Getting the best cooling system for your home isn’t a wish anymore; it’s an absolute necessity, especially during summer. Staying cool relaxes you and keeps your family comfortable, but at the same time, you don’t want to get hit with a huge electricity bill at the end of the month. That’s where you should consider the pros and cons of ductless mini splits as a solution.
The Pros of Mini Split Systems
When it comes to energy efficiency, versatility, and simplicity, mini splits may be the answer:
- Simple installation: One of the most significant advantages of mini splits is that installation is a breeze. There’s no need to install large ducts around the house or cut tons of holes in floors/ceilings/walls for vents. Most mini splits only need a 3” hole in the outside wall to connect the system. Instead of a major five-day project (what central air units often require), technicians can install mini splits in a day or two max.
- Security: The small size of the hole required for mini split installation helps keep your family safe. There’s not enough room for intruders or critters to get inside. On the other hand, large window units can make the home vulnerable to break-ins, and ducts give pests a place to hide.
- Energy efficiency: A mini split system can save you 30% on your electricity bill. Ducts are notorious for wasting energy, so ductless systems offer better cooling for less electricity. Also, all mini splits have a variable-speed compressor, so they don’t have to run at 100%. If your home only needs slight cooling to reach your ideal temperature, the compressor runs at a lower level instead of stopping and starting constantly.
- Zone cooling/heating: With mini splits, each indoor air-handling unit has its own thermostat. In other words, you can control the temperature of each room or area separately. This is called zone cooling. You can set your bedroom climate to the temperature that makes you happy without affecting other rooms, floors, or family members. This translates into better home comfort and saves you energy by letting you lower the AC in spaces you don’t use often.
- Flexibility: You can choose a ductless mini split system with the size, output, and price that works for your needs and budget. Units range from an output of 9,000 BTUs to 48,000 BTUs, providing the right cooling and heating for large living rooms, cozy bedrooms, and open-concept kitchen-dining rooms. Our HVAC professionals can help you create the ideal layout for a multi-story home, luxury condo, apartment, dorm — even a retail business or commercial warehouse.
The Cons of a Mini Split System
But as there are many pros of a mini split system, there are some cons to consider:
- Cost: The total price of your mini split system depends on the layout you choose, ranging from $1,000–$8,500 for components and around $1,500 for installation. On average, you can expect to pay about 30% more for a ductless mini split compared to central air. Of course, if your home doesn’t already have ductwork installed, the price of central air can easily double to $8,000 or more.
- Risk of improper installation: Mini splits are not suitable for DIY solutions or “handyman” services. You need a certified expert to help you with sizing, output, and layout plans. Otherwise, you can void the warranty, use way too much electricity or not get enough cooling for your home. As long as you choose a pro, however, you’re good to go.
- Maintenance: For maximum energy efficiency and system performance, ductless units need proper maintenance. You need to wash the filter for each unit once a month or more frequently if you have pets. Cleaning filters don’t take long, so make sure to check these every so often.
- Design: Some homeowners don’t like the way indoor air-handlers look. They feel that it interferes with other design elements in the space. The good news is that there are many design options, so you can choose a ceiling, narrow-vent, or floor unit if you don’t like wall-mounted units.
The benefits of mini split systems make them an excellent choice whether you’re building a brand new home, buying an older house, or designing a room for expansion. Of course, you have to make sure you have the budget for it and understand if you’re willing to invest.
Need help deciding? Find the answers you need in our helpful guide to a mini split vs. central air.