When shopping for a new cooling system, you have options. For example, you may consider purchasing ductless air conditioning vs a central air conditioner. But how do you know which one is right for your home?
Types of Cooling Systems
Both ductless air conditioning and central air conditioning systems are what we call split systems. This means the system equipment is split between indoor units and outdoor units. Both options use indoor air distribution equipment linked to an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump through a line set that carries refrigerant between the units.
Central air conditioning systems such as conventional air and heat pumps are known as central cooling systems because they distribute cool air from a central location – the indoor air handler or furnace unit that contains a blower. This equipment is connected to a ductwork system that runs throughout the house, distributing cool air into all connected rooms and spaces.
Ductless air conditioning is not central air conditioning. Ductless air conditioning systems are also called mini splits, and they use one or more indoor air handling units to deliver conditioned air directly into the targeted space or room. One outdoor air conditioner or heat pump can typically support up to four indoor air handling units. These systems do not require ductwork installation, as the indoor units release cool air directly into the space.
Benefits of a Ductless System VS Central Air
When considering whether to purchase a ductless air conditioning system or a central air unit, the benefits of each system type are important. Let’s take a look at what both system types have to offer.
Benefits of Ductless Air Conditioning
- No energy lost through duct system leaks
- Ability to create a zoned cooling system, allowing temperatures to be controlled independently in each area
- Lower energy bills due to the energy efficiency of zoned cooling
- Can be installed quickly
- Flexible for numerous installation applications
- Better indoor air quality due to the absence of ducts
- Indoor equipment attaches to walls or the ceiling, so you don’t lose floor space
Benefits of Central Air
- Convenient temperature control for the whole home using only one thermostat
- More affordable to install
- Systems work with home’s existing ductwork in many cases
- Central air conditioning systems can increase property values
- No HVAC equipment in living rooms
- Fewer units to maintain
Choosing Between Ductless Air Conditioning and Central Air Conditioners
The choice between ductless air conditioning and central air is highly personal. Both cooling system types can offer reliable and efficient air conditioning, but one choice may fit better with your house and your lifestyle than another. Consider the following as you make your choice:
- What areas need to be cooled? Central air can cool the entire home. Ductless air conditioning can be installed in just a few areas if you like. These systems are often chosen when cooling needs to be added to a new space, such as a new home addition or a garage.
- What are your comfort preferences? If everyone in the home likes similar conditions, a central air conditioning system can deliver that conveniently. If everyone enjoys different temperatures, a ductless air conditioning system can provide that individualized comfort.
- What’s your home’s duct situation? If your home has existing ductwork that is in good shape, it can easily support a central air conditioner. If your ducts need to be replaced or you don’t have ducts, this will add a great expense to your installation project if you choose a central air system. If your home doesn’t have ducts or even the space to install ducts, or the ductwork needs to be replaced, it may make more sense for you to go with a ductless system.
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