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Ductless mini split systems have rapidly gained popularity due to their energy efficiency, convenience, and versatility. One of the most frequent questions homeowners have when considering these systems is, "How much electricity does a mini split use?" One of the worst parts about using the HVAC system is seeing the energy bills start to rise, so we understand why everyone would want to know this before installing a ductless mini split system.

How Much Electricity Does A Mini Split Use? [Efficiency Guide]

I have been working with mini splits for years now, and the technology keeps getting better and better. Before I got into the HVAC industry, I went to school for mechanical engineering, and have since also learned tons about installing, servicing, and repairing HVAC systems. With this combined knowledge and experience, I feel pretty comfortable helping homeowners make decisions about their HVAC systems, and which ones fit best for your home or business.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through how mini splits consume electricity, and show you why it’s generally a better and more energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home. We will go through:

  • Measuring how much power a mini split uses

  • Single-zone vs multi-zone

  • Energy consumption by size

  • How much energy a mini split uses on average

  • How a mini split lowers your energy bill

  • 5 Tips to run a mini split efficiently

This guide will help you understand the energy consumption of mini splits and provide you with tips on efficient usage. If you have any questions about a mini split for your home or business, give us a call or click on the button below to contact us online.

Measuring How Much Power A Mini Split Uses

Watts and Kilowatt Hours (kWh)

Before diving into the specifics of mini splits, it's important to understand how electricity consumption is measured. Power consumption is typically measured in watts (W) or kilowatts (KW), while energy consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). A 1000W device running for an hour will consume 1 kWh of energy. Thus, to determine how much power a mini split uses, you'll often see the specification in watts or kilowatts, and its energy consumption will be in kWh.

Single Zone Vs. Multi-Zone

A Multi Zone System Is Perfect For Saving Energy And Customizing Comfort

A mini split system can be designed for a single zone or multiple zones. Single zone systems have one indoor unit paired with one outdoor unit, and they condition air in one specific area. Multi-zone systems, however, have multiple indoor units paired with a single outdoor unit, allowing for individual temperature settings in different areas.

Generally, multi-zone systems tend to use more electricity since they cater to larger areas. However, they offer increased energy savings since individual rooms can be conditioned as needed.

With a traditional HVAC system, there is one thermostat, and one system that heats or cools the entire home. This means that rooms you aren’t using, like bedrooms or basements, would be receiving the same amount of air as the living room and kitchen that you are using. This is a waste of energy.

When you designate different zones to different mini splits, they can operate at different temperatures. Maybe you have the living room mini split at 72 degrees, and in the rooms you aren’t using you can have the mini splits shut off, or running at a less intense setting. Not only does this save you money and energy, but it also helps customize comfort. If different zones can be treated differently, people around the home don’t have to argue over the thermostat setting!

Energy Consumption by Size

The size of a mini split, typically indicated by its BTU rating, plays a significant role in how much energy it uses:

  • 9,000 BTUs: On average, a mini split with this capacity can consume between 500 to 750W.

  • 12,000 BTUs: These units can consume between 800 to 1,200W.

  • 18,000 BTUs: Larger units like these tend to consume between 1,500 to 2,000W.

However, energy-efficient models might use even less electricity than these estimates. Mini splits have different ranges of energy consumption based on how efficient they are. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) Rating will tell you how energy efficient your HVAC system is. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system will operate!

How Much Energy A Mini Split Uses: Averages


In winter, when used for heating, a mini split operates differently due to the defrost cycle and maintaining indoor temperatures. For a 12,000 BTU unit, you can expect an average consumption of 10-15 kWh per day, depending on the outdoor temperature and desired indoor warmth.


During summer, the same 12,000 BTU unit, when used for cooling, can consume between 8-12 kWh per day, contingent on outdoor temperatures and the indoor settings.

How a Mini Split Lowers Your Electric Bill

Mini split electric bill savings are often cited as a major advantage of these systems. By design, ductless mini splits avoid the energy losses associated with ductwork in traditional HVAC systems. Such losses can account for up to 30% of energy consumption, especially if the ducts are in unconditioned spaces like attics.

What happens is, over years ductwork can get knocked around, maybe start leaking air, and then all of a sudden you have spaces in the home that don’t get comfortable. Or your HVAC system has to work harder, using more energy to compensate.

Furthermore, the ability to condition individual zones means you don’t waste energy cooling or heating rooms that are unoccupied, as we mentioned above.

They also use a heat transfer process that consumes less energy than a traditional heating or air conditioning system.

5 Tips: Most Efficient Ways to Run a Mini Split

There are a few little tips and tricks to making sure your HVAC system is running efficiently, and a few things you can do around the house to make sure it’s not working harder than it has to.

Ductless Mini Splits Are Perfect In Bedrooms

Proper Sizing and Placement

The most efficient way to run a mini split starts with proper sizing. An undersized unit will work harder, consuming more energy. Conversely, an oversized unit may frequently turn on and off, leading to inefficiencies. Most people think bigger is better, but the truth is that more efficient is better in this case. Choose the proper size, with the best efficiency.

Placement also matters; the unit should be away from direct sunlight or obstructions. Your HVAC contractor should be able to help you choose the place that is the most operationally sound, and aesthetically pleasing.

Regular Maintenance

Ensure filters are clean and free of dust. Schedule professional maintenance at least once a year to ensure the system operates at peak efficiency. If you go seasons without having regular maintenance performed on your mini split, it will lead to poor air quality, and less efficient operation. It will also shorten the lifespan of your system.

Smart Apps and Optimal Settings

Many mini splits come with smart apps that allow for optimal temperature settings and scheduling. Use these apps to maximize efficiency and match your usage patterns. You can also program a schedule on your mini splits, so that when no one is home they know to go into low power mode, saving you energy and money.

Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit can identify areas of your home that may be causing energy inefficiencies. Addressing these areas can reduce the load on your mini split and reduce energy consumption.

It’s normally around creases in the home, windows, doors, etc. A trained professional will be able to look at your home, and determine what steps to take to make it more energy efficient. Usually sealing cracks, adding insulation, and replacing old windows and door frames helps keep the home tight, comfortable, and energy efficient.

Keep Units Clear

Ensure both indoor and outdoor units are clear of obstructions, allowing for free airflow and optimal performance. For the outdoor condenser unit, sometimes leaves and sticks can make their way into it, preventing it from running smoothly. Clear that stuff out and make sure your system has nothing gumming up the works.

For the indoor unit, make sure you aren’t stacking things in front of it. Sometimes if it’s by a shelf, people forget that it needs to distribute air throughout the entire space, and stack stuff in front of it. Keep the space directly around the mini split clear. This is usually a pretty easy task.

If you are interested in a mini split installation in Brevard, NC for your home or business, give us a call or click on the button below to visit us online. We have been installing, servicing, and repairing ductless mini splits for years, and it’s one of our favorite HVAC systems out there. We can assess your space, and let you know what system best fits your needs.

Mini Split Power Usage FAQs

We have installed a WHOLE bunch of ductless mini splits, and here are some of the questions we hear the most!

Does a mini split use a lot of electricity?

While the amount of electricity a mini split uses is contingent on its size and usage patterns, in general, they are designed to be energy-efficient and can often lead to savings on your energy bill. The tend to use less energy than a traditional air conditioner.

Should I turn my mini split off at night?

It depends on your comfort preferences. If the temperature remains consistent, you can adjust the settings or use sleep mode, which adjusts temperatures gradually, using less energy. It all depends on what you prefer.

What temperature should I set my mini split?

For cooling, 78°F (25.5°C) is recommended when at home and awake. For heating, 68°F (20°C) is suggested while you’re at home and awake. Adjustments can be made for sleep or when away. These are the spots that optimize comfort and energy savings.

In the end, mini splits tend to use less energy than most other HVAC systems available. Between the way they operate, and the ability to zone the system, it will almost certainly lead any home on a path to less energy consumption and lower energy bills!

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The homeowners of this great home in Sugar Creek in Greer, SC wanted to get more use out of their garage. Turning the garage into project space and family space would really help this growing family make the most out of their home. But without heating and cooling, the space was often WAY too hot for comfort or freezing cold in the winter.

Installing A Mini Split Into A Greer Home’s Garage

The homeowners had rigged up a portable air conditioner to one window to try and get some relief, but they were looking for a more energy-efficient and permanent solution. They wanted to turn the garage into part of their home living space.

Problem: Homeowners wanted to be able to use the garage year-round for project space, but without its own heating and cooling, the space wasn’t comfortable.

Solution: A single zone of Mitsubishi Ductless heating and cooling will make this garage comfortable every day of the year!

Challenges With Garages

Most garages are built to house cars, and as a result, they aren’t hooked up to your main home HVAC system, and they often aren’t well insulated. With concrete slab floors, few windows, and poor insulation, garages tend to trap heat in the summer and become ice boxes in the winter.

In order to turn a garage into usable living and working space, you need a system that can both heat and cool the room, and do it without adding additional stress on the heating and cooling system for the rest of your home. When the homeowners came to us with their plans, we knew a great option would be a single zone Mitsubishi ductless mini split, that can both heat and cool the garage.

Why Install Ductless?

Mitsubishi ductless systems are high-efficiency heat pumps that work well whether it's -13 degrees or over 100 degrees outdoors. They can provide both heating and cooling from the same system, meaning you won’t need a separate heater or air conditioner. And because the advanced sensors monitor temperature and humidity in your space, you’ll always be assured of perfect comfort.

A Ductless Mini Split Is Perfect To Heat And Cool Additions To Homes

Mitsubishi ductless systems consist of two main parts- an outdoor condenser unit which then connects via small lines to an indoor, usually wall-mounted unit, sometimes called a head or cassette. The outdoor unit has a variable-speed compressor, which means it uses the minimal amount of energy needed to add or remove heat from your home, something you usually find only on high-end, whole-home systems.

The variable speed compressor acts like cruise control on your car- making tiny adjustments, using very little energy, to keep you perfectly comfortable. This fine adjustment helps make the system extra efficient, which translates into using less energy and keeping your utility bills low!

We also take the extra step here at Blue Ridge Heating and Air to mount the outdoor units above the ground, so they are less likely to get leaves, sticks, and other debris inside of it. This helps to make the systems easier to maintain and extend their life.

Better Comfort Control

We mounted the indoor cassette up on the wall, where it was positioned to be able to monitor the comfort levels in the room and help evenly distribute air throughout the space. This means eliminating the hot and cold spots you’d get with baseboard or space heaters. You can control the system with a convenient hand-held remote, or use the Kumo Cloud app on your smartphone, giving you pinpoint control over your comfort.

The systems can also be equipped with 3D “I- See” sensors, that can sense where (and when) people are in the space, directing comfort towards them, and going into standby mode when the room is unoccupied, helping you get the benefit of comfort when you need it, and saving money on not using any extra energy to heat or cool the space when its unoccupied.

The AC Condenser Sits Outside Nicely Tucked Against A Wall

As an added benefit for this new living space, Mitsubishi ductless systems have the advantage of being whisper quiet- 19 db! That means you’ll never have to raise your voice or turn up the volume on the TV when the system kicks on- it’s almost silent! So whether the family uses this space as a family room, home office, or guest room, they will get perfectly quiet comfort all year long.

Upgraded Energy Efficiency

Because Mitsubishi ductless systems are so energy efficient, they qualify for rebates from Duke Energy and new tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act, up to $2,000.00, depending on the system you install. That can help make adding additional comfort to your home even more affordable.

Installing Ductless Mini Splits In Greer, SC

The family really appreciated their new Mitsubishi Ductless heating and cooling system, and how it helped turn their old garage into a really functional family space.

If you have a space in your home that’s always too hot or too cold, or you’re looking to add more comfort to a garage, attic, sunroom, or bonus room, give us a call here at Blue Ridge Heating and Air. Our experts will help design a perfect solution for your home, giving you the comfort you want, while keeping an eye on your budget and bottom line.

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When the existing a/c-gas system failed at the Clubhouse for the Pelham Falls Homeowners Association (HOA), they needed a solution that would get them back up and running quickly. With lots of events including the swim team scheduled to use the space, they needed a new heating and cooling system that would keep the place comfortable, and operate efficiently.

Replacing An Old Heat Pump In Pelham Falls, SC

The HOA gave us a call here at Blue Ridge Heating and Air to see what we would recommend. We took a look at the old system, and noted that it was significantly oversized for the size of the Clubhouse.

I've been installing heating and cooling systems in the Greer, SC area for years, and knew that this shouldn't be too tough of a fix. After designing many HVAC systems in spaces exactly like this one, I wanted to be sure it was optimized not just for comfort, but also for energy efficiency.

Problem: Homeowners Association Clubhouse had an old a/c - gas system that was no longer working. They needed it up and running again quickly due to summer events held there, including events for the neighborhood swim team.

Solution: Replace the current system with a properly sized heating and air conditioning system.

The Problems With An Oversized Unit

You might not think an HVAC system that’s “bigger” than it needs to be would be a problem, but it is! When we did the calculations and performed a heat load test for the HOA clubhouse, we knew that a 3.5-ton system would be a perfect fit to adequately cool and heat the clubhouse. The previous system was 5 tons, significantly oversized.

This HOA Building Would Never Stay Comfortable

Systems that are oversized heat and cool the space in a shorter time, however, this leads to short-cycling problems. When your AC runs, it is not only adjusting the temperature, but it's also adjusting the humidity in your space. If your system is always powering on and off, it’s never running long enough to really reduce the humidity- so you get a space that may be cool, but it’s still sticky!

Short Cycling Means Wasted Money

Short cycling of heating and cooling significantly increases the wear and tear on your system, and it costs you a LOT more in your energy bills as well! That means a system that might be expected to last 15-20 years may end up needing to be replaced significantly sooner- and system replacement is always an expensive proposition.

The short cycling process also wastes energy. Larger outputs in smaller amounts of time put more stress on the system, and use more energy. When you have a properly sized system that runs smoothly, it can maintain your temperature, and uses less energy than the larger system.

That’s why at Blue Ridge Heating & Air, we’re always careful about doing the proper calculations and making sure any system we recommend is properly sized for your home or business.

Having a properly sized system will not only deliver the comfort you want, but it will greatly reduce your energy bills as well. And right-sized systems can also end up being cheaper than an oversized system as well- you’re paying for the performance you need!

Replacing The Air Conditioner

A New AC And Heating System Was Installed

We not only did a heat load calculation, but we also took a good look at the ductwork in the building, and it was clear that a 3.5-ton system was going to work well, and was properly sized. We installed a Concord single-stage air conditioner, an Armstrong Upflow indoor unit, and a Concord Constant Torque gas furnace. The Concord constant torque furnace has a powerful ECM motor that you’ll see in higher-end variable speed furnaces, but at a fraction of the cost. This also increases efficiency, meaning that the HOA will have lower upfront costs and lower energy bills each month.

Read More: Installing A Ductless Mini Split Into A Greenville, SC Basement

Getting Them Back to Comfort Quickly

With a new HVAC system installed quickly, the HOA was back in business, with greater comfort that would last year-round. Best of all, we were able to recommend and install a new system that was cost-effective. The new system would not only make the HOA clubhouse more comfortable, but it would also prevent their energy bills from being as high as they had been. They now have a properly sized system that will last them years, and their monthly energy bills should be significantly lower- a win-win for everyone!

If you have an HVAC system that keeps leaving you hot under the collar, give us a call here at Blue Ridge Heating & Air. We’ll help you figure out a solution that works with your budget and will deliver the comfort you crave at a price you can afford. Let our experts help you make the best decision for your home or business.

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