9 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Mini Split Air Conditioner

Ductless Mini-Split HVAC System in Charlotte, NC

A mini split air conditioner is a great way to cool your home without installing a bulky window unit. It consists of two parts: an outdoor condenser and one or more indoor units connected with tubing. The indoor units can get mounted on the wall, ceiling, or floor, depending on your space requirements and preferences.

The advantage of this type of system is that it gives you precise temperature control of each room and zoned cooling for specific areas of your home. Additionally, these systems are relatively quiet compared to traditional central air conditioning systems. But you must get the right-size unit for your space and environment to ensure maximum energy efficiency. Below are some factors that affect the size of your mini split AC and a few tips to help you make the best decision.

1. BTUs and Square Footage

Mini split air conditioners get measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), which measure the amount of heat the unit can remove from space in an hour. When choosing a mini split air conditioner, consider the square footage of the space you want to cool. The BTU rating of the unit should depend on the square footage of the area. As a rule, you will need roughly 20 BTUs per square foot to cool your space adequately.

If the space gets a lot of direct sunlight or is poorly insulated, you may need to increase the BTU rating by 10%. Additionally, you may need to increase the BTU rating if several people occupy the space or have lots of electronics. When in doubt, it is always best to buy an air conditioner with a higher BTU rating than you think you require. This will ensure that you can cool your space effectively.

2. The Number of Rooms and Room Size

You can choose a smaller unit if you only want to cool one room. However, if you want to cool multiple rooms, you must select a larger unit.

You should also consider the size of each room you want to cool. Bigger rooms require larger air conditioners, while smaller rooms could get away with a more compact unit. If you are cooling multiple rooms, ensuring the air conditioner has enough power to cool them is essential.

3. The Climate

Depending on where you live and how hot or cold it gets during certain times of the year, different air conditioners may be better suited for your needs than others. For instance, if you are in a warm climate with high temperatures throughout the summer, a larger and more powerful mini-split unit would be necessary to keep your home cool and comfortable. On the other hand, if you live in an area with milder summers and cooler winters, a smaller unit could provide sufficient cooling power for your home.

4. Installation

The installation process requires careful consideration of the space, size, and unit type you will use. It also involves measuring the area that requires cooling, choosing the right location for the indoor and outdoor units, considering how many zones you need to cool, and determining which type of refrigerant line best suits the job.

Therefore, you should choose a qualified HVAC expert with experience in mini split air conditioner installation. Professional technicians will be able to evaluate your space, size, and type of unit you need and make recommendations for accessories, like line sets and insulation, which may be necessary for the job. They must also check the proper voltage and amperage requirements and ensure the unit has an appropriate electrical system connection.

5. The Efficiency

Experts measure a mini split’s efficiency by its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the ratio of energy output divided by energy input over a season. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system. Most mini splits are over 15 SEER, considered very efficient for home air conditioning systems.

Additionally, many of these units come with energy-saving features, such as variable speed compressors and advanced inverter technology, that help further improve efficiency. By choosing an efficient mini split air conditioner, you can save energy, save money, and reduce your environmental impact.

6. Age and Insulation

The age of the building is essential because it indicates the amount of insulation in the walls, attic, and windows. Older buildings have less insulation and require a more oversized air conditioner than a newer home with higher insulation levels. For example, an older house with 8-inch walls would need a more oversized air conditioner than a newer home with 12-inch walls. Additionally, a professional should check the insulation in attics and crawl spaces to determine the correct size of the mini split air conditioner needed. The amount of insulation can make an enormous difference in the unit’s temperature control and energy efficiency.

7. Ceiling Height

Ceiling height affects the size of the unit you require and can be a deciding factor on whether the unit will fit in your space. Generally, a higher ceiling requires a more oversized air conditioner to cool the room adequately. For example, a mini split air conditioner with 9,000 BTU capacity can effectively cool an area of up to 400 square feet with a ceiling height of 8 feet. However, if the ceiling is 12 feet or higher, you will need a larger unit with greater BTU capacity to cool the space adequately.

8. Windows and Door

The larger the openings, or if multiple windows/doors are on one wall, the more air will escape inside your house. As a result, it is essential to carefully measure the number and size of windows/doors when sizing a mini split air conditioner for your space.
You will need a larger unit if there are more openings or wider windows/doors, as it needs to have enough capacity to keep up with the extra air escaping from inside. Additionally, if the windows/doors have no insulation or have single-pane glass, it can further increase the cooling load and require a bigger unit to cool the space. Sometimes, you may need to install additional insulation or upgrade to double-pane glass to reduce this extra air leakage.

9. Number of Occupants

More people produce more heat, necessitating the use of a unit with a larger capacity. It’s also essential to consider how much activity occurs in each room and how much heat it generates. For instance, kitchens and appliances generate a lot of extra heat.

Benefits of Installing a Mini Split Air Conditioner

Mini split air conditioners are becoming an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to upgrade their cooling systems. Not only do they offer a more energy-efficient way of cooling your home, but you also get to enjoy benefits such as:

  • Easy installation
  • Flexible zoning
  • Quiet operation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Ability to customize temperature settings

Our Pros Can Help!

The right size of a mini split air conditioner is essential to maintain indoor air quality and comfort. If you need help determining what size system will work best in your space, you must work with an expert. A team of experts can also assist with duct sealing, commercial and residential HVAC services, and much more. Contact Integrity Heating & Cooling today for more information on how we can help you stay comfortable in your Charlotte space year-round.

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