Mini-Splits in Residential
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    6

    Red face Mini-Splits in Residential

    I don't see many posts discussing mini-splits for whole home heating and cooling, and I was wondering the feasibility of using a mini-split system in a ranch style home of about 1000 square feet with three bedrooms and one bath. The home currently has an older oil furnace and to convert to a split system heat pump would require a major electrical upgrade to handle the additional amperage required to run the heat pump, as well as the costs of the heat pump and modification of existing duct work. With a mini-split system, no electrical upgrade would be needed and the oil furnace could be retained for auxiliary heat when needed.

    Does anyone on this forum have an opinion and/or recommendation? Specifically, I would like feedback as to the advantages/disadvantages of using the mini-split.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Central Maryland
    Posts
    246
    Quote Originally Posted by drwillie View Post
    Does anyone on this forum have an opinion and/or recommendation? Specifically, I would like feedback as to the advantages/disadvantages of using the mini-split.
    The biggest disadvantage is a great big A/C unit taking up a chunk of wall space. Some people don't care, but it is a cosmetic difference that many are not used to.

    I've seen mini-splits advertised with up to 3 zones (or indoor units) hooked up to a single outdoor unit. However the local guys are not familiar with this setup and usually quote matched pairs. I'd say the biggest challenge is getting a contractor that has actually done a whole-house system like yours. Ask for like system references.

    -HF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by hangfirew8 View Post
    The biggest disadvantage is a great big A/C unit taking up a chunk of wall space. Some people don't care, but it is a cosmetic difference that many are not used to.

    I've seen mini-splits advertised with up to 3 zones (or indoor units) hooked up to a single outdoor unit. However the local guys are not familiar with this setup and usually quote matched pairs. I'd say the biggest challenge is getting a contractor that has actually done a whole-house system like yours. Ask for like system references.

    -HF
    I have read that the mini-split units provide more usable BTUs because there is no heating/cooling loss due to duck leakage, but would air distribution be an issue if there were only one or two wall units for the entire house?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Central Maryland
    Posts
    246
    Quote Originally Posted by drwillie View Post
    I have read that the mini-split units provide more usable BTUs because there is no heating/cooling loss due to duck leakage, but would air distribution be an issue if there were only one or two wall units for the entire house?
    Probably. That's why I mentioned 3-zone systems.

    Imported mini-splits are often more efficient simply because they are more technologically advanced.

    -HF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996

    Electrical upgrade might still be needed

    If the house needs 3 tons of cooling, a 2 ton mini-split still needs 20-30 amps of 208V power. You might find 1 ton 120v units, but then you 'll need several for the home. 3 or
    4 mini-splits installed will probably cost more then a single conventional split system

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    352
    Quote Originally Posted by johnsp View Post
    If the house needs 3 tons of cooling, a 2 ton mini-split still needs 20-30 amps of 208V power. You might find 1 ton 120v units, but then you 'll need several for the home. 3 or
    4 mini-splits installed will probably cost more then a single conventional split system

    Thats true, I installed a 1 ton lG and the entire system pulls 6.5 amps. That sounds really good, and it works really well. Until

    6.5
    X 4

    26 amps.................ouch

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