Bob Vila Radio: Mini-Split Air Conditioners

Looking for an alternative to central air and window air conditioning units? Think about installing a ductless mini-split system in your home.

Heat gettin’ you down? If you’re in a house where installing central air would also mean installing ductwork, maybe you should think about a ductless mini-split system.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON MINI-SPLIT SYSTEMS or read the text below:

Mini Split Systems

Photo: rsmechanicalservices.com

Mini-split systems consist of two main components: a condenser/compressor unit that sits outside, and one or more air handlers that distribute cooled air indoors. The components are connected by wiring and a conduit for refrigerant. The air handler—the indoor component—is typically wall- or ceiling-mounted.

The benefits of a mini-split? Unlike a window air conditioner, a mini-split is controlled via a thermostat, and it won’t block a window or need to be removed at season’s end. Unlike central air, a mini-split cools a particular room (or rooms) and can be shut off as needed to save energy. Because they don’t use ducts, mini-splits don’t have the energy losses associated with ducted systems.

The cons? Aesthetics: Some don’t like the look of the indoor units. And price: For the cooling capacity you get, you’re spending more than you would on either a window unit or central air. And while they’re easier to install than central air, you’ll still need to hire a pro for installation or risk voiding the warranty.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.