What’s a Mini-Split AC System?

Every home needs a cooling system for comfort. It feels amazing to walk into a cool house on sweltering summer days. But what type of air conditioner can help you sleep better at night and more importantly keep your electricity bill down? A mini-split AC system may be the ideal solution. Our essential guide to mini-split AC systems can help you discover everything you need to know to make a smart choice.

What Is a Mini-Split AC?

Mini-split air conditioners are energy-efficient cooling systems with two main units: a compressor outside the house and an air-handling unit inside. The reason they’re called mini-splits is that the compressor and refrigerant coils are “split” between the inside and outside of the home. A narrow conduit connects the inside air handlers and outdoor compressor, circulating refrigerant that extracts heat from inside the home, cooling inside temperatures significantly.

The Benefits of Mini-Split Systems

More and more homeowners are choosing zone cooling because of how comfortable it is. A mini-split unit is designed to cool a single room or area. You can link several different interior units in a network, creating a zone-cooling system that lets you adjust each area individually. With a mini-split, you can always keep your bedroom, living room, or kitchen at the temperature you love. 

Mini-splits and their ductless cooling are quiet, energy-efficient, and comfortable. It can save you a lot of money on electricity bills, improve your home’s air quality and even help you sleep better at night. Companies can benefit from choosing ductless air conditioners, too, as ductless systems come in a wide range of outputs and prices with cooling solutions for small retail stores, cozy coffee shops, large auto dealerships, huge factories, and many other businesses. Our team has the expertise and professional qualifications for large and complex layouts.

Mini-Splits Vs Central Air Systems: Which Is Better?

Central air and mini-split systems both do a good job of cooling homes. Performance-wise, these HVAC systems are equally up to the task and deliver reliable cooling. 

The biggest difference between these two air-conditioning options is that mini-splits are ductless. For central air, ducts take up more space and cost more to install. They can require extra maintenance.

Another reason ducts matter is that they waste a lot of energy. On average, central air systems lose about 30% of energy because of ducts, and even more if your ducts are located in the attic. That means that if you normally spend $400 a year on air conditioning, you can save $120 by going with a mini-split instead.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Mini-Splits?

Ductless units offer many advantages, but they also have a few downsides. For many people, the pros outweigh the cons by a lot, but we’ll let you judge that for yourself:

Pros of a Mini Split
Installation – Overall, installing a ductless AC system is much easier than installing a central air unit. Unlike HVAC units that need extensive ductwork, wiring, and vents, mini-splits usually only require making a small hole in the outside wall of the house to run copper refrigerant tubes, communication wire, and a drain line.
Zone Cooling – Mini-split systems give you unparalleled control over cooling in your home (or business). Each indoor unit acts as a single zone. With several walls or ceiling units, you can create a cooling system with three, four, five, or more zones. Each one can have its own temperature settings.
Energy Saving – If you’re looking for maximum energy efficiency, you need to get a mini-split. The difference in energy consumption is especially noticeable compared to older central air systems. Ductless units operate with a variable-speed compressor, running anywhere from 30%–100% capacity. That way, the system adapts easily to temperature changes during the day. Older HVAC units only have an OFF and ON setting, so they run at 100% even when it’s a waste.
Indoor Air Quality – All mini-splits have fine filters to remove dust and other contaminants. Some systems are also designed to neutralize odors, eliminate dust mites, or even help to inhibit bacteria and viruses. If someone in your family has allergies, you may want to look into this type of advanced filtration.
Peace and Quiet – If you’re trying to decide between a mini-split and a window AC, there’s no comparison when it comes to the noise level. Common window air conditioners are at around 50–80 decibels. The reason this type of AC is relatively loud is that the compressor is located inside the room.On the other hand, a mini-split unit keeps the compressor far away, outside. Some mini-splits produce as little as 25 dB inside, the same as leaves blowing in the wind. In other words, you probably won’t even notice when the unit is running.
Cons of a Mini Split
Initial Price – Mini-splits often cost more upfront in exchange for greater long-term savings. A single indoor unit won’t set you back too much, but it’s still more costly than a window AC. If you want to install multiple zones throughout the house, you may need to invest more than the price of a central air conditioning unit.Of course, the total cost depends on the layout of your home and whether your home has ducts installed already or not. When you add the cost of ductwork installation, whole-home HVAC units get more expensive. Add the cost of energy consumption and your new mini-split ends up saving you money.
Appearance – Some people don’t like the look of wall-mounted mini-splits. Indoor units can’t be covered or removed, so they may interrupt the flow of your interior décor. At least, that’s the fear that many homeowners have. In truth, many people forget that the mini-split is even there. However, you don’t have to install a wall-mounted system. There are ceiling-mounted consoles, floor systems, and ultra-narrow units. They’re less noticeable and just as energy-efficient as wall units.

 

The Bottom Line: Is a Mini-Split Air Conditioner Smart for Your Home or Business?

To decide if you should get a mini-split, focus on factors such as your lifestyle, home, and current cooling system. Does your home already have ductwork? Are you remodeling your whole house or just looking for a simple solution for indoor comfort?

Mini-splits offer incredible energy efficiency, great cooling output, and unparalleled quietness. That’s a winning combination for many families. If your home doesn’t have ducts, nine times out of ten, mini-splits end up saving you a lot of money on both installation and energy costs. You may indeed need to invest more upfront, but that’s not surprising when you’re getting the best zone-cooling system in return.

Still not sure? Let us help. At Total Home Supply, we’re experts in air-conditioning and heating systems. We can help you find the best type of AC and the right output for your needs. Learn more about mini-split systems by contacting us online or checking out our helpful guides.

Learn more about Mini-Split ACs

Mini Split vs Central Air/Heat: Which is Right for You?

Types of Mini Splits: A Guide

How Does a Mini Split Work?

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert.

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