When shopping for a heating and cooling system for your dwelling, it’s essential to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and budget. That’s why many homeowners use mini-splits for climate control in their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—provide a variety of advantages that make them an appealing choice for both homes and businesses. They're very energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility bills, because they eliminate the energy losses associated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to control the temperature in each room, boosting overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re considering mini-split installation in Lincoln, it’s important to first determine if these devices are the right solution 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 doesn't need ductwork to function. 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 an existing HVAC system.
A mini-split system has two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. They are attached by a conduit carrying 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 through the coils and the air handler. The interior component pulls in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and pushes the conditioned air back into the room.
Mini-Split vs. Central Air
Mini-splits are good for targeted cooling in specific rooms or zones of your home. They are outstanding for energy efficiency because they only condition the areas you choose. However, they may not blend seamlessly into every area because of their wall-mounted indoor units.
On the other hand, a central air system uniformly cools your entire home, keeping consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is hidden away, preserving the interior design of your home. But it will likely not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in larger homes or residences where certain areas may not need continuous conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are typically more energy efficient and less noisy than a window air conditioning unit and are useful for cooling air in multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a versatile choice for countless homeowners. They also utilize a kind of refrigerant that is more earth-safe, reducing their environmental impact. These devices can even add value to your home due to their long-lasting nature and exceptional cooling capabilities. However, they come with a greater initial investment.
On the other hand, window air conditioning units are less expensive to purchase. They may be a good fit for homes that are not able to accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for families with budget constraints. Despite these advantages, window units can consume 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, depends on your goals. If your main considerations are energy efficiency and ability to quickly cool a room, 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
Deciding 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 how much you plan on spending.
A mini-split system most of the time is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool distinct areas inside of your home, delivering custom climate control in individual rooms. Mini-splits also are for the most part quieter and have a greater up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually less due to their greater energy efficiency.
However, a gas furnace can be an extremely effective heating solution, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may not be able to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Even though 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 ductwork 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.
For instance, if you are living in a warmer climate and mainly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a more effective choice. But then again, if you require both heating and cooling and already have ductwork in your home, a heat pump might be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
When it comes to heating and cooling a home, mini-splits and space heaters each have advantages. However, for overall efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits come out on top. Mini-splits supply superior energy efficiency simply because they deliver conditioned air directly to different zones and can serve multiple rooms at once.
Space heaters are a great deal less expensive to buy but are typically recommended for heating a limited area or an individual room. They also are usually less energy efficient. In contrast to mini-splits, space heaters do not deliver cooling. The most significant drawback for space heaters is the chance of fire. Authorities say some 1,700 fires annually involve space heaters.