Ductless mini-split units work very well for heating and cooling in Florida, thanks to the mild climate. This type of heating system is better for the environment, more energy efficient, and easier to install than a standard, ducted HVAC system. However, if you want to get the most out of your ductless heating and cooling unit, there are a few tips you should follow.
Make Sure the Units Are Mounted Properly
Properly mounted units is one reason - among many - that you should always have your HVAC equipment professionally installed. Both the indoor and the outdoor unit must be positioned carefully for maximum efficiency and comfort.
Locate the indoor air handling unit centrally so that air circulates completely through the room, resulting in even temperatures. Leave a few inches between the ceiling and air handler to prevent the heat from passing directly to the ceiling materials - rather than into the air.
The outdoor heat pump unit should be placed in the shade to improve efficiency during heating season. Raise it up off the ground so condensate can drain easily.
If you fear that either component of your ductless system is not properly located, have your HVAC contractor come take a look.
Keep the Area Around the Outdoor Unit Clear
Some homeowners plant shrubs and other plants in an effort to hide their outdoor heat pump unit. This is fine as long as you keep the shrubs well-trimmed. Prune your shrubs to maintain at least three feet of clearance on all sides of your unit. And be careful not to hit the coil while using a weed whacker near your heat pump.
You should also never stack anything, such as a coiled garden hose, on top of the outdoor unit. Items like this restrict airflow, which could result in inefficiency and breakdowns.
Improve Your Insulation
If your home is well-insulated, your heat pump won't have to work as hard. Your energy bills will be lower, and your equipment will last longer. Start by making sure all of the gaps around windows and doors are tightly sealed. Use rope caulk to temporarily seal gaps, and replace any weatherstripping that is torn or loose.
Consider adding an extra layer of insulation to your attic. If the spaces between your walls are not insulated, have an insulation contractor come blow loose cellulose insulation into the space. They can blow the material in through small holes, which are easily patched when the job is complete.
Keep Your Indoor Temperature Relatively Constant
Experts often recommend turning the thermostat way down when you're away during the daytime. However, this tactic can backfire when you have a ductless heating and cooling system.
A heat pump works best when there is a marked temperature difference between the inside and outside of your home. If you turn the thermostat too low, the heat pump will struggle to bring the temperature back up, and the electrical backup will kick on, which uses a lot of energy. Choose a comfortable mid-range temperature, and keep your thermostat near that range as often as possible.
Have Your Refrigerant Levels Checked
If a refrigerant leak goes undetected, your outdoor unit may super-cool and freeze over. Even a small amount of refrigerant loss can lead to this problem, and freezing over can cause permanent damage to the coil.
Arrange to have your HVAC contractor come inspect and maintain your ductless system once a year. In particular, they should check the refrigerant levels during this appointment.
Ductless heating and cooling systems can be incredibly efficient, as long as you follow the advice above. If you would like to install this type of system, or if you need to schedule maintenance on your heat pump system, contact Matthew Roberts Incorporated. We offer HVAC service throughout the Orlando area.