Learn How to Upgrade to a Ductless Split System

Learn How to Upgrade to a Ductless Split System

Ductless split systems condition the air in designated areas of your home. These systems keep rooms warm in the wintertime and/or cool in the summertime. Frequently, ductless split system installations hang the inside unit high on a wall (or ceiling). Additionally, the installation requires an outside unit, which absorbs or rejects heat from external air. Home heating/cooling systems consume large amounts of energy. Therefore, it is very important to ensure any ductless split system installation is reliable and energy efficient. Learn more about how an upgrade to a ductless split system helps improve your home comfort.

Like traditional air source heat pumps, ductless split systems use an outside unit to heat and/or cool your home. However, unlike standard heat pump systems, ductless split systems work in select sections or rooms within your home. As a result, these systems rarely condition an entire home. However, installing several indoor units that connects to a single outdoor unit, ductless split systems can be used to condition many sections of your home.

Ductless Split System Energy Efficiency

Ductless split systems rely on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for energy efficiency ratings. SEER offers the standard cooling ratings in the industry. Additionally, ductless split systems rely on Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) as well. HSPF offers the standard heating ratings in the industry.

For example, a ductless split system that operates at 15 SEER removes 15 BTU’s for each watt of electricity consumed. Conversely, a 10 SEER heat pump removes 10 BTU’s for each watt of electricity consumed. Similarly, a ductless split system with a 9.0 HSPF supplies 9 BTU’s of heating to the home for each watt of electricity used. The higher the SEER and HSPF, the more efficient the ductless split system. GreenHomes recommends ductless split systems yield a 15 SEER rating or higher and an 8.5 HSPF rating or higher when upgrading to a ductless split system.

Ductless Split System Sizing

Ductless split system sizing is not a matter of the physical size of the equipment. Sizing relates to the amount of heating or cooling the system provides per hour. For example, British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour expresses the size of the system. Additionally, the size of the ductless split system depends on the efficiency level and the square footage of the room. Additionally, the general location of your home impacts the size as well. As a result, a larger, leaker, poorly insulated room in a hot climate needs a larger ductless split system. Conversely, a smaller, tighter, well insulated room in a warmer climate needs a smaller system.

GreenHomes recommends contractors follow the manufacturer’s sizing calculation procedure or perform a heating/cooling load calculation similar to a ACCA Manual J to determine both the heating and cooling loads of the room(s) and then select the size of the ductless split system based on the heating/cooling load estimates. It is never acceptable for an upgraded ductless split system to be sized based solely on the size of the older, existing equipment or by using “rules of thumb” to size the new ductless split system.

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