Ductless mini-splits perform best in moderate climates. Extremely cold weather like what the East Coast experiences during the winter can dramatically impact the heating performance of ductless mini-splits.
HSPF System Rating
Do you know the HSPF rating of your ductless mini-split system? HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. If you want to ensure that your ductless mini-split will perform at top capacity during low temperatures, we recommend that you invest in a system with a higher HSPF rating. The best mini split heat pump for cold weather would be one with a high HSPF rating.
Most ductless mini-split manufacturers and brands offer a top efficiency line with high HSPF ranked equipment. For example, Mitsubishi has a “hyper heat” high efficiency line and LG has a “LGRED” high efficiency line both of which have top of the industry HSPF ratings and perform better at low temperatures.
Location of Your Outdoor Unit
How and where your outdoor unit is installed can greatly impact your ductless mini-split system’s ability to perform well during cold temperatures. The unit should be placed in such a way that air circulation is not hindered by your home or surrounding debris. Also you need to make sure there is enough room around the unit so that snow and ice doesn’t build up around it. In areas where large amounts of snowfall is common, it’s recommend that you place the outdoor unit under an overhang of some sort. This way snow will not build up on top of the unit, but make sure there is enough space between the overhang and the unit so air flow isn’t hindered and/or blocked.
Preventative Winter Measures
Do you see frost and/or ice built up on your outdoor unit’s coil? If so, don’t fret! This is a normal part of a ductless mini-split’s heating function. When this occurs, your ductless mini-split system will enter defrost mode in order to melt the frost and ice. After it’s melted, the liquid will fall into a drain pain.
The defrosting process can be more complicated during low temperatures. The ice and frost the melts into the drain pain can refreeze. Overtime the ice in the drain pain can build up and damage other parts of the outdoor unit such as the coil fins and fan blades. This type of damage requires ductless mini-split service repair that can add up to thousands of dollars.
There is something you can do to avoid these large ductless mini-split service repair costs. Consider installing you a ductless mini-split drain pan heater. This will keep the water that drips into your drain pan from freezing during the days of low temperature. We recommend consulting an HVAC professional about, which drain pain heater you should get for your unit as they vary depending on brand and outdoor unit model type.
The team at TNC Mechanical Cooling & Heating, Inc. in Monson, MA., is ready to assist. Serving clients throughout Western MA, the family-owned company offers a wide range of HVAC services. Visit us online for more information or call (888) 284-3892 to schedule an appointment.