Besides comfort, one of the biggest reasons people switch to ductless heating and cooling is efficiency. Installing a mini split can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 30%, but the right strategy can help to maximize your savings even more. Wondering what to do? Then, keep reading.
This post explains how to boost efficiency when you choose and install a ductless heating and cooling system, and then, it provides tips on how to use your ductless system efficiently. Want to make your home more efficient right now? Then, contact us at NETR, Inc to talk about ductless heating and cooling.
1. Invest in an efficient system.
Boosting your efficiency levels starts before you even buy a ductless unit. To safeguard your investment, look for the most efficient model possible. All ductless units are efficient, but some are more efficient than others. You may end up paying slightly more, but you’ll save on energy costs in the long run.
In particular, look for a system with an Energy Star rating, and also make sure that you buy the right capacity unit. Units that are too big or too small will waste energy. To select the right size, you can’t just look at the square footage of your home. You also need to consider building materials, insulation, room layout, and other factors that affect the heating and cooling loads in your home.
The location of your ductless unit impacts its efficiency. If you place a unit near an old drafty window, for example, its built-in thermostat will always detect a slightly lower temperature and the system will end up running more than needed. Similarly, if you install a unit near heat-producing appliances, the thermostat will think that your room is warmer than it is, and during the summer, the AC will run more than it needs to.
The most efficient installation location can also vary depending on the type of unit. Wall-mounted ductless units, for example, tend to work the best if they’re on the top third of the wall. If that’s not possible, you may need to switch to a floor or ceiling-mounted unit to maximize your efficiency.
You can install a ductless unit on your own, but in most situations, this is not the optimal decision. From a cost perspective, DIY installation often doesn’t save that much money because you have to invest in tools and equipment, and in the long run, it can end up costing more.
When people install their own units, they typically don’t choose the most efficient unit, they end up selecting the wrong capacity, or they don’t pick the ideal installation location. In many cases, DIY installation can also void manufacturer warranties.
Ideally, you should do this before you get your ductless system, but if you already have a ductless system, it’s never too late to tighten up your envelope. This simply means reducing the air that moves in or out of your home.
For best results, schedule a home energy audit — your utility company may offer this service, or contact us to talk about your options. The energy audit will help you identify where you’re losing heat during the winter or cool air during the summer. Then, you can make a plan to replace drafty windows, add weather stripping to loose doors, or make other adjustments as necessary.
Once your ductless unit is installed, you’ll set the thermostat just as you do with a traditional HVAC system. Then, the system kicks on when your room reaches the temperature on the thermostat. When you first get your ductless system, play with the temperature settings a little bit to narrow in on what works for you.
Don’t just focus on the number. Instead, pay attention to your comfort levels. Ductless systems use fans to circulate the air around the room, and some units come with enhanced comfort settings such as occupant sensors or dehumidifiers. These elements affect how your home feels, and they often work in a way that allows you to reduce your temperature settings.
Most homeowners find that they can select lower temps in the winter and higher temps in the summer than they would with a traditional HVAC system. This can help to reduce your energy bills even more. It’s especially true for ceiling-mounted units and wall mounts located high on the wall.
The auto setting is the most efficient way to run your fan. You can customize the fan settings if you have a preference for when you’re in the room, but other than that, you should always leave the settings on auto.
The auto setting is similar to cruise control in your car, and adjusting the fan settings is like moving through stop-and-go traffic. Whether you’re heating or cooling, the auto setting uses very little energy.
To minimize power consumption, you should run your ductless system continuously at the same temperature. If you want to adjust the temperature when you leave your home, you only need to do so by about 3 degrees. In contrast, you should adjust the temperature on a traditional HVAC system by about 8 degrees.
This avoids wasting energy by forcing the system to power on or off. The only exception is for areas that you don’t use regularly. For instance, if you have a ductless system in a guest bedroom or a room above the garage that you only use a few times a year, you only need to run your ductless system when you use those spaces.
When you adjust the louvers on your indoor air handling unit, try to direct warm air down and cool air up. This helps to circulate air through the room, increasing your comfort levels and thus reducing the temperature you need on the thermostat settings.
If you integrate ductless heating with your existing furnace, you need to choose a temperature where the system will switch from ductless to the backup heating method. Make sure to choose the temperature carefully — your comfort consultant can guide you toward the most efficient option in your situation.
Avoid picking a temperature that is too high, or you’ll end up running your furnace when you don’t need to. On the flip side, avoid choosing a temperature that is too low, or your ductless system will run when your backup method would be the more efficient option.
Note, however, that while integration is still a great option for some homeowners, it’s no longer as popular as it used to be. Ductless hyper heat systems can now run efficiently at temps as low as -13° F, reducing the need for backup heating methods.
Your windows have a significant impact on your home’s temperature, and thus, they also affect how much energy your heating and cooling equipment uses. During the winter, open your window coverings in the morning. This will help to increase the heat in your home, reducing the energy used by your ductless unit.
During the summer, do the opposite, and make sure that your window coverings are closed during the day. This reduces sun exposure and helps to keep your home cooler. The effect is the strongest on south-facing windows, but all of the windows in your home affect your interior temperatures.
Make sure you maintain your ductless system. Clean your filters as directed for your unit and keep leaves, snow, and debris away from the outdoor unit. Ideally, you should also hire an HVAC tech to service your equipment once a year.
This helps you to avoid unexpected costly repairs. It also helps to boost your efficiency. According to MassSave, systems that aren’t properly maintained can cost up to 25% more to run.
Want to improve the efficiency of your home with a new ductless heating and cooling system? Want to safeguard the efficiency of your existing system by scheduling routine maintenance? Then, contact us at NETR, Inc today.
We can help you enhance the comfort levels in your home, while also reducing your energy bills. We are Mitsubishi Diamond Elite contractors which means that our team has gone through extensive training to help you select, install, and maintain your ductless equipment. We have also completed extensive dealer training from LG. Plus, we have over 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry — check out our residential case studies to see how we’ve helped homeowners just like you.