Significant factors influencing the performance of any heating system are the rate of heat loss through the home shell, and the quality of maintenance and care. If your comfort and energy budget were challenged during the cooling months, you may expect more of the same during the heating months. To help your ductless mini split do its job better, consider the following fall and winter energy-saving tips.
Mini Maintenance, Big Savings
The process of ductless heating involves many parts and functions which must each work properly to maximize heating savings and home comfort. As air-source heat pumps, ductless mini splits are designed to provide home heating by extracting heat energy from air outside the home, and transport and release the heat energy inside the home. Regular professional maintenance is necessary to accomplish and sustain peak function.
- Heat exchange: The indoor and outdoor heat-exchange coils are inspected for leaks and cleaned. Refrigerant charge is measured.
- Airflow: Filtration components are cleaned, and the indoor and outdoor cabinets are checked for obstructions.
- Modes and sensors: All modes for ductless mini split heat pumps are tested. Electronics, contacts and wiring are inspected for proper function and wear.
- Drainage: The condensate tubing is flushed and treated to help prevent algae and mold growth.
One of the many advantages of owning a ductless mini split is zoned temperature control. Zoned control gives you the ability to operate the mini split independently of any other comfort systems in the home. In this way, you can enjoy comfortable temperatures to your liking when needed, and turn off the mini split to save energy when it is not in use. Following are thermostat settings tips to ensure comfort and efficient operation.
- Comfort settings: If you have a high-wall or ceiling mounted indoor air-handling unit (AHU), which may be 7 or more feet above the floor, the temperature readings it detects for return airflow may be a few degrees higher than what you feel in lower parts of the room. Adjust as necessary until you find your comfort zone.
- Energy savings: Turn back the temperature setting 6 to 12 degrees when the zone is unoccupied. If you are using other comfort systems, turn the mini split off when leaving the zone. If your temperature control device offers a timer, use it to help save energy.
Two of the most important fall and winter energy-saving tips to include on your fall maintenance checklist are air sealing and insulating. Heat loss through air leaks and insulation deficiencies in the home shell are guaranteed to increase your energy bills and depreciate home comfort.
- An incense stick or smoke pencil can be used to find common interior air leaks around the perimeter of windows, doors, attic hatch and electrical wall plates.
- Seal the attic hatch with foam weatherstripping.
- Seal leaks around entry doors with rubber tubing.
- Air leaks around window frames and glass may be sealed with caulk and weatherstripping. The type and material depends on the size and location of air leak.
- Inspect the insulation in your attic for thickness and for damage, such as rips or water damage (e.g. damp, wet or moldy).
- Damaged insulation is useless. Remove and replace it with new insulation.
- Add insulation if it is less than 16-inches thick (approximately R49 for fiberglass and cellulose insulation). The Energy Star program recommends attic insulation levels up to R60 for most regions of the U.S.
Windows enhance the interior and exterior beauty of a home, and are often a focal point for design. However, windows are typically the Achilles heel of the home’s envelope, providing easy passage for heat loss by conduction through glass and framing. Following window treatments should make any fall and winter energy-saving tips list.
- Draperies: Heavy draperies, or layered draperies, are practical treatments to help minimize heat loss.
- Shutters and storm panels: Shutters and storm panels may be installed inside or outside the home. These window treatments are perhaps the best defense against heat loss through windows.
- Usage tips: Draperies, shutters and panels should be open on sun-facing during sunlight hours to allow solar heat gain, and closed at night or on cloudy days to minimize heat loss. Window treatments for windows that receive little sunlight should be closed day and night to minimize heat loss.
Remember, many fall and winter energy-saving tips also help reduce cooling bills during the cooling months. For more energy-saving tips, contact us to find a Mitsubishi Electric Contractor in your area.