Older homes present a challenge when it comes to providing heating and cooling. The difficulty with older houses is usually spacing where the original architecture did not take into consideration modern HVAC systems. We cannot fault our architectural forefathers for these designs but we certainly have to find creative solutions to make these older homes comfortable if we want to enjoy them. Common options for comfort systems include window units, furdowns, package units, split systems with exposed ducts, and yes ductless mini splits. All types have their own various viabilities, benefits, and costs. Here, we will focus on window units compared to ductless mini splits with an obvious bias toward going with Mini Split Systems.
Before and After video of Mini splits vs Window units
Comparing Mini Splits to Window Units
Average multi zone mini splits and average window units are NOT in the same league for efficiency, air quality, and overall performance. Now I should clarify that there are “good-ish” window units and there are also very bad mini splits. Still, your average new multi-zone mini split far out performs the average window ac unit in all categories except COST. Mini splits ARE more expensive MUCH MORE expensive. You can get a new 2 ton LG window unit for about $600. Mini splits on the other hand will be thousands of dollars. Conveniently enough here we can compare an older LG window unit to a new multi-zone mini split system also made by LG.
EFFICIENCY : Energy usage can behard to tack down on window units especially on older systems. Newer Mini Splits like this one have efficiencies of 16-33 SEER which is vastly more efficient than your average central air system.
NOISE – High efficiency mini splits go as low as 25 db. Window units will run more more loudly because of the entire system is packaged into one. You’ll inevitably hear the compressor running because of this design.
COMFORT – Multi Zone mini splits have the ability to operate at various speeds. This allows for greater humidity removal and lower energy consumption. This is done through inverter compressors and the ability to change fan speeds.
WARRANTY – Average Window units hold a 1 year warranty. Mini split systems average between 5 and 10 years when installed by a professional licensed contractor.