7 Tips to Get More from Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Colder Climates

 When it gets colder out, your thoughts may turn to how well your mini-split ductless heat pump will work this year. It is often a common consideration, especially in colder climates. The last thing you want is for your mini split pump to go out or function in a subpar way. We’ve come up with a few tips for getting the most out of your mini split pump.

 Reduce load first, then let it snow (but not on your outdoor unit!)

The first step is to reduce the load that your mini split pump is having to handle. This involves improving what is called the “thermal envelope” of your structure. Your thermal envelope is one of the most important elements of a low energy (or “passive” house). This is essentially the structure that you will be heating – including the walls, doors and roof. It prevents transfer of heat from inside your home to the outside environment. A smaller space requires less energy. Once you do that, make sure to keep an eye on your outdoor unit. Snow build-up can reduce the efficiency of your mini split pump. Try to place your outdoor unit two feet off the ground, at least. Also protect it with some sort of roof or cover that will keep the snow off without restricting airflow. It is possible, especially with larger snow events, for the compressor to become completely clogged with snow. This could even kill your unit, in a worse case scenario. Click here !

Size your mini-split ductless heat pump for “average” cold weather and prepare for noise!

A good rule of thumb is to size it at about 10 degrees fahrenheit.  In times of colder weather, you can make up the difference with good insulation or a secondary heating source. Mini split pumps work slowly to heat the house, so don’t expect miracles if the cold drops lower than average. Also, if you choose an interior unit, be prepared for noise. Although it isn’t deafening, it does have a certain noise that many people describe as a “whoosh.”

Figure out your indoor mounting system and make sure you’re using the right size pipes

For an indoor unit, make sure it is mounted about 18 inches off the ground. Mounting it low allows for more efficient work. Low mounting allows the warm air to mix with the lower cold air and doesn’t blow directly on occupants of the space that the mini split pump is located in. It also makes it much easier to access the filter when it needs to be changed. You also need to make sure you have at least 15 feet of piping to make sure there is as little as possible “noise transfer” from the compressor to the unit.

In a warmer climate, there is an easier balance of efficiency and and temperature. With colder weather, it may be harder to maintain that balance. With a few adjustments, you can help your mini-split ductless heat pump work as efficiently as possible.