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Can A Mini-Split Heat A Whole House?

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A mini-split air conditioning system is a cost-efficient and space-saving way of heating rooms. There are many practical advantages that come along with ductless heating systems but are they able to heat a whole house?

So, can a mini-split system heat the whole house? Yes, mini-splits can definitely meet the heating requirements of almost all homes. Installing a split-type unit with a heating mode comes with the same energy-saving and spatial benefits you get when using the unit for cooling your homes.

Heating An Entire Home With A Mini-Split System

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So, How Does a Mini-Split Heat Work To Heat Your Home?

With a ductless system, you have an outdoor condenser unit, indoor blower or evaporator units, and conduits linking these outdoor and indoor units.

Ductless mini-splits work by transferring heat through its heat pumps to get the right room temperature. During cooler weather, heat is moved from the pumps into the house to warm the space up and when it’s hot outside, the process is relatively inversed once placed in the opposite setting. A mini-split system does this through refrigerant expansion and compression.

Heating up the house with mini-splits saves up to 50% on energy consumption compared to central air conditioning and cooling it down can get you 30% off the electricity bills.

As the air moves through a duct system in central air conditioning, there is about a 20-30 percent loss in air caused by leaks. Also, since the ducts are connected throughout the entire house, it’s more difficult to control where the air goes. The whole process of air transfer won’t have to go through a series of ducts in a mini-split system therefore less energy is lost to achieve similar results.

Depending on the size of your home, you can install around 2-8 blowers around the house attached to a single compressor. The multiple blowers can function independently from one another. Not only does this save you from a ton of home renovations and energy consumption, it also allows you to choose which rooms have their units turned on bringing your electricity bills even lower.

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What kind of mini-split system do I need to heat the whole house?

Another great feature of split-type systems is that it can virtually be installed anywhere in the house. Because of that, new homes take advantage of its space efficiency and old homes find it easier to integrate in their existing spaces. Not all homes have the same requirements, though. Good thing there are different types of ductless systems to address varying needs.

Here’s a list of the types of mini-split units:


This is a single outdoor and indoor set that is meant to serve one space.


Multi-zone mini split systems can have two to four indoor units attached to one condenser. The four indoor units are connected but they get to operate independently from one another and can do so in different temperature settings.


The most favored type is the wall-mounted split. It is the easiest to install and it usually costs less than the other types of units.


Some spaces would benefit more from floor-mounted units. These are spaces with low ceilings and high windows so the areas where wall-mounted units are usually placed aren’t available.


Units that are installed to the ceilings produce better air distribution compared to other unit placements. This is also less eye-catching than the other types.


Concealed duct mini splits are best suited for systems catering to multiple rooms and larger spaces. These are installed on the ceiling where it’s easy to get connected to a series of ducts.

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How big of a mini-split system do I need to heat the whole house?

The size of the space you want to heat matters a lot in choosing how big a system you need. The bigger the space, the more heat you need to divert to it. The measurement unit used to determine this is called the British Thermal Unit (BTU).

The cooling capacity of air conditioning systems depend on how much heat they can move around. Using a system that has a lower capacity than what your space requires will make it less efficient. In the process, the compressor works harder and this leads to larger energy consumption. If the system’s capacity is too big for your space, however, it will be keep operating as if you are heating a larger area and you end up with less efficient energy consumption, too.

This waste in energy will directly impact your electricity bills. Air conditioning systems are designed specifically to cater certain sizes. To optimize the full efficiency of your units, it is best to go with a system that has a capacity that matches the size of the area you want to heat.

Take a look at the table below for the right capacity needed for different space sizes.

Area To Be Cooled                    Capacity Needed (BTUs Per Hour)

150 to 250 square feet             6,000 BTUs

250 to 300 square feet             7,000 BTUs

300 to 350 square feet             8,000 BTUs

350 to 400 square feet             9,000 BTUs

400 to 450 square feet             10,000 BTUs

450 to 550 square feet             12,000 BTUs

550 to 700 square feet             14,000 BTUs

700 to 1,000 square feet          18,000 BTUs

1,000 to 1,200 square feet        21,000 BTUs

1,200 to 1,400 square feet        23,000 BTUs

Up to 1,500 square feet             24,000 BTUs

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Related Questions

How a mini-split works is pretty similar to a window-type air conditioning unit, so how do they compare?

Window-type air conditioners can only function as a single packaged unit for a single space while a split system can have a single condenser unit that will be able to serve several blowers that you can distribute to different areas in your home. This allows you to, again, save on energy and space consumption for your home’s air conditioning requirements. The Mini-split also tends to operate more quietly and matches home aesthetics better compared to window-type units.

Will a mini-split work in extreme cold?

Yes. Some mini-splits have heat pumps that can absorb heat in temperatures as low as -4 °F. It’s important to check your unit capacity, though.

Do you save money with a mini-split system?

Yes. Even though the installation and unit can be quite costly, you get to save on electricity bills, renovation costs, and eventual unit replacement. Most split systems last between 15-20 years.

How do you make mini splits last?

Proper maintenance is needed so that your unit can function at its most optimal and so that you can prevent damages. Remember to clean the space where your units are placed and have a professional look at the unit at least once a year. Don’t allow dust and debris to clog up your system.

Can I Install A Mini Split System Myself?

If you are not a professional, please don’t. Although it seems easy to install, there are complicated components you can damage if you do not handle the unit properly. You may end up with a less efficient, or worse, broken mini split.

Do I Need a Blower for Every Room of the House?

This will depend in the room sizes and areas you want to heat. Please refer to the table earlier in the article to check whether your unit is enough for you space.

Designate your units according to room specifications. Good planning will help you out in this process and will save you more money in the end.

Do mini-splits have to run 24/7?

Although they are equipped to run over long periods of time, you can actually control the settings according to your desired room temperature. If not needed, you can turn off the unit.

Final Thoughts

The best way to approach getting a mini-split system is to consult an expert and plan your space well. This gives you a better chance at getting the most out of the ductless air conditioning system.

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