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How To Air Condition a Split-Level Home Near East Dundee, IL

A ductless mini split is the most effective, comfortable, and cost-efficient way to air condition a split-level home. These homes are hard to cool because the design doesn’t allow for great airflow. These systems overcome that challenge by treating each part of the house separately.

Mini Splits have been becoming more and more popular in the United States over the past twenty years.
And, when it comes to older suburban homes in East Dundee, Barrington, IL, or any of the small towns across the Fox River Valley, it’s easy to see why.

Air Flow in Split-Level Homes

On the one hand, split-levels offer more room than a ranch home. There’s a second floor and rooms over a garage or front with an overhang. But, the designs often result in hot spots in the summer.

Heat tends to collect in different parts of the house, particularly areas above garages.

That means even homes with central air never seem comfortable enough. With one thermostat controlling the entire house, you end up with some areas getting too much cooling and others not enough.

Meanwhile, many early suburban houses weren’t built with central air in mind. Back then, it was usually enough to open the windows and turn on ceiling fans.

But, summers have been getting hotter. So, over the years, more and more homeowners have on window units or other portable models.

These solutions work — to a point. They keep you cool, and you can put them in the problem rooms. That way, you get extra cooling where you need it.

But, they’re also loud, expensive to run, and in general, a pain to lug in and out of storage.

Fortunately, there’s a better solution out there now.

In this article, we’ll explain how ductless mini splits work. Then, you’ll see how these setups address the specific challenges of cooling a split-level and how they stack up against other solutions.

Finally, we’ll see some additional features and benefits of these systems.

What is a Mini Split and How Does it Work?

A mini split gets its name because the system uses a combination of inside and outdoor components “split” in two. Inside, you have air handlers that draw in air, dehumidify it, and send the warmth to an outdoor heat pump. That component expels the heat so the cycle can start again.

Instead of ductwork, there’s just a narrow, flexible line containing refrigerant fluid flowing in a loop between the air handlers and heat pump.

Zoned Air Conditioning

Each air handler has a built-in thermostat. So, while all those units rely on the same outdoor heat pump, each one is entirely customizable. This setup gives you what we called “zoned HVAC”.

In this case, you control the temperature of each “zone,” or room, individually.

It gives you the option of setting each one the same temperature for each room. If the master bedroom is always too hot, that air handler will work longer than one in a different part of the house. Then, both areas feel the same.

You can also set them to different temperatures. Perhaps you like the bedroom significantly cooler than the living room, for instance. That’s an option, too!

Simply set each of the thermostats separately.

You can also program each for different times of the day. That way, for instance, the downstairs can be cooler during the day, when people are in the common areas.

Then, those air handlers can ease off, using less energy, while the ones in the bedrooms kick on more to make those areas cooler.

Now that you know how these work, let’s see how they stack up against other solutions.

Mini Splits Vs. Window Air Conditioners in a Split-Level Home

Both mini splits and window air conditioners offer zoned cooling for split-level homes. You control the temperature in each room individually. But, while one has the advantage on price, the other wins out when it comes to power.

There’s no way around it: Window or through-the-wall units in a few rooms combined are cheaper than a mini split for just one room.

A heat pump and one air handler combo starts around $2,000, and the price goes up with each air handler. Meanwhile, most window units start at about $100 and go up from there.

But, you get what you pay for.

Window units are exceptionally loud. In some cases, you can’t watch TV while one is running unless you crank the volume all the way up.

Portable units are also energy guzzlers. It’s why your electric bill explodes in the summer.

Even though the window units are a cheaper option up front, the ductless system costs less to run, and does a superior job.

The air handlers are whisper-quiet. And they use far less electricity. Most of the time, they run in a low-power mode that uses almost no power at all.

And, we install them permanently. So, no lugging units out of storage, cleaning them and hoisting them into windows.

Mini Splits Vs Central Air in a Split-Level Home

You can cool an entire home with central air or a mini split. In terms of power, both can do the job — to a point anyway. Cost is a factor again, but not as much: Central air can cost up to $8,000, while whole-home ductless options usually run over $10,000.

However, there are many other factors to consider

First is that ductwork question again. If your home doesn’t have ducts, add a few thousand and a lot of hassle to the job for central air.

With ductless, we usually run those lines behind the wall just like an electrician does with electrical wires.

So, we can place those air handlers virtually anywhere without taking up space in the room — and adding new costs— by adding ducts.

Next is zoning — something central air doesn’t provide. With one thermostat controlling everything, keeping the entire home at the same temperature can be very difficult. .

WIth air handlers, you set each area just the way you want it.

These units even do a better job within each room. Special sensors locate hot spots, and small fans direct the treated air exactly where it’s needed.

For homes with uneven airflow, particularly split-levels, this is a game-changer.

Ductless Installation Near Barrington IL, Elgin, and East Dundee

Compass Heating and Air Conditioning is the industry leader when it comes to ductless installations in towns such as Barrington, Elgin, East Dundee, and many others in the Fox River Valley. We have an outstanding reputation with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and plenty of five-star online reviews.

If you’re curious about how a ductless system will look and feel in your split-level home, call or email us today for a free consultation.

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