When it comes to choosing an air conditioner, there is no “one size fits all” approach. The best air conditioner for a home or dwelling will depend on the size and layout of the home, the location and the weather conditions in that area, and the buyer’s budget, among other factors. As you might expect, the ideal air conditioning system for a big house would be different than what you would use for a smaller dwelling. On the same note, mobile homes present unique designs and have their own best-practice air conditioning system designs. Usually, you would use a split system or a mini-split in a mobile home.
About Split Systems and Mini Splits
A split system is an air conditioning unit that is, as the name implies, split into two main components. The main evaporator coil for the air conditioning system is located on the inside of a home, while the rest of the system—the compressor and the condenser—sit outdoors. Refrigerant passes from one side of the system to the other, cooling the air and preparing it to manage the temperature of the home.
The inside evaporator coil of a split system is installed inside the bottom of the furnace. This installation location enables the split system to pump cold air through the duct work of the dwelling and circulate it. For mobile homes that already have duct work in place for the furnace/heating system, a standard split system is often the most effective way of distributing cold air and maintaining a comfortable interior temperature.
Mini split systems, meanwhile, can be used in mobile homes even if they don’t have duct work installed. These systems are designed much in the same style as standard split systems, with the evaporator coil sitting on the inside of a dwelling and the condenser and compressor installed outdoors. As their name suggests, mini splits are smaller than standard split systems. In part, their size helps to enable their installation almost anywhere. Rather than needing to be tethered to the furnace, the evaporator coil is housed in a small unit that can be easily mounted on a wall. Lines can then be run through the wall to the compressor and condenser, enabling the mini-split to cool the dwelling.
The core drawback to a mini split in a mobile home is that it won’t have quite the same central-air-like distribution that a split system does. Since the mini split isn’t using duct work, it can’t spread cool air as evenly throughout the mobile home. Instead, the cool air emanates from the unit mounted on the wall and slowly spreads throughout the dwelling. For small mobile homes, this design is quite sufficient for providing comfort and temperature consistency in the summertime. If there isn’t ductwork to use, a mini split is a very reasonable alternative. Mini split systems are also simpler to install than most other types of air conditioners, which makes them popular for landlords who manage multi-unit mobile home parks.
Mini Split in Your Mobile Home: Is This System Right for You?
Before you choose an air conditioning unit for your mobile home, it’s always a good idea to consult with an HVAC expert. Someone who knows the market well and can recommend not just a type of unit but a specific model to meet your units can be invaluable at this juncture. Still, it can be good to narrow down your list of potential options to make matters easier for everyone involved.
A standard split system is worth considering if you have 1) a slightly larger mobile home and 2) a ductwork system that you can allow you to distribute the cool air from the unit. Without ducting it makes less sense to go this route, as installing your own on a mobile home can be expensive and sometimes even impossible.
For a small or mid-sized mobile home, a mini-split system is a good bet. These systems are affordable, relatively easy to install, can be mounted on the wall and out of the way of everything else, and can go just about anywhere in your mobile home. All these factors help make mini splits a go-to for mobile home owners.
You might also consider other options, such as evaporative coolers or package air conditioners. Package air conditioners have the benefit of existing all as one unit, but the drawback of also requiring ducting. Evaporative coolers offer the same self-contained benefit without the need for ducts. However, they also don’t work very well in areas with high humidity, which you will need to consider.
Finally, whether you choose to install a split system, an evaporative cooler, a package air conditioner, or a mini-split in your mobile home, remember to think about your budget! While price isn’t everything, it’s still smart to compare different units based on price to see what is most feasible for your current situation.