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What is the Major Advantage of Mini Split Air Conditioning Systems?

4 minute read

When deciding on an air conditioning system for a home or commercial space, the most common choices are central AC systems, window units, and the growing popularity of mini-split systems.

Residential and commercial buildings commonly employ traditional central AC systems. The system consists of a ducted system with a main component that lowers the temperature of the air in one location and sends it to the rest of the area through a system of tubes. This system is efficient in cooling extensive spaces evenly but frequently necessitates substantial installation efforts, particularly if ductwork is absent.

Window units are small cooling systems specifically made to fit into the window frames of a room. They are a more cost-effective choice that is ideal for cooling individual rooms. Setting up the system is usually uncomplicated and does not necessitate ductwork. Nevertheless, window units may not look as attractive and could block sunlight. In addition, they are often louder and consume more energy than newer systems.

How Do Mini-Split Air Conditioning Systems Work?

Ductless mini-splits, also called mini-split air conditioning systems, consist of an outdoor compressor/condenser and one or more indoor air-handling units. 

The conduit that carries the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and condensate drain connects these components. One of the distinctive features of mini-splits is that they do not need ducts to move air around. The lack of ductwork is a unique characteristic of mini-split pros that sets them apart from conventional central AC systems.

Significant Advantages of Mini-Split Systems

Energy Efficiency

Mini-split systems are significantly more energy-efficient compared to traditional central AC systems and window units. While central AC systems lose a substantial amount of energy due to heat exchange in ductwork—reportedly up to 30%—mini-splits eliminate this loss by directly cooling or heating each room with one indoor unit without the need for ducts.

The ductless design of mini-splits conserves the energy typically lost in ductwork. This design reduces the inefficiencies found in many older homes where ductless systems, sealing, and insulation may be inadequate. Moreover, mini-splits use advanced compressor technology that adjusts power based on the needs of each room, further enhancing their energy efficiency.

Due to the system's higher efficiency, users of mini-split systems often notice a significant decrease in their utility bills. Additionally, many governments and utility companies offer tax credits, rebates, or incentives to encourage the installation of energy-efficient mini-splits due to their environmental benefits.

Customizable Cooling and Heating

Each indoor and outdoor unit of a mini-split system can be controlled independently, allowing for customized temperature settings in different zones or rooms. This feature is handy in households or workplaces where individual comfort preferences vary.

Mini-splits provide the advantage of not having to waste energy cooling or heating rooms that are not in use. This is in contrast to central systems, which typically cool or heat the entire building uniformly, regardless of occupancy.

For residential settings, mini-splits are ideal for homes with outbuildings like garages or workshops or for families whose members prefer different temperatures. In commercial applications, businesses like hotels or offices can greatly benefit from the ability to control the climate in specific areas based on use and occupancy, achieving both comfort and energy efficiency.

Ease of Installation

Central air systems require considerably more extensive and invasive ductwork installation in comparison to a mini-split system, which only needs a very small hole in the wall to connect the indoor units to the outdoor compressor.

Mini-split installation of ductless air conditioning usually takes less time and can mostly be done in a single day, while a central AC system with ductwork can take several days or even weeks, depending on the complexity of the job.

Mini-splits are an excellent choice for older buildings or homes without existing ductwork because installing ducts in these structures can be prohibitively expensive and disruptive.

Quiet Operation

Mini-splits operate at significantly lower noise levels than window units or some older central air systems. The compressor, the noisiest component, is located outside the building, which reduces indoor noise.

Mini-split systems are quieter than most systems, and indoor air quality contributes to a more peaceful indoor environment, enhancing comfort in residential settings and productivity in workspaces. This reduced noise pollution has great value in environments like bedrooms, studies, and offices, where a lower noise level will promote a better quality of life and work.

Who Benefits Most from Mini-Split Air Conditioning Systems?

Mini-split air conditioning systems are suitable for indoor and outdoor units for a variety of individuals and settings, thanks to their flexibility, efficiency, and ease of installation. Here are some scenarios where mini-splits are particularly advantageous:

  • For homeowners without ducts, mini-splits are a great option as they are less expensive and less intrusive than traditional ducted systems. Mini-splits are also great for older homes where keeping the original design is essential.
  • For those who need to cool or heat specific rooms at different times, mini-splits offer the flexibility to manage temperatures in separate zones. These systems are ideal for spaces like sunrooms, basements, or attics that may not receive adequate heating and cooling from the primary system.
  • The benefit of mini-splits is that they consume less energy and appeal to environmentally conscious and money-saving people. The ductless system cuts down energy wastage, hence being more environmentally friendly.
  • In small homes or studio apartments, where space is at a premium, mini-split units are perfect for controlling climates since they are compact and space-consuming window units or wide-ranging central air systems are not needed.
  • Landlords and property managers might choose mini-splits for rental properties to allow individual tenants to control their own heating and cooling, potentially reducing disputes and increasing tenant satisfaction.
  • Businesses that need flexible and efficient heating and cooling solutions across diverse spaces (like conference rooms, individual offices, and common areas) can benefit from the zoned climate control that mini-splits offer.

Offering efficient operation, zone control, and less intrusive installation, mini-splits appeal to a wide variety of needs. They can be an excellent addition for many wanting to upgrade outdoor units or add a new air conditioning system.

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