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How do mini-split air conditioners work?

Mini-splits operate much like your refrigerator: they pump refrigerant and transfer heat from one area to another. This core function allows the mini-split to operate in two ways: by transferring heat from inside your home to the outdoors and by transferring heat from the outdoors into your home. This versatility means that you only need a single unit to handle your home’s winter and summer needs.


When the cooler temperatures wane and it starts to heat up, mini-splits reverse the process, allowing them to transfer heat from the indoors to the outside. Just like during winter, the movement of air is modulated – increasing and decreasing in power, as needed – to ensure that very little energy is wasted. In Michigan, the features offered by mini-splits often result in far more economical heating and cooling, vastly more efficient than central air conditioning or other gas- or oil-fired units.


In the winter, the refrigerant inside the mini-split stays much cooler than the external air temperature, which allows it to absorb heat. This heat, once absorbed, is then transferred into your home using efficient compressors and thin copper tubing. Because mini-splits are modulated and do not operate in a “fully on” or “fully off” mode, they conserve power and pump heat far more efficiently than forced air systems. Because they don’t need to create heat – they simply move it – they are able to provide vastly more heat for the amount of energy that they consume.

Discover the many benefits of mini-split air conditioners

Mini-split air conditioners are ductless systems that eliminate the need for large, awkward condenser units. In a broad sense, they work by pumping air through thin copper tubing to wall-mounted units in your home. Best of all, their design allows them to function in both the colder and warmer months. A single unit is often enough to manage the temperature of a small home and – if needed – more units can be installed to increase the coverage area for larger homes, businesses, and facilities. Available in a range of designs, configurations, and sizes, mini-splits are an extremely efficient way to control your home’s temperature and – better yet – to reduce your energy costs all year round.