5 Tips to Maximize Comfort and Savings with Mini-Splits This Winter

November 07, 2018

Ductless mini-split heat pump systems are an efficient heating and cooling solution that can keep Massachusetts residents comfortable all year round, even in very cold temperatures. By transferring heat rather than generating it and by avoiding energy losses associated with ductwork, mini-splits are often more energy efficient than central heating or cooling systems.

This past July, we highlighted a few tips for operating your mini-splits in the summer. Now that winter is approaching, we return with some guidance on how to get optimal comfort and savings on even the coldest, snowiest days and nights New England has to offer.

If you don’t have a mini-split heat pump but you’re curious about a heating and cooling solution that harnesses clean energy and provides plenty of comfort year-round, take a look at one of our previous blog posts to get the rundown.

Know when to use your back-up heating source

Most of the time, your mini-split heat pump will operate effectively and efficiently on cold winter days as a primary heating system, providing plenty of comfort while keeping energy usage minimal. However, if your heat pump is not a cold climate rated model and if you left an existing heating system in place when you had your mini-split heat pump installed, then there are instances where it’s more cost effective to switch over to your back-up heating system.

If your back-up heating system uses…

  • Electricity – Use your mini-split as your primary heat source
  • Propane – Use your mini-split as your primary heat source
  • Oil – Use your mini-split as your primary heat source when the outside temperature is above 25 degrees F
  • Natural gas – At current fuel prices, natural gas systems are more cost-effective than mini-splits

Set the temperature to achieve optimal comfort

The temperature sensors on the mini-split indoor units are higher up than where a thermostat normally would be. This means they’re located near the ceiling where the air is typically warmer. As a result, you may find you’ll achieve the comfort you want if you bump up the temperature setting on the remote a little higher than you would on a normal thermostat. Try this out before feeling like you need to turn on your back-up heating system.

Put your mini-splits on cruise control

Set it and forget it. Pick the temperature you want, set the fan to AUTO, and direct warm air at the floor. Your mini-split’s variable speed fan will adjust automatically to keep temperatures consistent. While you can save with traditional heating systems by setting back your thermostat while you sleep or while you're away during the day, with mini-splits, even as you go to work for the day, leave your system alone. Like a car getting better gas mileage driving at constant highway speed, your mini-split will operate more efficiently this way. An exception is that you should turn the temperature down if you’re going to be away for a few days if you want to get some extra savings.

Maintain your indoor units and keep winter’s wrath from doing damage outdoors

It’s all about maintaining airflow and keeping your equipment from freezing up. Every month, clean the filters on the indoor units. An indicator light may alert you when they need cleaning. It’s also important to keep snow, ice, and leaves from building up around the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit should be mounted above the ground so that it is higher than normal snowfall levels. If it’s not, make sure you brush snow and ice away from it after a storm.

Let the sun do some work

In the summer, we showed you that closing the curtains and blinds helped keep the house cool and gave your mini-splits a break. The same concept applies in the winter, except leave the curtains open during the day and close them at night. Your mini-splits will thank you.

Finally, did you have a mini-split heat pump system installed this year but have yet to claim your rebate of up to $500? Don’t miss out. Claim your rebate by December 31, 2018.

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