Will Your Buyers Consider More Efficient (Green) Mini Split Air Conditioning?

Mini Split Air Conditioning Systems are typical in all the rest of the world besides the United States.   Here’s a Fact and a Question that may be more timely in this economy…

Indoor and Outdoor Units are connected with refrigerant lines only.  No Ducts means no Duct Loss.

Indoor and Outdoor Units are connected with refrigerant lines only. No Ducts means no Duct Loss.

Fact:  Mini Split Systems can be 25 to 50% more energy efficient than conventional forced air systems.   This is because of two factors, 1.  Inverter Technology which allows higher SEER ratings (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of up to 21 SEER.   2. Zero energy  loss thru duct leakage and duct heat transfer.  That’s because there are no ducts in these systems.

Question:  Why have American Consumers and HVAC Contractors almost totally rejected the more efficient Mini Split systems?  I can think of several answers.

1.  Americans don’t know that more efficient systems are available.  Their Contractors haven’t told them.

2.  We buy into the idea that we must have forced air to every room.

3.  The “We’ve always done it that way” syndrome.

But the current economic times and increased awareness of Green and Energy Efficiency issues may make Mini Split Air  Conditioning an “Idea Who’s Time Has Come.”    With Utility Bills going nowhere but up and with less cash available to just send off to the Utility Company every month, it may be time to take another look at the Mini Split option.

Since I am just now specifying my first Mini Split System for one of my EnergyWise Renovation investment project homes, I’ll share some of the things I’ve found about these systems.

1.  It will save quite a bit on Utility Bills.   Exactly how much is still to be seen.

2.  The initial cost on this particular home is about $1,000 less than a new forced air system.

3.  Back bedrooms will be served by small forced air ducts from the Fujitsu “Concealed Unit.”   These ducts will be in a lowered hallway cavity so they will be inside the “building envelope” retaining the zero duct loss benefit of the Mini Split system.

4.  These systems are available as heat pumps, so they will take care of heating as well as cooling.

This type of system with the small duct system, works well on a full gut remodel, which is what I specialize in.    I’ll post photos and results in this blog as the project progresses.    If you have any experience in using Mini Splits for whole house air conditioning, please share in the comments.   The more that ideas like this are accepted, the less foreign oil we will need to buy.    So next time it’s time to upgrade your HVAC system, there really is something you can do to “Save The Planet, One House At A Time.”

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