When shopping for a heating and cooling system for your dwelling, it’s critical to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and the impact on your wallet. That’s why many property owners explore the possibility of mini-splits for climate control in their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—offer many advantages that make them an appealing choice for both homes and businesses. They're very energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility costs, because they don't have the energy losses affiliated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also permit users to customize the temperature in each room, boosting overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re contemplating mini-split installation in Boynton Beach, it’s worthwhile to first research if these devices are recommended for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits stack up against 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 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 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 device. These are linked by a conduit carrying the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the outdoor compressor distributes the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange throughout the coils and the air handler. The indoor unit draws 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 provide targeted cooling in certain rooms or zones of your home. They are known for energy efficiency because they only provide hot or cold air for the areas you want. However, they might not blend seamlessly into every area because of their wall-mounted indoor units.
Conversely, a central air system uniformly conditions your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is tucked away in a mechanical room or closet, preserving the interior design of your home. On the other hand, it might not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in larger homes or residences where certain spaces 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 able to cool multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible choice for numerous homeowners. They also operate using a form of refrigerant that is more environmentally safe, decreasing their environmental impact. These systems can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and superior cooling capabilities. However, they come with a greater initial investment.
Having said that, window air conditioning units are less expensive to purchase. They might be a good fit for homes that cannot accommodate a central Air conditioning system or for families with budget constraints. In spite of these advantages, window units can use 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, will depend on on your goals. If your main focus is energy efficiency and cooling capability, a mini-split is much more effective than a portable AC unit. However, if finances is a significant concern, a portable AC costs less.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
The choice between a mini-split system and a gas furnace depends on an assortment of factors including the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency needs and budget.
A mini-split system typically is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool defined 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 less due to their better energy efficiency.
Alternatively, a gas furnace can be a very effective heating remedy, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may fail to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Although they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces likely have lower initial costs. But, their operating costs can be higher, especially if natural gas prices increase.
Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump
Mini-splits and heat pumps operate using the concept of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's ductwork can cause more energy usage. That said, 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 better choice. But then again, if you want 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
With regards to heating and cooling a household, mini-splits and space heaters each have advantages. However, for overall 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 multiple rooms at once.
Space heaters are much less expensive to buy but are typically used only for heating a confined area or an individual room. They also are often less energy efficient. Unlike mini-splits, space heaters do not deliver cooling. The greatest drawback for space heaters is the risk of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.