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BS* + Beer

The BS* + Beer Show: Making the Most of Minisplits

These heat pumps are an excellent option for heating and cooling some high-performance homes. Our expert panelists share the pros and pitfalls, and how to use minisplits well.

Minisplit air-source heat pumps are an increasingly popular choice for heating and cooling, so sizing them to optimize energy efficiency is wise. NEEP is a tool for gaining solid preliminary information to narrow the selection of products. Photo courtesy Scott Gibson.

Minisplits are a popular subject on GBA, and for good reasons. Ducted or ductless, these heat pumps are an excellent option for many low-load homes. But they are no silver bullet.

This episode of The BS* + Beer Show begins with presentations from Jordan Goldman, engineering principal at Zero Energy Design, Krisof Irwin, principal at Positive Energy, and Jacob Staub, cofounder and chief innovation officer at Ripcord Engineering. These three experts cover the pros, cons, and pitfalls of minisplit heat pumps, the reasons why we should be focusing on indoor air quality and human comfort as much as we are efficiency, and more. After the presentations, participants asked the panelists a number of common questions.

This was certainly one of the best episodes of The BS* + Beer Show yet. Enjoy!

The next show is Thursday, May, 7 from 6 to 7:30 pm: Unvented roofs and fibrous insulation. Our panelists are Kohta Ueno of Building Science Corporation and Bill Hulstrunk of Yestermorrow Design/Build School and NatureTech. Use this link to register

Brian Pontolilo is a former editor at Fine Homebuilding magazine and Green Building Advisor.


  1. srivenkat | | #1

    Informative session. A couple of notes and questions:

    1. There was a question asked about filtration that's integral to central ducted systems, but I must have missed the emphasis on the need for a separate filtration system when going the mini-split route. I went from a central AC to mini-splits. I have seen a lot of crud develop on the blower wheels of the mini-splits, which drove for me the importance of a separate whole house filtration system. If there is a separate whole house filtration system needed, wouldn't it somewhat detract from the efficiencies of the mini-split? Or are there good alternatives (such as room air purifiers) to whole house filtration in the context of the mini-splits?

    2. Mr. Kristof Irwin emphasized "drying, filtration and ventilation" as key, aside from thermal comfort. In other words, every tight home in a humid area, with mini-splits will need:

    a. Room or Whole House Air Filtration system
    b. Dehu
    c. ERV/HRV

    Is item "a" above routinely included in new Energy efficient homes that use mini-splits?

    EDIT: Added Room air purifiers and reworded the last sentence.

  2. rondeaunotrondo | | #2

    Kristof mentioned a soon to the market 4K btu mini split. Anyone have any knowledge of this?

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