The Definitive Guide to Mini-Split Heat Pumps

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Daikin’s definitive guide to mini-split (ductless) heat pump systems will help you determine if a mini-split is right for your home’s heating and cooling needs. 

Mini-split (ductless) heat pump systems have three key advantages over ducted heat pump systems: 

  1. Mini-split systems do not require ductwork, which means homeowners do not have to contend with loud sounds created by ducted systems, the amount of space they take up, and problems that occur when detritus gets caught in the ductwork. Additionally, heat can escape from ductwork whereas Daikin mini-split systems can provide heating at 100% capacity down to outside temperatures of -25 degrees Celsius. 
  2. Many mini-split heat pump models also use inverter technology, which reduces energy consumption by approximately 30% when compared to traditional ducted systems. 
  3. Mini-split heat pumps provide an alternative solution for homeowners in smaller homes or those who do not want to do a major retrofit. Mini-splits are often small, quiet, and do not require homeowners to tear down drywall to install, for example. 

How Does the Mini-Split Heat Pump System Work?

Mini-Split heat pump systems provide heating or cooling with the use of an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor units. Unlike ducted heat pump systems that rely on ductwork to distribute conditioned air, mini-splits use an indoor fan-coil to condition the space. 

The single zone mini-split heat pump consists of an indoor and outdoor unit to heat or cool a single area of your home. Single zone heat pump systems may be ideal for open-concept homes, or for supplementing an existing home heating set up for a workshop or garage. 

A multi-zone mini-split heat pump consists of an outdoor unit with two or more indoor units. The multi-zone system might be installed by a homeowner who wants to strategically heat a few areas of the home simultaneously. 

Not sure if you need a ductless or ducted heat pump in your home? Learn more about ducted vs ductless heat pumps

When Does the Mini-Split System Work Best?

Mini-split systems are ideal for homes that do not have pre-existing ductwork and use electric baseboard heating or in-floor heating. However, homeowners who want to supplement existing home heating can take advantage of a mini-split system to control the temperature in specific areas of the home. For example, a homeowner who recently built an addition on their house may not want to retrofit existing ductwork. 

Mini-split systems work optimally when they are maintained year-round. This includes cleaning the indoor and outdoor unit regularly and scheduling annual maintenance with your Daikin Comfort Pro dealer. Additionally, it’s important to prevent snow and ice buildup on the outdoor unit

Can a Mini-Split Heat Pump Heat My Entire House?

Multi-zone mini-split heat pumps allow you to customize how you heat your home—you can strategically and cost-effectively heat small areas with a few indoor units, or implement an entire home heating solution. Working with a Daikin Comfort Pro dealer, you’ll be able to determine the optimal location for each indoor unit in order to achieve the desired temperature year-round. 

Mini-split heat pumps can operate efficiently in colder temperatures, but there are some cases where a backup heat source is needed. For example, when the temperature drops below -27 degrees, homeowners may need to rely on a secondary source of heat such as electric baseboard heating or a wood stove. 

What Size Ductless Heat Pump Do I Need? 

In order to size a heat pump to the area you want to heat or cool, you’ll want to look at the Btu output of the unit. Btu, or British Thermal Units, is a measure of energy transfer. In order to take advantage of a heat pump’s efficiency, you want to ensure that the heat pump Btu matches the square footage of the area you want to heat or cool

Some homeowners do not want to invest in ductless heat pumps due to the size and style of the indoor units, which are typically wall-mounted. Some indoor units are more discreet, including floor mounted units, ceiling cassettes, and slim-duct units like Daikin’s model FDMQ and Daikin’s model FDXS/CDXS

For homeowners interested in a sleek, award-winning design, the Daikin EMURA single and multi-zone wall mount ductless heat pump is available in silver or pure matte white and features a curved silhouette. The EMURA model is the winner of the “Good Design Award” from Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design for industrial design in Japan, the 2015 iF Design Award, and the 2014 Red Dot Award Winner. 

Best Single and Multi-Zone Heat Pumps for Efficiency

The Daikin LV Series Wall Mount was awarded the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient Mark in 2017. This single zone ductless heat pump provides up to 24.5 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) when installed by a Daikin Comfort Pro dealer. The minimum SEER rating for Canada is 13. Additionally, the heat pump offers up to 12.5 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) performance. 

The Daikin FDMQ Series is an ENERGY STAR® certified multi-zone heat pump system that provides up to 20.2 SEER and 10.6 HSPF. 

SEER and HSPF Ratings 

Two important factors to consider when measuring heat pump performance are SEER and HSPF. 

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures how efficient your heat pump operates in cooling mode. A higher SEER rating indicates energy efficiency. 

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures a heat pump’s efficiency in heating mode. The minimum HSPF in Canada is 6.7. 

Is a Mini-Split Heat Pump Right For You? Find a Daikin Dealer Today

A Daikin Comfort Pro can complete the installation of a mini-split system in one day, with additional time for each indoor unit. Contact your local Daikin dealer today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, and to learn about provincial and dealer rebates you could be eligible to receive.