When looking for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s crucial to choose one that balances efficiency, functionality and the impact on your wallet. That’s why many families use mini-splits to heat and cool their home.
Mini-splits—often known as ductless mini-splits—provide a variety of advantages that make them an attractive solution for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, decreasing energy consumption and saving on utility bills, because they don't have the energy losses associated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also make it possible for users to tailor the temperature in each room, enhancing overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re contemplating mini-split installation in Albuquerque, it’s important to first determine if these devices are recommended for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits measure up 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 has no 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 the home's existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system consists of two major components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling component. 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 interior component 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 outstanding for energy efficiency because they only provide hot or cold air for the areas you choose. However, they sometimes don't blend seamlessly into every decor because of their wall-mounted indoor units.
On the contrary, a central air system uniformly cools your entire home, producing consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is out of sight, preserving the interior design of your home. However, it will likely not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in quite sizeable homes or residences where certain rooms may not need nonstop 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 able to cool multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible option for countless homeowners. They also use a form of refrigerant that is more eco-friendly, decreasing their environmental impact. These devices can even add value to your home due to their long-lasting nature and superior 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 are not able to accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for people with budget constraints. Even with 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, depends on your main concerns. If your main considerations are energy efficiency and cooling capability, 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 an assortment of factors such as the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency desires and budget.
A mini-split system most of the time is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool targeted areas inside of your home, supplying custom climate control in specific rooms. Mini-splits also are normally quieter and have a higher up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually less due to their better energy efficiency.
Alternatively, a gas furnace can be an extremely effective heating source, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may not be able to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. While they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces ordinarily cost less. Having said that, 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 principle of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's duct system can cause more energy usage. However, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often relies on individual needs and circumstances.
For example, if you are living in a warmer climate and mostly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a good choice. However, 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 residence, 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 provide superior energy efficiency because 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 recommended for heating a limited area or just one room. They also are often less energy efficient. As opposed to mini-splits, space heaters do not deliver cooling. The greatest drawback for space heaters is the chance of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.