Do Mini-Splits Use a Lot of Electricity?

Mini-split systems can cool or heat individual rooms or areas of your home. As a result, they may be more energy-efficient than central HVAC systems. But before you install a mini-split in your home, you’ll likely want to ask yourself, “Do mini-splits use a lot of electricity?” 

Mini-splits typically consume far less electricity than central AC and heating systems, making them an energy-efficient alternative. Most of them consume about 600 watts per hour. However, energy consumption varies depending on use, temperature settings, and the unit condition.

This guide will explore how much electricity mini-split units consume. We’ll compare their energy usage with other heating and cooling systems to determine their energy efficiency. This guide will also address the factors that impact a mini-split’s energy consumption. 

How Much Electricity Do Mini-Splits Consume?

The precise amount of electricity a mini-split consumes partially depends on the model. That said, energy-efficient models tend to consume the least amount of electricity. 

The average wattage of a mini-split is about 600 watts. The average household in the US pays about $0.13 per kWh. If you were to run your mini-split heating and cooling system 24 hours each day, you’d use about 432 kWh per month, totaling about $56 in electricity costs. 

If you know the brand and model of your mini-split, you can use this information to research its wattage. From there, you can use an electricity cost calculator to determine a more precise cost estimate that’s based on usage and your local electricity costs. 

Read: Mini Split In Dry Mode Vs. Dehumidifier: Which One Is More Efficient?

How Does Mini-Split Energy Consumption Compare to Other HVAC Units?

To find out whether mini-split units use a lot of electricity, we’ll need to compare them to other types of heating and cooling systems. Refer to the chart below for a quick breakdown of mini-split systems comparison. 

Type of SystemAverage WattageAverage Monthly Energy Consumption
Mini-Split600432 kWh
Central2,0001,440 kWh
Window900648 kWh
Portable500360 kWh

Mini-split cooling and heating systems are some of the most energy-efficient types of AC units. While portable air conditioners typically consume the least electricity, mini-split units use far less electricity than central or window AC systems.

Still, your mini-split may consume more or less electricity than the average listed above. After all, the type of mini-split unit you have (and your usage habits) significantly impacts the amount of energy it consumes. 

Read: Is Ductless Heating Cheaper Than Gas?

Factors That Impact Mini-Split Energy Consumption

Even though mini-splits are generally some of the most energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, they can use an above-average amount of electricity from time to time. Several factors contribute to a mini-split system’s energy consumption, including: 

  • Unit wattage 
  • Temperature settings 
  • Frequency of usage 
  • Unit condition 

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with these factors when attempting to lower your mini-split unit’s electricity usage. 

Unit Wattage

Wattage is perhaps the most significant factor that impacts how much electricity a mini-split system consumes. The higher a unit’s wattage, the more energy it needs to operate. As such, the most energy-efficiency mini-split systems tend to feature a below-average wattage. 

Temperature Settings

Besides wattage, temperature settings tend to impact energy consumption more than anything else. The more significant the difference between your selected temperature and the exterior temperature, the more energy your unit will consume. 

Unfortunately, there might not be an easy way to get around this issue. When it’s freezing cold or blisteringly hot outdoors, your mini-split system might have to work harder to keep you comfortable, but the alternative isn’t pleasant. 

However, adopting additional temperature control habits, like using heat-blocking curtains or investing in an energy-efficient space heater, can help reduce your mini-split unit’s energy consumption. 

Read: Mini-Split Humidity Problems

Frequency of Usage

Frequency of use is one of the most significant factors impacting energy consumption. If you’re keeping your mini-split unit on throughout all hours of the day, it’s going to consume more energy than if you only turned it on for a few hours! 

That said, this might be one of the most challenging factors to control. It’s only too easy to fall asleep with your mini-split unit activated or to forget to turn it off during the day. 

However, some of the newest models have timers that can automatically turn the unit off or adjust temperatures to a more energy-efficient setting. Choosing one of these models might be an excellent way to keep electricity costs low. 

Unit Condition

An older mini-split unit may begin to consume more energy as its components degrade and wear down. Additionally, units that aren’t adequately maintained tend to use more electricity than those kept in pristine condition. 

For that reason, you’ll want to invest in repair services at the first sign of trouble, replace your ductless mini-split system every ten to 30 years, and keep its air filter clean. These small actions can have a massive impact on your monthly electricity bill. 

Read: What Is Heat Pump? Everything You Need To Know

How To Reduce Mini-Split Electricity Usage?

Reducing the amount of electricity your mini-split unit consumes might be far easier than you think! Some of the best ways to lower your heating and cooling system’s electricity usage include: 

  • Cleaning the filter often 
  • Turning the unit off when you’re out of the house 
  • Selecting an energy-efficient model 
  • Avoiding extreme temperature differences 

Let’s explore these energy-saving tips to find out how you can implement them and start reducing your household electricity usage. 

Cleaning the Filter Often

Like other air conditioning systems, mini-splits suction interior air into themselves before cooling and heating it. But during this process, they can unintentionally take in airborne contaminants. That’s why they’re equipped with internal air filters. 

These air filters capture dust, dirt, and other common airborne pollutants, preventing them from cycling back into your home’s air. 

As a consequence, these filters can quickly become covered in filth. 

When a mini-split air filter is dirty, the unit must work harder to suction in air. As a result, energy consumption is bound to increase. Changing this filter every three months (or rinsing it clean every month) is an excellent way to lower electricity costs and enjoy cleaner interior air. 

Turning the Unit Off When You’re Out of the House

In addition to keeping your mini-split air filter clean, you’ll also want to remember to turn it off before leaving home. It’s such a simple thing to do, but it can have a huge impact. Not leaving it on while you’re away will reduce the amount of energy the unit consumes, thus lowering your household electricity usage. 

Selecting an Energy-Efficient Model

If you’re determined to keep energy consumption at a minimum, you’ll want to consider investing in an energy-efficient mini-split unit. 

Any mini-split that’s ENERGY STAR-certified is likely to use less electricity than non-certified models, so be sure to look for that qualification when browsing mini-split systems. 

Avoiding Extreme Temperature Differences?

A heating or cooling unit always consumes more energy when reaching or maintaining interior temperatures drastically different from exterior temperatures. 

For example, if it’s 95 °F (35 °C) outdoors, but you have your mini-split set to 60 °F (15.5 °C), it’s going to consume more electricity than if you had it set to 85 °F (29.4 °C). That’s because the unit will need to work harder to reach such a significantly different temperature. 

If possible, avoid extreme temperature settings. Try to keep your chosen temperature within 10 °F (5 °C) of the ambient outdoor temperature. 

Read: Why Is House Smells Musty?

Final Thoughts

A mini-split heating and cooling system could be an affordable alternative to central AC and heating systems. After all, the average mini-split system uses a fraction of the electricity that larger HVAC systems consume. 

Still, several crucial factors determine the total energy consumption of a mini-split system. The model of the system, the set temperature, the frequency of use, and its condition all contribute to energy consumption. 

Choosing an energy-efficient model that’s only active during specific times is an excellent way to keep electricity usage low. You’ll also want to keep your mini-split filter clean to reduce energy consumption.