Mini-split technology :
Mini-splits are heating and cooling systems that allow you to regulate the temperatures in individual rooms or spaces. The technology was invented in Japan more than 30 years ago, Like a refrigerator, a mini-split heat pump uses electricity to pump refrigerant, transferring heat from one place to another.
Mini-split systems are comprised of two main components — an outdoor condenser (ODU) and one or several indoor evaporators (IDU). They are easy to install typically requiring only a three-inch hole through a wall for the conduit; which houses the communication and power cables as well as copper tubing connecting the ODU and IDU together. A condensation drain line is also connected to the evaporator to take away the condensate water.
Mini-split heat pumps are not only great solutions for whole home or new constructions but make good retrofit add-ons to houses with “non-ducted” heating systems, such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters (wood, kerosene, propane). They can also be a good choice for room additions where extending or installing distribution ductwork is not feasible, and energy efficient new homes that require only a small space conditioning system.
Mini splits typically have no ducts and therefore avoid the energy loss (up to 30%) that comes with forced-air systems running through ductwork. Mini splits can be hung on the wall or a ceiling, and some can even be ducted for short distances like a conventional forced air system.
Mini-split Inverter technology :
With inverter technology, mini-splits can optimize energy consumption in accordance with the fluctuating ambient temperature, ensuring comfort in the occupied space but ultimately saving energy at the same time. The technology works by varying the rotational speed of the compressor as the load fluctuates to deliver only the optimal volume of refrigerant to the associated load to meet the cooling or heating necessities.
The technology normally results in higher energy performance compared to other systems employing fixed “on-off” compressors. Inverter-based systems are optimized for the complete annual operation envelope, instead of a few key temperature conditions.
R410A refrigerant :
With the advent of R-410A, the impact to ductless technology has been great. The systems have become, on average, 40% smaller, yet around 30% more efficient. At the same time, they are quieter, with more features, and significant advances in application allowances (pipe length, ambient temperature range, etc).
One of the key features of R-410A is an outstanding heat transfer coefficient, especially at low ambient temperatures. As such, it has helped ductless systems shake off the negative image associated with heat pump systems of old, by delivering effective and efficient heating performance in ambient conditions as low as 15° and guaranteed operability down to -22°.
Mini-split evolution :
- The expansion of the available system capacity up to 48,000 BTU/h.
- Lengthier pipe lengths, normally up to 100 feet, but in some instances a maximum linear separation up to 230 feet.
- Greater height separation, commonly 65 feet, but also in some instances up to 164 feet.
- Expanded operation range as low as -22°F in both cooling and heating mode, and as high as 115°F in cooling mode.
- Efficiency levels above and beyond government-mandated minimum standards.
- User friendly, feature-packed intelligent controls.
Technological breakthroughs :
- Compressor technology switched from “standard” to variable-frequency drive “inverter” compressors, delivering exceptional operational performance (full load and part load), close control of the required comfort level, and, above all, enhanced reliability and/or life cycle of the equipment.
- Condensing fan motors changed from direct-drive to VFD inverter-types, improving performance at the extremities of the ambient operation range and enhancing efficiency levels.
- Evaporator unit fan motors evolved from direct-drive to DC- or ECM-type to minimize indoor sound levels and power consumption.
- Heat exchanger technology has evolved to now include intricate high-performance coil designs, which are minimal in surface area but maximize heat transfer to ensure system capacity. Efficiency can be achieved even from a relatively small packaged unit.
- Systems became interlinked with their own proprietary control systems, delivering the customer a fully integrated solution working together seamlessly: condensing unit, evaporator, zone control, and centralized controller.
- Self-diagnostic functions aid the installing contractor or service technician in resolving system issues and get the equipment operational with the minimum amount of downtime.
- Systems responded to government legislation evolving from the use of R-22, to R-407C, to the current platform using R-410A.
- Systems including IAQ-specific media to meet the growing needs, all designed to have a healthier and cleaner occupied space.