Ductless air systems, also known as mini splits, are becoming a more common HVAC system preference, as they require very little maintenance and are fairly easy to operate. If you're considering purchasing a mini-split system, you may be wondering if you should turn it down during the night hours. We have looked into the best operational practices for these systems, and we have answers.
You don't necessarily have to turn down your mini-split system at night, as these units operate fairly efficiently. Though you can turn the temperature down at night and back up again in the morning if you prefer. But this will likely only have a negligible effect on how efficiently the unit operates overall. A good way to test the efficiency benefits of doing this is to do it for about 30 days (while keeping other energy use the same) and see if there is a major difference in your energy bill.
The heat pump in a mini-split system is designed to run very efficiently. This allows the unit to adjust manually and lower energy costs in both the warmer and cooler months. Continue reading to learn more about the efficiency and best operational practices for these systems.
Ways to Increase your Mini Split's Efficiency
If you find that turning your system down at night and back up in the morning doesn't have a huge effect on your energy bill, don't fret. Mini-split systems are renowned for their wonderful energy efficiency, and there are quite a few ways that you can increase their efficiency with everyday usage in the winter and summer months.
Though summer weather may last for a shorter period in most states, there are ways to ensure that you get the most out of your mini split while conserving energy. Let's take a look at the most common ways to do it.
Place the fan to an "Auto" setting
Mini-split systems are designed to automatically adjust fan speed according to the current room temperature. Setting the unit to the "Auto" mode will ensure that your mini-split system will only circulate cool air long enough to keep the temperature at your desired setting.
This way, you don't have to worry about constantly adjusting the temperature during the day and night; it does all the work for you.
Keep the unit clean
Set reminders so that you can clean your mini-split system every few weeks. The cleaner the system, the more effectively and efficiently it can circulate cool air in your home. This includes removing the air handler covers and wiping down all of the evaporator coils.
When these coils are dirty, it can cause the unit to work harder than it has to, resulting in more energy usage. Be sure to use a lint-free cloth and remove any debris in or around the unit.
You can also use a garden sprayer with a hose attachment. When doing this, be sure to turn the unit off beforehand.
Close shades and blinds during the day
Another way that you can save on energy costs is to reduce the amount of sunlight entering your home throughout the day.
This means pulling down any shades, closing the blinds, and drawing the curtains from noon to the late afternoon—the time of the day where temperatures are the warmest. This will give the mini-split system a bit of a break during its peak hours.
Create indoor circulation
It's also a good idea to leave all interior doors open to help circulate the cool air within your home. This can create a temperature difference of anywhere from 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. It'll also help your mini split save energy which can ultimately lengthen its lifespan.
There are also ways that you can increase the energy efficiency of your mini split during the winter months. Let's take a look at them.
Use the "Auto" feature
Using the "Auto" feature can also work well in the winter months. Set the fan to "Auto" and then adjust the fan direction so that it's directed toward the floor. The unit's variable speed fan will automatically adjust to keep a consistent temperature in the room.
The heat will naturally rise, leaving the room at a constant temperature throughout the day.
Clean the filters monthly
Most mini splits will come with a sensor that lets you know when the filters need to be cleaned. Don't put this off, especially during the winter. A clogged air filter can be damaging to the unit if left in too long.
You'll also want to ensure that the outdoor unit is free of leaves, ice, and snow. When there is precipitation, take a shovel or broom and remove any ice or snow on or around the unit so that it has at least one foot of open space on all three sides.
Take advantage of the sunlight
While the weather is cold, take advantage of the sunlight by opening your blinds and curtains to let a little sunshine (and warmth) in. This can be especially beneficial during the daylight hours from noon through the late afternoon.
Doing so will naturally increase the temperature in your home, and it will save the mini-split unit energy during the day.
Do mini splits use a lot of electricity?
A single unit mini split will use roughly 500 to 600 watts (7,000-9,000 BTUs) of electricity during 24 hours.
How long can you run a mini split?
There is no time limit on how long you can run your mini-split system. It's a matter of preference, and if you want, you can run the system as long as you want. Naturally, the longer you run the system, the more energy you will use—and the higher your energy bill will be.
However, your mini-split system will automatically adjust itself according to the temperature in the room in which it is located.
For example, if you have your system set to a temperature of 72 degrees and have the fan set to "Auto," the unit will kick on when the temperature drops to 71 degrees and will shut off once it reaches 72 degrees.
And it won't turn back on if the temperature becomes warmer. If you plan to run it for extended periods, it's best to place it on the "Auto" setting to maximize its efficiency.
Does a mini split cycle on and off?
No, a mini-split system won't turn on and off several times every hour the way that a traditional HVAC unit may. These units tend to run constantly, though they will power off if they are placed in an "Auto" setting.
This is one of the best benefits of a mini-split system, as this function allows it to save energy while keeping your home as comfortable as possible.
Do mini splits cool as well as central air does?
Yes, mini-split systems can cool your home just as well as a central HVAC system. However, you'll need to install the appropriate number of units in your home to ensure sufficient temperature regulation.
For example, one mini-split unit will not effectively cool a house that's 2,000 square feet in size. A licensed HVAC professional can consult with you to help determine how many mini-split zones and units your home will need for effective heating and cooling.
Wrapping Things Up
One of the biggest advantages of mini-split HVAC systems is their ability to conserve energy. However, this doesn't mean you will need to turn down your unit at night.
And there are ways that you can save on energy usage, such as setting the fan to "Auto," adjusting window coverings during the day, and keeping the unit well-maintained.
Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts:
Can You Install Central Air Conditioning Along With Electric Heating?