When looking for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s essential to choose one that balances efficiency, functionality and budget. That’s why many property owners look to mini-splits for comfort in their home.
Mini-splits—often referred to as ductless mini-splits—have a variety of advantages that make them an appealing option for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, reducing energy consumption and saving on utility costs, because they don't have the energy losses that can come with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also enable users to control the temperature in each room, boosting overall comfort while saving energy.
If you’re considering mini-split installation in Omaha, it’s important to first determine if these devices are the best fit 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 device that doesn't need ductwork to function. It's often used 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 connected by a conduit housing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.
Here's how it works: the exterior compressor circulates the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange within the coils and the air handler. The in-house component draws in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and sends the conditioned air back into the room.
Mini-Split vs. Central Air
Mini-splits provide targeted cooling in specific rooms or zones of your residence. They are known for energy efficiency because they only condition the areas you want. However, they sometimes don't blend seamlessly into every location due to the fact they have wall-mounted indoor units.
Conversely, a central air system uniformly conditions your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is hidden away, preserving the aesthetics of your home. But it may not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in larger homes or residences where certain spots may not need continuous conditioning.
Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit
Mini-splits are often 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 option for numerous homeowners. They also utilize a type of refrigerant that is more eco-friendly, decreasing their environmental impact. These systems can even add value to your home due to their sturdy nature and exceptional cooling capabilities. However, they come with a larger up-front cost.
On the other hand, window AC 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 homeowners with budget constraints. In spite of these advantages, window units can use 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, will depend on on your goals. If your main focus is energy efficiency and ability to quickly cool a room, a mini-split is much more effective than a portable AC unit. However, if budget is a significant concern, a portable AC has a lower initial investment.
Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace
The choice 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 needs and budget.
A mini-split system usually is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool defined areas in your home, providing custom climate control in targeted rooms. Mini-splits also are generally quieter and have a greater up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually lower due to their superior energy efficiency.
On the other hand, a gas furnace can be an extremely effective heating source, 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 typically cost less. Having said that, their operating costs can be higher, especially if natural gas prices rise.
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 duct system can cause more energy usage. That said, 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 mostly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a good choice. On the other hand, if you need 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 household, mini-splits and space heaters each have advantages. However, for total efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits stand out. Mini-splits provide superior energy efficiency due to the fact they deliver conditioned air right to different zones and can serve several rooms at once.
Space heaters are a great deal less expensive to buy but are typically recommended for heating a limited area or a single 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.