Mini-Split Cooling Units

A mini-split is a type of space cooling unit.  Most mini-splits are ductless, so it is unlike traditional central forced air systems that have ventilation and ductwork to emit cool air.  On the other hand, mini-splits are similar to central systems in that they contain an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air handler.  They also use refrigerant. The term split comes from the unit’s ability to reverse function for heating.

Mini-split cooling units are commonly used in apartments, condos, townhouses and duct-less homes.   In residences where extending or installing distribution ductwork for forced air and heat is too expensive or simply not feasible, mini-split systems are a great option. Mini-splits also offer precise zoning capabilities.  If you tend to use certain rooms in your home more than others and/or currently use window units for cooling, a mini-split is an efficient alternative.

Advantages of Mini-Split Cooling Systems:

  • Offers zoned air conditioning without requiring ductwork.
  • Excellent user control—cool only certain spaces as opposed to central air which cools the entire home.
  • Suitable for all climates and outdoor conditions—the mini-split can endure snow, rain and extreme humidity.
  • It’s virtually silent when running.

Disadvantages of Mini-Split Cooling Systems:

  • Rather expensive—mini-splits cost about 30% more than central systems (excluding ductwork) and may cost twice as much as window units of similar capacity.
  • Precision is required when selecting system size and planning the location for installation. When done incorrectly, it can result in increased energy bills and poor temperature/humidity control.
  • Although easier to install than central air, configuring mini-splits can be tricky.
  • People complain about the look of wall-mounted systems; they often get a bad name because of their similarity to obtrusive window units.