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Mini Split vs. Window Unit

While looking for a way to cool one or two rooms, it's natural to consider a window air conditioner. For decades, window air conditioners have been the solution of choice under such circumstances. They're cheap, relatively easy to install and effective. Lately, however, ductless air conditioners, which are also known as mini split systems, have been giving window units a run for their money. Some people still sometimes rule them out due to the fact that they're more expensive because they don't realize how much they can save in the long run.

Should You Buy a Mini Split or Window Unit?

If your home is uncomfortably warm, you'd probably like to cool it down as quickly as possible. A window unit is the path of least resistance because it can be purchased locally and installed quickly. Is it really the best option, though? If you own your home and plan to stick around for a while, a mini split system is probably a much better option. Regardless of what you ultimately decide, you should give plenty of thought to the advantages and disadvantages of both units.

The main things you should consider before buying a portable air conditioner or a ductless system include:

  • Security - No matter how it's installed, a window air conditioner reduces the security of your home. While it's significantly safer to install one in an upstairs window, you are still making it easier for burglars to gain entry to your home. With a ductless system, Mitsubishi Electric contractors only need to drill small holes in outdoor walls. Suction lines, refrigerant lines and power cables are drawn through it to link outdoor and indoor units. You can rest assured that the security of your home won't be compromised in any way.
  • Convenience - When you use a window unit, you sacrifice an entire window. The room receives less natural light, and you no longer have the option of opening the window to let in fresh air. You can avoid this problem by opting for a ductless system instead. This option allows you to stay cool and comfortable without having to give up an entire window.
  • Flexibility - While a window AC unit can effectively cool a single room, it can't do much else. Advanced models sometimes have extra features like multiple fan speeds and digital displays. Some even have remote controls. Many ductless systems have remote controls too, though, and they have additional perks that you won't find with window units. Most notably, mini split systems can be set up for zoned climate control, which means that you can adjust temperatures in specific rooms. These systems are known as multi-split systems. As an added bonus, indoor and outdoor units can be positioned in a variety of ways to achieve optimal comfort, efficiency and aesthetic appeal.
  • Efficiency - In terms of energy efficiency, ductless systems are the hands-down winners. Some window units are ENERGY STAR rated, but they still don't come close to achieving the kinds of SEER ratings you'll find with mini split systems.
  • Comfort - Window units often seem to have no happy medium. They make rooms too hot or too cold. Mitsubishi ductless systems have specialized sensors that detect small changes in temperature and adjust their speeds accordingly. They are able to do this because they have inverter compressors that are capable of operating at various speeds. What's even better is that ductless systems can also provide heat. The most innovative models feature reversible heat pumps that can add warm air from outside just as easily as they can remove warm air from inside. All of this is achieved with a minimal amount of electricity, so energy bills remain reasonable.
  • Noise - Most window AC units are noisy. Some models are better than others, but you're not going to find one that is completely unnoticeable. Ductless systems make noise too, but they operate a lot more quietly. If noise is a big concern for you, you'll be much happier with a ductless system.
  • Price - You may be wondering "How much do mini split systems cost?" and may be dismayed to learn that they are much more expensive than window units. However, they also last for years and use a lot less electricity. They deliver superior comfort for a lot less money over time, so you should be able to recoup the upfront cost without any trouble.

Like many people, your decision may ultimately boil down to how much you have to spend right now. Therefore, the first step is to assess your budget and determine what you can afford. As tempting as it may be to opt for the initial affordability of a window unit, the truth is that you will pay more in the long run. Your electricity usage will soar, so the cost of your energy bills will too. Most window units aren't built to last very long either, so you can expect to replace yours before too long.

Where to Buy Multi Split and Mini Split Air Conditioners

If you are sold on the idea of ductless air conditioning, take care to find a reliable contractor in your area. Mitsubishi Electric contractors are specialists in the most innovative ductless systems on the market today. Contact one of the contractors on this site to get started.