When looking for a heating and cooling system for your residence, it’s essential to choose one that balances efficiency, functionality and finances. That’s why many property owners look to mini-splits for comfort in their home.
Mini-splits—often referred to as ductless mini-splits—provide a variety of advantages that make them an attractive choice for both homes and businesses. They're extremely energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility costs, because they eliminate the energy losses that can come with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also allow users to control the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while saving energy.
If you’re considering mini-split installation in Phoenix, 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 devices and appliances.
What a Mini-Split Is and How It Works
A mini-split, or ductless mini-split, is a heating and cooling device that has no ductwork. It's a good option in homes that don't have existing 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 device. They are connected by a conduit carrying 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 through the coils and the air handler. The indoor component draws 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 offer targeted cooling in certain rooms or zones of your home. They are excellent for energy efficiency because they only condition the areas you choose. However, they may not blend seamlessly into every decor due to the fact they have wall-mounted indoor units.
Conversely, a central air system uniformly cools your entire home, producing consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is out of sight, preserving the aesthetics of your home. However, it might not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in bigger homes or residences where certain areas may not need continuous conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are often more energy efficient and quieter than a window air conditioning unit and are useful for cooling air in multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible alternative for numerous homeowners. They also utilize a kind of refrigerant that is more environmentally safe, limiting their environmental impact. These devices can even add value to your home due to their long-lasting nature and remarkable cooling capabilities. However, they come with a larger initial investment.
Having said that, window air conditioners are less expensive up front. They may be a good fit for homes that can't accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for homeowners with budget constraints. In spite of these advantages, window units can consume up to 40% more energy than ductless mini-split systems and typically make more noise.
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 much more effective than a portable AC unit. However, if finances is a major concern, a portable AC has a lower initial investment.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
The choice between a mini-split system and a gas furnace depends on a range of factors such as the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency needs 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 distinct areas inside of your home, supplying custom climate control in specific rooms. Mini-splits also are for the most part quieter and have a higher up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their superior energy efficiency.
However, a gas furnace can be a highly effective heating solution, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may fail to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. While they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces ordinarily cost less. But, their operating costs can be higher, especially if natural gas prices rise.
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 be less efficient. This difference aside, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often depends on a family's needs and circumstances.
For instance, if you reside in a warmer climate and mostly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a good choice. On the other hand, if you need both heating and cooling and already have ductwork in place, 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 come out on top. Mini-splits provide superior energy efficiency because they deliver conditioned air right to different zones and can serve multiple rooms at once.
Space heaters are a great deal less expensive to buy but are typically used only for heating a limited area or an individual room. They also can be less energy efficient. Unlike mini-splits, space heaters do not deliver cooling. The most significant drawback for space heaters is the risk of fire. Authorities say some 1,700 fires annually involve space heaters.