What's The Difference Between A Window Unit And A Mini-Split System?

Posted on: 27 April 2020


If you've ever stayed in a hotel, then you've probably encountered mini-split air conditioning systems before. To the layman, these units often look like window units installed into a wall instead of a window. While mini-split systems can superficially resemble a typical window air conditioner, they are wholly different beasts with several key differences.

Like window units, mini-split air conditioners are particularly well-suited to old homes without existing ductwork systems. If you currently use basic window units to cool your house, then a mini-split system may be an upgrade worth considering. Keep reading to discover three significant advantages of mini-split systems.

1. Mini-Split Units Are Energy-Efficient

Most mini-split systems use heat pumps, which are highly efficient when compared to window units. As the name implies, heat pumps work by transferring heat from the interior of your home to the outside environment. In this way, they function similarly to a standard duct-based central air conditioning system, with an outdoor unit doing most of the heavy lifting.

Mini-split systems differ significantly from central air conditioners in how they deliver air, however. Where a typical central air conditioner will need to push air from a blower unit to each room, a mini-split system's air handler is located directly in the room to be cooled. This design further increases energy efficiency by eliminating ductwork losses.

2. Mini-Split Systems Require Less Maintenance

If you've used window units in the past, then you know the frustrating seasonal routine of removing and installing your units. While some people choose to leave their window units installed year-round, these bulky devices can create drafts over the winter and even present a hazard when snow accumulates. Making a window unit last also means occasionally taking it apart for a thorough interior cleaning.

While mini-split systems need some annual maintenance, the interior unit is a permanent fixture that does not require seasonal removal. Instead, a once-per-year visit from an HVAC contractor to inspect both the interior and exterior units is all that is typically required. Even better, ductless systems tend to last significantly longer than ducted central air conditioners.

3. Mini-Split Systems Can Be Zoned

Installing a mini-split system can also be a great way to free yourself from the hassle of installing multiple window units throughout your home. If you need more than one zone for cooling, then a single outdoor condenser unit can feed multiple interior mini-split air handlers. This setup can save you even more money by allowing you to cool only the occupied parts of your home.

Window air units offer an affordable way to keep your home comfortable throughout the summer, but more efficient and effective options are available. If you're looking to upgrade your home's AC system, then mini-split units may be the way to go.