Do Mini Splits Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Mini split heat pump systems do not use a lot of electricity energy when compared to a conventional system handling the same heating or cooling loads.  These ductless systems are known for their energy efficiency, as they can provide heating and cooling using less electricity than traditional HVAC systems.

However, the amount of electricity they consume can vary based on several factors. Those factors include the size of the system, its heating and cooling capacity, and the load calculations for the space being cooled or heated.

IN this article, you’ll learn more about mini split electricity usage. I put this together using my nearly 14 years as a product manager for Peirce-Phelps, a national HVAC distributor. My job has required me to to stay up-to-date on the latest heating and cooling innovations.

I also work directly with dozens of HVAC contractors in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.We communicate on what products bring the most value to homeowners in our area. And, I’m passing that knowledge on to you.


Average Mini Split Energy Consumption

The average mini split uses 600 watts of electricity. The full range is 545 to 1,000 watts for cooling, and 1,000 to 7,500 watts for heating. Your exact consumption depends on heating or cooling, the outside temperature, and how many rooms you’re treating.

Here’s how to translate that to your electric bill:

You pay for electricity in kWh hours. That stands for kilowatt hour, or the amount of electricity you need to produce 1,000 kWh of electricity for an hour. To convert watts into kWh, simply divide the watts by 1,000.

So, 600 watts is .6 kWh per hour, or 14.4 kWh per day.

But, note that a mini split does not run at full capacity for 24 hours a day. So, that 14.4. would actually be lower.

Now that you know how to convert energy into cost, let’s see what affects your energy consumption:

Heating and Cooling Capacity

The heating and cooling capacity of a mini split refers to the amount of heat or cool air that the unit can produce. The larger the area that you’re treating, the higher the heating and cooling capacity. And, the more powerful system you’ll need.

Heating and cooling capacity is measured in British thermal units (BTUs).  Generally speaking, a single-room mini split is 9,000 to 1,200 BTUs.

Load Calculations

Load calculations are used to determine the amount of heating or cooling a space requires. This calculation takes into account factors such as the size of the space, the number of occupants, and the amount of insulation.

A mini split that is too small for a space will consume more electricity as it struggles to keep up with the demand for heating or cooling. On the other hand, a unit that is too large for a space will consume more electricity as it cycles on and off frequently, wasting energy in the process.

Therefore, it’s important to have a professional perform load calculations before installing a mini split to ensure it’s the right size for the space.

Heat Pump Model

The heat pump is responsible for heat transfer, meaning how much warmth enters or leaves the house. The size and capacity of the model you require depends on the load calculation and whether you want your system to provide heating all winter or act primarily as a ductless air conditioner. 

Single Zone and Multi Zone

A single zone mini split system is used to regulate the temperature of a single room. It has one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. A multi-zone system heats or cools multiple rooms at the same time, using one outdoor unit and several indoor units.

Each indoor unit is controlled independently, allowing for customized heating and cooling.

Air Handlers

Air handlers are indoor units that blow cool or warm air into a room. They work draw in air from the room and pass it over the evaporator coils. The coils either absorb heat from the air or transfer heat into it. Them the unit blows the treated air back into the room.

The air handlers can be mounted on walls, ceilings, or floors, depending on the design of the room. They also come in different sizes, or capacities, depending on how much heating or cooling you need.

The type and size of each air handler affects its energy usage.

Inverter Technology For Compressor

Inverter technology for compressors is an innovative solution that has significantly improved HVAC systems’ efficiency and performance.

The technology enables the compressor to operate at variable speeds, depending on the heating or cooling demand. This allows for precise temperature control, reducing energy consumption and costs.

Ductless Vs. Forced-Air Furnace

Forced-air furnaces require ductwork to distribute warm air throughout a home, and ductwork can leak air, resulting in energy loss.

Ductless mini splits, on the other hand, do not require ductwork, which means there is no potential for energy loss through leaks.

Ductless Vs. Central Air Conditioning

Similarly, central air conditioning systems require ductwork to distribute cool air throughout a home. This ductwork can also result in energy loss due to leaks.

In contrast, a ductless mini split air conditioner does not require ductwork, which means it is not subject to the same energy losses.

Additionally, ductless mini splits allow for zoned cooling. That means you can choose with rooms to cool, or how to make each one. That results in energy savings over a one-size-fits-all temperature setting.

Ductless Vs. Baseboard Heating

Baseboard heating is a popular option for homeowners who do not have ductwork or want to avoid the energy losses associated with it. However, ductless mini splits are a more energy-efficient alternative.

Baseboard heating relies on convection to heat a room, which can take a long time and may result in uneven heating. Ductless mini splits, on the other hand, use a heat pump to efficiently transfer heat from outside to inside your home.

Ductless Vs. Window ACs

Window air conditioning units are a common way to cool individual rooms or apartments. However, they can be quite inefficient and can result in a significant amount of energy consumption.

Ductless mini split air conditioners, on the other hand, are much more energy-efficient. They do not require a large hole in the wall like a window AC unit, and they do not need to be mounted in a window.

This means that ductless mini split air conditioners can be a more convenient and energy-efficient option for cooling individual rooms.

Factors That Affect Energy Efficiency of a Mini Split

Modern mini splits are an excellent option for both heating and cooling, but their energy efficiency depends on various factors. Here are some of the critical factors that affect the energy efficiency of a mini-split system:

Square Footage

The size of the room is a crucial factor that affects the energy efficiency of a mini-split system. Generally, larger rooms require more energy to heat or cool than smaller rooms. If you have a bigger room, you will need a larger mini-split system, which means higher electricity consumption.

Ceiling Height

Ceiling height is another critical factor that affects the energy efficiency of a mini-split system. The higher the ceiling, the more energy you will need to heat or cool the room.

The reason is that the hot or cold air will take more time to reach the desired temperature. So, the mini-split system will have to work harder and longer to maintain the temperature.

Airflow Restrictions

Make sure that the airflow is not restricted by furniture, curtains, or any other obstacles. If the airflow is restricted, the system will have to work harder to maintain the temperature. That results in higher energy costs.


Climate is a significant factor that affects the energy efficiency of a mini-split system. The outdoor temperature affects the ability of the mini-split system to heat or cool the room. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you will need a mini-split system with higher energy efficiency to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.


Windows are another critical factor that affects the energy efficiency of a mini-split system. Windows allow heat to enter or escape the room, which can significantly affect the energy efficiency of the mini-split system. If you have windows that are not properly insulated, you will need a mini-split system with higher energy efficiency

Tips To Increase Your Mini Split’s Energy Efficiency

You can maximize the benefits if your mini splits by taking these steps to increase their energy efficiency:

Professional Maintenance

One of the most effective ways to keep your ductless air conditioner operating efficiently is through regular professional maintenance. A qualified technician can check for any issues, repair damaged parts, and perform a thorough cleaning. Regular maintenance can extend the life of your system and prevent costly repairs in the future. It’s recommended to schedule a maintenance appointment at least once a year.

Clean the Air Filters

Air filters are an essential component of your ductless heating and  air conditioning system. They help to trap dust, dirt, and other contaminants from the air before it’s circulated into your home. Over time, filters can become clogged, which can reduce the efficiency of your system and increase your running costs. Cleaning or replacing the air filters every three months is recommended to ensure that your ductless air conditioner operates efficiently.

Deep Cleaning

In addition to regular filter cleaning, it’s essential to deep clean your system once a year. Over time, dust and debris accumulates inside the indoor unit, which can reduce the system’s efficiency. This requires a professional deep-cleaning to avoid diminished performance and mold build-up.

Clear Obstacles

Another important tip for increasing the efficiency of your ductless air conditioner is to clear any obstacles around the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit needs adequate space to operate efficiently. Be sure to remove any leaves, branches, or other debris that may be blocking the unit, and keep at least 2-3 feet of clear space around it.

Use Timers

Finally, using timers to regulate your ductless air conditioner can also help to increase efficiency and reduce your running costs. Timers allow you to program your system to turn on and off at specific times, so you don’t have to worry about it.


Do mini splits run all the time?

No, mini splits are designed to turn on and off based on the temperature of the room. They use inverter technology o operate at different speeds, making them more energy-efficient than traditional HVAC systems.

How many watts does a mini split use?

The number of watts used by a mini split depends on its size and capacity. A typical mini split uses between 500 and 1500 watts per hour, but larger models may use up to 5000 watts per hour.

How much power does a mini split use in a day?

The power consumption of a mini split depends on how often it runs and at what capacity. On average, a mini split may use between 4 to 12 kWh per day, but this can vary depending on the climate, size of the unit, and frequency of use.

Do ductless air conditioners use a lot of electricity?

Ductless air conditioners use much less electricity than central air conditioning or window units. Mini splits use around .6 kWh. Central air average 5 or 6 kWh, while each window unit can use up to 1.5 kWh.

Five Ways To Make Your Ductless Air Conditioner Run Efficiently

Here are five tips to make your mini split run efficiently and reduce your energy bills.

Clean the Filters Monthly

One of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure your mini split is running efficiently is to clean the filters regularly. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and reduce the system’s efficiency, causing it to work harder and use more electricity. Clean the filters once a month to prevent dust, dirt, and debris from building up.

Seasonal Tune-Ups

Just like any other HVAC system, mini splits require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently. Schedule seasonal tune-ups with a licensed technician to ensure your mini split is running at its best.

A tune-up includes cleaning the coils, checking refrigerant levels, and inspecting the outdoor unit for damage or wear.

Annual Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning involves removing the cover and cleaning the internal components of the indoor unit, including the blower wheel, evaporator coil, and drain pan. This ensures that the system is free from dirt and debris that can affect its efficiency.

Ensure Proper Airflow

Proper airflow is crucial to your ductless mini split system’s efficiency. Check that each indoor unit is approximately sized for the room and that there’s nothing within a few feet of it that will block airflow.

Install an Outdoor Unit in the Shade

Protecting the unit from direct sunlight can reduce its workload, resulting in a more efficient system overall.


Do mini splits run all the time?

Mini split run almost all the time to maintain a consistent temperature. But, they often run in low-power mode to hold the temperature steady as opposed to turning on and off or working at full capacity all the time.

How many watts does a mini split use?

The number of watts used by a mini split depends on its size and efficiency rating. Typically, a mini split uses between 500 and 1500 watts.

How much power does a mini split use in a day?

Running a mini split use anywhere from .1 kWh to 7 kwh, with an overage of of .6 kWh hours. That translates to an average of 14.4 kWh over 24 hours, ranging from 2.4 kWh to 168 kWh per day. But, they don’t always run at full capacity.

Do ductless ac units use a lot of electricity?

Ductless AC units use less electricity than window ACs and central air. They use significantly less energy for heating and furnaces and oil boilers.

Are you ready to learn more? Get a free consultation to learn more about Philadelphia, PA’s specialists for mini split installations or anywhere in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland.