Window vs. Mini-Split Air Conditioners: Cooling Options for Your Home Addition

2014 Sep 05

Are you considering adding an Arizona room to your house or perhaps making your garage a workspace?

Then one thing you need to consider is how you will cool these new rooms. In this article, we’ll explore the 2 most common types of air conditioners for situations like this: window air conditioners and mini-split (or ductless) air conditioners.

Window/wall air conditioners

Although more common in other parts of the country, window air conditioners are also used in the Phoenix area—usually to cool just one room. But they can also be a viable option for garages, sunrooms and Arizona rooms.

Advantages of a window AC:

  • Price. They’re relatively cheap compared to other methods of cooling.
  • Easy to install. Window units mount in an open window. Wall units are a little more complicated as they require a hole to be cut in an exterior wall.

Disadvantages of a window AC:

  • Not very versatile. Window units require a window to the outside and wall units require an exterior wall to work.
  • Ugly. Most window and wall air conditioners aren’t nice to look at. They’re big, bulky eyesores. Plus, window units take up one of your windows.
  • Noisy. Window units can be loud and rambunctious since the compressor and condenser are in the same unit and hanging from your window.
  • Security problem. A window unit could be an easy entry point into your home for a burglar.
  • Only cools one room. If you need to cool more than one room, you’ll have to buy additional window air conditioners.

Mini-split (ductless) air conditioner

Mini-split air conditioners have been around for decades, but are just gaining popularity. They offer the benefits of a central air conditioning system without the need for all the expensive and difficult-to-install ductwork.

However, they also have pros and cons.

Advantages of mini-split systems:

  • Quiet. The noisier condenser unit is located outside your home.
  • Very efficient. Mini-split systems don’t need ductwork, which means no leaky ducts wasting your money. Ever.
  • Install anywhere. Small enough to be installed anywhere (rather than just exterior walls). If you don’t want to look at the indoor unit, in-ceiling mounted units are also available.
  • Versatile. Mini-split systems can be placed in more areas than window units. And you can have up to 4 indoor units for each outdoor unit, allowing you to cool multiple rooms to different temperatures.
  • Cools and heats. Mini-split heat pump systems have the advantage of also being able to heat your new addition or garage.

Disadvantages of mini-split systems:

  • Price. The cost to purchase and install a mini-split AC system is much more than a window unit. (Of course, you also get many other benefits).
  • Requires professional installation. Refrigerant tubing and electric wiring must be run through the walls of your home.

And the winner is…

If you’re shopping only on price, you’ll likely end up with a window air conditioner for your new sunroom or enclosed garage. However, if you look a little deeper at the long-term benefits of these two options, the mini-split air conditioner will start to look more valuable. But in the end, it depends on what matters most to you.

Live in the Phoenix area and need a quote on a mini-split air conditioner for your new sunroom, addition or garage? Give us a call at 602-842-0009 or contact us online.
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