When shopping for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s crucial to choose one that balances efficiency, performance and finances. That’s why many homeowners look to mini-splits to heat and cool their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—provide many advantages that make them an appealing choice for both homes and businesses. They're extremely energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility expenses, because they eliminate the energy losses that can come with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to customize the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re thinking about mini-split installation in Circleville, it’s worthwhile to first research 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 system that does not use ductwork. It's often used 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 is made of two primary components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling component. The two are linked by a conduit containing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the outside compressor distributes the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange within the coils and the air handler. The in-house component 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 specific rooms or zones of your household. 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 decor due to their wall-mounted indoor units.
Conversely, a central air system uniformly cools your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is tucked away in a mechanical room or closet, preserving the interior design of your home. On the other hand, it might not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in larger homes or residences where certain spaces may not need constant 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 able to cool multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible alternative for numerous homeowners. They also utilize a type of refrigerant that is more eco-friendly, reducing their environmental impact. These units can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and exceptional cooling capabilities. However, they come with a greater initial investment.
On the contrary, window AC units are less expensive initially. They are often a good fit for homes that can't accommodate a central air system or for homeowners with budget constraints. Despite 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, is dependent on your goals. If your main worries are 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 key concern, a portable AC has a lower initial investment.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
Choosing 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 desires and spending plan.
A mini-split system typically is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool distinct areas in your home, delivering 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 lower due to their superior energy efficiency.
However, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating source, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may not be able to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Although they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces typically cost less. But, their operating costs can be more costly, especially if natural gas prices skyrocket.
Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump
Mini-splits and heat pumps use the principle 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 relies on individual needs and circumstances.
For instance, if you live in a warmer climate and mostly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a good choice. But then again, if you want 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
In regards 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 stand out. Mini-splits provide superior energy efficiency simply because they deliver conditioned air directly to different zones and can serve numerous rooms at once.
Space heaters are far less expensive to buy but are typically recommended for heating a confined area or just one room. They also can be less energy efficient. As opposed to mini-splits, space heaters do not deliver cooling. The biggest drawback for space heaters is the risk of fire. Industry experts say some 1,700 fires per year involve space heaters.