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Do Mini Splits Raise Your Electric Bill?

By Jonathan Mccrary July 03, 2023 0 comments

Choosing the right heating and cooling system for your home or project requires careful consideration. Two common options are a ducted HVAC system and a ductless mini split system. Since HVAC systems are a significant investment, it's crucial to weigh the facts before making a decision.

One key aspect to consider is how each system will affect your utility bill. While HVAC systems can lead to expensive energy bills, you might wonder if the same holds true for ductless mini split systems. Let's explore this further.

Do Ductless Mini Splits Increase Your Electric Bill?

Ductless mini split systems are known for their flexibility, compact size, and ability to provide customized cooling to different rooms. Additionally, these systems are renowned for their energy efficiency. The simple answer to whether a ductless mini split will raise your electric bill is "no."

Is a Ductless Mini Split More Efficient Than Central Air?

Absolutely! Several factors contribute to the higher efficiency of ductless mini split systems compared to central air.

  1. Customizable Cooling: Mini splits allow you to customize cooling based on different zones.

  2. No Duct Loss: Unlike central air conditioning units, mini splits don't have ducts. Research in engineering indicates that duct loss accounts for up to 30 percent of energy consumption in central air conditioners. Therefore, central air systems often have to work harder to cool properties due to duct loss. Since mini splits lack ducts, they are estimated to be at least 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional central air conditioners.

How Much Electricity Do Ductless Mini Splits Use?

To further illustrate the energy savings of ductless mini splits, let's consider the electricity they consume. Each indoor handler uses anywhere from 500 to 700 watts per hour (or 0.5 to 0.7 kilowatt-hours). Mini split outdoor compressors can connect up to four indoor units to cool dedicated zones. If all four zones are cooling simultaneously, the electricity used for each hour of cooling ranges from 2,000 to 2,800 watts (or 2 to 2.8 kilowatt-hours).

In contrast, most central air conditioners tend to consume more electricity. On average, they use about 1,000 watts per ton per hour. For instance, a 3.5-ton central air conditioner will consume around 3,500 watts of electricity per hour while cooling (equivalent to 3.5 kilowatt-hours). Comparing the electrical usage of a ductless mini split system to that of central air shows significant energy savings with mini splits.

When considering long-term savings using a mini split cost calculator, the results can be substantial. Let's assume both a central air conditioner and a mini split system run for three hours per day at a cost of 23 cents per kilowatt-hour (the U.S. national average).

  • The 3.5-ton central air conditioner would cost approximately $2.40 per day to run.

  • The mini split system with four zones would cost around $1.38 per day to run.

These savings accumulate over days, weeks, months, and years. Moreover, these calculations do not even account for duct loss or the unique ability of mini splits to provide customized cooling. In reality, the cost savings are likely even greater than the figures mentioned above.

Other Advantages of Ductless Mini Splits

In addition to their energy efficiency benefits, installing a ductless AC mini split system offers several other advantages:

  • Flexibility: Mini splits are adaptable cooling solutions that can expand as your property grows without the need for additional ductwork.

  • Easy Installation: Installing mini splits is simpler than conventional central air conditioning systems. Outdoor condensers can be placed up to 50 feet away from indoor air handlers, allowing for zone installation throughout

All in all, mini splits provide a budget-friendly solution for heating and cooling, ensuring your electric bill remains manageable, while also offering unparalleled flexibility not found in traditional HVAC systems. If you require assistance in selecting the ideal mini split for your requirements, feel free to get in touch with us.

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