When searching for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s crucial to choose one that balances efficiency, functionality and finances. That’s why many homeowners look to mini-splits to heat and cool their home.
Mini-splits—often referred to as ductless mini-splits—offer many advantages that make them an appealing choice for both homes and businesses. They're very energy efficient, decreasing energy consumption and saving on utility costs, because they avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also allow users to tailor the temperature in each room, enhancing overall comfort while conserving energy.
If you’re considering mini-split installation in Plover, it’s important to first find out if these devices are the right solution for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits compare to other heating and cooling methods.
What a Mini-Split Is and How It Works
A mini-split, or ductless mini-split, is a heating and cooling device that does not use ductwork. It's often used in homes that don't have pre-existing air ducts and for homes with rooms that aren’t served well by the residence's existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system consists of two major components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. These are connected by a conduit housing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the outdoor compressor distributes the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange through the coils and the air handler. The interior device brings 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 particular rooms or zones of your home. They are known for energy efficiency because they only heat or cool the areas you want. However, they might not blend seamlessly into every area due to their wall-mounted indoor units.
On the contrary, a central air system uniformly conditions your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is out of sight, preserving the aesthetics of your home. On the other hand, it might not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in bigger homes or residences where certain spaces may not need constant conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are often more energy efficient and less noisy than a window air conditioning unit and are capable of cooling multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a versatile alternative for lots of homeowners. They also operate using a kind of refrigerant that is more earth-safe, limiting their environmental impact. These systems can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and remarkable cooling capabilities. However, they come with a greater up-front cost.
Having said that, window AC units are less expensive to purchase. They may be a good fit for homes that are not able to accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for people with budget constraints. In spite of these advantages, window units can utilize 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 worries are energy efficiency and cooling capability, a mini-split is much more effective than a portable AC unit. However, if funding is a significant 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 variety of factors including the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency preferences and budget.
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 larger up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually lower due to their greater energy efficiency.
However, a gas furnace can be a highly effective heating remedy, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may not be able to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Even though they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces typically are not as expensive. Having said that, their operating costs can be higher, especially if natural gas prices increase.
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 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.
For example, if you live in a warmer climate and mainly 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 your home, a heat pump might be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
When it comes to heating and cooling a residence, mini-splits and space heaters each have advantages. However, for all around efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits come out on top. 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 used only for heating a small area or a single room. They also can be less energy efficient. In contrast to mini-splits, space heaters do not provide cooling. The most significant drawback for space heaters is the risk of fire. Industry experts say some 1,700 fires per year involve space heaters.