If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, you’ve probably wondered whether ductless or central air is better for you. The short answer is that it depends, but deciding between the two relies on many different factors. Below are some guidelines to help you weigh your options and understand each type of AC.
2 Reasons to Purchase Ductless Over Central Air
Ductless mini-splits are far superior to central air in regard to reducing your utility bill for a couple of reasons:
- Ducts make systems less efficient because the air must travel further than ductless air. Not to mention, most duct systems are either old, leaking or poorly designed. Often, some combination of all three means the “high efficiency” systems you bought isn’t producing the efficiency it is capable of providing.
- Having zone control over your house allows you to keep rooms completely shut down from air conditioning when there’s no need for it. Keeping zones entirely shut down has huge energy benefits.
When it comes down to it, comparing Central air efficiencies to ductless isn’t really fair. Ductless systems efficiently cool whatever room you’re in, but central air has no choice but to cool the entire home. With that kind of disparity in efficiency, central cooling doesn’t have a chance.
If you want more control over your air conditioning, install a zoned mini-split system to have custom control over your home’s environment. With ductless zoning systems, you can end the thermostat wars by allowing some rooms to be cooler or hotter than others. Do you like sleeping at a brisque 68 degrees without spending more energy across the entire house? With ductless, you can do that and more.
While zoned central air systems are available through installing an inverter zone system with a variable speed motor, the performance isn’t the same as ductless systems. Furthermore, installing a zoning system with central air is much more expensive than installing a mini-split zoning system.
2 Reasons to purchase Central Air Over Ductless
This will largely depend on your personal situation, but you should ask yourself these questions:
- Are you building a home or replacing current equipment?
- How new is your current duct system?
- Is it designed properly?
Determine whether installing a mini-split or central air is more cost-efficient will depend on a number of variables. If you are in a “total loss” scenario (bad ducting, bad equipment) or are building a new home, a mini-split system will be the most cost-effective choice. Otherwise, it’s likely that the most cost-effective choice is central cooling.
There is some contingency here because warranties can depend on the manufacturer of your equipment for both types of systems. Generally speaking, most multi-zone systems carry a five-year parts warranty and up to a 10-year compressor warranty. With central air, the typical manufacturer warranty is 10 years, meaning central air has a longer warranty coverage period. Again, this depends on the equipment you choose and where it comes from. In either scenario, many manufacturers still require registration of the product to avoid shortening the warranty period. Do your research and have a professional help you with this to get the best deal.