One of the most attractive qualities of mini split systems is that they come in numerous forms. They offer various placement options, from walls to ceilings, providing a range of different benefits. This versatility allows multiple types of spaces to reap the joys of these multifunctional heating and cooling inventions.
Mini splits also come in two major structural forms: ducted and ductless. Although mini splits gained most of their fame from functioning on ductless systems, a ducted version is also available—but it comes with a twist. Instead of using the generic ducted network that most HVAC systems use, ducted mini splits use slim ductwork. They feature smaller, less obtrusive airways, providing a more efficient and beneficial system. Here’s a guide on everything you should know about mini split slim-duct systems, from what they’re used for to their pros and cons.
What Is a Slim-Duct Mini Split?
Slim-duct mini splits offer centralized air systems that typically go into a home’s ceiling. Like their ductless counterparts, slim-ducted units generate both hot and cold air, using only one reversible system function. They create multiple cohesive subzones, providing various sections within a space with the same atmospheric control and conditions. Instead of blowing air out of an AC unit, ducted systems use vents connected to a singular air handler.
Regular vs. Slim-Duct Systems
As their name suggests, slim-duct systems use narrower ductwork compared to regular ducted HVACs. Their air handlers require less space and come in more compact designs. However, despite their smaller and more concise structures, slim-ducted systems still produce the same—and sometimes even more efficient—results as a traditional ductwork unit.
Slim-Duct vs. Ductless Mini Splits
Ductless mini splits offer more placement versatility. Without the need for ductwork and space to conceal and store the ducts, you can place ductless units anywhere within a home.
Slim-duct mini splits also differ from regular mini splits in their performance and abilities. Ductless systems provide individual zone control. Although multiple AC units can connect to the same condenser, each unit still provides individualized settings control. They allow different rooms to have independent indoor atmospheres. On the other hand, slim-duct mini splits supply multiple spaces with various vents that all share the same temperature control. Numerous vents attached to the same air handler generate identical temperature conditions within the separate zones. They rely on a centralized system to manage the various settings, from temperature and air strength to timing.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Slim-Duct Mini Splits
As with many things in life, slim-duct mini splits possess advantages and disadvantages. Whether you choose a ducted or ductless system will depend on your home, priorities, needs, and preferences.
Require More Space
Although more compact than traditional ductwork units, slim-duct units still require a designated set space to house their air handlers and ventilation networks. Slim-duct systems can be placed in the ceiling, under the floor, between different floor levels, or in various other crawl spaces. Additional room is needed for not only the centralized base with the air handler but also for the various airway channels to run to the appropriate zones. Therefore, small living areas with minimal room to spare may benefit more from ductless units.
Installing any mini split always comes with certain risks and challenges. The special refrigerants used to transport energy from the condenser to the indoor unit contains hazardous content. If the refrigerants leak, exposure to their chemicals can cause numerous health and safety issues. And knocking down your home’s structure for vent inserts and metal airways makes the installation process a lot more challenging. Various aspects of a slim-duct unit installation require specific tools, methods, and skills, which makes a professional installation a more viable solution than trying to DIY it.
Compact ducted mini splits have pros and cons pertaining to energy efficiency. Ductless mini splits provide one of the most energy-efficient and eco-friendly heating and cooling solutions. Many of their various features contribute to system’s eco-friendly and energy-efficient qualities, including:
- Dual functionality: As a heater and AC unit, a mini split reduces the amount of energy output you supply, reducing your carbon footprint and energy bill.
- Fewer components: Ductless systems feature fewer parts, requiring minimal materials and resources during manufacturing and production.
- No ductwork: Transporting energy through ductwork creates multiple opportunities for the energy to escape and leak, wasting energy. Ductless systems provide a more controlled and efficient way of transporting energy between their various components.
Compared to a ductless unit, slim-duct mini splits offer less energy efficiency. However, head-to-head against regular ducted ventilation equipment, compact ducted mini splits provide more optimized and efficient energy usage. Their smaller ductwork reduces the chances of energy and air escaping or leaking. Plus, they still use refrigerants to transport energy between their exterior and interior units, further reducing the risk of lost energy. Their multifunctional slimmer ductwork minimizes your home’s total energy output and optimizes and reduces the materials needed to build the system.
Slim-duct units are still mini splits, so they still provide the same benefits that other mini splits offer, from dual-functioning abilities to optimized heating and cooling. Plus, despite providing codependent atmosphere control across multiple zones, slim-duct units also offer various control customizations on top of temperature.
When To Use a Slim-Duct Mini Split
Slim-duct systems come in handy in large spaces broken into multiple zones. They work well in creating unified atmospheres between bedrooms, en suite bathrooms, and closets. If you prefer cohesive interior temperatures within your home, opting for a slim-duct system may suit you. Homes with extra space in the form of attics or crawl areas also make good candidates for slim-duct mini splits.
Like any other mini split setup, slim-duct systems are used for heating and cooling a space or multiple spaces with only one network of units. However, they create more unification by providing numerous zones with the same control settings. They offer a range of benefits and disadvantages compared to other heating and cooling methods, making them the perfect fit for some homes and not the best option for others. No matter the type of mini split you opt for, adding heating and cooling control in your home will upgrade the space and allow you to enjoy a more comfortable home.