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When you need to decide between a multi zone mini split and single zone mini split HVAC, you should be sure about your intended application. For instance, if you wish to install an air conditioner that cools all the areas of your home, a multi-zone system is the best bet. However, if your aim is to air condition only a certain area of your house, you only need a single-zone mini split system.
For a more detailed analysis and to help you make a better decision, we have described the major differences between single-zone and multi zone mini split HVAC below. After reading all the points, we hope you can arrive at the right choice.
Single-zone HVAC systems are the best way to deliver heating and cooling to a single room or area in your home.
When you already own a central air or another type of air conditioner and have installed it in place, then you may not need to go for a multi-zone unit. You are just buying an appliance as a new addition for cooling another area of your home that’s under-served. In such a case, adding a single-zone mini split system is sufficient to cool just that area.
A single zone mini split unit is also a good idea to be installed in your garage or workshop, as they offer more cooling and heating as compared to a window unit. Moreover, with this system, you’ll still be able to use your existing windows.
Another reason where you can go for a single-zone system is if you own a very small home, such as a cabin with only two or three rooms. In this scenario, the single unit may serve to cool the entire home if it’s small enough. However, do note that you’ll need to have good airflow so that there is an even distribution of air. Fans can help you in such cases.
Multi zone mini split systems are the perfect bet when you need to cool multiple rooms or areas in your home. It enables you to independently control the temperature in each room.
For instance, with this system, you can organize one of your bedrooms at one angle and the other at another angle — so as to meet the different sleeping preferences of your family members. Again, you can even turn off select units in areas which you’re not using. If you have a guest room that is equipped with a mini split unit, you can leave it turned off when there are no guests staying over.
Multi-zone systems allow you to be more efficient when you use energy. Since you can adjust the temperature as per your requirement or turn certain zones off, it enables you to save on your energy bills. Traditional forced-air systems cool your entire home regardless of which spaces you’re actually using — leading to higher energy usage and bills.
Moreover, in contrast to traditional systems which regulate the temperature accurately in the room with the thermostat, these systems will control the temperature accurately in every room that has a unit installed in it.
Setting separate temperatures in different zones of your home is important. This is because most individuals prefer a cooler temperature when they’re going to sleep than they do when they’re awake. If you keep your bedroom temperature at a few degrees lower than your family or living room, it will lead to more comfortable interiors.
The total installation cost for a single zone split AC system can range from $1000 to $1300. And this price increases by $200 to $250 for every new zone added. For example, a dual-zone HVAC unit may cost between $1500 to $1850, while a three-zone system may be priced from $1850 to $2100 — and so on.
Before you decide to buy a single or multi-unit HVAC system, you must also consider the installation process. Single-zone systems comprise an outdoor and a single indoor unit, a line set, a cable, and a drain line. Once the HVAC contractor mounts the outside condenser and indoor unit, he will install the refrigerant lines.
These units are usually placed on the exterior of your home through line-hide tubing. This is then inserted to the interiors, through a 3-inch hole and linked to the unit.
Multi-zone systems comprise one outdoor unit and several indoor units. Each indoor unit also has its own set of installation accessories.
The outdoor unit performs the function of running the refrigerant to the various indoor units in order to cool the air being blown through them. Some systems also need a branch box. This device splits up the refrigerant and sends it to the different indoor units. Now, if you plan to install ceiling cassette units or concealed duct units, then you might need extensive renovations. This can lead to increased labor costs.
Both multi-zone and single zone mini-split HVAC systems come with their own attributes. You cannot say that one is better than the other. The model you choose to buy shall depend on your end goal.