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Why did I see no mini splits in the south ?

I have lived up in the Northeast all my life. I am pretty familiar with most HVAC/heating plants though I don't do it professionally. Last spring I researched and installed a mini-split mostly for cooling. but it has some heat capabilities as well.

On a recent 5 day trip to So Florida, I don't think I saw ONE mini split system. Apparently they are not that popular down there.

I am wondering if there is an explanation for it. Temps and humidity too high for too long? Capacity ? Regional energy costs? I thought perhaps it was because most of the existing buildings were built with ducted systems and it just made more sense to continue with them when upgrading, but I saw newer structures as well. No mini-splits. Just curious.

Any thoughts?



  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,788
    I think they just prefer ducted AC.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    Mini splits are very common in Mexico, at least they are around Mazatlan, Tepic and Guadalajara
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,232
    Florida has had ac since Willis Carrier started squeezing refrigerant back in the early 1900s. Well, maybe not that long, but it’s been a while. In the north, ac was not an expected feature, our standards simply escalated. Naturally, adding ac will be more prevalent in the north.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,660
    I know that when I was in Brazil like 10 or more years ago I saw many mini splits . Strangely enough I noticed quite a few older abandoned ducted systems with duct work exposed and done nicely not hacked .Just left in place and multi mini splits installed .i would image aside from the initial costs on updating and replacing the original systems the operational cost would be the lowest w mini split. I have seen them in shops in open multi floor malls ,banks and larger food stores it was eye opening to where you don’t even notice them .i think where a little to slow to change on some fronts which may not be a bad thing.. Personally I would take a mini split any day over breathing in fiberglass duct board systems they do down south or any place ,but hey that’s just me . I’m quite sure on the commercial side the building must have a ventilation capability to evacuate the system charge if a leak where to occur I think a lot of large vrf systems squeeze by with out any body even giving it a thought until there’s a issue ,that’s why years ago there where a lot more chilled water systems instead of direct cooling systems Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,461
    In my part of the south (VA) we install them regularly. So do several other, if not most, HVAC contractors.

    They're used exclusively in the Middle East and Asia where it's extremely hot and humid. I've stayed in 100 story hotels in the Philipenes where heat and humidity can be unbearable. Guess what they had: mini splits!

    IDK why you didn't see them in Florida.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,871

    luketheplumbermattmia2Solid_Fuel_ManSuperTechRobert O'Brien
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,660
    edited October 2019
    OMG on that hvac hack ,how do you clean them start from the top and let it drip .i get calls to install mini splits but in a lot of the cases there just looking for low ball prices and usually low ball prices don’t come w any type of quality or fore thought just get the money ,get done and get going the 3 mantras of hacks and possibly block the customers number . A lot of the mini splits I see are non maintained never cleaned and the outdoor is usually setting in 6 inch of mulch and lopped sides still working though.i set them all on stands on concrete lentils on compacted gravel . As my motto goes the sweetness of a cheaper price is often forgotten with the bitterness of poor quality peace and good luck clammy ps thanks ratio for the pics
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Le John
    Le John Member Posts: 197
    ratio said:

    Holly Molly. I've never seen so many on the side of one building before. I Wonder what the added weight of those are?
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,221
    Does Rector Seal make a Slimduct that handles 42 linesets?

    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
    Paul Wolf
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,673
    Try square d...
  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 70
    You can't make much sense of it without the history. I'd guess this:
    thought perhaps it was because most of the existing buildings were built with ducted systems

    or had ducted systems added to older stock. Add that to the fact that hydronic and steam heat in Northern buildings make minis more practical for retrofit. In the South, floor furnaces and wall heaters were common since not much heat was needed. When mechanical cooling was available, floor furnaces came out and forces air heating and cooling came in.

    I have 7 high wall indoor units and 3 compressors outside in 2000 sq feet in South Louisiana. The home was built in the 40s with a floor furnace and 2 gas wall heaters in additions. The first AC came with a water-chilled condenser. (Three phase open delta was standard to power, I think, three tons or more. I've still got three phase.) The switch gear is still sitting in the attic. They furred down the main hallway from 9 to 8 feet for ducting of an attic installation. Additions meant added mix of hard and flex ducts for the additions and to bolster flow to some other rooms that were apparently not served well buy the hallway ceiling. I hate outdoor ducts. I don't even like them when they are in the attic. I especially hated the one that ran down a chase to under the house to get to the rearmost addition floor registers. That monster must have been at least 70' long.
  • stonebutson
    stonebutson Member Posts: 24
    Sensible heat ratio ? Too humid down there - Mitsubishi guy told me these things can't handle too much latent load. If you think of it- they were originally intended to cool computer server rooms. Not much air change and latent load going on there. 
  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 70
    No problem with high ambient humidity for me hear the Gulf of Mex coast. on a day with any heat load at all, I generally run near 40% RH indoors, sometimes into the 30s. At night, it can get humid if I don't turn some of them off.