When looking 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 for comfort in 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 highly energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility costs, because they don't have the energy losses associated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to control the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re contemplating mini-split installation in Port St. Lucie, it’s worthwhile to first determine if these devices are the right solution for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore 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 device that doesn't need ductwork to function. It's a popular choice 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 is made of two major components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. The two are connected by a conduit housing 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 throughout the coils and the air handler. The in-house component brings 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 household. They are known for energy efficiency because they only heat or cool the areas you choose. However, they may not blend seamlessly into every decor because of their wall-mounted indoor units.
On the contrary, a central air system uniformly chills your entire home, keeping consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is hidden away, preserving the appearance 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 rooms may not need constant conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are usually more energy efficient and not as loud as a window air conditioning unit and are useful for cooling air in multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible choice for numerous homeowners. They also use a type of refrigerant that is more environmentally safe, decreasing their environmental impact. These units can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and remarkable cooling capabilities. However, they come with a larger up-front cost.
On the other hand, window air conditioning units are less expensive initially. They may be a good fit for homes that cannot accommodate a central AC system or for families with budget constraints. Even with these advantages, window units can use 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 main concerns. If your main considerations are energy efficiency and cooling capability, a mini-split is heads and shoulders better than a portable AC unit. However, if funding 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 a variety 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 distinct areas in your home, supplying custom climate control in specific rooms. Mini-splits also are normally quieter and have a greater up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their superior energy efficiency.
On the other hand, a gas furnace can be an extremely effective heating solution, 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 ordinarily are not as expensive. 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 process of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's duct system can use more power. This difference aside, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often is based on 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 better choice. But then again, if you require both heating and cooling and already have ductwork in your home, a heat pump could be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
When it comes to heating and cooling a household, mini-splits and space heaters each have merits. However, for total efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits come out on top. Mini-splits have superior energy efficiency because 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 used only for heating a confined area or just one room. They also are often less energy efficient. As opposed to mini-splits, space heaters do not provide cooling. The most significant drawback for space heaters is the danger of fire. Industry experts say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.