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11 Reasons You Need a Multi-Zone Ductless System for Your Large Home
Heating and cooling a large home can be a significant waste of energy if you don’t get the right HVAC system. Central air is a common option, but, if you don’t have many people living in your home or some rooms are infrequently used, you could end up wasting electricity every day. Relying on fans or window units on the hottest days of summer can cause a serious spike in your electric bill without actually keeping you cool.
Multi-zone ductless systems rely on individual handler units located in different rooms or zones of the house to give you the same level of comfort as centralized systems but without the need for ducts running between rooms. You also have more flexibility in how and when different units in the system run, making it easier to save energy.
Multi-zone systems are more common in small homes, but large homes can also use them, especially if all your key rooms have an outside wall. With some strategic thinking about the layout of your home, you can keep every room cool with just one outdoor unit. Here are the top 11 reasons you need a multi-zone mini split system for your large home.
1. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The single biggest reason to get a multi-zone ductless system is for energy efficiency. Energy waste is a growing concern due to environmental factors, but you might also be concerned about energy bills due to increases in prices set by utility companies. Depending on where you live, you could face unexpected seasonal or permanent surges in kilowatt-hour pricing.
Your electricity bills naturally fluctuate in the summer and winter, as your energy needs increase. But, you can keep them as low as possible by installing a multi zone system to lower long-term costs.
Multi-zone systems are ideal for large homes because most families won’t be using every room simultaneously, and some rooms are unoccupied for hours at a time. Constantly heating or cooling these rooms to the same temperature as the rest of the house can cost you hundreds of dollars or more per year.
A multi-zone system works best if you pay close attention to which rooms your family uses most: typically, the kitchen and living room. With a little practice, your family will get used to turning down the AC when they leave the room or setting timers, so the unit turns on when they are likely to be in the room.
Managing heating and cooling efficiency is critical for large homes with poorly insulated windows, doors, and attics. Older homes with poor insulation leak air out constantly, making heating and cooling an uphill battle. A multi-zone ductless system can be part of your overall strategy for lowering your electric bills.
Plus, mini splits are usually installed high up on your walls or ceiling, making it harder to accidentally cover them up like you might with floor vents. This reduces the chance of your warm or cold air being absorbed by furniture instead of circulating the room freely.
2. TEMPERATURE CUSTOMIZATION
Temperature customization makes it easier to set individual areas in your home to a temperature that’s comfortable for its occupants. For example, you might want to set a lower or cooler temperature in upstairs rooms where a baby is sleeping while keeping the downstairs living room at a different temperature while you clean.
In addition to the temperature of the unit, you can also customize the fan speed and direction on most units. This makes a huge difference in how you perceive the temperature and may allow you to set the unit at a slightly higher or lower temperature to save even more energy.
3. ENOUGH BTUS FOR EVERY ROOM
In addition to customizing the temperature at any given moment in a zone, you can invest in the right unit to keep a given zone warm or cool. Each indoor and outdoor unit is designed for a certain number of British Thermal Units (BTUs), a unit of energy used to measure temperature changes.
Most products are labeled with both a BTU count and approximate square footage they can cover. You can then use this to estimate the right size mini split when choosing a multi-zone system for your home. For example, a unit with less than 10,000 BTUs might cover just a kitchen and living room, but a unit with 30,000 or more BTUs may cover an entire floor.
Keep in mind that both your indoor and outdoor units will have a BTU capacity and that your outdoor units need to be able to handle all of the indoor units’ capacity. Buying a customized set that accounts for this can help you get your system installed with no hassle or maintenance problems later on.
Also, keep in mind that poorly insulated rooms may need more BTUs than others with the same square footage. When in doubt, it’s best to size up to the next largest unit for space you’re trying to cool or heat. You may need a high number of BTUs if you live in a scorching climate in the south or southwest or a region that experiences extreme cold weather, such as Alaska or the midwest.
4. FLEXIBLE ZONING
Keeping track of the temperature in every room in the house isn’t practical, so most multi zone systems will have major areas as their own zones. Any hallways and bathrooms are covered by the adjacent rooms’ units.
For example, a two-story home might have an open floor plan kitchen and living room as one zone, the master bedroom as another zone, and the upstairs bedrooms as a third zone. However, you should consider a 4 zone mini split with a separate indoor unit to cover a sunroom or other room used seasonally but which has poor insulation.
Because of how flexible mini split systems are, you can add additional zones where you think you need them. You can even go back and add additional indoor units later, as long as your outdoor unit has the capacity for it.
5. TIMERS, APPS, AND WI-FI
Multi-zone mini splits vary in their features, but timers are a common component. You can set the timer with the remote control and have the unit turn on right before you get home from work to get the room cooled or heated to your preferred temperature.
For even more customization on the fly, get a mini split that connects to your home Wi-Fi and works with an app. Some manufacturers have caught on to the smart home trend and improved their mini splits’ technology compatibility. If you’re tech-savvy and enjoy being able to adjust your settings quickly, you’ll find this added feature to be worthwhile.
6. KEEPING GUESTS HAPPY
If you have an upstairs guest bedroom or an addition with a guest bedroom, temperature control can be a challenge. It’s challenging to monitor other areas of the home that you’re not in and even more difficult to guess your guests’ temperature preferences. Even if you ask guests if they are comfortable, some might just say “yes” out of a sense of politeness.
With a multi-zone system, you can just hand the remote to your guests and have them set the temperature as they please. This is especially helpful for older adults who are sensitive to temperature changes. It’s also perfect for homeowners who rent out part of their home and want to provide the most hospitality possible.
7. HEAT PUMPS FOR YEAR-ROUND USE
Mini splits are a well-known option for air conditioning, but they can also heat if they include a heat pump. You can switch the unit to heat mode using the remote control and set the temperature to the desired level.
Not all ductless mini splits include heat pumps, but those that do are an efficient option for moderate heating needs. They are a much safer option than space heaters because they gently push warm air into the room instead of creating a single high heat source you could bump into or knock over. This makes them a fantastic choice for large families with children or guests in the house regularly.
Mini split systems with a heat pump are also more efficient than standard gas or electric heating systems. While ducted systems can lose up to 30% of their heat through the ductwork, mini split systems are almost 90% efficient.
8. MINIMAL INSTALLATION TIME
Unlike ducted systems, ductless systems only require a small amount of drilling through walls. A licensed HVAC professional can make the appropriate holes in walls, run wiring and piping, and install a single indoor and outdoor unit in a day.
Large homes may need more than one day to complete a multi-zone system installation, especially in two-story homes. However, professional HVAC contractors can do this work quickly and quietly with minimal disruption to your everyday life. This is because they do minimal work on inside walls and don’t have to remove large sections of flooring or drywall like they would with ducted central air systems.
9. EASY MAINTENANCE
Like all HVAC systems, a multi-zone ductless system needs occasional upkeep. The biggest one is cleaning the filter in your indoor units at least once a month and more frequently if you have pets or outdoor allergy concerns.
Cleaning these filters is as easy as pulling them out, wiping them down with a rag, and reinserting them. Depending on the model, you may also vacuum the filter with a brush attachment, but make sure to check the manufacturer’s directions. If you use water or a damp cloth to clean a filter, let the filter dry completely before putting it back into place.
Outdoor units need even less maintenance as long as the area around the unit is kept clean. Avoid keeping plants around the unit, and clean up any grass clippings near the unit after mowing the lawn. Have a professional HVAC technician inspect your indoor and outdoor units twice a year to keep them working efficiently.
10. INCREDIBLY QUIET
Window AC units and older central air systems can be noisy, especially if they switch on and off in the middle of the night. Thanks to their efficient technology, ductless mini splits are quiet and minimize turning on and off. Once they are set, they usually provide a consistent air stream into the room to keep the temperature stable.
Even if you’re a heavy sleeper, this peace and quiet goes a long way when watching movies or trying to make the most of a quiet evening. If you’re a light sleeper, you can adjust the fan on the indoor unit to provide white noise to help you sleep even better. You can also program the system to silently shut off during the night if needed to save energy.
11. RELIABLE BRANDS
Multi-zone mini split systems are a well-established technology that’s available from a variety of reputable brands. Mitsubishi mini split systems have excellent warranties and are known for their reliability. LG ductless mini splits have a track record of innovating with new features and improved energy efficiency technology.
Buying from a reputable brand that has been around for a long time is vital to making sure you get your money’s worth. Even if they are relatively new to making mini splits, each company’s knowledge of heating, cooling, and general electronics makes a considerable difference in the overall quality and durability of the product.
All the brands on our site have a warranty if installed by a certified HVAC technician. With this peace of mind, you can use the mini split year-round without worrying about wearing it out fast.
YOUR TEAM AT COMFORTUP
Making a purchase for your large home requires serious thought, as it’s an investment that can affect your property value if you ever sell. ComfortUp has the mini split systems and accessories you need to get a great return on your investment year-round. By partnering with a licensed HVAC technician to complete installation, you’ll get to take advantage of a warranty and get the installation done quickly with minimal disruption.
You can choose from multi-zone systems that meet your family’s unique needs whether you’re in a large single-story ranch or a two-story home with a basement. We provide multi-unit sets and a variety of options for customizing each one. Contact us with questions as you pick out the perfect investment for your home.
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