a size of up to 500 sq ft as well as the fact that it operates quietly.
Buying Guide: Factors To Consider In Purchasing A Mini Split System
Below, lets take a look at factors that will help you decide the best mini-split system for you
British Thermal Units are used to measure power of each unit. This is directly correlated with the amount of air a unit can produce. BTUs are used for all air conditioning systems to know the amount of energy necessary to raise the temperature.
The larger a room, the greater the BTU capacity of the indoor unit you will need. In addition to the room size, there are other factors that affect the BTU, mainly – sunlight, average occupancy, age and function of the room.
When it comes to the sunlight, if a room or space is shaded entirely, required cooling BTU can be reduced by 10%.
If a room or space, on the other hand gets a lot of sunlight, then it is necessary to increase by 10%. The average occupancy is greatly related with the people occupying a room, if there are more than one person, then an additional of 600 BTUs and up is recommended. The age of the house is about how drafty or poorly insulated it is, it takes more BTUs to cool or heat such a house, with a recommendation of an increase in BTU to an estimate of 30%. For room function, 4,000 BTUs is typically added to total required BTUs in kitchen areas.
2. Single zone vs. Multi-zone
Consider the size of the space needed to be cooled and heated. If ever there are doubts, it is highly recommended to acquire a multi-zone mini split unit so it can be easier to add indoor units to support needs.
3. Energy efficiency
To determine energy efficiency of unit, you need to be conversant with the ratings we mentioned above. These are the EER, SEER, Energy Star ratings, as well as the voltage.
Energy Star certified units can slash the system’s heating and cooling costs by as much as 30% compared to uncertified ones in the market. Checking the voltage of a unit is vital to know, so that poor operation, circuit breaks, or fires can be avoided. Before purchasing a system, make sure that your house has sufficient voltage to support it.
A good mini split unit should consist of the basic features – programmable timer, adjustable airflow, washable filter and automatic restart. Although today, most systems exceed consumers expectations, majority of manufacturers go as far as a Wi-Fi enabled system that you can control even far from home. Filters are also highly-improved, making them able to combat and resist microbial bacteria and viruses present in the air.
Major FAQs Mini Split Heat Pump Systems:
- Do I need to modify my home (walls and windows) to install a mini split system?
Mini-split systems are engineered to be straightforward and designed to be easily installed. The most common modification required to install a unit is to make small 3-inch holes in the walls where the refrigerant tubing will run through.
2. Do I need to hire a professional HVAC to install the unit?
Hiring a HVAC professional is only necessary if there are other complications to consider like if you cannot lift the unit alone, if you want to be sure and have a seamless installation and you are not confident with your installation skills. Whereas, a licensed professional that does HVAC is deemed necessary if the limited warranty of unit states that the warranty will be void in the case of damaged parts due to wrong installation.
3. Where can I apply ductless or mini split heat pump systems?
Old, new, renovated or not, ductless heat pumps are applicable to nearly all types of house structures. For residential applications, displacing existing electric heating is a qualified reason to install a ductless heat pump system.
4. What are the maintenance measures a ductless or mini split heat pump require?
Basically cleaning the filters is enough to maintain the optimal efficiency of a ductless heat pump. Although, it is highly suggested by manufacturers to have units inspected and professionally cleaned once a year to ensure proper operating environment.
Final Thoughts the Best Mini Split Heat Pump Systems
Mini Split Heat Pump Systems are capable of efficiently cooling up to 4 areas of your home or office. It doesn’t matter the kind of structure, they can virtually be installed anywhere from green houses, apartments, home renovations, rooms with small window spaces, and homes without central HVAC systems.
Mini Split Heat Pump Systems are loved because they are space saving with an unobtrusive sleek profile that’s barely noticeable once installed, they operate quietly, provide effective cooling and heating and are less expensive to install. Furthermore, they operate more efficiently than traditional central AC systems which makes them the one of the best appliances for longterm air conditioning.