When searching 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 homeowners explore the possibility of mini-splits for comfort in their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—offer a variety of advantages that make them a popular solution for both homes and businesses. They're extremely energy efficient, decreasing energy consumption and saving on utility bills, because they don't have the energy losses affiliated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also allow users to customize the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while saving energy.
If you’re interested in mini-split installation in Lawrence, it’s necessary to first find out if these devices are the best fit for your living situation. Here, we’ll examine 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 doesn't need ductwork to function. 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 the residence's existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system is made of two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling component. These 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 circulates the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange throughout the coils and the air handler. The in-house unit draws in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and forces the conditioned air back into the room.
Mini-Split vs. Central Air
Mini-splits offer targeted cooling in particular rooms or zones of your residence. They are excellent for energy efficiency because they only condition the areas you want. However, they might not blend seamlessly into every location because of their 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. But it will likely not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in larger homes or residences where certain spaces may not need nonstop conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are typically more energy efficient and not as loud as a window air conditioning unit and are capable of cooling multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a versatile choice for numerous homeowners. They also utilize a type of refrigerant that is more earth-safe, decreasing their environmental impact. These devices can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and superior cooling capabilities. However, they come with a larger up-front cost.
On the contrary, window air conditioning units are less expensive to purchase. They are often a good fit for homes that cannot accommodate a central air system or for homeowners with budget constraints. Even with these advantages, window units can use 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, depends on your priorities. If your main focus is energy efficiency and ability to quickly cool a room, a mini-split is heads and shoulders better than a portable AC unit. However, if budget is a significant 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 such as the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency needs and budget.
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 generally quieter and have a greater up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their better energy efficiency.
On the other hand, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating remedy, 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 likely have lower initial costs. Having said that, their operating costs can be greater, especially if natural gas prices skyrocket.
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 air ducts can be less efficient. However, 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 mainly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a more effective choice. On the other hand, if you require both heating and cooling and already have ductwork installed in your residence, a heat pump might be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
When it comes to heating and cooling a household, mini-splits and space heaters each have merits. However, for all around efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits come out on top. Mini-splits have superior energy efficiency due to the fact they deliver conditioned air right to different zones and can serve several rooms at once.
Space heaters are far less expensive to buy but are typically reserved for heating a limited area or just one room. They also can be less energy efficient. Unlike mini-splits, space heaters do not supply cooling. The greatest drawback for space heaters is the chance of fire. Authorities say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.