Being a proud owner of a house is not a very big deal. The big deal is to make the right decisions in its context so that the value of the home increases, and so does the comfort of its residents. One such major decision is concerning the type of air conditioning unit to install. The main confusion lies in choosing between ductless AC vs. the central AC unit.
To understand which option is the best for your home, read the complete comparison. It will give you more power to make an informed and wise decision.
Ductless Air Conditioners
The ductless ACs are also known as mini-split systems. As the name itself suggests, they do not use ducts. Hence, they are best for those homes that do not have pre-existing ductwork. The main benefit of these systems is that they are relatively inexpensive to install and more energy efficient as there is no chance of air escaping through the ducts. However, these units are always visible as they are installed directly on the walls of your house.
Central Air Conditioners
Central ACs are ducted. It means they use an extensive network of ducts to transport treated air into each room of the house. The central AC is a bulky piece of equipment. It is mostly installed outdoors and sometimes in the attic or on the roof. The cool air comes through the vents. Their main advantage is that they are invisible and unobtrusive and also the fact that they cool the entire home to the same degree.
Ductless AC Vs. Central AC Unit – Pros And Cons Pros Of Ductless Air Conditioners
The benefits of using ductless ACs are:
1. They are highly energy efficient.
2. The air handlers barely make any noise.
3. They are perfect for homes where there is no ductwork, and the homeowner does not want to invest in one.
4. Their installation is relatively easy and quick.
5. Their installation charges are low.
6. Their operational cost is around 30% less.
Cons Of Ductless Air Conditioners
There are some disadvantages to using ductless air conditioners. These are:
1. They are unable to cool the home in a uniform manner.
2. They are unable to improve indoor air quality.
3. One house may need several air handlers to cool it sufficiently.
4. The air handlers are visible and may spoil the aesthetics of your home.
Pros Of Central AC
Let’s have a peek at the advantages of using a central air conditioner.
1. They can cool the entire house at the same time.
2. Its air filters help improve the indoor air quality.
3. They do not spoil the aesthetics of your home as the cool air comes through the vents which are embedded in walls.
Cons Of Central AC
The central air conditioner, too, has its own set of disadvantages. Some of them are:
1. The cost of installing a central AC is quite steep.
2. It is noisy to operate and may require sound dampers to reduce its level.
3. Leakage in ducts can increase energy costs and lower its efficiency.
4. Energy-efficient systems are expensive.
5. They add almost 30% to the operational cost.
Ductless AC Vs. Central AC – Which One Is Right For You?
Now that you know the basic differences between the two types, it’s time to check which one suits you and your home the most. To do that here are a couple of questions that you need to answer.
1. Do You Have Ductwork? – If your home is old, the chances are that it will not have pre-existing ductwork. In such cases installing ductwork becomes a tricky and costly job. Your best option is to go for a ductless system that will not require any modifications to the structure of the home. Now, if your home does have ductwork, sticking to a central AC will be more cost-effective.
2. Do You Mind Looking At The AC? – A central AC is not visible while a ductless one is. If you think that you will mind looking at the AC, your choice is made. You should buy a central air conditioner.
3. Do You Mind The Noise? – A central AC is not exactly quite. However, the ductless ones barely make any. If you are sensitive to the sound, buy the ductless air conditioner.
4. What Is Your Budget? – Ductless air conditioners, along with their installation cost around $1,900 to $3,900. On the other hand, an installed central air conditioner will cost around $5,000 to $9,000.
5. How Important Is Energy Efficiency? – If you have a low budget and energy efficiency is your top priority, you need to stick with a ductless unit. Conversely, you can get an energy-efficient central AC on a higher budget. It is for you to decide what suits your pockets the most.
6. Is Individual Zoning Control High On Your Need? – There may be areas in your home that get more hot as compared to the rest of your house. Or your family members may have different temperature needs. In both these cases, you need a zoning system. It is possible to get zone control in both the ductless and central AC. However, it is cheaper with the ductless unit. It is because, in the case of central AC, a zoning system will require an upgrade to the ductwork in the form of internal dampers.
Ductless AC Can Be Used Along With Central AC
An important aspect of ductless AC is that it can be used together with the central air conditioner. This combination is explicitly used in homes where certain areas need additional cooling. It is also used where separate zones are needed for those areas that are not used frequently.
The above guidelines will help you get started on the general path to making the correct purchase decision. However, it is best to discuss your options, thoughts, and priorities with an HVAC expert so that you can benefit from their experience. No matter the system that you lean towards, talk it over with your technician, and buy the best fit for your home.