Learning About Furnaces

2 Problems with Mini-Split Units in the Heating Season

Mini-split systems have created a lot of buzz among homeowners, mainly because of their ability to operate more quietly and efficiently than central air systems. Mini-spilt, ductless AC systems can also be installed where other systems cannot, such as in buildings with no ductwork or in small spaces such as garages. Because they can be operated independently in every room, mini-splits can also keep occupied rooms well-conditioned while saving on heating or cooling in uninhabited areas such as the attic or empty rooms.

Despite their numerous advantages over central ducted air conditioning, mini-splits also experience some problems. Here is a look at common problems that could affect your ductless AC during the heating season, so you can be prepared to deal with any upcoming issues.

Scarcity of thermal heat

Mini-splits use the principle of evaporating and condensing refrigerant to move heat from the outdoors and use it to heat your home during the cold season. By siphoning heat energy from the air around it, such a unit is able to offer heating without relying on combustion.

This makes a mini-split very energy efficient, but there can be a serious drawback; when the temperature outside drops, there is less thermal energy in the air. This means that your AC will lack sufficient thermal energy to heat your home effectively.

Dearth of thermal heat isn't usually very prevalent if you live in relatively warm areas, but a mini-split can struggle to provide ample heating in areas where winter temperatures drop to extreme lows.

Icing over

As a mini-split system siphons heat from the surrounding air and into the coil, the air gets cooler and forms condensation on the coil surface and casing. This condensation then forms water droplets which eventually form ice on the unit.

The easiest way to troubleshoot a condensation problem is to look out for water droplets around your condenser. The formation of ice on the AC is usually not a problem, as a mini-split unit has a defrost cycle that is supposed to melt accumulating ice. However, if the defrost function is damaged, ice will accumulate on the condenser and interfere with its ability to absorb heat from the air.

Closely examine your AC unit when temperatures drop outside, paying attention to the outside of the unit. If you notice ice increasingly accumulating on your condenser coil, this should tell you that you have an icing problem, and that it is time to call in an air conditioning contractor.