Do Mini Splits Work in Cold Weather Climate Effectively?


Mini splits are a high energy efficient heating solution. However, do mini splits work in cold weather where we need heating the most? So, I went to find out.

Mini splits do work in cold weather. Most mini splits are able to maintain operation at an ambient temperature as low as 5°F (-15°C). However, they gradually lose their heating capacity when the ambient temperature drops below 47°F (8°C).

Even in cold weather, mini splits are still a great heating solution that offers high energy efficiency. However, they do face difficulty when challenging mother nature.

What Temperature Do Mini Splits Stop Working?

Mini splits rely on the ambient temperature for heat transfer. But, people need to know at what temperature do mini splits stop working in order to decide whether they should use mini splits.

Most mini splits stop working at a temperature below 5°F (-15°C) and above 115°F (46°C). Mini splits have a safety device that may act to stop the operation of either the indoor and outdoor unit or just the outdoor unit to protect the system from damage.

Exactly at what temperature do mini splits stop working is depending on the brand and model. However, most mini splits more or less are working within the range of operating temperature as stated in the above paragraph.

Following is a list of various mini splits outdoor working temperature by ascending order based on the user manual from respective manufacturers:

Mini SplitsHeat ModeCool Mode
Senville
(Aura)
-22°F to 86°F
(-30°C to 30°C)
-22°F to 122°F
(-30°C to 50°C)
Daikin
(Aurora)
-13°F to 60°F
(-25°C to 16°C)
14°F to 115°F
(-10°C to 46°C)
Fujitsu-5°F to 75°F
(-21°C to 24°C)
14°F to 115°F
(-10°C to 46°C)
Pioneer
(Arctic)
-5°F to 86°F
(-20°C to 30°C)
5°F to 122°F
(-15°C to 50°C)
Senville,
Pioneer,
MrCool
5°F to 86°F
(-15°C to 30°C)
32°F to 122°F
(0°C to 50°C)
Daikin5°F to 75°F
(-15°C to 24°C)
50°F to 115°F
(10°C to 46°C)
Senville
(Fixed Speed)
19°F to 75°F
(-7°C to 24°C)
64°F to 109°F
(18°C to 43°C)
List of various mini splits outdoor working temperature

The above table does not represent all mini splits. While most mini splits have the same working temperature, you should always refer to the user/installation manual to confirm the working temperature of a particular mini split.

Standard mini splits are suitable for most people. However, some people living in extremely cold climates. Hence, they need mini splits that work in extreme cold.

Mini splits such as Daikin Aurora and Pioneer Arctic are able to maintain operation even in extremely cold environments. However, when the ambient temperature drops below 5°F (-15°C), they start to lose their heating capacity.

Hence, do keep in mind that while mini splits are still able to work in such a low ambient temperature environment, they are operating at a portion of their full heating capacity which often can be halved. Thus, you should always refer to the manufacturer if you live in a very cold or hot climate.

Do Mini Splits Freeze in Winter?

Some people wish to install mini splits for high energy efficiency but they heard that people are talking about frozen mini splits in winter. So, do mini splits freeze in winter?

Mini splits do freeze in winter. The heat exchanger of the mini splits outdoor unit will freeze in winter. However, mini splits will automatically defrost which temporarily stops the heating for about 10 minutes. While defrosting, mini splits may produce whistling sounds and steam.

Frozen mini splits may not look good but it is completely normal in winter. Thus, mini splits have a defrost function which will automatically melt the ice once in a while.

Are Daikin Mini Splits Good in Cold Weather?

Daikin mini splits are known for their good quality. However, their headquarter is based in Japan which is not a very cold country. Thus, are Daikin mini splits good in cold weather?

Daikin mini splits are good in cold weather. Daikin Aurora mini splits are capable of maintaining operation even at a temperature of -13°F (-25°C). However, they start to lose their heating capacity when the ambient temperature drops further away from 5°F (-15°C).

Mini splits that are sold to cold weather regions are designed to withstand the harsh environment. But, if you are unsure, you can always confirm with the manufacturer.

What is the Best Mini Split for Cold Climates?

Mini splits are known for quiet operation and high energy efficiency. They are a great heating solution. So, what is the best mini split for cold climates?

Best Mini SplitsWorking Temperature
(Heat Mode)
Energy Efficiency
#1 – Daikin AURORA Series Inverter Heat Pump-13°F to 60°F
(-25°C to 16°C)
~12 HSPF
#2 – Senville AURA Series Arctic Heat Pump-22°F to 86°F
(-30°C to 30°C)
~11 HSPF
#3 – Senville LETO Series Inverter Heat Pump5°F to 86°F
(-15°C to 30°C)
~11 HSPF
#4 – Pioneer Diamante Series Inverter Heat Pump5°F to 86°F
(-15°C to 30°C)
~10 HSPF
#5 – Cooper & Hunter Inverter Heat Pump5°F to 86°F
(-15°C to 30°C)
~9.5 HSPF
Best Mini Splits for Cold Climates

The above table is the top 5 mini splits made for cold climates. At the very top, the Daikin AURORA is my choice with the best energy efficiency and superb quality.

Second is the Senville AURA series with the lowest working temperature for heating. The list followed by the same brand, Senville LETO series inverter heat pump. The third place goes to Pioneer Diamante series and lastly, cooper & hunter which has the lowest heating energy efficiency.

Link to the top 5 mini splits best for cold climates:

  1. Daikin AURORA series inverter heat pump (click to view on Amazon)
  2. Senville AURA series arctic heat pump (click to view on Amazon)
  3. Senville LETO series inverter heat pump (click to view on Amazon)
  4. Pioneer Diamante series inverter heat pump (click to view on Amazon)
  5. Cooper & Hunter inverter heat pump (click to view on Amazon)

Use High Efficient Mini Splits to Help the Environment

When it comes to choosing air conditioners, it is very important that within our capability, we must try to use the most efficient air conditioners. Not only it is about reducing electricity cost, but it is also about contributing to the environment.

For instance, the difference between the power consumption of a 10.5 HSPF mini split and a 9.5 HSPF mini split is about 840 Wh per day when used for 12 hours per day. Thus, it is slightly more than 300 kWh per year which in turn needs 2 trees to offset the amount of carbon emitted from the electricity generation.

Hence, by simply using a more efficient air conditioner, we can save 20 trees over a period of 10 years given that mini splits averagely last about 10 to 15 years. What if we have more than one air conditioner? Furthermore, a more efficient air conditioner indicates that the manufacturer is better at making air conditioners.

A more efficient mini split may be more expensive, but it saves electricity and reduce the impact to the environment which is always worth the investment in my opinion.

Conclusion

Mini splits do work in cold weather but most mini splits stop working at a temperature below 5°F (-15°C). Some mini splits are able to maintain operation even in extremely cold environments. However, when the ambient temperature drops below 5°F (-15°C), they start to lose their heating capacity.

Besides, mini splits do freeze in winter but they will defrost once in a while and it is completely normal. Daikin mini splits are good in cold weather because they are capable of maintain operation even at a temperature of -13°F (-25°C). Senville AURA series has exceptionally low working temperature.

Lastly, a more efficient mini split may be more expensive, but it saves electricity and reduce the impact to the environment which is always worth the investment.

Yu Chang Zhen

Yu was working in the air conditioning industry for the past 7 years, covering from design to installation and maintenance. Yu wish to share all the things he learned with the people around the world.

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