Heat Pumps? Are we talking Geothermal?
Mini-split heat pumps are low-tonnage air source heat pumps. No geothermal wells or bores are required. To clarify, “mini” comes from the equipment’s low heating and cooling capacity. And “split” indicates the system includes interior heating/cooling coils and an exterior compressor/condensing unit.
What is so good about these mini-split doohickeys?
Mini-split heat pumps offer zoned heating and cooling control for multiple indoor control spaces. The interior units are small and wall-mounted, and each comes with individual heating and cooling controls. This makes them ideal for small buildings like homes, apartments, and small office buildings. Note however, that unlike variable refrigerant flow, these systems make heating or cooling available to all areas served. It will not heat one space and cool another at the same time. Other good applications for ductless heat pumps may include small isolated loads like server rooms.
Since each interior unit has a thermostat, mini-split heat pumps would only be required in the occupied spaces. This saves money on material costs and eliminates unnecessary heating and cooling in those areas. An extra energy saving tip: as mini-split heat pumps don’t bring in outdoor air, they pair well with a dedicated outdoor air system with energy recovery and demand controlled ventilation to capture additional energy savings.
Is that all? Not quite!
Almost everyone has suffered on a hot summer day in a building without air conditioning. Good news – mini-split heat pumps are one of the easiest retrofit options to install heating and cooling in an existing facility. The interior units have many wall and ceiling mounting options that allow them to fit almost anywhere. Additionally, the only thing connecting the interior and exterior units is a conduit containing refrigerant, power, and condensate lines. The conduit can fit in a hole a few inches in diameter, minimizing the work to repair surrounding areas. They also lessen the burden on maintenance staff by reducing the typical “it’s too hot/cold” complaints (increased occupant comfort).
All in all, mini-split heat pump systems offer a variety of advantages over other heating and cooling systems – keep them in mind!
 A low-cost and typically better option for server closets is circulate building air through these spaces. Cooling is provided by the building’s cooling system in summer and in the heating season, the server closet offsets heating load.