Mini splits are an efficient and cost-effective cooling system for many homeowners. A mini split is an HVAC unit that basically has 2 parts. It has an air handling unit and a compressor. The air handling unit is indoors and is what you see inserted in the wall usually about 6’ off the ground or is inserted in the ceiling. The inner workings of the air handling unit can be hidden by a very attractive housing that blends well with any décor. The housing directs the airflow and contains the controls that operate the system.
The air handling unit also contains coils with refrigerant to cool the air by absorbing heat blowing over the coils. The air is then redirected back into the room for cooling. Mini splits also have heating capabilities.
The second part of the system is the compressor that connects to the air handling unit. The link between the air handling unit and the condenser is a 3” hole for a conduit. In most cases it is hidden behind the air handling unit, also called the head. This conduit supplies the communication cable, refrigerant piping connected to the outside condenser, and a tube to carry excess water from condensation to the outside of the building.
Some mini splits can remove moisture. By running the unit on ‘dry mode,’ it will take out excess moisture without cooling the room.
Some advantages to mini splits are:
- It operates without ductwork and therefore has no limit to being used in any circumstance.
- It is self-contained and can be placed on any outside wall. It also can be used in interior walls but is more costly due to running longer tubing to reach the desired wall.
- It is much more efficient and economical than other heating systems by using geothermal ideas of a heat pump.
- By being able to control different zones individually, it is much easier to maintain the ideal temperature throughout the home as each area needs it. It becomes a custom heating system that is easily controlled. Energy efficiency is at a maximum as it is not wasted by using any unit unnecessarily. This translates into cost savings in both heating and cooling.
There are a few ways to hide mini splits if they don’t fit the design aesthetic of the home.
- Install a bookshelf with the air handling unit located on the shelf.
- Install a backless cabinet with louvers on the front to enable airflow and cover the unit.
- Recess the unit in the ceiling or wall.
- Put the unit in a corner or build a small alcove to house the unit
- Install a wine rack with a lattice design on each side of the wine rack with the air handling unit behind one side of the wine rack.
- Make a garden with the compressor behind some plantings
- Use a lattice on three sides to make a cabinet including a top and covering the compressor making sure it receives the proper airflow.
- Some models can be installed in the wall and others can be inserted into the ceiling