Central air conditioning systems have some clear distinctions over the window units you might find in many older homes or apartments. These air conditioners use ductwork systems to distribute cold air from a central evaporator, allowing them to cool an entire house with a single set of equipment. However, these centralized systems aren't the only option for upgrading your home's AC.
Mini-split units aren't a new technology, but they're gaining some ground in the US. These systems share many features of central air conditioners, but they use interior "head" units instead of a centralized evaporator and air handler. If you're considering a mini-split for your home, you may be wondering what makes them superior to the ubiquitous window unit.
Central AC Efficiency Without the Cost
One of the critical advantages of central air conditioning systems over window units is the high efficiency of split evaporator and condenser units. Dedicated condenser and evaporator units allow the refrigerant to absorb, transport, and release heat more efficiently. Ultimately, this translates into lower utility costs and better overall cooling.
Unfortunately, these systems also require significant additional infrastructure. Since you'll typically install the evaporator in a central location, such as your basement or utility closet, you need ductwork to transport cool air throughout your home. Retrofitting this network into an older house can be pricy if you don't already have ductwork for a forced-air heating system.
Mini-split AC units utilize the same split condenser and evaporator design but with one or more head units that you can install directly into your rooms. These units don't require ductwork since they contain both the evaporator and blower. As a result, you can enjoy the superior efficiency of a split central air system without the added cost of retrofitting cooling ducts into your home.
More Power and Flexibility
In addition to providing greater efficiency than window units, mini-split systems also offer more power and greater flexibility. Mini-split systems are available with capacities on par with central air conditioning systems, meaning they can provide far more cooling ability than a typical window unit. This extra power means you can use them to cool larger spaces or even use a single head for multiple rooms.
You'll also enjoy added flexibility with a mini-split system. You can place the system heads nearly anywhere, including interior walls without windows. Since mini-split heads don't require any direct outside access, you don't need to worry about rooms with too small or oddly shaped windows. You even install a mini-split head unit in a basement.
While these AC systems might bear some superficial resemblance to window units, they offer far more efficiency, power, and flexibility. If you're looking for a cost-effective way to upgrade a home without existing HVAC ductwork, a mini-split AC system is an excellent choice.
Contact a local AC service to learn more.