A. A mini-split air conditioner is much quieter and much more efficient than a window unit. A mini-split air conditioner does not leak outside air into the space. Does not have to be removed or covered in the winter. Most mini-split air conditioners are also heat pumps and can be used quite effectively in moderate temperatures.
A. A mini-split air conditioner is a simpler and quicker installation. No cutting of floors or ceilings are required for a wall mounted model. Ducts are not needed. Attic duct work alone can account for a twenty five percent drop in efficiency.
A. A mini-split air conditioner is not a plug in appliance. Most mini-splits require a dedicated 240 volt line and breaker. The refrigerant lines must also be evacuated, and the system must be checked for proper refrigerant charge.
A. A mini-split system can be installed for multiple rooms. This requires a separate evaporator for each room that requires cooling, and the corresponding refrigerant and electrical lines run from the outside condenser to each individual indoor unit.
A. For each "enclosed" room, yes. If your kitchen is open to your dining room, one indoor unit will probably suffice. For bedrooms or office rooms where privacy and closed doors are the usual case, then individual evaporators should be installed.
A. Yes, the indoor unit, or evaporator will most likely have an air filter which will require periodic cleaning or replacement, depending on how often the unit runs. The outdoor unit should be kept clear of plants and debris. It would not hurt to have a professional clean and test the condenser every few years.
A. Most mini-splits have remote controls which serve as the thermostat. You will not need to add a new one or alter your existing thermostat.
A. A mini-split heat pump will also provide space heating, but, as in the case with all heat pumps it may not be sufficient and might require an auxiliary heating source. This depends on your climate. Some areas require considerably more Btu of heating than cooling, so the proper size air conditioner may not be the proper size heat pump. Over sizing is not a good idea for two reasons. You will lose efficiency by running a larger air conditioner than needed. And, over sized cooling will cool, but not dry effectively, so once again it depends on your climate.