How to Decide Between Central Air & Ductless AC

a central air and ductless acWhen the brutal heat of the summer hits, your first thought is probably that you need air conditioning, and fast. But getting the right AC system to suit your home and your needs takes some thinking and planning. It shouldn’t be a snap decision. When you’re ready to ditch the window air conditioners and upgrade, you have two main choices: central air or ductless AC.

We’re going to go over the details of each and discuss the pros and cons so you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which is best for you.

What is Central Air?

Central air is a type of air conditioning system that includes a compressor and a condenser outside your home – usually mounted to a slab of cement – as well as an evaporator, which can either be placed in the same outdoor unit or inside your home.

Air is cooled by the system and pumped through a series of ducts that run through your walls and sometimes through your attic. The cooled air then enters into your rooms through vents, which can either be wall or floor mounted.

Pros of Central Air

Central air provides a very consistent, comfortable temperature throughout your entire home. Some central air systems can also heat air, which makes them perfect for maintaining that ideal temperature year-round.

These systems are also very energy efficient, so while the upfront cost can be higher, you’ll likely save money on your energy bills in the long term.

Your indoor air quality can be improved as well, as most systems are fitted with air filters.

Cons of Central Air

Central air is great. But, if you don’t already have ductwork running through your home, installation can cost significantly more than a ductless system. In fact, your installation cost may still be very high if you have ductwork that is older and needs repair or replacement. The installation also takes significantly longer than a ductless system, especially if you need new ductwork.

Central air systems can also be noisy. They need to pump air through long ducts, and those ducts need regular maintenance and cleaning. These costs can add up quickly.

What is ductless AC?

A ductless AC system is similar to a central air system in that it includes a condenser, which gets mounted outside, as well as an evaporator.

The main difference is that the evaporator gets mounted to a wall or ceiling inside your home and, instead of pumping air through a series of ducts, it pumps conditioned air directly into the room or set of rooms you want to heat or cool.

Pros of ductless AC

The major upside to ductless AC systems is that they don’t require ductwork, hence the name! They deliver cooled or heated air directly into your living space, which also means the installation is often significantly cheaper than central air. The maintenance will also be cheaper, as there are no ducts to clean regularly.

They’re very quick to install and can be set up in a matter of hours, and many systems have the option to heat and cool your home.

These systems deliver what’s referred to as “built-in zoning,” because each evaporator in your home can be set to a different temperature at any time, creating a makeshift heating or cooling zone.

Cons of ductless AC

Ductless systems require a large evaporator to be mounted inside your home, and this can be an eyesore for some people. They also are meant to cool or heat smaller areas of your home, so your floor plan may require evaporators in several rooms in your house.

Ductless systems are generally less energy efficient than central air conditioners, so the cost over time may be higher.

If you need help deciding which is best for your home and needs, or if you’ve decided which is right for you, contact our experts for information and quick, professional installation of either system.