Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner Buying Guide

How does it work?
Like central air conditioning systems, ductless mini splits have two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser, and an indoor air-handling unit. However, unlike central air, a ductless mini system eliminates the need for a basement- or attic-located evaporator unit. Also eliminated is the need for bulky ductwork. A conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, links the outdoor and indoor unit which generally requires only a three inch hole through a wall. Indoor units for a ductless or mini split AC can be mounted to a wall or ceiling. They can be used to cool or warm one room or multiple rooms by connecting up to four indoor units to one outdoor condenser. Each room temperature can be adjusted independently of each other.
What are the advantages to a ductless mini-split air conditioner?
Ductless mini split systems have the benefits of a central system, without the difficulty and high material and labor cost of installing ductwork. Most systems can be installed and running in a few hours. Also:
They're whisper quiet. The noisiest component- the compressor- is installed outside,
   thereby reducing indoor noise.
They're energy efficient. Since ductless mini splits have no ducts, they avoid the energy
    losses associated with ductwork of central forced air systems. Duct losses can account
    for more than 40% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts
    are in an unconditioned space such as an attic. Many ductless mini split models can
    have as many as four independently-controlled indoor air handling units
    (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit. This reduces energy use and
    saves money by cooling rooms based on individual preferences and turning off units in
    unoccupied rooms. They match the effectiveness of central air without the expense of
    retrofitting ductwork.
They free up your windows.
They're environmentally friendly. They use R410A refrigerant which is designed to
   prevent the depletion of the ozone layer.
They keep your home safe and secure. Using window or through-the-wall mounted air conditioners can provide an easy entrance for intruders.
   Since there is only a small hole in the wall, mini splits provide you with improved security.
What should I know when choosing a ductless split system?
Like all air conditioners, you need to know how many BTUs accommodate the area you are trying to cool. The below BTU key is good general guide for gauging zone capacities for a ductless split system:
9,000 BTUs: 300 - 350 square feet
12,000 BTUs: 450 - 500 square feet
18,000 BTUs: 700 - 750 square feet
24,000 BTUs: 950 - 1000 square feet
30,000 BTUs: 1200 - 1250 square feet
36,000 BTUs: 1450 - 1500 square feet
Other factors to consider in sizing your unit are room type, sun light and ceiling height.
A single zone ductless split system will have one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. If you want to cool more than one area, a multiple zone split system consists of two, three, or four indoor units to one condenser. The condenser capacity will be divided between the zone outputs in multi-zone systems.
What is the operating range?
Standard units can operate in outdoor ambient temperatures from 18° - 109° Fahrenheit. However, it’s important to remember that a heat pump may struggle to keep up with demand once outdoor temperatures drop below freezing. Most work with a heat pump.
You Don't Flip The Switch and Turn On Every Light In Your Home...
Why Would You Do The Same Thing With Your Cooling & Heating System?
Installation Type
There two types of installation options: have the indoor unit mounted to the wall (most popular and efficient), or in a ceiling cassette. Please keep in mind that ductless split systems have to be installed by a professional.
Why can't I install a ductless split myself?
P.C. Richard & Son and the manufacturer strongly recommend professional installation and suggest that self-installation should not be attempted. This product requires specific skills for installation. HVAC training and tools are needed to complete the installation of a ductless mini split air condition system to comply with technical, E.P.A. and environmental requirements.

Some of the installation procedures, including, but not limited to the following: understanding specific distances for operation, appropriate placement of the inside air handler, specific gauge and type of electrical wire needed, the addition and/or removal of R410A refrigerant (requires specific gauges and understanding of the formula for coolant and pressure per inch), pressurized and evacuation of nitrogen gas in the system, which cannot be released into the atmosphere (failure to do this can also contaminate any existing R410A inside the system), piping for draining or the addition of a pump for water removal. Self-installers will also receive limited support from the manufacturer and no labor warranty.

P.C. Richard & Son does not provide any of the necessary parts or tools needed to complete the installation of the condenser and air handlers for self-installation.
How do I get started?
A friendly and knowledgeable P.C. Richard & Son associate is standing by to set up an onsite appointment and answer any additional questions you may have about ductless mini-split air conditioners.
Call us at 877-727-1909 or 718-252-3400 to speak with someone now or e-mail splitac@pcrichard.com!