There is a lot of talk about mini-split units because they are newer on the U.S. air conditioning market than central air conditioning systems. Many people ask us at Smedley Service in Layton what would be the most energy-efficient air conditioning system for their home, a mini-split unit or central air? The answer is that it really depends upon characteristics of your home, your current air conditioning system, and even the number of people in your home as well as their habits.
What Is a Mini-Split Air Conditioning System?
As you know, central air conditioning systems use an outside unit and a hidden inside unit that delivers conditioned air through ductwork in your home. Mini-split air conditioning systems are also called “ductless” because they do not use ductwork to blow cool air through your home. Instead, they have one or more outdoor units and one or more indoor units. The latter are also called “heads.” Mini-split units have only three lines going between the outdoor unit and the indoor units. There is an electric line, a refrigerant line, and a line to remove the condensate to the outdoors. These three lines only require a three-inch-diameter hole to travel through walls, floors, and/or ceilings.
Mini-split systems have an indoor head with evaporator coils, a filter, and a fan that takes in the room air, cooling it and blowing back out in the room. Heads are located in different zones of your home, like in the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms to deliver cool air where needed.
How Mini-Split Devices Save Energy
Mini-split air conditioning units utilize technology that makes them more efficient than the central air conditioning units most people have in their homes. Most have central air with single-speed compressors and fans. They are either on at high speeds or off, depending upon the thermostat setting and the current room temperature.
Mini-split air conditioning units are variable-speed units. They will only run on as high of a setting as is demanded by the current room temperature and the thermostat setting. Usually, they begin on high, get the room down to the proper temperature and then run on low. This is much more energy efficient than systems that run on a single speed. It is important to realize, though, that central air conditioning units today can be purchased with dual- or variable-speed air compressors and fans.
The other unique and energy-saving feature of multi-split air conditioning is that the units take the alternating current we get out of our home electric outlets and turn it into direct current to save energy. Also, you can turn off heads in a multi-split system, so you can even save more money on energy. Just an example is turning off the heads in the bedrooms during the day when no one is in them.
When Central Air Is More Energy Efficient
If your home has an open floor plan or a large living room, your central air conditioning system is likely more energy efficient than a mini-split system. Mini-split heads do not produce enough cooling BTUs to provide adequate room comfort in a larger room. In that case, you would need more than one head in each of the larger rooms. This is not an energy-efficient usage case for mini-split air conditioning.
Also, it is more financially feasible, usually 30% cheaper, to install a new central air unit if you already have the ductwork in place, and it is in good shape. The new units start at a SEER rating of 14, which is much more energy efficient than units that have already seen 15 or more years in service. Some of those only have SEER ratings in the single digits.
Sometimes, people are happy with their central air conditioning units, and those items have many years of service left.
There are locations not served by your ductwork where you might want to add a mini-split unit:
- Finished basement
- Man cave
Call Your Layton, UT Experts
We here at Smedley Service in Layton, UT will provide you with stellar service regarding air conditioning installations as well as serve any of your heating and air conditioning needs. Besides heating and air conditioning installations in Davis County, we provide heating and air conditioning repair and maintenance services. We will also provide all of your plumbing services, including the installation of tankless water heaters. Our service calls include free estimates. If you have an emergency repair need, we will be out 24/7. We have 75 years of experience and are a BBB company with an A+ rating. All of our technicians have their NATE certifications.
Call us at Smedley Service in Layton for all of your air conditioning installation questions and needs.