When looking for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s critical to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and finances. That’s why many families use mini-splits to heat and cool their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—have several advantages that make them an attractive solution for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, decreasing energy consumption and saving on utility costs, because they avoid the energy losses affiliated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to control the temperature in each room, boosting overall comfort while conserving energy.
If you’re interested in mini-split installation in Port St. Lucie, it’s important to first research if these devices are the best fit for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits stack up against 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 has no ductwork. It's a popular choice in homes that don't have any air ducts and for homes with rooms that aren’t served well by the home's existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system is made of two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling device. These are linked by a conduit containing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the exterior compressor moves the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange within the coils and the air handler. The indoor component pulls in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and sends the conditioned air back into the room.
Mini-Split vs. Central Air
Mini-splits provide targeted cooling in specific rooms or zones of your residence. They are excellent for energy efficiency because they only provide hot or cold air for the areas you want. However, they may not blend seamlessly into every decor due to 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 out of sight, preserving the interior design of your home. On the other hand, 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 quieter than a window air conditioning unit and are capable of cooling multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a versatile option for countless homeowners. They also use a kind of refrigerant that is more eco-friendly, reducing their environmental impact. These systems can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and exceptional cooling capabilities. However, they come with a larger up-front cost.
On the contrary, window air conditioners are less expensive up front. They are often a good fit for homes that cannot accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for homeowners with budget constraints. In spite of these advantages, window units can utilize up to 40% more energy than ductless mini-split systems and are often noisier.
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 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 key 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 which can include the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency desires and budget.
A mini-split system typically is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool targeted areas inside of your home, providing custom climate control in specific rooms. Mini-splits also are generally quieter and have a larger up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually less due to their improved energy efficiency.
However, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating source, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may struggle to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. While they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces typically are not as expensive. However, their operating costs can be more costly, especially if natural gas prices increase.
Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump
Mini-splits and heat pumps function with the principle of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's air ducts can cause more energy usage. 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 good choice. But then again, if you want both heating and cooling and already have ductwork in place, a heat pump may be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
With regards to heating and cooling a residence, mini-splits and space heaters each have merits. However, for overall efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits come out on top. Mini-splits supply superior energy efficiency due to the fact they deliver conditioned air straight to different zones and can serve numerous rooms at once.
Space heaters are much less expensive to buy but are typically recommended for heating a confined area or an individual 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 danger of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires annually involve space heaters.