Mini Split AC Systems Frequently Asked Questions

Mini Split AC Systems: Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s be honest, this whole mini split thing can be kind of confusing. Do I get a 12k unit or an 18k unit? Which brands are available? How does a mini split even work in the first place? Well, if you have questions like these, you came to the right place. 

We will walk through common questions that our customers have had in the past when trying to decide if they should get a mini split ac or not. Let’s dive in. 

How does a mini split AC system work?

A mini split AC system consists of 2 major components, an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and one or more indoor air-handling units (also called evaporators). Refrigerant lines connect the indoor and outdoor units. The system works by absorbing heat from the indoor air and transferring it outside in cooling mode, or absorbing heat from outside air and bringing it inside in heating mode (if it’s a heat pump model). This setup allows for targeted climate control without the need for ductwork.

Expert Advice: Here is what a mini split is in the simplest terms possible. A mini split has two parts, one inside your house and one outside. The part inside blows either cool air or warm air, depending on what you want. The outside part is like the mini split's engine; it takes air from outside and makes it cold or warm before sending it inside.


What size mini split system do I need for my home?

The size of the mini split system you need depends on the size of the room or area you want to cool or heat. This is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Everyone has a little bit different numbers but we tell our customers to take their square footage and multiply it by 24. For example, a 500-square-foot room would require a 12,000 BTU unit.

For multiple rooms or zones, a multi-zone system with appropriately sized units for each zone is recommended. Consulting with a professional for a precise calculation based on your home's specifics is ideal. Feel free to give us a call and we will do our best to figure out which size mini split system is best for you. Below is a guide that might come in handy.

How energy efficient are mini split systems?

Mini split systems are known for their high energy efficiency which is one of the reasons they are so popular. They have SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings that typically range from 16 to 23 or higher. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. Compared to traditional HVAC systems, mini splits often provide superior energy efficiency because they avoid the energy losses associated with ductwork. Be on the lookout for savings on that electric bill!

Expert Advice: They are definitely efficient. No ductwork means you’re not losing cool or warm air through leaks!


Can I install a mini split system myself?

Yes, in most cases. While some mini split systems, like the MRCOOL DIY series, are designed for easy installation by homeowners, some of the systems require professional installation. Professional installation ensures that the system is set up correctly, operates efficiently, and maintains its warranty. Also some of the models do not come with pre charged line sets which a pro would have to work with. If you are comfortable with DIY projects and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, a DIY model could be an option for you.

Expert Advice: I've seen my fair share of DIY installs over the years, and while it can be a rewarding project, there are a few things to watch out for. Professional installation isn’t just about making the connections—it's about ensuring the system runs at peak efficiency and longevity. If you’re not comfortable handling refrigerants or unsure about electrical wiring, calling in a pro might save you from a headache (and potentially a costly mistake) down the line.


How much does it cost to install a mini split AC system?

The cost to install a mini split AC system varies based on several factors, including the number of zones, the complexity of the installation, and your location. On average, we have seen a single-zone mini split installation priced from $500 to $1,500, while multi-zone systems can range from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the contractor. Be sure to shop around to find the best price and a trustworthy person to install your mini split. These prices are for the install only.

Expert Advice: Always get multiple quotes and check references for any contractor you consider. A good installer can make a big difference.



What are the maintenance requirements for a mini split system?

Checking and cleaning your air conditioner's filters regularly is crucial for keeping it working well. These filters are not just for cleaning the air you breathe but also for protecting the inner parts of your AC, like the evaporator coil, from dust and dirt. When these coils get dirty, they can cause your AC to work harder, use more energy, and even break down.

To avoid these problems, you should make it a habit to check your filters every one or 2 months, especially if you have pets. If the filter looks dirty, you should clean or replace it. This simple step can prevent major AC issues in the future so don’t forget!

Similarly, before and after the summer season, give your AC a quick cleaning. Just like you wouldn't start a car that's been sitting unused for months without checking it first, your AC needs a check-up too. Leaves, sticks, and debris can clog your AC during the off-season, so it's important to clean it out before turning it on for summer. These cleaning tasks are not complicated and can go a long way in keeping your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently.

Expert Advice: Regular maintenance is the secret sauce for a long-lasting mini split system. Think of it as giving your system a regular tune-up. Checking those filters is an easy job that can prevent a lot of bigger problems. And don’t forget to clear out debris around your outdoor unit. It’s amazing how much junk can pile up over a season! 


Are mini split systems noisy?

No, mini split systems are generally very quiet. The indoor units typically operate at sound levels as low as 19-30 decibels, which is quieter than a normal conversation. The outdoor units are also designed to minimize noise, making them much quieter than traditional central air conditioning systems.

Expert Advice: That low hum isn’t that noticeable at all. Whether you’re working from home or trying to sleep, you’ll hardly ever think about it unless it is on full blast.


Can a mini split system provide heating as well as cooling?

Yes, many mini split systems are heat pumps, meaning they can provide both heating and cooling. This makes them a versatile solution for year-round climate control. In heating mode, the system works by extracting heat from the outdoor air and transferring it indoors, even in cold temperatures.

Expert Advice: Yes I agree, they’re efficient even in colder temperatures, which is great for those unpredictable weather swings we get here in Atlanta.



What features should I look for in a mini split system?

Key features to look for include high SEER ratings for energy efficiency, inverter technology for precise temperature control, Wi-Fi connectivity for remote operation, programmable thermostats, and integrated air purification or dehumidification capabilities. Some models also offer advanced filtration systems to improve indoor air quality.

Expert Advice: When shopping for a mini split, think beyond just cooling and heating. Go with a solid brand that has a good warranty. Most of the time everything works out but you never know what can happen!


How long do mini split systems typically last?

With proper maintenance, mini split systems can last 10-15 years or more. Regular servicing, cleaning, and timely repairs can help extend the lifespan of the system. Be sure to check the warranty information before purchasing any mini split AC system.

Expert Advice: Longevity is a huge selling point for mini splits. With good care, these systems can last a really long time.


Are mini split systems compatible with smart home devices?

Many modern mini split systems offer compatibility with smart home devices. They often come with built-in Wi-Fi or can be paired with smart thermostats, allowing you to control the system remotely via smartphone apps. This integration provides convenience and can help optimize energy usage.

Expert Advice: Embracing smart technology can make your life a lot easier. Imagine adjusting your home’s temperature from your phone while you’re still at the office or on your way back from a trip. 


Do mini split systems work well in extremely hot or cold climates?

Yes, high-quality mini split systems are designed to perform efficiently in both extremely hot and cold climates. Heat pumps can provide heating even when outdoor temperatures drop significantly, thanks to advanced inverter technology. However, it’s important to select a model that’s rated for the temperature extremes typical in your area. MRCOOL 4th Generation DIY single zones and multi-zones heat down to -13 degrees fahrenheit.

Expert Advice: I lived in Colorado for 2 years so, I've seen how brutal the summers can be and how unexpectedly cold it can get in the winter. Mini splits equipped with advanced inverter technology are up for the challenge though, you shouldn't worry. Just make sure to check the specs on the unit you are interested in!


How do mini split systems compare to traditional HVAC systems?

Mini split systems are typically more energy-efficient than traditional HVAC systems because they avoid the energy losses associated with ductwork. They also offer more flexible installation options and the ability to control temperatures in individual zones. However, traditional HVAC systems might be more suitable for homes that already have ductwork installed and need whole-house climate control from a single thermostat. 

Expert Advice: Both systems have their merits, but if energy efficiency and zoned comfort are priorities, mini splits often come out on top.



What brands are most reliable for mini split systems?

Some of the most reliable and well-regarded brands for mini split systems include Mitsubishi Electric, MRCOOL, Daikin, LG, Fujitsu, Panasonic, Gree, Mirage, Perfect Aire, and Senville. These brands are known for their quality, efficiency, and advanced features.

Expert Advice: I've installed a lot of systems over the years, and these brands consistently deliver on performance and durability. Mitsubishi and Daikin are top-tier. MRCOOL is a solid choice for DIY enthusiasts. No matter which brand you choose, ensure it's well-suited to your specific needs and climate conditions.


Can you mount a mini split to a wall?

Yes, you can! Mini split air handlers are designed to be mounted on walls, usually high up near the ceiling. It's like putting up a picture frame essentially but with a cooling or heating system attached.

Expert Advice: Wall mounting is a great space-saving option and ensures optimal air distribution. Just make sure the unit is mounted securely and positioned to avoid obstructions for the best airflow. A little bit of precision here goes a long way in keeping your room evenly comfortable.


What is a "pre-charged" lineset for a mini split?

A pre-charged lineset is like having a straw that's already filled with the drink you want. In this case, it's a set of pipes that come with refrigerant gas already inside. It makes installing the mini split easier because you don't have to add refrigerant yourself.

Expert Advice: Pre-charged linesets are a game-changer for DIYers. They simplify the installation process and reduce the risk of improper refrigerant handling, which can be tricky if you're not experienced. 


Do I need to also buy a thermostat when buying a mini split?

Most mini splits come with a thermostat built into the indoor unit, so you usually don't need to buy an extra one. You can control the temperature and settings right from the unit itself or sometimes with a remote control.

Expert Advice: The built-in controls on mini splits are typically very user-friendly. However, if you love smart home integration, look for models with Wi-Fi connectivity. This allows you to manage your system from your smartphone, giving you even more flexibility and convenience.


What is the difference between a Mitsubishi mini split and a MRCOOL mini split?

Mitsubishi and MRCOOL are just different brands of mini split systems. They work similarly to cool or heat your home, but they might have different features, prices, and warranties. Mitsubishi is the more well known brand, and the price reflects that. MRCOOL also specializes in DIY mini split systems whereas Mitsubushi does not. 

Expert advice: Mitsubishi offers top-notch reliability and advanced features, but it comes at a premium price. MRCOOL is more budget-friendly and great for DIY projects, making it an attractive option for handy homeowners. 


What are some of the common problems with mini splits?

Some common issues could be leaks in the refrigerant pipes, clogged filters, or problems with the electronic controls. Regular maintenance like cleaning filters can help prevent these problems.

Expert Advice: Yes, regular maintenance is key to avoiding these issues. Clean the filters regularly and check for any signs of leaks or unusual noises. 

How long does it take to install a single-zone DIY mini split?

It can vary pending on your experience and skill, but if you're handy and follow the instructions carefully, it might take around 4-8 hours. It involves mounting the indoor and outdoor units, connecting the pipes, and testing everything to make sure it works.

Expert Advice: Set aside a full day for your installation project to ensure you’re not rushed. Take your time with each step, especially when it comes to connecting the lines and ensuring there are no leaks. Having an extra pair of hands can be incredibly helpful. If you’re ever in doubt, consult with a professional to avoid any mishaps.


Where can you buy mini splits online?

You can buy mini splits from online stores like ours, Chill Mini Splits, or others like Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. Just make sure to check reviews and choose a reputable seller.


I hope these answers help you make an informed decision about choosing the right mini split AC system for your home!

2024Mini split