Do Split (Ductless) Air Conditioners Also Heat?

Air conditioners are an integral household appliance, especially to those living in places where most of the time the climate is hot and humid. They all come in different forms and sizes depending on how strong you need them to be. But do ductless air conditioners also provide heat when needed? We have asked the experts, and here's what they have to say.

Yes, ductless or mini-split air conditioners also do heat, not just cool. Not all models have this feature, though. So if you are going to have one installed, it would be better to get one that can make the room cold and make it hot when you need it to be. And since they are ductless, they are much easier and faster to install in a house, even those without ductwork.

Are you interested to learn more about HVACs like split air conditioners? Continue reading as we discuss if split systems are expensive to run for heating, the advantages of a mini-split system, if a mini-split can be a primary heat, and many more. We will also be suggesting other articles that might help you better understand the topic better, so stay on.

Air conditioner on white wall room interior background,Do Split (Ductless) Air Conditioners Also Heat?

Do all ductless air conditioners also heat?

A wall-mount mini-split heating and air conditioning unit installed in a new house.

Choosing the right ductless air conditioning system is imperative, as you would want one that can serve two purposes for you. This is true if your house lacks any heating HVAC. Sometimes, even if you have a dedicated heater, having a backup in case your main heater malfunctions or is under maintenance can be a great luxury if you can afford it.

You can mostly find newer models of mini-split ACs offering this double feature compared to older ones. You have to be careful, especially if you intend to buy one that can also heat as not all ductless AC are dual purpose.

You might find those mini-splits a bit more pricey than those single-purpose ones. A great way to find out is by simply asking for assistance while shopping for one to make sure you buy the right one.

How does a mini-split work for heat?

A ductless mini-split system has two main parts. These are the indoor air unit that spews out the air, and the outdoor compressor/condenser that gives it the air to be processed.

You can mostly find the indoor air unit suspended or hung on the wall, this is what we often call the main AC unit. This is where we control the climate and where we also turn and off the entire system.

The indoor unit is and the outdoor compressor is directly connected through a refrigerant pipe drilled through the wall. There is also another tubing connected outdoor from the inside unit, which is for the suction tubing, and a condensate drain line.

You don't need multiple outdoor units if you have multiple indoor air units as one can power more a group simultaneously. The indoor units can still be controlled separately, even though they all use the same outdoor heat pump unit.

This process is how it is separated from the older and more traditional duct cooling system. An air unit is connected with multiple duct systems that send out air to the rooms of the house in a centralized way.

Are split systems expensive to run for heating?

Mini-split ductless air conditioning unit installed in unfinished room

It is worth remembering that modern HVAC systems are better at power efficiency consumption compared to the electric hogs of old. But there are many factors to consider when calculating the expense your split type HVAC will have on your bill.

Things like house insulation, floor plan, how big the room that you are heating, how long will you be using the AC—all of this will ultimately play a part in how expensive using your split type will be.

If your main concern is, will your AC consume more electricity if you use it as a heater instead of a cooler, do not worry! If your mini-split is intended to spew hot air, it will consume the same energy when it is being used as a cooler. This is how manufacturers designed these appliances, so using them through their intended use will not cause any harm.

Here is a rough estimate of power consumption for your HVAC (cost may vary depending on usage and location):

  •  2.5 kW running time for 4 hours per day should cost you roughly $40.11 per year or 47.75 cents per day to operate.
  •  3.5 kW running time for 8 hours per day should cost you roughly $134.16 per year or $1.59 per day to operate.
  •  3.5 kW running time for 4 hours per day should cost you roughly $67.08 per year or 79 cents per day to operate.
  •  5.0k W running time for 4 hours per day should cost you roughly $104.43 per year or $1.24 per day to operate.
  •  5.0k W running time for 5 hours per day should cost you roughly $130.33 per year or $1.55 per day to operate.

Another tip to remember is the maintenance of your AC system. A dirty or malfunctioning one can cause higher electric bills as it may exert more power to run its motors or cause electric fluctuations. Also, be warry of old systems as they tend to consume more power as their parts grow older. You can expect a typical life span of 10-15 years for an AC before it causes any major issues.

What are the advantages of a mini-split system?

Modern Living Room Interior With Air Conditioner, Orange Sofa And Green Armchair

In this section, we will be listing down and explaining some advantages that you can benefit from having a mini-split system installed in your house.


One of the great advantages of having a ductless HVAC system such as a mini-split is increased mobility. This makes this system easier to install and move, especially if you will be moving houses or transferring it to another room. The absence of ducts for it to operate gives this system a great advantage as it is less hassle and not time-consuming to have it placed.

Improved air quality

This best applies to newer models of mini-splits as they offer better air filtration systems. HEPA filters can filter up to 99% of air pollutants that it will be pumping through its air unit. This makes the air quality much better to breathe and helps in enjoying your stay inside the room. The feature also promotes better pulmonary health as cleaner air will be exhaled.

Dual purpose

As we've been discussing, not only can you use it as a cooler for the room, but it can also serve as a heater. This feature will help you in savings as you are getting the benefit of two separate HVAC systems into one.


Some mini-split systems can help you with 30%-40% in energy saving. And because of inverters, the longer you use them, the better power saving you will get. This is ideal for those long summer days where temperatures can rise to the high 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or maybe even more.

Less carbon footprint

And finally, minis-split systems do have lesser carbon emissions compared to other systems. This helps in lessening the ongoing climate crises as CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) have been proven to be the number one cause of global warming. These greenhouse gasses are emitted through cars and appliances that we use every day. With the technology used in mini-splits, the emission it releases is greatly reduced.

What are the disadvantages of a mini-split system?

Woman turning on air conditioner

The main disadvantage that mini-split has is that often, buyers get the wrong size of split and end up having higher electric bills. This is because if the split that you got is underpowered, there is a tendency that you will crank it up to cool or heat the room better. This then results in higher electric bills.

Consulting a professional before getting a mini-split system will help you choose how much power is needed for optimum heating and cooling. Through this method, you can avoid over or underpowered ductless systems.

Can a mini-split cool or heat a whole house?

Yes, they can, but this all depends on the power output rating of your mini-split. Bigger houses will tend to require more powerful wattage, but a typical house can be cooled or heated (2,500 square feet) by at least a  3.5 kW powered mini-split. For wider spaces, a 5.0 kW powered mini-split can do the job.

In Conclusion

Air Conditioner In Office. Heating And Conditioning

Ductless air conditioning systems are very flexible, they can offer you heating and cooling through one HVAC appliance. They are a product of innovation as they are far superior and safer compared to their predecessors. Due to their lack of duct system, they are very easy to install and very mobile, a great feature when you decide to transfer them to another room or if you are moving places.

Here are some other articles that might interest you to try and give them a read:

Can You Install A Ductless Air Conditioner On An Inside Wall?

Mini Split Dry Mode Vs. Dehumidifier: What’s The Difference?

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