Why Ductless Mini Splits Are the Perfect Heating & Cooling Solutions for Tiny Homes
More and more homeowners are ditching their excessively spacious houses and apartments for tiny homes. As their name implies, tiny homes are very small living spaces. There are many different types of tiny homes that allow for endless customization, such as Tumbleweed Homes, Tiny Texas Homes, and shipping container homes. Tiny homes are growing increasingly popular because they have many different benefits.
On average, a tiny home costs around $46,300 against $272,000 for a normal home. A mortgage for a tiny home also averages about $150 per month against roughly $1,000 for a normal-sized home, but 68% of tiny homeowners don’t even have a mortgage! Tiny homes also have much lower down payments than normal houses. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and spend roughly half their income on housing, but tiny-home owners save more money with less debt and more disposable income due to their incredibly low living expenses. Tiny homes are also much easier to clean and maintain because of their small space.
One massive benefit of a tiny house is its energy use. They consume much less energy than normal-sized homes and apartments, resulting in lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint for homeowners. This means it will cost less to heat and cool your home. Due to their low square-footage, a tiny home likely requires only one air conditioning unit for adequate heating and cooling. A ductless mini split is the perfect option for heating and cooling your tiny home, as they are available in single-zone systems that are perfect for smaller spaces. They have a variety of benefits over other HVAC options, and Gree has a variety of ductless mini splits available for tiny-home owners. Read below to learn more.
What Are Ductless Mini Splits?
Like tiny homes, ductless mini splits have seen an increase in popularity recently. They consist of one outdoor compressor or condenser connected to an indoor air-handling unit by a series of wires and pipes. There is also a draining component of the outdoor unit. There are several different types of ductless mini splits, such as slim mini splits, ceiling cassettes, concealed mini splits, and universal floor/ceiling mounts.
Single and Multi-Zone Systems
Ductless mini splits are available in single and multi-zone systems. A single-zone system consists of one outdoor unit connected to one indoor unit. This allows you to control the temperature in the room or “zone” where the indoor unit is physically located. A multi-zone system consists of one outdoor unit connected to multiple indoor units. Some systems can handle up to eight mini splits on the same system! Multi-zone systems allow you to control the temperature in one zone without impacting the others. Since tiny homes do not have a large square-footage, they only require one air conditioning unit. Therefore, a single-zone system is the perfect option for heating and cooling a tiny home.
Mini Splits Are Very Efficient
One of the main draws of ductless mini splits is their efficiency. As their name implies, ductless mini splits do not require the extensive ductwork of central HVAC systems. Central ducted systems consume around 30% more energy than their ductless counterparts. In central ducted systems, some of the air produced by the outdoor unit is lost throughout the ductwork, but this waste is eliminated when using a ductless mini split. The heightened efficiency of a ductless mini split also leads to a lower energy bill and a reduced carbon footprint.
When purchasing a mini split, make sure you know the square footage of your tiny home because each mini split is designed for use in a specific size of area. The size of air conditioners is measured in tons and expressed in British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTU is a measurement of heat, which means how much energy is required to increase the temperature of water by one degree Fahrenheit, and a ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs per hour.
Therefore, a 1-ton air conditioner can remove an amount of heat equal to 12,000 BTUs in one hour. An improperly “sized” mini split does not operate nearly as efficiently, and it creates problems such as temperature imbalances and short circuiting. Short circuiting is when the air conditioner turns on, runs for a brief time, and then turns itself off repeatedly. This is terrible for the mini split for several reasons. The unnecessary stress and exertion on the system decreases its life cycle, and it also causes your energy bill to skyrocket.
Mini Splits Are Very Quiet
Silence is sacred in a tiny home. Close quarters amplify any and all sounds, which can cause quite a headache for residents. Fortunately, ductless mini splits are the quietest possible heating and cooling option! They operate at around 19 decibels, which is around the same noise level as rustling leaves. For reference, window air conditioners operate at around 43 decibels. Since they are so quiet, ductless mini splits are also the perfect air conditioner for bedrooms and smaller rooms. When you use your ductless mini split, you’ll have no idea it’s there!
Mini Splits Take Up Little Space
Ductless mini splits allow tiny-home owners to maximize the small space in their home. Many people are drawn away from central HVAC systems and toward mini splits because mini splits are much smaller. The ductwork required for central systems is very extensive and takes up a large amount of space in one’s home.
Round ducts range from 4.9 inches in diameter to just over 41 inches in diameter, while rectangular ducts are anywhere from 3-by-7 inches to 35-by-40 inches in diameter. Tiny homes simply do not have the space for this ductwork, making ductless mini splits the perfect heating and cooling option. Mini splits are already very reasonably sized relative to other HVAC alternatives, but certain mini splits were designed with tight spaces in mind. There are specific types of mini splits, such as ceiling cassettes, concealed mini splits, and slim duct versions, that are great for the confined quarters of a tiny home.
Ceiling cassettes are named for their resemblance to cassette tapes and sit inconspicuously in your ceiling. Concealed mini splits are ideal in buildings with limited wall space, such as tiny homes. Slim duct mini splits area ideal in tight spaces where normal-sized mini splits cannot fit. These specific types of mini splits are so inconspicuous and quiet that you’ll have no idea they are present and running!
Mini Splits Are Affordable
Another reason mini splits are so popular and perfect in tiny homes is their affordability. While mini splits have a higher upfront cost than some units, they are offset by low installation and maintenance costs. Window units have cheaper initial costs, but they break down more frequently and have shorter life cycles, which leads to frequent maintenance and replacement costs. Since mini splits operate so efficiently, they lead to lower energy bills. Energy costs are already significantly lower when living in a tiny home, and mini splits lower them even more! While mini splits have higher upfront costs, this is offset by the long-term savings on your energy bill. They will pay for themselves in no time.
Easy Installation and Maintenance Process
As we already discussed, mini splits have low installation and maintenance costs. However, mini splits must be installed by trained HVAC professionals. While some think that they can handle the task themselves, self-installation causes many problems. For example, self-installation voids the warranty of many models. It also causes your system to operate very inefficiently and leads to frequent breakdowns.
While some opt to let professionals handle mini split maintenance, there are several ways to deep clean the system yourself. Before beginning any maintenance, turn the system off. You can examine the pipes to ensure there are no debris blockages or buildup. You should also clean the coils and condensers because they attract dirt and dust. Additionally, you can spray the exterior components with a hose or cleaning product to wipe them off.
Mini Splits Act as Air Filters, Dehumidifiers, and Purifiers
Mini splits are not just air conditioners. While heating and cooling your tiny home, they are simultaneously filtering, dehumidifying, and purifying the air by removing harmful contaminants such as allergens, dust, and dirt. This deters mold and mildew growth throughout the home while also improving the indoor air quality. Inside of each mini split is a filter that requires regular cleaning and maintenance as well. To clean the filter, remove it from the unit and wipe it down with a dry cloth. Clean the filter once every four to six weeks, but be sure to inspect its condition each time to see if it needs to be replaced. Most filters last around three months, but some more expensive and efficient models last up to a year.
Dirty or unreplaced filters are a major problem for ductless mini splits. By decreasing the air quality in your home, you are more at risk to pathogens and allergens. Additionally, it causes your machine to make much more noise during operation. It is crucial to have high-quality air in a tight space such as a tiny home.
Mini Splits Are Versatile
Versatility is another reason to install a ductless mini split in your tiny home. Ductless mini splits possess heating and cooling capabilities, unlike some units that can only heat OR cool. Therefore, ductless mini splits are the perfect option for your tiny home all year round. Regardless of the current weather or your local climate, you will be comfortable in your tiny home with a ductless mini split.
Ductless mini splits are also versatile regarding their physical location. As long as the wires can reach from the outdoor unit, you can put a ductless mini split virtually anywhere in your home. Certain mini splits were designed to be mounted on specific locations, so there is definitely something that fits your needs. Most can be mounted anywhere on the walls, but there are also Universal Ceiling/Floor mounts for those with limited wall space. When designing the layout of a tiny home, it is important to account for and maximize every square inch of surface, floor, and wall space. Ductless mini splits give you the flexibility to do so.
Mini Splits Use Smart Technology
Mini splits also use smart technologies. Many units are compatible with smartphone applications, which allow homeowners to control their system remotely. Additionally, many mini splits can operate on timed systems for maximum efficiency. It is very wasteful to have a mini split running when it does not have to, such as during the school- or work-day when the home is empty.
You can program your mini split to decrease power or shut off entirely when nobody is home, and turn it back on in the evening. You can also set it to a lower temperature at night, as many prefer to sleep in a cooler environment. Scheduling is yet another way that mini splits save tiny-home owners money on their energy bill as well.
In conclusion, ductless mini splits are the perfect heating and cooling option for tiny-home owners. Their countless advantages over competitors and single-zone system capabilities make them very conducive and optimal for use in smaller spaces.