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McMackin Mechanical Bucks County Window Unit Mini Splits Blog

Window Air Conditioning Units vs. Mini Splits: Which is better?

When air conditioners first came out, they were designed to be retrofitted into the homes that existed at the time. What they really needed was a hole to the outside, and for many, a window was the easiest option. Of course, air conditioning systems have been greatly improved upon and whole home systems are more-or-less standard with all new construction.

That still leaves thousands of older homes without central air, mainly due to cost. Indeed, the cost of retrofitting ducting, electrical and air handlers is far more labor intensive, if not impossible. Still, homeowners with older homes debate on the merits of switching. This blog considers the pros and cons of both.

Installation and Aesthetics:

Window Air Conditioning Units:

Window units are typically installed in a window frame or a specially designed hole in a wall. Installation is relatively straightforward and can be done without professional help. However, they can obstruct natural light and block the view from your window, which might be undesirable for some. Many in 4 season regions (like Bucks County, PA,) opt to remove their units from their windows during the winter months so that they can close their windows and remove drafts. Air conditioners are heavy, cumbersome, and difficult to store.

Mini Splits:

Mini splits consist of an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units connected by refrigerant lines. Installing a mini split requires professional assistance and more intricate work, including drilling holes in walls. While indoor units can be mounted on walls, ceilings, or floors, they are less obtrusive than window units, providing greater flexibility in terms of aesthetics. They do not need to be removed and do not create drafts during the winter months due to their presence.

Cooling Efficiency:

Window Air Conditioning Units:

Window units are designed to cool single rooms or small spaces effectively. They are suitable for cooling areas where a consistent temperature is required, such as bedrooms or small living rooms. However, their efficiency can diminish if the room is poorly insulated or excessively large.

Mini Splits:

Mini splits are known for their superior cooling efficiency. With individual indoor units in different rooms, they can cool multiple areas simultaneously, each with its own temperature control. This zoned cooling capability allows for customized comfort throughout the house. Additionally, mini splits are more energy-efficient, resulting in potential cost savings in the long run.

Noise and Air Quality:

Window Air Conditioning Units:

Window units can be noisy, especially older models. The noise levels can interfere with sleep or conversations. Furthermore, these units may draw in outside air, potentially bringing in dust, allergens, or other pollutants.

Mini Splits:

Mini splits are generally quieter compared to window units. The indoor units are separated from the compressor, reducing noise levels inside the house. Additionally, mini splits have built-in filters that help improve air quality by capturing dust, pollen, and other airborne particles. This feature is particularly beneficial for individuals with respiratory issues or allergies.

Cost and Maintenance:

Window Air Conditioning Units:

Window units are typically less expensive to purchase and install compared to mini splits. However, their lower upfront cost comes with higher energy consumption, which can result in higher electricity bills over time. Maintenance for window units usually involves cleaning filters and occasionally inspecting the unit for any issues.

Mini Splits:

Mini splits are generally more expensive to purchase and install due to their complexity and the need for professional installation. However, they are more energy-efficient, which can lead to lower long-term operating costs. Maintenance typically involves regular filter cleaning and occasional professional inspections.


The decision between window air conditioning units and mini splits ultimately depends on your specific requirements and circumstances. Window units are a suitable option for cooling individual rooms or small spaces on a budget, while mini splits offer zoned cooling, increased energy efficiency, and improved air quality, albeit at a higher cost. Consider factors such as installation ease, cooling efficiency, noise levels, air quality, and long-term costs when making your decision. Assessing your needs and consulting with HVAC professionals can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your comfort, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

McMackin Mechanical has been helping clients in the Doylestown and greater Bucks County area assess homeowner’s options when it comes to installing mini-splits to help cool their homes. We will assess what type of system would work best for your home and offer you a comprehensive proposal so that you can make an informed choice.

If you are interested in exploring the installation of mini-splits for your home, give our office a call to schedule an appointment.

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