In cases where several zones require heating and cooling, a multi zone ductless mini split may be the best solution. Unlike single zone units which have one outdoor unit matched with one indoor unit, multi zone mini split units have one outside unit matched with two or more indoor units.
Multi zone mini splits offer some distinct advantages over single zone units:
UPFRONT COST SAVINGS: Multi-zone installations usually cost less than single-zone installations due to decreased equipment costs, namely the need for only one outdoor unit.
REDUCED SPACE REQUIREMENTS: The configuration of the building and zones to be conditioned can impact design choices. For example, a typical one-story motel with adjacent rooms in a row would lend itself to a straightforward single-zone design. However, a complex floor plan with varying room sizes and heating/cooling loads may be better suited to a multi-zone approach.
Multi-zone units can also be ideal when there is limited exterior real estate or a concern for aesthetics that calls for a minimum number of outdoor units.
In exchange for these advantages, multi-zone units do come with some trade-offs. As a general rule, they operate less efficiently than single-zone units as the outdoor unit is required to respond simultaneously to varying load conditions of each indoor unit as opposed to a single-zone unit that is optimized for one indoor unit. However, with inverter technology and control, multi-zones units are still designed to provide efficient operation.
Concern for reliability may favor adoption of a single-zone design. A failure in a multi-zone installation may impact several zones, while failures in single-zone installations are limited to one zone.
Multi-zone mini split technology provides an efficient solution for heating and cooling needs in a variety of building configurations. A site visit to evaluate your specific application and needs allows for a design recommendation which addresses the particular challenges of your space conditioning needs.