Ductless mini-splits are becoming quite the popular home heating option for homeowners who are dissatisfied with other systems. They’re energy efficient, cost-effective, and flexible. However, ductless mini-splits have some problems, just like any machine. Let’s take a look at some specific issues that affect ductless mini-splits during the heating season.
Dearth of Thermal Energy
Ductless mini-splits may look very different from other heating systems, but they actually have a lot in common with heat pumps. They use the same method of evaporating and condensing refrigerant to move heat from one place to another, rather than relying on combustion to create heat. Just like heat pumps, though, ductless mini-splits rely on the air around them to provide heat.
When the temperature outside drops, the air holds less thermal energy. Therefore, when the ductless mini-split tries to siphon heat from the air, it has less to draw on. This isn’t a problem unless the temperature drops quite low, but when that does happen the ductless system struggles to provide enough heat.
As previously mentioned, the outside unit of the ductless mini-split collects heat by siphoning heat out of the air. It does this by evaporating the refrigerant flowing through a coil inside it. When the refrigerant evaporates, it draws heat out of the surrounding air and into the coil. There are two other results of this process. The first is that the surrounding air gets colder. The second is that condensation forms on the coil and casing as it heats up. The condensation then freezes in the cold air and forms ice on the unit.
This isn’t normally a problem, as ductless mini-split systems are designed with a defrost cycle to melt any ice on the outside unit. If the defrost cycle is malfunctioning for any reason, however, the unit can become covered with ice and stop drawing heat from the air. To avoid this, pay attention to the outside of your system when it’s cold out. If there is ice on it, and it seems to be increasing instead of going away, you should call a professional.
If you’re having problems with your ductless mini-split, call Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. We provide heating repair throughout Broomall, PA.