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February 16, 2023

Split System HVAC Units: The Right Solution For Your Home?

Split system HVAC units are one of the most common and efficient types of heating and cooling systems used in homes and small businesses. They offer a number of benefits over traditional heating and cooling systems, including improved energy efficiency, lower operating costs, and better indoor air quality. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to split system HVAC units, including how they work, the benefits they offer, and the different types of units available on the market.

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What is a Split System HVAC Unit?

A split system HVAC unit, also known as a ductless mini-split system, is a type of heating and cooling system that consists of two main components: an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit is installed outside of the building, while the indoor unit is mounted on the wall or ceiling inside the building. The two units are connected by a small conduit that houses the refrigerant lines, electrical wiring, and a condensate drain.

The outdoor unit contains the compressor, condenser, and expansion valve, which are responsible for circulating refrigerant throughout the system. The indoor unit contains the evaporator, which is responsible for absorbing heat from the indoor air and transferring it to the outdoor unit.

How Does a Split System HVAC Unit Work?

Split system HVAC units work by using a refrigerant to absorb heat from the indoor air and transfer it outside. During the summer months, the unit operates in cooling mode, removing heat from the indoor air and expelling it outside. During the winter months, the unit operates in heating mode, absorbing heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside.

The refrigerant is circulated between the indoor and outdoor units by the compressor. The refrigerant is compressed in the outdoor unit, which increases its temperature and pressure. The hot, high-pressure refrigerant then flows to the indoor unit, where it is passed through the evaporator. As the refrigerant passes through the evaporator, it absorbs heat from the indoor air, causing it to evaporate and cool. The refrigerant then returns to the outdoor unit, where it is condensed back into a liquid form. The condenser releases the heat absorbed from the indoor air to the outdoor air, and the refrigerant is then ready to start the cycle again.

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Benefits of Split System HVAC Units

Split system HVAC units offer a number of benefits over traditional heating and cooling systems, including:

  • Energy Efficiency: Split system HVAC units are highly efficient, as they use a refrigerant to transfer heat instead of burning fuel to generate heat. This results in lower operating costs and lower carbon emissions.
  • Zone Control: Split system HVAC units allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms or zones, so you can keep the rooms you use the most comfortable while reducing energy waste in rooms that are not in use.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Split system HVAC units do not require ducts, which means that there is less opportunity for dust, dirt, and other pollutants to accumulate in the air. This results in improved indoor air quality and a healthier living environment.
  • Quiet Operation: Split system HVAC units are designed to be quiet, so you won’t be disturbed by loud, distracting noises while you’re trying to relax or sleep.
  • Easy Installation: Split system HVAC units are relatively easy to install, as they do not require the extensive ductwork that traditional heating and cooling systems do. This makes them a popular choice for older homes or homes with limited space.

Comparing the Operating Costs of an Electric Split System Unit vs. Gas Furnace

To compare the operating costs of an all-electric split system and a gas furnace, we need to look at the energy usage and cost of using both systems. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity in the US was 13.31 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as of August 2021. Meanwhile, the average price of natural gas was $1.054 per therm, which is equivalent to 10.54 cents per kWh.

Let’s assume that a home with an area of 2,000 square feet requires a heating capacity of 60,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) per hour during the winter. A gas furnace with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of 95% would consume 63,157 cubic feet of natural gas to produce the required heat. Based on the average price of natural gas, this would cost $664.77 per year.

On the other hand, an all-electric split system with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 18 and a heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) rating of 9 would consume 3,333 kWh of electricity to produce the required heat. Based on the average price of electricity, this would cost $443.33 per year.

Therefore, in this scenario, the all-electric split system is cheaper to operate than the gas furnace, with an estimated cost difference of $221.44 per year.

Different Types of Split System HVAC Units

There are several different types of split system HVAC units available on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some of the most common types include:

  • Wall-Mounted Units: Wall-mounted units are the most common type of split system HVAC unit. They are installed on the wall of the room, and are connected to the outdoor unit through a small conduit. Wall-mounted units are ideal for smaller rooms or for supplemental heating and cooling in larger rooms.
  • Ceiling-Mounted Units: Ceiling-mounted units are similar to wall-mounted units, but are installed on the ceiling instead of the wall. They are ideal for rooms with high ceilings or for supplemental heating and cooling in larger rooms.
  • Floor-Mounted Units: Floor-mounted units are designed to be installed on the floor, and are ideal for rooms with limited wall or ceiling space. They are also a good option for supplemental heating and cooling in larger rooms.
  • Multi-Split Systems: Multi-split systems are designed to provide heating and cooling to multiple rooms with a single outdoor unit. This type of system is ideal for larger homes or for commercial applications.
  • Inverter Split Systems: Inverter split systems use a variable-speed compressor to control the flow of refrigerant, which results in improved energy efficiency and more consistent temperatures.


Choosing the Right Split System HVAC Unit for Your Home

When choosing a split system HVAC unit for your home, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Room Size: Make sure to choose a unit that is the appropriate size for the room you want to cool or heat. If the unit is too small, it will struggle to keep up with demand and may not provide enough heating or cooling. If the unit is too large, it will use more energy than necessary and may cause discomfort due to temperature swings.
  • Climate: Consider the climate in your area and choose a unit that is designed to perform well in your area. Some units are designed for hot climates, while others are designed for cold climates.
  • Energy Efficiency: Look for a unit that has a high energy efficiency rating, as this will result in lower energy bills and a more environmentally-friendly system.
  • Noise: Consider how loud the unit is when it is in operation, as this can be a major factor in your comfort and quality of life.
  • Price: Make sure to compare prices from multiple manufacturers and retailers to get the best deal on your split system HVAC unit.

DIY Split System Installation

While there are many DIY split systems available online, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Here are some potential negatives of a DIY split system installation:

  • Lack of Technical Knowledge: Split system HVAC units require technical knowledge for installation, maintenance, and repair. A homeowner may not have the necessary skills to complete these tasks, leading to potential safety risks or even causing damage to the unit.
  • Safety Risks: Split system HVAC units use refrigerant, which is a potentially hazardous substance. Without proper training and equipment, handling refrigerant can be dangerous to individuals and the environment.
  • Voided Warranty: Many manufacturers of split system HVAC units have warranties that require professional installation. Attempting to install the system on your own may void the warranty, leaving you responsible for any repairs or replacements.
  • Potential Damage to the Unit: DIY installations may not be as precise as professional installations. A poorly installed split system could lead to damage to the unit, which could be costly to repair or replace.
  • Inefficient Operation: A poorly installed or improperly sized split system could result in inefficient operation, leading to higher energy bills and less comfort in the home.

Therefore, it’s highly recommended that homeowners hire a professional installer to ensure that the split system HVAC unit is installed safely and correctly. A professional installer has the technical knowledge and equipment necessary to handle refrigerant and ensure the proper installation of the unit. Additionally, professional installation will not only ensure the safety of the homeowner but also maximize the unit’s efficiency and lifespan. While price is an essential factor, it’s important to consider the value of professional installation when choosing a split system HVAC unit for your home.

Consult With a Professional

Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric is a leading provider of split system HVAC units and a licensed contractor & dealer for Mitsubishi Electric US and Samsung, offering a wide range of high-quality, energy-efficient units to meet the needs of homeowners and small businesses. Our experienced technicians are trained to handle the installation, repair, and maintenance of all types of split system HVAC units, so you can be confident that your system will be installed and maintained properly.

Whether you are looking for a wall-mounted unit for a small room, a multi-split system for a larger home, or an inverter split system for improved energy efficiency, we have the expertise and experience to help you find the perfect split system HVAC unit for your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our split system HVAC units and to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.

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