When most people think of AC, they think of one of two things: window units or central air. For decades, you would have to choose between one of the two – window units for small spaces, and central air for large spaces.
Mini-splits changed the game.
Instead of requiring extensive ductwork throughout a building, mini-splits have refrigerant lines that connect them to the outdoor unit. Each room that needs to be cooled – or heated, – will require its own indoor unit and condenser lines.
Both small and large spaces can take advantage of mini-splits, but they’re most commonly used in larger spaces, as they’re more expensive to install than a window unit, and they still require an outdoor compressor/condenser unit.
So if they’re more expensive to install, why are people choosing mini-splits? Let’s take a look:
They can save you money – and help the planet
Every time you run air through your ducts, you’re losing energy. Ducts aren’t perfectly insulated, so you lose heating and cooling to the surrounding area any time air is running through ducts in a home’s hot attic.
Mini-splits also require less energy to operate – there’s no need to force air through ducts. That means mini-splits are much smaller than traditional central air units. That’s important – 6% of the average household’s energy budget goes to cooling.
You’re losing less heat and cold because of duct-related inefficiencies, and you’re using less energy to run the system. That can mean huge savings on your energy bill – and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint, too.
You can create a more comfortable environment
You know the old trope about the dad who can tell if the thermostat has been changed by a single degree.
That problem doesn’t exist with mini-splits.
Because each room has its own units, temperature can be adjusted from room to room without affecting the surrounding rooms.
In addition, energy efficient ductless AC units are whisper quiet, partially because they utilize direct current rather than alternating current and because of the aforementioned placement of compressor/condenser units outdoors.
Ductless units can improve air quality
All that dust in your vents? Not a problem with ductless units. They often come with washable filters, so they’re easier to care for than central air units.
If you’ve got allergies, ductless systems can be the best way to go.
Mini-splits offer both heating and cooling
Here in San Marcos, it’s rare that you’ll need to turn a furnace on full blast. In some climates, mini-splits don’t provide enough heat. But if you live in a climate like ours, mini-splits are an excellent option if you don’t want to install a furnace.
Why? Because the same principles that allow air conditioners to cool a space allow it to heat that very same space if put in reverse. Mini-splits can act as heat pumps, meaning they take heat from outside your house and bring it into your house.
Instead of installing central air and getting a new furnace, you can just get a mini-split system.