Ductless mini-split air conditioning units are ideal for cooling individual rooms. Installation involves placing a compressor unit on the exterior of a wall. This is then connected to a compact wall-mounted, remote-controlled indoor handling unit.
Unlike window or portable air conditioners, ductless mini-split air conditioners (also known as mini splits) are considered permanent fixtures that require professional installation. They are cheaper to install and less intrusive than a central air conditioning system, which necessitates the installation of ducts – an expensive job.
From an energy-saving perspective, ductless mini-split air conditioners are more efficient because you only turn them on when a particular room is occupied. The opposite applies to a central ducted system – the entire building is cooled even if only one or two zones are occupied. According to the US Department of Energy, duct losses account for 30% of energy consumption from central systems, especially when ducts are in spaces like attics, which are not used frequently.
With ductless mini-split units, you can create a cooling network by initially installing one or two units and then adding more as and when you can afford to.
Although window units are very popular, they are not always the best choice in terms of versatility, convenience and efficiency. Another downside is that they have to be installed in a window. This not only restricts the view; it also limits the amount of natural light coming in.
It must be emphasized again that even though mini-split air conditioning systems are cheaper and installation is easier, a qualified HVAC technician should do the job.