What is a Multi Split Air Conditioner? Find out about this energy efficient HVAC option here.

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What is a Multi Split Air Conditioner?

You can greatly enhance the heating and cooling in your home with the addition of a multi split air conditioner. The system is ideal for homes that do not have a ductwork system and use alternate heat sources such as baseboard heaters and space heaters and window air conditioners for heating and cooling. Energy efficient and lower utility bills make this system one to consider.

Benefits of a Multi-Split Air Conditioner Unit

A major advantage of a multi-split air conditioner over a split air conditioner is the option to add up to four indoor air outlet units to a single outdoor compressor. With a split air conditioning unit, the system is comprised of one compressor and one air outlet unit.

With a multi-split air conditioner system, there is no need for ductwork. It is a complete system designed specifically for individual interior areas. This is a significant advantage over other systems since you do not have to factor in the cost for ductwork materials and installation.

Unlike a conventional system that works off one thermostat to control temperatures, a multi-split system provides individual control of each room’s temperatures. This gives you an opportunity to regulate the temperature in each room according to personal preference, providing additional money saving advantage as you can heat or cool only those rooms you are using versus the entire house.

Multi-split air conditioner systems are designed with interior compatibility in mind. The air outlet that disperses the air is relatively small, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and can be easily installed flush against a wall. You can mix and match the different style air outlets.

Multi-split systems are flexible and easy to install, requiring less labor than traditional systems. They are also cost effective when compared to central air systems although they are typically more expensive than a window or through-the-wall air conditioner.

Multi-Split Air Conditioning Ratings

You want to select a system with an ENERGY STAR rating. These systems have been tested and passed the rigid standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The ENERGY STAR rating validates that each product bearing the label is cost effective, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Two additional ratings important in your choice of a multi-split air conditioning system are the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER.)

Check the EER rating from the manufacturer for the system you’re considering. You want a high rating, the higher the rating, the better the efficiency. A higher rating will increase the cost of the system but it evens out as the system costs lest to operate.

You also want a system with the highest SEER rating. Only multi split air conditioner systems with the highest ratings are considered for an ENERGY STAR rating label.

The different parts of a multi split air conditioner

Installing Multi-Split Air Conditioning Systems

A multi-split system must be installed by a certified HVAC technician to maintain the validity of its warranty. Allowing anyone to install the system that is not certified will make the warranty void should you need to have it repaired.

Before purchasing a system, it is important that the system you choose has enough BTUs to adequately handle the square footage of each area. Keep in mind the larger the area, the more BTUs are needed. Use an online BTU calculator or chart to estimate your needs based on the square footage of each room. For example, a 150-square foot room needs up to 5000 BTUs. A 500-square foot room needs 10,000 BTUs, and a 1,960-square foot room needs 28,500 BTUs.

multi split chart

Installing a multi-split system requires drilling a hole of at least 3-inches in diameter to run copper tubing to transport refrigerant. A certified contractor will then run lines for the coolant along with electricity and drainage. You will need to buy the tubing, also referred to as line sets. The amount of tubing you’ll need is determined by the distance from the outdoor compressor to each individual indoor air outlet.

A condensate pump may also be necessary for drainage of accumulated indoor condensation.

If you only need to cool one room, a split air conditioning system is the answer but it you want to cover 4 to 5 rooms, a multi-split air system is the answer. The initial cost for the system and materials may be as much as, or more than a conventional central a/c but the benefits of such a versatile, flexible, and energy efficient system will more than pay for itself over time. Be prepared and do your research on the current brands, size, and styles available, and check the ratings, too. This is a sizeable investment, so purchase the right size system so you’ll experience the best ROI – which equals total comfort for your home – from the start.