Ductless Mini Splits Vs Window AC Units

When it comes to cooling your home, two popular options stand out: ductless mini-split systems and window air conditioners (AC). Of course, central AC systems are very common in the Carolinas, but today we are focusing on these 2 zoned HVAC systems. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, based on different needs, preferences, and budget constraints. This article dives deep into the features, benefits, and drawbacks of ductless mini splits vs window AC units.

I’ve been installing ductless mini split systems for years now, and have to say they are some of the best pieces of HVAC technology that is available. They require no ductwork, and have the ability to both heat and cool a space.

If you have any questions about keeping your home or business cool this summer, give us a call or check us out online. We’ll be glad to help you choose the right HVAC system for your situation!

The Benefits of Ductless Mini Splits

Ductless air conditioning is one of our favorite ways to cool off any home or business, and once you go through the benefits, you’ll see why.

  • Energy Efficient: Ductless mini-split systems are highly energy-efficient. They use inverter technology, which allows their compressors to speed up or slow down based on the needs of the system rather than turning off and on like traditional HVAC systems. This modulation reduces energy consumption, leading to lower electricity bills.
  • Zoned Comfort: One of the most significant advantages of ductless mini splits is their ability to create “zones” in your home. Each zone can be controlled independently, allowing you to adjust the temperature in different rooms or areas. This allows you to customize the comfort in your home, and also stop wasting energy treating spaces that aren’t being used.
  • Can Both Heat and Cool: Unlike window AC units that only offer cooling, ductless mini splits can provide both heating and cooling. Instead of using 2 separate systems to keep your space comfortable at different times of year, a ductless mini split system can be used all year long!
  • Better Precision Comfort: Ductless systems offer more precise temperature control. Through the inverter technology we mentioned earlier, you can adjust the temperature very slightly to maintain comfort. Ductless mini splits also use remote controls, and you can even download an app on your smart device to control the temperature!
  • Environmentally Friendly: Due to their energy efficiency and the use of R410A refrigerant, which has a zero ozone depletion potential, ductless mini splits are considered more environmentally friendly than traditional HVAC systems. This is one of the reason heat pumps, which mini splits are, are eligible for rebates and tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Whisper Quiet: Ductless mini splits are known for their quiet operation. The outdoor unit, which generates most of the noise, is installed outside the home, while the indoor units are whisper quiet, ensuring a peaceful indoor environment. They average about 32db, as opposed to window units that have around 50-75 db range.

The Cons of Ductless Mini Splits

  • Expensive Installation: The only real drawback of a ductless mini split is the initial installation cost of ductless mini-split systems can be high. They typically start in the thousands of dollars, whereas a window unit starts in the hundreds range. The cost savings through rebates, tax credits, and energy savings usually end up helping to offset this up front cost.

The Benefits of Window AC Units

  • Inexpensive Installation: Window AC units are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. If you need a unit right away and don’t want to wait for a professional installation, these work well. They are also a solid solution if you don’t want to pay a big cost up front.

The Cons of Window AC Units

  • Can Only Cool: Unlike ductless systems, window AC units can only provide cooling. This is fine for the summer, but once the weather gets cooler, you need to remove these from your windows and find a heating solution.
  • Imprecise Comfort: Window units often struggle with distributing air evenly throughout a room, leading to hot and cold spots. If you’ve ever sat in front of one of these systems, you understand. It can be FREEZING in one spot, then a few feet over and it’s too warm.
  • Very Loud: Window AC units can be quite noisy, both inside and outside the home. This noise can be disruptive, especially in bedrooms or quiet areas. If you have a window unit in your living room be prepared to turn the TV volume up.
  • Not Energy Efficient: Generally, window units are less energy-efficient than ductless mini splits. They can lead to higher electricity bills, especially if used extensively.
  • Take Up A Window: Installing a window AC unit means losing the use of a window. This can reduce natural light and fresh air in the room. It also can just be an annoyance!
  • Security Risk: Window units can pose a security risk, as they can be removed from outside, potentially allowing access to your home. If you do install a window unit, make sure that it is screwed in and secure so intruders can’t get in, and the unit doesn’t fall out and injure anyone.

Why We Prefer Ductless Mini Splits Over Window AC Units

Considering the benefits and drawbacks of both ductless mini splits vs window AC units, ductless mini splits are our preferred choice for a few reasons. The versatility of being able to provide both cooling and heating is a huge plus. The fact that these systems can be used year round, and not have to be removed seasonally is fantastic.

Of course, the initial investment in a ductless mini split system is far greater than a window AC unit. Luckily, this can be offset with rebates, tax credits, and energy savings. Ductless mini splits also just provide better, quieter comfort than window AC systems. We even prefer these units over most central air systems.

If you are looking for a new cooling system, and your focus is mostly on traditional air conditioning systems, give ductless mini split air conditioners a look over. These can be used for a single room, or you can install a few to cover the whole house. The installation process is simple, as they require no ductwork, and you can have your home or business comfortable in a few days.

Give Blue Ridge Heating and Air a call, or contact us online to set up your free ductless mini split estimate!