Central Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-Split

Central Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-SplitWhether remodeling a home or replacing an old, malfunctioning system, there may be a time when you need to decide between a central air conditioner or a ductless mini-split system. Let’s talk about the differences between central air conditioners and ductless mini-splits, as well as the pros and cons of each. While they’re both excellent systems, it should become apparent which system is right for your property.

Central Air Conditioner Systems

Most people are used to central air conditioner systems. A single HVAC system distributes air to every room within your home. It’s easy to maintain, but it does require that ducts be placed throughout your property. And while you can use grills to close off the central air to any given room, you don’t normally have control over the individual temperature of each room. A central air system is the standard for most properties, but for properties that were built without an HVAC system, it can be difficult to install them.

Compared to a ductless mini-split, an central air conditioning system is expensive to install because of the ductwork that needs to be installed. They can be disruptive to install as well, and they make the installation process take much longer. And if something goes wrong with the system, it goes wrong everywhere in the house at once, rather than single rooms. But most furnaces will last up to 30 years, and most air conditioners will last from fifteen to twenty years. Because of that, a central HVAC system is usually considered to be an investment, and it’s generally preferred.

Central HVACs increase the value of a home, are increasingly energy-efficient, and are extremely effective. And while they are more expensive to install, they are far less expensive to actually operate. Many central HVAC systems will pay for themselves over time. There are reasons why they are usually the standard solution.

That being said, there are times when a central air conditioner system can’t be used. When a central air conditioner system can’t be used, or control over specific rooms is desired, a ductless mini-split system is a better solution.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

A ductless mini-split system is installed in each room, rather than as a central device. Ductless mini-split systems don’t require that ducts be installed, so they can be much cheaper. They can manage different temperatures in each zone because they can be turned on/off and adjusted as desired. Further, they are easier to maintain because they are discrete units. They don’t have ducts that can become dirty or penetrated by pests, and their filters are easily accessible. Because these systems are simpler, they can also be installed faster. And they can be installed in one room at a time, rather than over the whole house.

For properties that have historic value, or cannot otherwise be modified, ductless mini-split systems may be the only option. And ductless mini-split systems can also be an excellent option for those who want to heat and cool attics, basements, and other disconnected spaces. A ductless mini-split system can even be installed in an exterior office or work shed.

A final advantage of ductless mini-split systems is the fact that they are more efficient and more environmentally-friendly. The energy from heating and cooling is not lost through ductwork, and there isn’t any additional ductwork that has to be insulated. So while they are more expensive to run if they’re run in the whole home, they are actually more efficient when they’re used discretely on just part of the home at a time.

Choosing Between Central Air and Ductless Mini-Split

Ultimately, it’s usually going to come down to budget and installation needs. Those who have the money for a central HVAC system and are able to install ductwork into their home will usually prefer a central HVAC system, though they still do need to think about the fact that the system takes more time and money to maintain. Those who are on a more limited budget or who don’t want to disrupt their property as much may want to consider a ductless mini-split instead.

Either way, both central HVAC systems and ductless mini-split systems are great options. The technology has advanced to be more energy-efficient and cost-effective, and they will both keep you comfortable in your home. It’s not necessarily that one system is better than the other, but that they’re each better suited to different homes.

While most homeowners prefer a central air system, there are many unique situations in which a ductless mini-split system simply works better. It all depends on your home and your needs. For more information about the benefits of these two HVAC systems, contact the experts at Metro Express Service.


Randy Murphy

Randy Murphy has been building his knowledge of the air conditioning and heating business for several years now. He first started applying his knowledge while working for his father’s HVAC company. Later, in 1987, Randy started his own business: Metro Express Service. He has been a top 10 Trane & Amana dealer for over eight years. When it comes to heating and cooling, Randy knows the business better than anyone.
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