If you’re a homeowner in De Pere, WI, and you’re looking for a new HVAC solution for your home, you’ve probably come across ductless mini-split systems. Although they’re not new, ductless mini-splits are quickly becoming a very popular option here for a variety of reasons. One reason is that they offer extremely efficient heating and cooling, which can save you money on your home’s energy costs. One of the ways they do that is by doing away with the use of ductwork. That eliminates a big chunk of the energy losses that conventional ducted systems experience. As a bonus, it also means that mini-splits offer zoned heating and cooling by default. Here’s what you need to know about zoned heating and cooling and how many zones a mini-split system can support.

What Is HVAC Zoning?

A zoned HVAC system refers to a system that’s divided into multiple, separately controlled heating and cooling zones. In a conventional ducted HVAC system, this is accomplished by adding motor-controlled dampers into your home’s ductwork. Then, each zone gets a thermostat, and the system opens and closes the dampers according to each zone’s HVAC needs. The problem with that is the fact that you can subdivide a ducted system only into so many zones before you run into excess static pressure issues in your ductwork. This robs the HVAC of efficiency and can even do damage to it and the ductwork in the process. As a result, the average zoned ducted HVAC system will have only two or three zones at the most.

Mini-splits, however, don’t offer zoned heating and cooling in the same way. They utilize multiple indoor air handlers, each linked to a single outdoor condenser unit via some wires and refrigerant lines. That means each air handler represents a zone, complete with its own thermostat and control circuitry. It’s important to note that, in most homes, a mini-split air handler will provide heating and cooling for a single room, which you’d never find with a zoned conventional ducted system. In some cases, though, a single mini-split air handler might handle heating and cooling for a much larger area, such as in a home with an open-plan layout. This means you can design your home’s heating and cooling zones almost any way you wish with a mini-split.

What Are the Benefits of HVAC Zoning?

The most obvious benefit of zoned heating and cooling is that it gives you flexibility in how you use your HVAC. Instead of a one-temperature-fits-all approach, you get much more precise control of the temperature inside your home. This is particularly useful in multilevel homes since upper floors tend to need extra cooling in summer and less heat in the winter. With a zoned system, you end up with fewer hot and cold spots and eliminate energy waste by not overcooling or overheating spaces when they don’t need it.

Mini-splits take the advantages of conventional HVAC zoning and maximize them. With a mini-split, it is possible to minimize energy use by heating and cooling only a small part of your home. For example, you could cool your home’s living room only while you’re using it and then turn off its air handler when you leave. This approach can dramatically lower your home’s heating and cooling costs without you needing to sacrifice any comfort.

How Many Zones Can a Mini-Split Support?

As of right now, the largest available mini-split system can support up to eight zones. This means its outdoor unit can simultaneously serve eight individual air handlers. However, it is also necessary to consider the total cooling capacity you can get from a mini-split system. Right now, the most powerful mini-split on the market can deliver up to 60,000 BTUs of HVAC capacity. That’s equivalent to a five-ton conventional ducted system. That’s large enough to effectively serve a home that’s up to 3,300 square feet.

You should also know that you don’t need to max out a mini-split’s capacity when you first install it. This is useful if you have plans to modify your home’s interior spaces and you don’t want to wait until then to purchase your HVAC. All you need to do is purchase a mini-split with sufficient capacity for your envisioned space and install only the indoor air handlers you require at the time of the installation. Then, you can add additional air handlers up to the system’s maximum capacity later on, once you complete your home renovation.

Or, you could purchase multiple mini-split systems with smaller individual capacities. For example, if you need only six HVAC zones, you could purchase one system that supports four zones and a separate one for the additional two zones. This can be advantageous because it can make installation of your HVAC much easier. Instead of needing to run power cables and refrigerant lines from one side of your home to the other, you could split the needed coverage between two systems instead.

In some installation conditions, you may have little choice but to install multiple mini-split systems to cover all parts of your home. This is because there’s a limit to how far away a mini-split’s air handler can be from its outdoor unit. In most cases, your air handler cannot be installed closer than 15 feet from its outdoor unit, and it cannot be farther than about 50 feet. When you’re working with a very large mini-split system, the math gets even more complicated. This is because mini-splits have a total maximum line set distance, too. This means you have to add up the length of every line you run to ensure you don’t overtax the outdoor unit by trying to support too many far-off indoor air handlers.

Your Local Mini-Split Experts

The bottom line is that there are plenty of advantages that come with installing a multi-zone mini-split HVAC system. And you won’t find a better place to go for the mini-split you want for your De Pere home than Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC. We’ve served the local community for over 18 years, offering expert HVAC installation, repair and maintenance services. We also offer ductwork services, indoor air quality solutions and whole-house fans. Our team of HVAC technicians has the latest training and years of experience working with mini-split HVAC systems. And we sell the latest mini-splits from Mitsubishi, the original inventor of mini-split technology. That means you’ll always get a quality product and flawless installation when you work with us. Plus, we’re Better Business Bureau accredited with an A+ rating, too. And, we offer financing options on approved credit if you need help paying for a new mini-split for your home.

So, if you want a mini-split as your De Pere home’s next HVAC solution, contact the experts here at Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC right away!

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