Can a Mini Split Cool a Whole House?

If you’re a home or property owner, you may be wondering what the best options are for cooling your residence or property during the year’s warmer months. While not always at the forefront of people’s minds, mini splits are an excellent option when installing an air conditioning system in your home.

A mini split system can cool a whole house as long as multiple indoor units are installed. Mini split units are responsible for cooling specific “zones” of a building, and the number of units needed for your house may vary based on your home’s square footage. 

In this article, I’ll explain how a mini split system works, the benefits of using a mini split system, and how to determine how many indoor mini split units you’ll need to cool your entire house effectively. 

Can I Use One Mini Split To Cool My Entire House?

Unless you live in a small studio apartment, you will likely need multiple indoor mini split units to cool your entire home effectively. 

A single mini split system can cool an entire house so long as there are enough indoor units installed to control the temperature of every area within your home effectively. 

Each mini split unit is responsible for cooling or heating a single, small area of your house, allowing you more control over what areas you want to cool and when. 

Because they’re ductless, you can’t circulate air from your home with mini splits, which means that a complete mini split system including multiple indoor units is needed to cool your entire home.

Continue reading to gain an in-depth understanding of how mini splits work.

Read: Do I Need A Mini Split In Every Room?

How Mini Splits Work?

Mini splits are relatively straightforward machines that can simultaneously effectively cool your whole house (when multiple indoor units are installed) and remove several of the downsides of traditional HVAC systems.

While standard HVAC systems work by circulating air within your whole house through a duct system, mini splits are ductless, which means that each mini split unit operates independently and connects to a single outdoor compressor

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Each mini split unit is installed inside and controls a specific “zone.” How many different zones there are, and thus how many indoor mini split units you need to install, is determined mainly by the square footage of the space you’re trying to cool. 

Each indoor unit draws the warm air from inside the house and runs it out toward the outdoor compressor along refrigerant lines

The air then circulates through the outdoor compressor and makes its way back to the indoor unit, which pushes the cooled air back into the room. 

Essentially, the mini split pulls the warm air out of the room, cools it, and then returns the cool air directly back into space. 

The benefit of this method of cooling is that you can control what temperature you want each zone to be, meaning that people within the house that have different temperature preferences can all be happy, and you save energy by not cooling areas of the house that nobody is using.

Read: Can You Put A Mini Split In Bathroom?

What Are the Benefits of Using a Mini Split?

Because multiple indoor mini split units connected to one outdoor compressor are needed to cool your home effectively, you may wonder how useful this method really is for cooling your home and what benefits this air conditioning system offers. 

Ductless mini splits provide several benefits over traditional HVAC systems. They are comparatively small and easy to install and are often more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Additionally, they offer better security than some other air conditioning options. 

One of the biggest perks of mini splits is their relatively small size compared to other cooling systems. While you’ll end up having multiple mini split units installed throughout your home, they’re relatively non-intrusive and simply require a few wall units that directly connect outside, meaning no extensive duct system. 

According to Miller’s Heating and Air, ductless mini split systems are nearly 40% more efficient than standard cooling and heating systems. This efficiency means that they not only save homeowners money but they are also significantly more environmentally friendly.

The refrigerant needed to cool homes using a mini split is also environmentally friendly; this is why installing mini splits is considered a relatively easy and inexpensive way to make your home or business more energy-efficient.

Ductless mini splits improve indoor air quality by avoiding the circulation of poor-quality air. Because traditional HVAC systems cycle used air throughout your home, you have to be sure to regularly clean the duct system to avoid potential health complications resulting from poor air quality; that isn’t a concern with ductless mini splits.

Another benefit of mini splits is that they are installed indoors and only require a small hole in your home to connect to the outside compressor. Because of this, there’s no need for a window unit, which offers better safety when compared to using a window air conditioning unit.

Read: Mini Split In Dry Mode Vs. Dehumidifier: Which One Is More Efficient? 

How Many Indoor Mini Split Units Are Needed To Cool an Entire House?

Now that you’re familiar with what a mini split is and you’re considering whether or not it would be a good fit for your home, you may be left wondering how many indoor units you would need to cool your entire house. 

The number of indoor units needed to cool your house depends mainly on the square footage of your home, as each unit can only cool its designated zone. While an extremely small home may only require one or two indoor mini splits, a significantly larger house can require upwards of four indoor units.

It’s important to talk to a professional before selecting a mini split system, as different units are designed to handle different sized zones. Problems can arise if you install a too powerful or weak system to cool your house appropriately. 

The square footage of each zone determines the appropriate size of the mini split; this is determined by how many British Thermal Units (BTUs) are needed to cool a certain amount of space. 

If you only need to cool a small area, installing a mini split with lower BTUs will be fine. However, as your space gets more extensive, you’ll need to look at mini split systems with higher BTUs.

Below are the most common mini split sizes and the appropriate space they can cool: 

  • A 12,000 BTU mini split will work best for rooms that are between 400 and 650 square feet (37.16 and 60.39 square meter).
  • An 18,000 BTU mini split will work best for rooms that are between 600 and 1000 square feet (55.74 and 92.90 square meter).
  • A 24,000 BTU mini split will work best for rooms that are between 800 and 1300 square feet (74.32 and 120.77 square meter).

You will want to make sure you’re installing a mini split system that can appropriately meet the needs of your space. 

In addition to your square footage, your home’s insulation is a factor in how effective your mini split will be. Homes with brand new windows and excellent insulation will be able to retain cold air better than drafty homes that are constantly cycling in more warm air from outside. 

Read: How To Choose The Right Size Mini Split?

Final Thoughts

Mini splits are an excellent cooling option if you’re willing to put multiple units in your home. Their zoning network will allow you to manually control which areas of your home you wish to cool and when. 

Mini splits work by removing warm air within a specific unit radius and running the air over refrigerating coils taken to a single outdoor compressor.

One of the benefits of mini splits is that they can save you money on electricity by giving you more flexibility over which portions of your house you want to cool and when.

Read: Do Mini-Splits Use A Lot Of Electricity?