When shopping for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s essential to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and finances. That’s why many property owners use 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 option for both homes and businesses. They're very energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility bills, because they eliminate the energy losses affiliated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also make it possible for users to control the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while conserving energy.
If you’re considering mini-split installation in Kearney, it’s necessary to first find out if these devices are the right solution for your living situation. Here, we’ll examine how mini-splits compare 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 system that does not use ductwork. It's a good option in homes that don't have pre-existing air ducts and for homes with rooms that aren’t served well by an existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system has two primary components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling device. They are connected by a conduit housing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the exterior compressor distributes the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange throughout the coils and the air handler. The in-house device pulls 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 provide targeted cooling in particular rooms or zones of your home. They are excellent for energy efficiency because they only provide hot or cold air for the areas you choose. However, they might not blend seamlessly into every location because of their wall-mounted indoor units.
Conversely, a central air system uniformly cools your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is out of sight, preserving the interior design of your home. On the other hand, it may not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in quite sizeable 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 capable of cooling multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a versatile choice for countless homeowners. They also utilize a form of refrigerant that is more environment-friendly, reducing 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 larger purchase price.
On the contrary, window air conditioners are less expensive up front. They are often a good fit for homes that can't accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for families 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 worries are energy efficiency and performance, a mini-split is considered far superior to a portable AC unit. However, if funding is a significant concern, a portable AC is less expensive.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
Choosing 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 desires and budget.
A mini-split system usually is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool targeted areas in your home, supplying custom climate control in individual rooms. Mini-splits also are normally quieter and have a larger up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their better energy efficiency.
Alternatively, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating source, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may fail to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Even though they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces typically have lower initial costs. But, 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 process of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's ductwork can be less efficient. However, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often relies on a homeowner's needs and circumstances.
Case in point, if you live in a warmer climate and primarily need cooling, a mini-split system might be a good choice. But then again, if you require both heating and cooling and already have ductwork installed in your residence, a heat pump may be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
In regards to heating and cooling a home, mini-splits and space heaters each have merits. However, for all around efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits outperform space heaters. Mini-splits provide superior energy efficiency because they deliver conditioned air right to different zones and can serve several rooms at once.
Space heaters are much less expensive to buy but are typically used only for heating a limited area or a single room. They also are usually less energy efficient. As opposed to mini-splits, space heaters do not supply cooling. The most significant drawback for space heaters is the danger of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.