What Homeowners Should Know Before Installing a Mini Split: A Clear and Knowledgeable Guide

October 3, 2023

Before homeowners decide to install a mini split system, there are a few things they should know. Mini splits are a popular option for those who want to cool or heat specific areas of their home without the need for ductwork. However, it's important to understand the installation process, as well as the pros and cons of mini splits, before making a decision.

One of the first things homeowners should consider is the size and layout of the space they want to cool or heat. Mini splits are ideal for small to medium-sized rooms but may not be suitable for larger areas. Homeowners should also consider the energy efficiency of mini splits and whether they are a cost-effective option for their home. Professional installation is recommended, as the refrigerant line must be cut and charged correctly for the unit to function properly.

Understanding Mini Splits

Mini splits, also known as ductless mini-split systems, are a popular heating and cooling option for homeowners. These systems consist of two main components: an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. They are designed to be energy-efficient and easy to install.

One of the main advantages of mini splits is that they don't require ductwork, which can be expensive to install and can lead to energy loss. Instead, the indoor units are connected to the outdoor unit by a small conduit that contains the refrigerant tubing, power cable, and condensate drain. This makes them ideal for homes without existing ductwork or for homeowners who want to avoid the cost and hassle of installing ducts.

Mini splits are also highly customizable. Each indoor unit can be controlled independently, which means that homeowners can set different temperatures in different rooms. This can help to save energy and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Another advantage of mini splits is that they are relatively easy to install. While it's always recommended to hire a professional HVAC technician to install a mini split, many homeowners choose to install them themselves. DIY installation can save money, but it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and to have the necessary tools and equipment.

Overall, mini splits are a great option for homeowners who want an energy-efficient and customizable heating and cooling system that doesn't require ductwork. They are easy to install and can save money on energy costs over time.

Benefits of Mini Splits

Mini splits are a popular heating and cooling option for homeowners. They offer several benefits that make them a great choice for many households.

Energy Efficiency

One of the biggest advantages of mini splits is their energy efficiency. Unlike traditional HVAC systems, mini splits do not require ductwork to transport hot or cold air throughout the home. This means that there is no energy loss through leaky ducts, which can account for up to 30% of energy consumption in a typical home. Additionally, mini splits use inverter technology to adjust the compressor speed and maintain a consistent temperature, which can save up to 30% on energy bills compared to traditional systems.

Space Saving

Mini splits are also space-saving options. They are compact and can be installed on walls or ceilings, which means they don't take up valuable floor space. This makes them a great option for small homes or rooms where space is limited. Additionally, mini splits can be used to heat or cool individual rooms, which means homeowners can avoid wasting energy by heating or cooling rooms that are not in use.

Ease of Installation

Mini splits are easy to install, especially compared to traditional HVAC systems. They do not require ductwork, which means they can be installed quickly and with minimal disruption to the home. Additionally, mini splits are often eligible for utility company rebates due to their energy efficiency, which can help offset the cost of installation.

Overall, mini splits offer several benefits that make them a great choice for homeowners. They are energy-efficient, space-saving, and easy to install, which can save homeowners money and improve their comfort.

Considerations Before Installation

Before installing a mini-split system, homeowners should consider a few factors to ensure the unit is a good fit for their home. This section will discuss the budget, space assessment, and climate considerations to keep in mind before installation.


Mini-split systems come in a variety of sizes and prices, making it important to determine a budget before making a purchase. Homeowners should consider the size of their home and the number of rooms they want to cool or heat. Additionally, they should factor in the cost of professional installation, which can vary depending on the complexity of the installation. It is important to note that while mini-split systems may have a higher upfront cost than traditional HVAC systems, they can provide long-term energy savings and increased comfort.

Space Assessment

Before installing a mini-split system, homeowners should assess the space where they plan to install the unit. They should consider the size of the room, ceiling height, and any obstructions that may affect the installation process. It is important to ensure that the unit is installed in a location that provides optimal airflow and does not interfere with furniture or other objects in the room. Homeowners should also consider the location of the outdoor unit and ensure that it is placed in a location that is easily accessible for maintenance and does not violate any building codes or regulations.


Homeowners should consider their climate when deciding whether to install a mini-split system. Mini-split systems are ideal for homes in areas with mild to moderate climates, as they may not provide sufficient heating or cooling in extreme temperatures. Additionally, homeowners should consider the humidity levels in their area, as mini-split systems may not be as effective at removing moisture from the air as traditional HVAC systems.

Overall, homeowners should carefully consider their budget, space assessment, and climate before installing a mini-split system. By taking these factors into account, they can ensure that they select the right unit for their home and enjoy the benefits of increased comfort and energy savings.

Choosing the Right Mini Split

When it comes to choosing the right mini split for your home, there are a few key factors to consider. In this section, we will explore the size, brand, and features that you should take into account when selecting a mini split system.


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a mini split system is the size of the unit. Mini splits come in a variety of sizes, and it is crucial to select a system that is the right size for your space. If the unit is too small, it will struggle to cool or heat your home effectively, while an oversized system will waste energy and money.

To determine the appropriate size for your mini split system, you should consider the square footage of the room or rooms you want to cool or heat. A general rule of thumb is that you will need 6,000 BTUs for every 100-250 square feet of space. However, other factors such as ceiling height, insulation, and the number of windows and doors in the room can also affect the size of the unit you need.


Choosing a reputable brand is another crucial factor to consider when selecting a mini split system. Look for brands that have a proven track record of reliability and quality. Some popular brands in the mini split market include Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, LG, and Daikin.

It is also essential to consider the availability of parts and service for the brand you choose. If your mini split system requires repairs or maintenance, you want to ensure that you can easily find replacement parts and qualified technicians to service your unit.


Finally, it is essential to consider the features that you want in a mini split system. Some common features include:

  • Wi-Fi connectivity for remote control and monitoring
  • Inverter technology for energy efficiency
  • Multi-zone capabilities for heating and cooling multiple rooms
  • Quiet operation for minimal disruption

Consider which features are most important to you and your household when selecting a mini split system. Keep in mind that additional features may come with a higher price tag, so it is essential to balance your needs with your budget.

By considering the size, brand, and features of a mini split system, you can select a unit that will effectively cool or heat your home while providing reliable and efficient performance.

Installation Process

Mini split systems can be installed either by a professional or as a DIY project. Homeowners should consider their level of expertise and comfort with electrical and HVAC systems before deciding which method to use.

Professional Installation

Professional installation is recommended for those who are not familiar with electrical and HVAC systems. A licensed HVAC contractor will be able to properly size and install the mini split system to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. They will also be able to handle any necessary electrical work and refrigerant line cutting and charging.

Homeowners should expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,000 for a professional installation, depending on the size and complexity of the system. It is important to obtain multiple quotes from licensed contractors to ensure a fair price.

DIY Installation

DIY installation is an option for those with experience in electrical and HVAC systems. Homeowners should carefully read the manufacturer's instructions and follow all safety precautions.

Some tools and parts that may be necessary for a DIY mini split installation include:

  • Mounting plate
  • Refrigerant piping
  • Electrical wire
  • Drill and hole saw
  • Vacuum pump
  • Torque wrench
  • Flaring tool

It is important to note that DIY installation may void the manufacturer's warranty and could result in damage to the system if not done correctly. Homeowners should also be aware of any local building codes and obtain necessary permits before beginning the installation process.

Overall, the installation process for a mini split system can be complex and should be approached with caution. Homeowners should carefully consider their level of expertise and budget before deciding whether to hire a professional or attempt a DIY installation.

Maintenance and Care

Mini split systems are relatively low maintenance compared to traditional HVAC systems. However, regular cleaning and routine inspection are still necessary to ensure optimal performance and prolong the life of the system.

Regular Cleaning

Cleaning or changing the filter is one of the easiest and most important maintenance tasks for mini split systems. A dirty filter can decrease the efficiency of the system and even cause it to malfunction. Homeowners should clean or replace the filter every 3 to 6 months, depending on usage and the environment.

In addition to the filter, homeowners should also clean the indoor and outdoor units regularly. Dust and debris can accumulate on the units, reducing their efficiency and potentially causing damage. Use a soft cloth or brush to gently clean the units, and avoid using harsh chemicals or water.

Routine Inspection

Routine inspection is also important for mini split systems. Homeowners should inspect the units for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as cracks, leaks, or loose connections. They should also check the drainage system to ensure that it is functioning properly and not clogged.

It is recommended that homeowners schedule a professional maintenance check at least once a year. A professional technician can thoroughly inspect and clean the system, as well as identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

Overall, with regular cleaning and routine inspection, mini split systems can provide efficient and reliable heating and cooling for many years.

Common Problems and Solutions

Installing a mini split can be a great way to improve the comfort of your home, but like any heating and cooling system, it can experience problems. Here are some common problems and solutions to keep in mind before and after installing a mini split.


A common issue with mini splits is leaking. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a clogged condensate drain or a refrigerant leak. Here are some solutions to these issues:

  • Clogged condensate drain: The condensate drain can become clogged with mold or debris, causing water to back up and leak. To fix this, homeowners can clean the drain with a mixture of water and bleach or hire a professional to clean it.
  • Refrigerant leak: If the mini split is leaking refrigerant, it may need to be repaired by a professional. Homeowners should not attempt to fix the leak themselves, as refrigerant can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Not Heating or Cooling

Another common problem with mini splits is when they fail to heat or cool the room properly. Here are some solutions to this issue:

  • Dirty air filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow, causing the mini split to work harder and not heat or cool the room effectively. Homeowners should clean or replace the air filter regularly.
  • Thermostat issue: If the mini split is not heating or cooling the room properly, it could be a problem with the thermostat. Homeowners should check the thermostat settings and make sure it is set to the correct temperature.

Noise Issues

Mini splits can also be noisy, which can be a problem for homeowners who want a quiet home. Here are some solutions to this issue:

  • Loose parts: If the mini split is making a rattling or vibrating noise, it may have loose parts. Homeowners should check the unit for loose screws or bolts and tighten them as needed.
  • Fan issue: If the mini split is making a humming or buzzing noise, it could be a problem with the fan. Homeowners should check the fan blades for damage and make sure they are clean and free of debris.

By keeping these common problems and solutions in mind, homeowners can ensure their mini split is working effectively and efficiently.

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