5 Tips to Get Big Savings from Mini-Splits

February 14, 2018

Don’t let the name throw you off. Not only is a mini-split heat pump a solution for heating AND cooling your home, but there is also nothing mini about the savings it can lead to.

With a mini-split heat pump, you can reduce your heating and cooling bills by as much as 30%!

How? By transferring heat – rather than generating it –mini-splits are highly efficient for heating and cooling. Plus, they avoid energy losses associated with traditional ducted systems. In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.

To get the most savings, it is important to properly operate and maintain your system. Here are five tips.

Know when to heat with your mini-splits

When a mini-split system is installed, your existing heating system will usually be left in place as a backup. In most cases, mini-splits will be the more efficient heat source. But depending on fuel costs and outdoor temperature, it may be more cost-effective to heat with your existing system in certain situations. Here’s a cheat sheet by fuel type:

  • Electricity – Heat with mini-splits as your primary source
  • Propane – Heat with mini-splits as your primary source
  • Oil – If it’s 25 degrees or warmer outside, heat with mini-splits
  • Natural gas – With current prices, it is more cost-effective to heat with your gas heating system

Set your comfort, not the temperature

Because the temperature sensor on the mini-split unit is closer to the ceiling where the air is warmer, you’ll find that setting the temperature a little higher than you’re used to will deliver the comfort you want.

Don’t touch that dial

In addition to your setting your desired temperature, keep the fan set to AUTO and the unit set to HEAT in the winter and COOL in the summer. This lets the mini-splits operate on “cruise control” – only powering up when necessary, maximizing efficiency.

Go with the flow

Heat up and cool down? Think the opposite. Direct warm air downward when heating and direct cool air upward when cooling. This will help circulate conditioned air throughout the room.


If your mini-split system is not properly maintained, it could use up to 25% more energy. Regularly clean the air filters. Keep leaves, debris, snow, and ice away from the outdoor unit. Have a professional service your system every year or two.

Are you interested in installing a mini-split system to save on your home’s heating and cooling costs? The Sponsors of Mass Save® offer rebates up to $300 per indoor unit as well as opportunities to finance your new equipment with a 0% interest HEAT Loan. Learn more here.

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