November 19, 2022
How a Ductless Mini-Split Will Impact Your Bills This Winter
Ductless mini-splits are growing in popularity in St. Louis as an energy-efficient heating and cooling option. The upfront price of a new ductless mini-split system could be higher than that of a traditional HVAC system. However, it promises to lower your energy bills monthly for years to come.
Four ways a ductless mini-split may lower your energy bills include inverter technology, improved air circulation, heat transfer versus heat generation, and zoned HVAC. Exploring these four factors should give you a better idea of why a ductless mini-split uses less energy and how it can better keep your home comfortable.
The Power of Inverter Technology
An easy way to understand inverter technology is to think about how cruise control works in a vehicle or autopilot functions on an airplane. While driving on the freeway, your vehicle consumes less gas because you are not starting and stopping. When you have your car on cruise control or when a plane is on autopilot, the vehicle makes minor adjustments to keep the car traveling at a steady speed.
This is how inverter technology, with variable-speed motors, works for your mini-split during the winter. A traditional one-speed furnace can only turn off or on.
This means that if the traditional thermostat brings your home up to the desired temperature, but then someone opens the front door or the garage and the temperature in the home drastically dips, the furnace has to cycle often to try to correct its course. It uses a ton of energy to move the temperature up a couple of degrees. A traditional furnace needs to do this multiple times each hour.
A mini-split with inverter technology turns on and brings the area to the desired temperature. Instead of turning off, it goes into a low-power setting to maintain the temperature where it should be. It does not use as much energy to start and stop, so it needs a drastically lower amount of electricity to keep your home at a steady yet comfortable temperature.
Maximizing Air Circulation for Improved Energy Savings
Your mini-split system is divided into two primary units. There is the external unit that serves as a heat exchanger, and there is an internal unit that is located on the wall or ceiling of the room or rooms that need to be heated.
The air handler, or internal unit, is equipped with specialized sensors and fans to take the temperature of the room it is installed in and then work to increase the temperature to the desired level as quickly as possible. Once the air handler reads that the room has reached the desired temperature, it clicks into low-power mode to help maintain that temperature.
The sensitive thermostat in the air handler can identify hot or cold spots in the treated room. The fans of the unit direct heated air to those pockets.
This makes a ductless mini-split faster and more efficient than forced air HVAC, radiant baseboard, and other traditional heating options. If you feel that your forced air system is costing you more money in energy expenses than you would like, talk to our technicians at Scott-Lee Heating Company. Let us discuss the pros and cons of a ductless mini-split and see if it is the right option to help you lower your utility bills.
Save Energy by Transferring, Not Generating, Heat
With a ductless mini-split, you are not generating heat. You are transferring it.
With a traditional furnace, be it gas burning or electric, there is a heating element that takes electricity or gas and uses it to produce heat, which is blown throughout the house. You have the energy expenditure of creating the heat and then expend energy transferring that heat throughout the home via a system of fans and blowers.
However, with a ductless mini-split, you are only moving heat from the outside of the home to the inside of the house. No fossil fuels are being burned, nor is electricity used to create heat. This makes the heating process a lot less energy intensive.
While this concept might be confusing when it comes heating, it is a concept that is constantly used in the realm of cooling. The air conditioner is not generating cold air. Instead, it pulls warm air from the room, removes the heat, and then returns the cool air to the room. A mini-split unit does precisely the same thing, only in reverse during the winter.
Remember that there is always heat outside, even when the temperature is near zero. The external unit of your mini-split can pull thermal energy from the outdoor air, amplify it, and send its heat into the house.
Specific models of mini-splits can extract warmth from the outside air, even if the temperature outside is -10° Fahrenheit. And while it occasionally gets that cold in St. Louis, those days are few and far between.
The primary reason you save money with a mini-split is that you are not paying for electricity to produce heat, nor are you paying for gas to be burned. The transfer process only needs a minimal amount of power to extract thermal energy from the air and push it into your home.
Zoned HVAC Using Multiple Thermostats
With a mini-split, you get zoned HVAC. This means improved control over how heat is distributed in your home.
Unlike a forced-air unit, where you turn it on and conditioned air is sent throughout the home, with a mini-split, each room has its own air handler. Each air handler works independently for your heating.
You could be working in your home office all day and have the air handler in that room set to keep the room at 70°. However, since you are not in your living room, kitchen, or dining room, you could have the air handlers in those areas set to keep the space in the low sixties.
This setup eliminates situations where people turn the thermostat for the entire house up a few extra degrees because one room is always too cold. During the winter, since heat rises, the air handlers on the upper floor will go into low-power mode sooner than the downstairs, saving you more energy costs.
Are you battling with hot spots or cold spots in certain rooms? Do you have to turn your furnace higher than average because certain rooms never feel warm? If so, talk to our technicians, and let us discuss with you the benefits of making the switch to a mini-split unit.
Keeping St. Louis Homes Comfortable for More Than Four Decades
At Scott-Lee Heating Company, we have been servicing the greater St. Louis metropolitan area for four decades. We proudly provide reputable HVAC service, offer 24/7 emergency services, and are a veteran-owned company. As 26-time Lennox Award recipients, we have what it takes to help you with all HVAC problems.
Our services include HVAC maintenance, repair, and replacement. We also offer the Aprilaire Healthy Air System, which offers virus protection. We work with both commercial and residential clients. We offer same-day emergency services. Contact Scott-Lee Heating Company to see for yourself what it’s like to work with an expert in the field of HVAC.