Even though they make your home very comfortable, mini splits don’t bring in fresh air from the outside. Instead, they condition, scrub and circulate the air that’s already in your home. In this way, they operate like conventional central air conditioning systems, although they offer many advantages over what we call, traditional systems.
This isn’t what people often expect to hear. After all, there are indoor and outdoor units. And, it feels as if “new,” fresh air comes through the air handlers inside.
Even though that’s not how it works, in the summer, that can be an advantage in some ways.
At Snowflake Air, we’re big proponents of ductless heating and cooling here in Meridian, ID. As a Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer, we see all the significant advantages these systems offer to homeowners in Boise, Kuna, Eagle, and our hometown.
The benefits include better cooling and heating with lower energy bills. They’re also quieter than a ceiling fan and much more powerful.
But, no: These won’t bring fresh air into the house in the summer — or in the winter if you’re also using it for heating.
In this article, we’ll explain how these systems work and why you don’t get fresh air with them. We’ll touch on those benefits we mentioned also.
Finally, we’ll suggest a few ways to improve your indoor air quality.
How Your Mini Split Works
A mini split is called that because the system is “split” into two parts: The heat pump outside, and the air handlers inside. These use a “heat transfer” process to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But, they only transfer thermal energy — not the actual air.
Here’s how a mini split can heat and cool a home:
Inside, the air handler draws in the warm air from the room. The handler dehumidified the air, and the heat from it warms up a refrigerant fluid or coolant.
That coolant runs in a closed loop from the indoor components to the heat pump. When it gets to the outdoor unit, that heat pump releases the heat into the air outside.
Now, the coolant condenses and travels back inside. There, it cools the air that the air handler is circulating back into the room.
Read More: How Do Mini Splits Work?
It’s a very efficient process. You don’t need all the power that a forced-air system uses to push air through ductwork all over the house. As with ductwork, mini splits don’t bring in fresh air from outside. Instead, the air in the room gets cooled, dehumidified, and recirculated.
And, the piping for the coolant is airtight. So, you don’t get leaks and loss along the way as you do with ducts. And, while it may seem that a mini split runs all the time, it actually runs for long stretches in a low-power mode.
In the summer, however, that can be a good thing.
Summer and Seasonal Allergies
As anyone with seasonal allergies will tell you, spring and summer can be brutal. Those are the seasons when their symptoms are set off by pollen in the air.
Now, we’re pretty lucky in this part of the state. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Boise, ID is actually one of the “least challenging” cities in the country to live when you have seasonal allergies.
But, people still have to contend with symptoms when the pollen count gets high. It’s probably the one time that not letting in fresh air is a good thing:
If you clean your house, you’re getting rid of any pollen or other contaminants you track in. And, you’re not continually letting more in by circulating outside air through your home.
Of course, fresh air, on the whole, is good for you. And, inside air is often more polluted than outside. So, we’ll talk a little more about improving your indoor air quality in the summer and winter.
But, before that, we wanted to touch on mini splits one more time.
Benefits of Installing a Ductless Mini Split
We mentioned a few benefits you get with a ductless heating and cooling system. Let’s look at those features a little closer.
We mentioned how these systems use less energy to work and don’t “leak” cooled air. Ductless also uses inverter technology for variable speeds.
Unlike conventional HVAC, which can only turn off or go on full blast, a heat pump and air handler setup can work in low-power modes.
This way, they maintain the temperature using just a tiny bit of electricity. That’s different from trying to correct the temperature after it drifts from where you want it.
Read More: Rebates and Financing Options For Treasure Valley Heat Pump and Mini Split Installations
An especially nice advantage in the summertime: Whisper-quiet air handlers inside! No more turning up the TV or talking louder so you can hear what’s going on over your cooling system’s sound.
At their loudest, the air handlers make as much noise as leaves rustling outside. Any sound at all in the room drowns them out.
We can go on about why these systems are so great. But, for this article, we’ll get back to talking about indoor air quality.
Read More: How Much Does A Mini Split Cost for Homes in Boise, ID and Valley County?
Improving Your Indoor Air Quality in the Summer and Winter
Pollen aside, fresh air coming through the house improves the quality of the air you’re breathing inside. Believe it or not, your home has more pollutants than the great outdoors.
It works out this way because you let in all sorts of contaminants, from dust and germs to pollen and viruses. But, with the windows closed, they have no way to get back out.
Meanwhile, you produce VOCs — volatile organic compounds — such as bathroom smells and cooking odors that also get trapped.
Finally, people with pets also deal with waste, dropping, and fur, feathers, or dander.
Your air conditioner isn’t bringing in fresh air, no matter what model you have. But you can still breathe easier at home.
This topic can fill an article all its own, but we’ll breeze through a few items here. If you want to learn more, you can always contact us for a consultation.
Read Real Case Studies Of Mini Split Installations In Boise Metro and Valley County
Regular, Thorough Cleaning
Your first step is getting rid of any contaminants that irritate you. Clean weekly and clean thoroughly. Wipe down countertops, windowsills, and the tops of door frames with a damp cloth.
Some of these spots are easy to miss, and they’re also where dust and other pollutants build up. And, using a damp cloth traps them instead of just spreading them around with a duster.
Get a Whole-Home Air Purifier
A whole-home air purifier connects to your HVAC system. It treats your entire home at once, and you don’t have to worry about turning it on or off.
You can get one for a conventional system that uses a strong filter to catch pollutants. Then, they use UV-C light or other resources to eradicate it all instead of letting it build up.
Mini Split Installation in Boise, ID
If you want to improve your indoor air quality for the summer and winter or want more information about mini split installation in Boise, ID, call or email us today at Snowflake Air. Starting with a free consultation, we’ll help you make your home more comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient.