When looking for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s essential to choose one that balances efficiency, operation and finances. That’s why many families look to mini-splits to heat and cool their home.
Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—provide several advantages that make them a popular choice for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, reducing energy consumption and saving on utility expenses, because they eliminate the energy losses affiliated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also allow users to control the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while not wasting energy.
If you’re interested in mini-split installation in Pocatello, it’s important to first find out if these devices are the best fit for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits measure up to 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 device that does not use ductwork. It's often used 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 main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. The two are linked by a conduit housing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the outdoor compressor moves the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange throughout the coils and the air handler. The indoor device draws 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 desire. However, they may not blend seamlessly into every area due to the fact they have wall-mounted indoor units.
On the contrary, a central air system uniformly conditions your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is out of sight, preserving the interior design of your home. However, it might not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in quite sizeable homes or residences where certain spaces may not need continuous conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are often 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 convenient option for countless homeowners. They also use a type of refrigerant that is more environmentally safe, limiting 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 higher initial investment.
On the other hand, window AC 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. Despite these advantages, window units can consume up to 40% more energy than ductless mini-split systems and often are louder.
Mini-Split vs. Portable AC
The answer to what is better, a ductless mini-split or a portable air conditioning unit, depends on your main concerns. If your main considerations are energy efficiency and performance, 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 including the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency desires and how much you plan on spending.
A mini-split system usually is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool defined areas within your home, providing custom climate control in individual 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 better energy efficiency.
However, a gas furnace can be a highly effective heating source, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may not be able to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Although they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces typically are not as expensive. But, their operating costs can be higher, especially if natural gas prices skyrocket.
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 duct system 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.
By way of example, if you live 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
In regards to heating and cooling a household, mini-splits and space heaters each have strengths and weaknesses. 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 right 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 small area or a single room. They also are often less energy efficient. In contrast to mini-splits, space heaters do not deliver cooling. The biggest drawback for space heaters is the danger of fire. Experts say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.