Ductless OR Central Air Conditioning? Which HVAC system type is better? Which should I install in my home?
Perhaps you are in the market for a new HVAC system and you’ve wondered whether Ductless or Central Air is better for you. Quick answer…… IT DEPENDS. It depends on the needs of your home, garage, small building, patio etc.
The beauty here is that several years back I would have said “HECK NO” to ductless. They are hideous! But go figure, there are versions that make ductless just as concealed as a standard central air system. Not only that but they are also EXTREMELY energy efficient and fairly cost effective. Yet that does not mean ductless mini splits are the perfect solution for you. Below are some guidelines to help your thinking and compare out which direction is best for you. If you have any questions leave a comment below or email us what you’re thinking.
2 Reasons to Purchase Ductless Mini Splits over Central Air
Pound for pound ductless mini splits are far superior to central air in regard to reducing your utility bill. Two reasons. The First is because of Ducts. Ducts make systems less efficient. Additionally most duct systems are either old, leaking or poorly design. Often times some combination of all three meaning that “high efficiency” systems you bought is NOT producing the efficiency it is capable of providing. Second of all, having zone control over your house allows you too keep rooms completely shut down from air conditioning when there is no need for it. Keeping zones entirely shut down has huge benefits. Thus comparing Central air efficiencies to ductless is not really fair because you could run anywhere from 1-5 tons of air with a ductless system whereas your central air unit has no choice but to cool the entire space (don’t assume zoning will solve that. more can be said on that subject in another post). Moral of the story a 16 SEER zone mini split will typically be way more efficient than a 16 SEER central air system.
You want more control? Install a zone mini split system to have custom control over your home. Environment. Like having some rooms cooler than others or want to shut down the a vast majority of your house while you sleep so that you can have a temperature of 68 in your bedroom and not waste energy on the rest of the house? Done.
I’m sure someone with a zoned central air system would argue to the contrary on this but unless you have an inverter zone system with a variable speed indoor motor you can’t have the same performance as a zoned mini split. Further, the cost to have a central air system that is fully zoned is more expensive than installing a zone mini split.
2 Reasons to purchase Central Air vs Ductless Mini splits
This will largely depend on your personal situation. Are you building a home or replacing current equipment. How new is your current duct system? Is it designed properly? To determine if whether installing a mini split or central air is more efficient will depend on a number of variables. If you are in a “total loss” scenario. bad ducting, bad equipment and/or building a new home then a mini split will be more viable dollar for dollar. Otherwise in most scenarios where a home is older and has historically been setup for central air then the most effective dollar spent today will be toward central air.
There is some contingency here. Warranties can depend on the manufacturer of your equipment for both types of systems. Generally speaking most multi-zone systems carry a 5 year parts and 7 or 10 year compressor warranty. With Central Air the typical manufacturer warranty is 10 years. Making central air have a longer warranty coverage period. Again, this depends on the equipment you choose and registration. In either scenario many manufacturers still require registration of product otherwise it can shorten the warranty period. Do your research and have a professional help you with this.
Below is a great infographic from Gemaire that will make you reconsider your choice of ductless or not.