There are occasions when it is physically impossible or impractical to install a central
air conditioning system or heat pump. Through-the-wall and window units are noisy, drafty,
and allow unneeded air infiltration when not in use that can waste energy and allow insects
or other pests to invade the home or office.
Split systems offer higher efficiency and reduced noise without a large hole in the wall
or an open window. By separating the compressor and condenser coil from the fan and evaporator
coil, the noisiest component is away from the room. The indoor unit will usually have remote
control capabilities and a timer to cycle the system only when needed. The indoor unit is
called an air handler because it has the evaporator coil, blower, and controls inside. The
outdoor unit is called the condenser. They are connected together with refrigerant piping
and control wiring, similar to a central system.
Some manufacturers use low voltage to control the system, others use line voltage. Caution
must be taken when opening up the cabinet to shut power off when servicing. The most important
service item is dirt. Screens or filters can usually be found behind the front grill of
the air handler. Tabs allow them to slide out for cleaning. Keep vegetation and debris away
from the outdoor unit to allow good air flow for maximum cooling efficiency. An occasional
blast from a garden hose with the system shut down will help keep the condenser clean.
Relatively new to the American market, ductless split systems have been in use in Japan
and other markets for a long time. Until recently none were of U.S. manufacture, but increased
demand changed that.
To estimate what kind of mini-split is right for you, click