What are the pros and cons of a mini split air conditioner?

Ductless mini-split systems are beautifully efficient and provide consistent room comfort. But the decision to install is different for every homeowner and depends on several factors.

The Pros of a Ductless System
Ductless systems are quick and easy to install. They run on small pipes that require a mere three-inch hole. That means homeowners don’t have to worry about rebuilding walls.

One of the biggest reasons why homeowners switch to ductless cooling and heating is overall cost savings. Ductless systems operate on less power – they are smaller than traditional central air systems, and because the temperature-controlled air is delivered directly into a room, there is no loss in efficiency.

Mini-split systems are very quiet and therefore ideal for living spaces.

Multi-split systems also allow homeowners to create “zones” in their home, which means they no longer have to cool or heat rooms that aren’t occupied. Ductless models have inverter-driven compressors, which speed up and slow down based on the needs of the system instead of shutting off entirely like traditional HVAC compressors do, which saves a lot of energy.

The Cons of a Ductless System
There are three reasons against ductless for most homeowners: up-front cost, regular maintenance and aesthetics.

For a single-room solution, ductless units cost several times more than comparable window units. If you wish to replace your existing central heating/cooling system with a complete ductless solution in a whole house, you may pay two-to-three times the cost of simply replacing with another ducted unit. You’ll get lower energy bills in return, but the payback period depends on your climate, your use of the system, and your local electricity rates.

Although it doesn’t require lot of work, to maintain your system, you’ll have to wash each unit’s filter monthly (more often if you smoke or have pets). If you ignore maintenance and a professional cleaning is required, you’ll spend hundreds of dollars and possibly shorten the life of your system.

Many homeowners are hesitant to install ductless because the units aren’t necessarily design-friendly. They come in standard white, beige, silver or black, and can’t be covered. But in our experience, ductless customers who are initially reluctant because of aesthetics report that after installation, they forget the unit is even there, especially when they experience the comfort mini-splits provide.