Choosing between a ductless mini-split vs central AC can be confusing for many people. Mini-splits can offer flexibility that central air units do not have. However, the primary question most people have when they start looking for new AC units is about efficiency.
A large part of the energy equation is whether the unit is the right one for your house. A unit that is too big or too small will compromise your energy efficiency. Of course, the manufacturer’s energy efficiency rating is also a leading factor. Read on to learn all about how to find the most efficient AC unit for your home.
Choosing a Well-Rated System
Both central AC units and mini-splits can be made with high-efficiency levels. Be sure to measure the systems on your potential shopping list so that you can really compare them. Look for the energy rating system called SEER. Expect a higher SEER rating to indicate a more efficient AC system.
Like mileage average ratings, the SEER rating is an evaluation that can vary. Even with a high SEER rating, other factors can kill your efficiency. Improper installation and the wrong unit for the size of your space are two common examples.
Ask your AC professional about the details of the system related to your house. Not all AC units with a higher rating use the same compression and variable motor systems. The ductwork requirements will likely vary somewhat for different types of units. Both mini-splits and central ac systems can be efficient when used for the right space.
Is AC Unit Suited to Your Building’s Design?
Mini-splits are known for being very efficient in homes that have a more open layout. They often come with four standard splits, which is a common room division for homes. You can expand them or shrink them.
A professional who has experience with these systems is a great resource. They can find you a mini-split arrangement that can work efficiently with your home layout.
In homes with more open layouts, some rooms tend to require extra cooling power to stay comfortable. Mini-spits often work well in this type of home or other building because the indoor unit size can be adjusted. This means that more air will flow through certain areas.
This solves the flow and temperature problems that many people have with central units. That being, ducted systems
Mini-splits use separate thermostats by zone to target the cool air distribution. This can make them a lot more accurate than central units. The single thermostat on central units can make them less efficient than a mini-split in many buildings.
The Ductwork and Other Installation Factors
When answering the mini-split vs. central ac question, it’s important to consider installation. Your AC pro can help you determine which unit will be most efficient. They will check your ductwork, and analyze the needs of your living space. If you don’t have any ductwork yet or don’t know if any can go in, an assessment can help.
Many people are surprised when they call for an assessment and find out where ductwork cannot be installed. In many cases, your ductwork may have reduced efficiency if you do have it installed properly.
The size of your unit and the number of mini-splits that you use can affect the overall efficiency a lot. It’s always important to buy an AC unit that doesn’t have to max out its power use regularly. With regular use, central units will last an average of 10 to 12 years.
Mini-splits have a typical lifespan of closer to 20 years. You will always have more reliable cooling power if you don’t overwork your unit.
In some buildings, all the rooms do not need consistent cooling. You may find that a mini-split can provide all the cooling you need, for less power. The indoor units for a mini-split system are compact but accurate. You should have an easy time incorporating a mini split into your interior decorating.
Installation and Sizing
Your mini-split will work best when strategically placed, considering each room. Central AC units benefit from strategically sized ductwork and vents. Make sure you have unit placement and ductwork evaluated alongside the size of the unit by a professional. This is the best way to get the most comfort while using the least possible energy.
If you’re looking for an AC professional to help you choose your new unit, consider giving us a call. At Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air, we have industry-leading solutions for any AC question you might encounter.