Central Air Conditioning versus Ductless Systems: Which Is Better?
If you are remodeling your home or adding an addition to your property, you may be wondering if it is worth incorporating the new space into your central air system. Similarly, if you are updating an older home that does not already have central air, you may be unsure if it’s worth installing central air or if you should go with a ductless system. There is no easy answer to this dilemma.
When it comes down to determining if central air conditioning (AC) or ductless AC is better, it will all depend on your home’s size and configuration, your needs and your budget. Below we review the pros and cons of both central air systems and ductless AC.
The Benefits of Central Air Conditioning
Central air is the most traditional heating and cooling system. These systems involve ductwork throughout your house through which your AC and heater deliver conditioned air. Central air conditioning is very popular as it is an easy way to cool your entire house.
Other benefits of central air conditioning include:
- Even cooling throughout your home
- Equipment to handle both small and large homes
- Lower initial installation cost when you have existing ductwork
- Option to upgrade indoor air quality features like air purifiers and germicidal UV light systems
- Set up to run off of your solar system
Central systems offer a wide range of options for cooling your home and because they are the most common type of AC system, there are many different makes and models from which to choose.
Potential Drawbacks of Central Air
A drawback to central air systems is that they can be expensive to run. Your HVAC system is one of the largest users of electricity in your home. With a central air system, your AC must run long enough to bring your entire home down to the temperature you set. This can take a while and use a lot of electricity. With the rising cost of electricity, this can get quite expensive for larger homes.
With a central air system, you do not have the option for zoned cooling. While closing vents to certain rooms can help, your system is still set up to cool your entire house at once and it takes longer for your home to reach a comfortable temperature. Plus, you don’t have the option to keep some areas cooler or warmer than others..
Finally, duct systems also require regular duct maintenance and cleaning. It is recommended that you have your ducts inspected annually and that you have them professionally cleaned every two to three years. And, if you suffer from allergies, asthma or have pets, you may want to have your ducts cleaned more often.
The Benefits of Ductless Systems
One of the greatest benefits of ductless air conditioning systems is that they support zoned cooling, meaning that you can cool specific areas of your home without also cooling the rest of the house at the same time. This allows for greater personalization and a significant reduction in energy usage
Ductless systems are also ideal for remodeling and home addition projects. It can be incredibly expensive to extend your existing ductwork to new areas and in some cases, it may not even be possible. A mini-split AC allows you to bring state-of-the-art cooling into these new areas of your home without the expense or fuss of extending your ductwork. Ductless systems are also great in garages, workshops, basements and attics.
With recent innovations in ductless technology, these systems are very versatile and less visually obtrusive than they once were. Models are slim and can be incorporated into your existing design without taking over the room. They are also incredibly quiet – you may not even notice they are running!
Potential Limitations of Ductless AC
Because the ductless system only cools the area in which it is installed, it will not reach all areas of your home. Depending on your cooling needs, this may be inconvenient. Additionally, if you have a very large home, you may not be able to rely on your ductless heating for all of your cooling needs. Instead, you may want to supplement your existing central air system with a ductless unit in specific areas.
You may also be limited in terms of where you can install ductless units. Because a ductless system requires both wall space inside your home and space outside your home for the outdoor unit and condenser, you may not be able to install the unit where you like. This can be particularly tricky if you have space limitations and want to install several units.
Finally, the initial cost of a ductless system can be higher than for a new central AC unit. However, this is only true if your home already has existing ductwork. If you have to install or extend ductwork to accommodate a central air system, the ductless system is likely to be the less expensive option.
How to Make the Decision
If you are struggling to decide between a central air system or a ductless AC, reach out to the experts at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar. Our team of professionals is well-versed in all types of air conditioning systems and we can help you determine which option will best fit your needs and your budget. When it comes to AC systems, we are your go-to expert and we are always happy to share our knowledge and help our customers design a cooling system they will love.
To speak to a professional today, send us a message online.