Can a Mini-Split System Heat an Entire Home?

A mini-split system is a unit that offers heating and cooling. It can be an efficient way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, and one of its advantages is that it doesn’t require any ductwork. For this reason, there’s a bit more flexibility when it comes to the installation of these appliances. Mini-splits come with many benefits, and yes, they can be used to heat an entire home.

Mini-Split Basics

Before we go into more detail about how a mini-split can be used to heat your entire home, it’s important that you understand a little bit about how one of these units works. It’s essentially a heat pump. A heat pump doesn’t create heat like a furnace or a boiler would. Generating heat actually takes a considerable amount of energy, which is why utility bills can be quite high in the winter. Instead, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. It takes much less energy to move heat than to generate it.

Heat pumps work in a similar way to how a refrigerator works. They use a material called refrigerant, which is contained within a closed piping system. That refrigerant can readily absorb heat and it can just as easily give it off. The heat pump system has been developed around this concept. In the winter, the refrigerant can absorb heat from an outside source and then transfer it to a home. In the summer, the opposite happens, and indoor heat is brought outside.

You might be wondering whether a heat pump can find outside heat in the winter. This is a good question, but you’ll be relieved to know that there shouldn’t be a problem. There just needs to be a temperature difference between the refrigerant and the outdoor air in order for heat to be transferred. Since the refrigerant can get very, very cold, it can absorb heat even when it’s chilly outside.

Indoor Units

Mini-splits have both outdoor and indoor units where the heat transfers can take place. These units are connected to each other through various tubes, wires, and pipes. All of those components can be strategically set up in a home, and in many cases, they can be hidden within drywall. As a result, there could be a few different places where indoor units can be installed. Another important point is that one outdoor unit can be connected to multiple indoor units, which is why a mini-split system can work for an entire home. Each unit would have its own thermostat, which creates multiple heating zones.

Indoor units are usually mounted somewhere toward the ceiling. They can actually be suspended directly from a ceiling, or they can be hung towards the top of a wall. If you have a drop ceiling, they can be mounted flush into it. This placement allows them to work efficiently and stay out of the way. A typical indoor unit is only about 7 inches deep and a few feet wide, so it doesn’t take up that much space at all. Units can come with remote controls so that you can easily turn them on or off or adjust their settings. Some indoor units are free-standing, and these could be ideal in second-floor rooms that have sloped ceilings.

What If You Already Have a Heating System?

If you’d like to make the switch to a mini-split but already have a heating system, there’s good news. You can have a mini-split system installed without doing anything to your existing heating unit. That older heater would then be used as a backup, just in case anything were to happen or you needed an additional source of heat. Since many customers don’t necessarily look forward to having so many major projects going on at once, it can be nice to know that a mini-split can be added to a home that already has a heating system.

Mini-Split Sizing

As we mentioned earlier, one outdoor unit can connect with multiple indoor units. It’s primarily the size of the outdoor unit that you want to be looking out for. A larger unit is capable of heating (or cooling) more space, and vice versa. The size of a unit is measured in BTUs, or British thermal units. This is a standard measurement that basically tells us how powerful a unit is. For example, a small 300-square-foot room may need a 6,000-BTU heater, a 1,000-square-foot house may require an 18,000-BTU heater, and a 2,000-square-foot home may require a 36,000-BTU heater. However, these are very rough estimates. The exact size that you need can depend on a few different factors, including the layout of your home, the height of your ceilings, the placement of doors and windows, and the amount of insulation you have.

It’s best to work with a professional to figure out what type of outdoor unit you need for your home. Since there is a lot of flexibility with these systems, there are many options to explore. You may have a preference for where the outdoor unit is placed, and there may be different ideas for where the indoor units are installed. There’s also the possibility of installing two outdoor units. This may be more practical in certain situations, including when a home has a lot of square footage.

Advantages of Mini-Splits

There are several reasons why many people have chosen to get mini-splits for their homes. As we described, there is a lot of flexibility in their arrangement. In addition, they’re very efficient because they transfer heat instead of making heat. Another reason why they can be seen as more eco-friendly is that they avoid energy losses associated with ductwork. In homes with central air, a lot of heat can be lost as the warm air travels through ducts, especially if they’re run through attics. Finally, we touched on the fact that mini-splits can be used as air conditioners in the summer. Being able to provide relief from the summer heat really works in their favor. If you’re thinking about upgrading your place or are building a new home, a mini-split eliminates the need to have to use separate air conditioners and heaters.

Reach Out to Our Team

If you live in Oviedo or one of the surrounding communities and would like to have a mini-split system installed, you can count on American Air & Heat. Our business was founded in 1987, so we have extensive experience in the field. We’re proud to have earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we’re pleased that so many of our previous customers have referred their friends and family to us. Our NATE-certified technicians are ready to assist you with installations, repairs, or maintenance related to heating and cooling systems. We also offer services related to thermostats, indoor air quality, and duct cleaning. Our Home Comfort Club is something that you may want to take advantage of; it includes two comprehensive tune-ups, one complimentary service call, select discounts, and priority service for the year. Call us to schedule an appointment or for more information!

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