Ductless Mini-Splits vs. Furnaces

Furnace vs mini-splits, Revival Energy Group, WA

Ductless mini-splits are gaining popularity as highly efficient dual-purpose systems for heating and cooling homes. Are they a good option for your home? Here are some key differences between mini-splits and furnaces for you to consider.

What It Does

  • Mini-Split: Heats & cools the home
  • Furnace: Heats only

How It Works

  • Mini-Split: A mini-split system involves one or more indoor units connected through refrigerant lines to an outdoor unit. In the winter, the outdoor unit collects heat from the cold air outside, the refrigerant becomes warm, and warmth is pumped into your home via the indoor unit(s). In the summer, the system works much like an air conditioner to remove heat from your home and replace it with cooler air.
  • Furnace: A furnace uses fuel such as oil or gas to generate heat and pump warm air into your ductwork, which then carries that warm air to various parts of your home.


  • Mini-Split: No ductwork needed. In a mini-split system, heated or cooled air flows directly from indoor units into your home.
  • Furnace: Requires ductwork. Furnaces generate warm air, which is then pumped through ductwork to various parts of the the home.

Energy Savings

  • Mini-Split: Mini-splits are more efficient than furnaces because they move rather than generate heat. They also allow you to heat and cool specific areas within your home and eliminate the wasted energy associated with leaky ductwork.
  • Furnace: Though mini-splits are more efficient, today‚Äôs furnaces are more efficient than they ever have been. When properly sized and connected to airtight ductwork, a new furnace can contribute to a more energy efficient home.


  • Mini-Split: More expensive to install, but more affordable to operate
  • Furnace: More affordable to install, but more expensive to operate


  • Mini-Split: On average, a mini-split can heat and cool your home for 10 to 15 years. With proper maintenance, your system may last for over 20 years. (Keep in mind that mini-splits operate year-round and not just seasonally.)

Furnace: The average furnace lasts about 15 years. With regular tune-ups and maintenance, it may last 20 years or more.