Nov 11

How To Keep Your Ductless Mini-Split Working Through The Winter

ductless system in winter season

A superior quality heating and cooling system, like a ductless mini-split, allows you to create different zones in your home. This means you and your family get to enjoy temperature control as per your specifications and needs.

The cooling process of a mini-split involves the refrigerant absorbing the heat inside and then releasing it outside. During heat mode, the process is simply reversed. Therefore, a ductless heat pump is capable of keeping you comfortable all year round.

However, it is not without limitations. Extremely low outdoor temperatures make it hard for the heat pump to absorb heat. This results in a decrease in both the system’s efficiency and performance. Fortunately, there are ways around this issue.

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How To Keep Your Ductless Mini-Split Working In The Winter Season

In this article, we discuss a few tips to ensure that your ductless mini-split works at optimum efficiency and effectivity even in frigid weather.

Choose A Heat Pump Split Type System

When purchasing a ductless system, make sure that you select a ductless heat pump. This will help protect your home from the cold winter days and ensure that you are warm and cozy. It offers many advantages, such as its compact size and the flexibility to create zones in your home. Moreover, since a heat pump can move heat rather than generate it, it consumes less energy, reducing your energy costs and without sacrificing the output quality.

energy-efficient ductless system


High HSPF Rating

If you live in an area that has freezing winters, then it is recommended that you purchase a heat pump. The heat pump must be able to supply your home with heat, even as the temperature drops below zero. Check the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or HSPF rating of different makes and models. The one with the highest HSPF score will operate with the most excellent efficiency and reliability. Thus, it could provide your home with heat even in the coldest days of the year.

Some Mitsubishi mini-split systems have a 13.5 HSPF rating and a 33.1 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios or SEER rating. This means this particular ductless heating system can warm up your home while still maintaining excellent energy-efficiency.

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Outdoor Unit Installation

Your mini-split is made up of three parts: the indoor air handler, the outdoor compressor, and a conduit line that connects the two. The outdoor unit, as the name suggests, is located outside of your home. Therefore, the HVAC contractor must place the outdoor unit correctly so that it can work at full capacity even during the winter season.

You should mount the outdoor compressor at least two feet above the ground. This way, it is protected from accumulated snow, including snowdrifts that happen during windy weather. If the unit is too close to the snow, then it might end up sucking snow into it. When this happens, the compressor will end up spending energy trying to melt the snow instead of heating the house. Mounting it high above the ground ensures that your system is in proper operation all winter long.

It is also best to mount it under an overhang to serve as a roof over the outdoor unit. This will protect your compressor from snow, and make sure no ice or snow will build up on top of it. If there is no available overhand in your house, you can build a small cover over it. However, you need to ensure that there is adequate space between the cover and the unit so as not to restrict airflow.


Defrost Mode

Turn the condenser controls to its defrost setting. When your mini-split is heating your home, frost tends to accumulate on the condenser coil. Making sure that your system is in defrost mode will melt the ice. The water will then drip into the drain pan, where it will be removed from the unit properly.

Unfortunately, if it gets too cold, the water in the drain pan may freeze before it leaves the pan. The ice can get too thick, and this may lead to the fan blades freezing to the drain pan. Another issue that may happen is that moisture may get lodged between the coil fins. When this moisture turns into ice, the coil may crack. The damage can be costly to repair. Therefore, it is best to install a drain pan heater to prevent damages to your mini-split during frigid weather.

Ensure that the drain pan heater you purchase is compatible with the brand, make, and model of the mini-split condenser you have. An HVAC contractor will plug the drain pan heater to the condenser control board. When the temperature begins to drop, the control board automatically turns on the heater and make sure that the drain pan problems stated above do not happen.

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Indoor Air Handler Mounting

The indoor air handler will be able to heat your home at maximum capacity if it is mounted at approximately one and a half feet above the floor. When it is placed at a low position, the heated air is distributed across the room at floor level first before it flows upward. The room is, thus, heated thoroughly without the occupants of the room feeling overheated. A floor-mounted air handler also makes cleaning the air filters easier compared to its ceiling or wall-mounted mini-split counterparts.

mitsubishi heating and cooling system

Compensate For The Limitations Of A Ductless Mini-Split In Winter

A ductless mini-split heat pump cannot heat a cold house immediately. Therefore, you should learn to compensate for this limitation. When your home is unoccupied, such as when you are at work or school during most of the day, set the indoor temperature to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. When you and your family are out of the house for a more extended period, like an out-of-town vacation, you can turn your home’s interior temperature to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also lower the temperature at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night while everyone is sleeping.

Rest assured that even at a lower temperature, a mini-split heat pump will continue to circulate the heated air. This will ensure that your living space maintains a consistent level of warmth and that cold spots do not form.

Pipe Sizing

The outdoor and indoor units of your mini-split need at least 15 feet of piping to prevent noise transference between the two units. It is possible to have longer pipes should it be required. However, longer stretches of tubing tend to make your unit less inefficient than necessary.

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Whooshing Noise

A ductless mini-split creates a characteristic whooshing sound when heating or cooling your home. Most homeowners get used to the noise of this unit quickly, especially after they found out the many benefits a mini-split has to offer. Therefore, you should make sure you could live with this little bit of noise.

To gauge and experience the level of noise a mini-split makes, you can visit a neighbor or friend who already has a mini-split installed in their home. You can also go to your local mini-split distributor’s showroom to listen to how much noise a mini-split makes. If you find that you cannot stand the bit of noise and that you prefer a dead silent house, then a mini-split is probably not for you. However, it is important to note that many homeowners do not even realize when the system is on. Consequently, they forget to turn it off when leaving the room or home.


Cooling Function In Cold Weather

Do you also depend on your mini-split system to supply your busy kitchen or server room with cold air? If so, then your system must be able to run all year round even when it is extremely cold outside.

You need to choose the correct system. Otherwise, you will experience problems like the cold outside air flowing too quickly over the coil. Unfortunately, this may lead to system failure. Wind baffles can help prevent this from happening. It solves the problem by blocking the wind from blowing through your outside unit. It allows the condenser fan to control the air that passes through the coil more effectively.

Keep in mind that not all mini-split makes and models can be fitted with wind baffles. Therefore, if you live in an area with a cold climate, and you rely on your mini-split to provide you with year-round cooling, make sure you choose a unit that can be equipped with wind baffles. You should also ensure that the wind baffle you purchase is compatible with the brand and model of your mini-split.


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When you are searching to install an energy-efficient and reliable heating system, consider purchasing a ductless mini-split. It is always a good idea to have the ideal heating and cooling system that can cater to your needs all year-round while being cost-efficient at the same time.

The winter is fast approaching, and you do not want to be caught in the middle of the coldest day of the winter season without any heat source. Consult with your qualified local technician to ensure that you install a mini-split system that comes with superior heating capacity and energy efficiency.

A professional HVAC contractor has extensive knowledge, skills, and experience to assist you in finding the right mini-split make and model for your home. Rest assured that an expert can find you a mini-split that can provide your home with warmth even in the coldest days of the winter.

Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

If you are ready to switch to a ductless system or have more questions, call Skylands Energy Service right away. Our NATE-certified technicians will discuss your needs and requirements to help you understand the best ductless HVAC system for you. We offer a range of heating and cooling services including installations, repairs, and maintenance. We also offer an in-home estimate free of charge. Call Skylands Energy Service today.

Call Now: (908) 707-1776

Contact us now at (908) 707-1776 to find out more!

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