When shopping for a heating and cooling system for your home, it’s crucial to choose one that balances efficiency, performance and budget. That’s why many property owners explore the possibility of mini-splits for comfort in their home.

Mini-splits—often called ductless mini-splits—have many advantages that make them a popular solution for both homes and businesses. They're highly energy efficient, decreasing energy consumption and saving on utility expenses, because they eliminate the energy losses associated with the ductwork found in traditional HVAC systems. They also make it possible for users to control the temperature in each room, improving overall comfort while not wasting energy.

If you’re interested in mini-split installation in Brookfield, it’s important to first research if these devices are the right solution for your living situation. Here, we’ll explore how mini-splits measure up to other heating and cooling devices and appliances.

What a Mini-Split Is and How It Works

A mini-split, or ductless mini-split, is a heating and cooling mechanism that doesn't need ductwork to function. It's a popular choice in homes that don't have existing air ducts and for homes with rooms that aren’t served well by the residence's existing HVAC system.

A mini-split system is made of two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. They are attached by a conduit containing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain.

Here's how it works: the outside compressor circulates the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange through the coils and the air handler. The indoor component draws in air from the room, cools or heats it over the coils and forces the conditioned air back into the room.

Mini-Split vs. Central Air

Mini-splits provide targeted cooling in certain rooms or zones of your residence. They are known for energy efficiency because they only heat or cool the areas you want. However, they might not blend seamlessly into every room due to their wall-mounted indoor units.

On the contrary, a central air system uniformly chills your entire home, generating consistent comfort levels throughout. Its ductwork is hidden away, preserving the appearance of your home. However, it will likely not be as energy efficient as a mini-split, especially in bigger homes or residences where certain spaces may not need constant conditioning.

Mini-Split vs. Window AC/Window Unit

Mini-splits are usually more energy efficient and not as loud as a window air conditioning unit and are capable of cooling multiple rooms. This is why mini-splits are a flexible option for lots of homeowners. They also utilize a type of refrigerant that is more eco-friendly, reducing their environmental impact. These units can even add value to your home due to their reliable nature and remarkable cooling capabilities. However, they come with a higher up-front cost.

On the other hand, window air conditioners are less expensive initially. They may be a good fit for homes that can't accommodate a central air system or for families with budget constraints. Even with these advantages, window units can use up to 40% more energy than ductless mini-split systems and are often noisier.

Mini-Split vs. Portable AC

The answer to what is better, a ductless mini-split or a portable air conditioning unit, will depend on on your main concerns. If your main considerations are energy efficiency and ability to quickly cool a room, a mini-split is considered far superior to a portable AC unit. However, if finances is a major concern, a portable AC costs less.

Mini-Split vs. Gas Furnace

Deciding between a mini-split system and a gas furnace depends on a variety of factors such as the climate in your city, home size, energy efficiency desires and budget.

A mini-split system typically is more energy efficient than a gas furnace. It can heat and cool distinct areas inside of your home, delivering custom climate control in specific rooms. Mini-splits also are for the most part quieter and have a greater up-front cost, but their operating costs are usually smaller due to their better energy efficiency.

However, a gas furnace can be an extremely effective heating source, particularly in colder climates where mini-split heat pumps may fail to maintain comfort levels in the bitter cold. Although they are less energy efficient than mini-splits, gas furnaces likely have lower initial costs. However, their operating costs can be more costly, especially if natural gas prices jump up.

Mini-Split vs. Heat Pump

Mini-splits and heat pumps use the concept of heat transfer. They are both energy efficient, but a heat pump's duct system can be less efficient. That said, the choice between a mini-split and a heat pump often depends on a homeowner's needs and circumstances.

Case in point, if you reside in a warmer climate and mostly need cooling, a mini-split system might be a good choice. But then again, if you require both heating and cooling and already have ductwork installed in your residence, a heat pump may be a more efficient option.

Mini-Split vs. Space Heater

When it comes to heating and cooling a household, mini-splits and space heaters each have strengths and weaknesses. However, for all around efficiency, versatility, comfort and safety, mini-splits come out on top. Mini-splits provide superior energy efficiency due to the fact they deliver conditioned air right to different zones and can serve multiple rooms at once.

Space heaters are far less expensive to buy but are typically used only for heating a confined area or just one room. They also are usually less energy efficient. Unlike mini-splits, space heaters do not provide cooling. The biggest drawback for space heaters is the risk of fire. Industry experts say some 1,700 fires each year involve space heaters.