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 property owners use mini-splits for climate control in their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—provide several advantages that make them an appealing solution for both homes and businesses. They're very energy efficient, decreasing energy consumption and saving on utility bills, because they avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to tailor the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while saving energy.
If you’re thinking about mini-split installation in Phoenix, it’s necessary to first determine if these devices are recommended for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits compare 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 device that doesn't need ductwork to function. It's a good option in homes that don't have any air ducts and for homes with rooms that aren’t served well by an existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system is made of two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling component. The two are attached by a conduit housing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the outdoor compressor moves the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange within the coils and the air handler. The in-house device pulls in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and pushes the conditioned air back into the room.
Mini-Split vs. Central Air
Mini-splits are good for targeted cooling in specific rooms or zones of your residence. They are outstanding for energy efficiency because they only heat or cool the areas you desire. However, they might not blend seamlessly into every decor due to the fact they have wall-mounted indoor units.
On the other hand, a central air system uniformly chills your entire home, keeping consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is hidden away, preserving the appearance of your home. However, it may not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in quite sizeable homes or residences where certain spots may not need continuous conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are typically more energy efficient and less noisy than a window air conditioning unit and are able to cool multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a versatile option for numerous homeowners. They also use a kind of refrigerant that is more environmentally safe, decreasing their environmental impact. These units can even add value to your home due to their durable nature and superior cooling capabilities. However, they come with a higher up-front cost.
Having said that, window AC units are less expensive up front. They may be a good fit for homes that can't accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for families with budget constraints. Despite these advantages, window units can use 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 worries are energy efficiency and ability to quickly cool a room, a mini-split is much more effective than a portable AC unit. However, if budget is a major concern, a portable AC costs less.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
Choosing between a mini-split system and a gas furnace depends on a range of factors which can include the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency preferences and how much you plan on spending.
A mini-split system typically is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool defined areas within your home, supplying custom climate control in specific rooms. Mini-splits also are normally quieter and have a higher up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their improved energy efficiency.
On the other hand, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating source, 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 ordinarily are not as expensive. However, their operating costs can be more costly, especially if natural gas prices increase.
Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump
Mini-splits and heat pumps operate using the concept of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's ductwork can use more power. This difference aside, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often is based on on individual needs and circumstances.
Case in point, if you reside in a warmer climate and mostly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a more effective choice. However, if you want both heating and cooling and already have ductwork in place, a heat pump could be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
With regards to heating and cooling a home, mini-splits and space heaters each have advantages. However, for overall efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits outperform space heaters. Mini-splits supply superior energy efficiency because they deliver conditioned air directly to different zones and can serve several rooms at once.
Space heaters are far less expensive to buy but are typically recommended for heating a confined area or a single room. They also can be less energy efficient. As opposed to mini-splits, space heaters do not supply cooling. The greatest drawback for space heaters is the danger of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires per year involve space heaters.