Pros and Cons of Ductless Mini-Split ACs

A ductless mini-split AC is a reliable, efficient solution whether you’re building a new home or retrofitting an older one. It is becoming a popular air conditioning option for homeowners. Consisting of an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units, a mini-split is a flexible solution with many advantages, from personalized comfort to improved efficiency. 

Is it nearing the time for air conditioning installation or replacement in your home? Here are some pros and cons of ductless mini-split ACs to help you decide.

Pros of Ductless Mini-Split ACs

The many benefits of installing one of these systems include:

  • Simpler Installation: A ductless mini-split AC system consists of an outdoor unit, indoor air handlers, and a conduit between them. Eliminating ductwork simplifies installation. No significant home modifications are needed, except for drilling a small hole in an exterior wall for the conduit, which contains the refrigerant, drainage, and electrical lines.
  • Flexible Placement: Indoor units can be placed wherever you need cooling. They are typically installed high up on a wall, while ceiling cassettes and other space-saving options are available. Compact designs can blend in with your interior decor. No matter where you choose to install a mini-split unit, complex demolitions or renovations are avoided while floor space is preserved.
  • Zoned Temperature Control: A central HVAC system conditions all the air in your home at once. However, a ductless mini-split AC provides zone-based temperature control. Each indoor unit can be operated independently, meaning the temperature can be set per each occupant’s preferences or a building’s layout and usage. You can also keep bedrooms cooler than the living room. Units in unoccupied spaces can be turned off to save energy.
  • Increased Energy Efficiency: There’s less energy consumption for a few reasons. Mini-split ACs eliminate energy loss from ductwork, avoid cooling areas that don’t need it, and use inverters that adjust compressor speed to match specific temperature needs. Some mini-split systems also double as heat pumps, which provide heating and cooling. With a ductless system, any level of efficiency equals reduced operating costs.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Not only do these systems avoid the buildup of dust and particulates common in ductwork, but they also have higher-quality, multi-stage filtration systems that effectively remove dust, mold, and bacteria. This is ideal for occupants with allergies or respiratory issues. Ductless mini-split ACs are effective at controlling humidity as well; by removing excess moisture, they can help prevent mold, eliminate stuffiness, and promote an overall healthier living space.
  • Quieter Performance: Other HVAC systems tend to produce more noise. However, these systems are quieter. They can operate as low as 19 decibels, or the sound level of a whisper. You don’t have to be distracted by the humming, whirring, or banging sounds that are common with ducted systems. The air handlers can also be placed farther away from the outdoor unit so the compressor’s noise and vibration won’t distract you.

Cons of Ductless Mini-Split ACs

Despite their many benefits, there can be downsides, including:

  • Higher Installation Costs: The initial cost is often higher than installing a central AC (however, it’s often offset by energy savings throughout the system’s life). Purchasing multiple indoor units can add to the expense. Furthermore, the system’s power requirements may justify electrical modifications and upgrades, while electrical connections require a qualified professional. And, depending on the system’s configuration, you may need to purchase a condensate pump.
  • Indoor Units Can Have Aesthetic Impacts: You may need to move interior decor to make room for indoor air handlers. Some people are distracted by their placement throughout their homes. Outdoor units can be bulky and obtrusive, which can be addressed with proper placement or the use of covers or panels. Your HVAC installer can provide equipment and design options that reduce the visual clutter and maximize both functionality and aesthetics.
  • Limited Capacity for Large Spaces: Compared to other air conditioners, the units are designed to cool smaller areas. Therefore, you may experience uneven cooling or a limited airflow range in a large room. Ductless mini-splits come in different sizes. Consult with your HVAC professional to determine the best system for your home.
  • Reduced Performance During Extreme Temperatures: These systems work best in moderate climates. However, in extremely hot conditions, a ductless AC’s cooling performance may be limited. Extreme cold can also cause issues; you may need a supplemental heating system if your mini-split doesn’t have a sufficient heat source.
  • Maintenance Requirements: A mini-split is efficient and versatile, but requires regular maintenance. The air filters must be changed or replaced regularly (for every air handler installed), and you should check for visible issues with equipment every three to four months. The outdoor unit must be kept unobstructed to maintain proper airflow. A technician must check refrigerant levels and ensure there are no electrical hazards. These tasks reduce the risk of breakdowns and can increase system longevity.
  • Possible Noise Concerns: The noise level of a ductless mini-split depends on the equipment model and placement. This is especially true if the outdoor unit is close to a bedroom. Some municipalities have stricter noise regulations. A professional can help address these concerns by selecting options with low-decibel ratings and cleaning the fan and motor often.

Contact Us Today

Trio Heating & Air provides ductless mini-split and other air conditioning services in and around San Jose, CA. Our experienced professionals help you find a solution that meets your cooling needs. We guarantee fast response times, high-quality service, and installation of the best products and brands in the industry. To schedule an appointment or learn more about our special offers and maintenance plan, use our online booking system or call (415) 234-4728.


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