Single-Zone vs. Multi-Zone Mini Split Systems: Understanding the Difference

Single-Zone vs. Multi-Zone Mini Split Systems: Understanding the Difference

In some households, there is a constant war waged over control of the thermostat. If one member of the house prefers it cold and another prefers it warm, there is often back and forth adjusting of the thermostat behind the other’s back. Not only does this put the temperature of the house in flux, but it also leads to constant bickering and disagreement.

If this sounds like your home, consider the ductless mini split as a heating/cooling option. There are single and multi-zone systems which allow you to control the temperature in one room without affecting the other, plus a variety of other benefits! Read below to learn more about the difference between single and multi-zone mini split systems.

What Are Mini Splits?

A ductless mini split system refers to air-conditioning systems that are comprised of an outdoor unit called compressor and an indoor unit called air handler or the evaporator unit. This split design explains the name “mini split.” Aside from the electrical wire, a mini split has a piping component called a line set, which is normally penetrated to a small hole in the wall, connecting the outdoor unit to the indoor unit. As you’ll learn in the next section, this line set, which is composed of two copper pipes called a suction line and a liquid line (collectively referred to as refrigerant lines because they carry the refrigerant) plays an important role in how the system operates.

Essentially, a mini split system is compact. It is called ductless because it does not require ductwork, which is typical of the central air conditioning system. Remember that ductwork refers to those set of tubing that you would normally see being routed throughout different rooms in the house with an installed central air system. In its typical installation configuration, a ductless system shows the compressor placed outside while the air handler is mounted inside a specific room. This makes the heating and cooling specifically concentrated on a defined space or a particular room inside the house.

In many cases, one ductless system can have multiple air handlers installed in different rooms and connected to just one compressor. This is called temperature zoning because each air handler can be controlled independently, which means you can choose to set a different temperature for different rooms by simply controlling the specific air handler or indoor unit that is installed in each room. With this capability, a mini split system becomes an ideal solution for controlling temperatures for different rooms, which ultimately eliminates the usual issues on hot spots and cold spots that you normally experience with a ducted system.

At ComfortUp, we carry trusted brands such as Gree, Mitsubishi, LG, and Panasonic to guarantee the highest quality service and products possible. They are available in single zone and multi-zone options, each unique, depending on your home’s heating and cooling needs.

Single vs. Multi-Zone Systems

Single Zone and Multi-Zone systems have a variety of differences. As their name implies, a single zone system consists of one outdoor component connected to one indoor unit. This allows you to manage the temperature in that room, and that room only. Conversely, multi-zone systems have one outdoor unit connecting up to eight indoor units. This allows you to adjust the temperature in each specific room without changing the temperature in another.

One of the main differences is the cost. As you can imagine, it would cost more to install multiple indoor units as opposed to a singular one. The installation process is also slightly more complex for multi-zone systems. It takes much more time and manpower to wire all the additional indoor units and their components to the outdoor component.

Which Is Best in My Home?

There are several factors to consider when deciding between single and multi-zone mini-split systems. A single-zone might be the perfect solution if you just need help in one room, such as if you are adding a new room, area, or addition to your home - or even if you just have hot/cold-spots in a particular area of your home.

They are also great if you are constructing a new home or remodeling your current home. Ductless mini split systems increase the value of your home and are cheaper to install than ducted systems, despite their potentially-higher initial cost. Finally, single zone systems help to upgrade or replace one room’s existing heating or cooling system.

One of the benefits of multi-zone systems is their ability to control each room/zone individually. With temperature zoning, you can control the temperature of each zone to your preference. The zones are individual rooms or floors in your home. Therefore, multi-zone technology works great if your home has multiple floors or levels. Some existing homes have ductwork that cannot reach certain rooms in the house, and this problem is easily solved by multi-zone systems.

Ductwork is not an option in some older homes, and a multi-zone system is a great way to heat and cool your home if this is the case. Additionally, multi-zone systems are the peace treaty for thermostat wars. If members of your household have different preferences, they can simply adjust the temperature of their desired room. Finally, multi-zone systems are ideal in solving temperature inconsistencies caused by your central HVAC system. 

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