When looking for a heating and cooling system for your residence, it’s crucial to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and the impact on your wallet. That’s why many families use mini-splits to heat and cool their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—have several advantages that make them a popular solution for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, reducing energy consumption and saving on utility bills, because they avoid the energy losses affiliated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to tailor the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re contemplating mini-split installation in Crystal and Twin Cities, it’s necessary to first find out if these devices are recommended for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits measure up to other heating and cooling systems.
What a Mini-Split Is and How It Works
A mini-split, or ductless mini-split, is a heating and cooling system that has no ductwork. It's a popular choice in homes that don't have any air ducts and for homes with rooms that aren’t served well by the residence's existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system has two major components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. They are attached by a conduit containing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the exterior compressor distributes the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange throughout the coils and the air handler. The indoor unit draws in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and sends the conditioned air back into the room.
Mini-Split vs. Central Air
Mini-splits are good for targeted cooling in particular rooms or zones of your home. They are outstanding for energy efficiency because they only provide hot or cold air for the areas you want. However, they sometimes don't blend seamlessly into every location due to the fact they have wall-mounted indoor units.
Conversely, a central air system uniformly cools your entire home, keeping consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is tucked away in a mechanical room or closet, preserving the appearance of your home. But it may not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in quite sizeable homes or residences where certain areas may not need continuous conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are usually more energy efficient and not as loud as a window air conditioning unit and are able to cool multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible choice for countless homeowners. They also use a form of refrigerant that is more earth-safe, reducing their environmental impact. These systems can even add value to your home due to their durable nature and remarkable cooling capabilities. However, they come with a higher initial investment.
On the other hand, window AC units are less expensive initially. They might be a good fit for homes that cannot accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for homeowners with budget constraints. Even with these advantages, window units can utilize up to 40% more energy than ductless mini-split systems and often are louder.
Mini-Split vs. Portable AC
The answer to what is better, a ductless mini-split or a portable air conditioning unit, will depend on on your priorities. If your main considerations are energy efficiency and ability to quickly cool a room, a mini-split is considered far superior to a portable AC unit. However, if finances is a major concern, a portable AC costs less.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
Deciding between a mini-split system and a gas furnace depends on an assortment of factors which can include the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency desires and how much you plan on spending.
A mini-split system usually is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool defined areas inside of your home, providing custom climate control in individual rooms. Mini-splits also are for the most part quieter and have a higher up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually less due to their better energy efficiency.
On the other hand, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating solution, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may struggle to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Although they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces typically have lower initial costs. Having said that, their operating costs can be greater, especially if natural gas prices jump up.
Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump
Mini-splits and heat pumps operate using the process of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's duct system can be less efficient. This difference aside, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often is based on on a homeowner's needs and circumstances.
For instance, if you live in a warmer climate and primarily need cooling, a mini-split system might be a better choice. However, if you need both heating and cooling and already have ductwork in your home, a heat pump might be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
In regards to heating and cooling a residence, mini-splits and space heaters each have advantages. However, for total efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits stand out. Mini-splits have superior energy efficiency simply because they deliver conditioned air straight to different zones and can serve multiple rooms at once.
Space heaters are much less expensive to buy but are typically reserved for heating a limited area or an individual room. They also are often less energy efficient. In contrast to mini-splits, space heaters do not supply cooling. The greatest drawback for space heaters is the risk of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires annually involve space heaters.