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.