You may think there are only two options available when it comes to air conditioning — standard window units or central air conditioning. While each option is effective, they are drastically different in terms of initial cost and ease of installation.
Did you know there’s another option to cool your home called a ductless mini-split system? This option provides homeowners a nice alternative to bulky window units or a high-budget central air installation.
Which is the best air conditioning system to cool your home?
The answer to that question depends upon your individual needs. The cost of installing central air can be cost inhibitive to some, especially in an established home, so window units have been the standard go-to for homeowners for years. If you’ve got ample window space to secure one of these units, you’re all set.
Facts about window units
A few facts you may want to consider when debating whether to buy window units, include:
- excellent choice when cooling a room or two
- don’t need air ducts
- convenient and versatile
- relatively inexpensive and easy to install
- can be noisy
- take up a lot of window space
- not highly energy efficient
- do not offer the best curb appeal.
Ductless AC units—or mini-split units—don’t need ductwork either. They consist of one outdoor condenser unit and one, or more, indoor air handling units mounted inside your home.They are far more visually appealing than traditional window units.
Facts about mini-split units:
- smarter option when cooling larger areas
- 40% higher energy efficiency than window units
- produce more evenly distributed cooling as well as individualized temperature control for multiple rooms
- air blows directly into the room rather than through ducts
- scalable—you can build upon it later if you wish.
Instead of installing multiple, lower efficiency window units every time you want to cool an additional area of your home, you can modify the existing mini-split system. You won’t need to scrap it.
When deciding if a window unit or mini-split system is right for you is whether you’d like to heat the area as well as cool it. Mini-split systems easily convert from air conditioning in the warm months to heat in the cold months.
So, let’s summarize.
What are the pros and cons to Window AC Units?
- Pros: Inexpensive, easy to install, can cool one or two rooms.
- Cons: They take up window space, the noise level is high, not as energy efficient as ductless mini-split systems, and the typical lifespan of a window unit is 8-10 years.
What are the Pros and Cons to Mini-Split AC Systems?
- Pros: Up to 40% more efficient than window units, quiet operation, versatile, can heat and cool larger spaces with one outdoor unit, and the typical lifespan of a mini-split system is about 20 years.
- Cons: More expensive to purchase than window units.
While the up-front cost of mini-split systems are certainly more expensive than window units, the argument can be made that the return on investment is greater with mini-splits. The decision really comes down to individual factors such as budget, size of the system needed and your location.
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