Have you ever wished that you could make a room a little cooler without turning on your entire HVAC system? Or that you could turn off the air conditioner for just one room, to save some energy? Now, we have that technology. A mini-split air conditioner, or ductless air conditioner and heater, is a room-by-room system that can save energy and money.
There are a few things to consider when buying a mini-split air conditioning system. However, before asking those questions, here are a few of the advantages of any mini-split over another type of system:
- No ductwork. There are several reasons that a homeowner might want to avoid ductwork. For older homes, ductwork can be difficult or costly. For homes that enjoy consistent good weather, it is often unnecessary. And for homes with allergies or pets, dust and hair can build up in ducts. Mini-split systems avoid the large upfront cost of tearing through walls and installing ducts.
- Change the temperature room by room. One of the biggest advantages of a mini-split system is temperature control. Each person in the family often has different temperature desires, and now each person can control their own room. If only every argument could be solved so easily! This also means that you can turn off rooms that don’t need to be cooled, saving money and energy.
- Extra quiet. Because ductless mini-splits are smaller and don’t pump air through ductwork, they’re much quieter than traditional central air conditioners. They can even be as low as 19 decibels loud, which is quieter than the average whisper.
- More efficient. HGTV notes that you can lose 25% or more of your air conditioning energy by pumping air through ducts. A ductless mini-split system avoids this problem, and makes sure that you’re getting the most out of your cooling energy by pumping it all directly where it needs to go.
If you choose a mini-split air conditioner, there several options. Here are some questions to ask to make sure you get the best system for you and your home:
- How many rooms do I need cooled? Ductless mini-splits are a room-by-room cooling option. Before purchasing, consider how many mini-splits you may need. How many rooms will you consistently need to cool? Are there rooms that stay cool on their own, or don’t need to be cool (like a garage?) Remember that two separate rooms will count as one if they don’t have a door or wall separating them.
- How will the system fit into my home design? Some consumers are hesitant to buy a ductless system because it’s more conspicuous than ducts. Browse models to see which might fit best into your home design, and consider where you might put it in your home. Many people share that they often forget their unit is there after a few days–except for that nice cool air!
- Which brands are the most reliable? Consult review sites, especially reliable networks like Consumer Reports or the Better Business Bureau, to find reliable brands and contractors. Ask experts in the field about which systems last the longest, and which ones customers seem to be most happy with. If you’re looking to save energy, see which systems meet Energy Star standards.