If you are a homeowner looking to upgrade your air conditioning unit with a new AC installation, you are faced with many decisions. One thing to consider is whether you go with a central unit or a ductless AC unit, otherwise known as a mini-split air conditioning system. These are the two most popular options – both have some pros and cons that can help you decide which AC installation best fits your needs.
Central Air Conditioning Systems
Most newer homes in the United States have a central AC system installed during construction. A central AC system uses a centralized air conditioning unit that pushes cooled air throughout all rooms of the house using the system of ducts and vents. So if you already have ducts installed, your decision is simple.
- Central AC units are easier to keep the whole house cool as air circulates through all rooms.
- Ducts are hidden and the central unit is outside, so the system is not seen from inside the house.
- Your temperature is centrally controlled, so some rooms might cool differently based on location in the house.
Ductless Air Conditioning
A ductless AC system includes an external compressor outside and a connection to the indoor unit in the room you want to be cooled. Since the indoor units are installed in each room directly, you can have control over specific temperature for that space.
While this does not require ducts, you must still have space for the indoor and outdoor units. The outdoor piece should be within 50 feet of the indoor unit, which can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. The interior unit must also connect to the compressor (outdoor unit) via an insulated pipe.
- You have the flexibility to install these in any room you want, as long as they can connect to the outdoor unit. Ductless units are perfect for enclosed garages, add-ons or any room where the ducts don’t run.
- These systems are more energy-efficient, in general. In addition, air ducts are the biggest source of wasted air in a traditional HVAC system.
- You have the ability to change the temperature for specific rooms.
- This type of system can be a challenge for whole-home cooling.
- There are limitations in the cooling range, so this would not be a good option for large homes
- The indoor unit will be visible in installed rooms.
Deciding Which AC Installation is Best For You
There are benefits for both systems, but it is important to consider all factors about how you want your house to be cooled. Your house size, budget and uses are all things to keep in mind.