When shopping for a heating and cooling system for your dwelling, it’s critical to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and finances. That’s why many property owners look to mini-splits for comfort in their home.
Mini-splits—often known as ductless mini-splits—have many advantages that make them an attractive solution for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, lowering energy consumption and saving on utility expenses, because they eliminate the energy losses that can come with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to customize the temperature in each room, boosting overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re thinking about mini-split installation in Bartlesville, it’s important to first research if these devices are the best fit for your living situation. Here, we’ll examine 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 mechanism 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 residence'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 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 in-house device 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 are good for targeted cooling in certain rooms or zones of your home. They are known for energy efficiency because they only condition the areas you want. However, they sometimes don't blend seamlessly into every decor due to their wall-mounted indoor units.
On the contrary, a central air system uniformly chills your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is hidden away, 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 bigger homes or residences where certain spaces may not need nonstop 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 versatile alternative for many homeowners. They also utilize a kind of refrigerant that is more earth-safe, reducing their environmental impact. These systems can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and remarkable cooling capabilities. However, they come with a greater initial investment.
On the contrary, window AC units are less expensive up front. They are often a good fit for homes that can't accommodate a central AC 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 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, will depend on on your goals. If your main focus is energy efficiency and performance, a mini-split is much more effective 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
Deciding 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 preferences and how much you plan on spending.
A mini-split system typically is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool defined areas inside of your home, providing custom climate control in targeted rooms. Mini-splits also are for the most part quieter and have a larger up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their greater 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 fail to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. While they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces likely have lower initial costs. However, their operating costs can be more costly, especially if natural gas prices jump up.
Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump
Mini-splits and heat pumps function with the process of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's duct system can use more power. However, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often depends on a homeowner's 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 need both heating and cooling and already have ductwork installed in your residence, a heat pump could be a more efficient option.
Mini-Split vs. Space Heater
In regards to heating and cooling a home, mini-splits and space heaters each have strengths and weaknesses. However, for overall efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits stand out. Mini-splits provide superior energy efficiency simply because they deliver conditioned air straight to different zones and can serve several rooms at once.
Space heaters are a great deal less expensive to buy but are typically reserved for heating a small area or an individual room. They also are usually 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 annually involve space heaters.