Ductless Mini-Splits Vs. Central Air: Choosing the Right System

Are you in the market for a new air conditioning system? Choosing the best cooling solution for your home can be a confusing endeavor. There are enough options in the marketplace to make your head spin. During the research portion of your buying process, you may have come across information on ductless mini-split air conditioners. Ductless mini splits are becoming an increasingly popular option among homeowners, but are they better than a traditional central air conditioner?

This article will highlight the basics of how each system works and consider the advantages and disadvantages of both options so you can make the best choice for your home, needs, and budget.

What is a Ductless Mini-Split System?

Ductless mini-split systems work similarly to a window ac unit, but they consist of two parts: an outdoor compressor or condenser and one or more indoor air handling units. The indoor units consist of an evaporator and a blower that pull in warm air from the room and blow out cold air. Unlike a central cooling system, cool air is returned directly to the room where the unit is installed, which eliminates energy loss associated with ducts. The outdoor unit or condenser receives heat from inside the home and releases it outside.

The main aspect of mini-split systems that separates them from central air units is the fact that they require no ductwork. With no ductwork requirements, a mini-split system is a convenient option for smaller homes with no existing ducts.

What is Central Air Conditioning?

A central air conditioning unit requires a ducted system and uses a series of ducts to circulate cold and hot air in your home. The components of a central cooling system include a condenser, a compressor, and an air handling unit.

Return vents capture warm air from your house and send it to the air handler to be cooled and filtered. The indoor unit, or condenser, provides refrigerant to the indoor handler’s evaporator coils. As the warm air from your house passes over the cold evaporator coils, it cools the air down and disperses it throughout the home using ducts and supply vents. If your home already contains existing ductwork, it is a perfect match for installing a central air system.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Mini-Split

Mini-split systems have several benefits including improved energy efficiency and low operating costs, but there are a few downsides as well. We will list the advantages and disadvantages of mini-split systems below.

Advantages of Mini-SplitDisadvantages of Mini-Split
Don’t require ductworkIndoor units look unappealing
Ease of InstallationThe initial upfront cost is high
Energy efficientPoor ventilation
Low operating costsNot always suitable for large areas
Zoned cooling 
Produce minimal noise 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Central Air

Central air systems contain several strengths including lower initial costs, but there are a few weaknesses that need to be assessed before purchase. We will list the advantages and disadvantages of central air conditioners below.

Advantages of Central AirDisadvantages of Central Air
Ideal for larger homesHigh operating costs
Aesthetically pleasingNeed for extensive ductwork
Lower initial upfront costsDuctwork requires high maintenance
Clean, ventilated air is circulatedWasted energy

Which System is Right for Your Home?

There are several benefits and downsides to both ductless mini-splits and central AC. In the world of HVAC, it is often considered pointless to talk about what system is ‘better’ or ‘worse’, because the right system depends on what is right for you, your lifestyle, your budget, and your home. The best way to decide on the right system for you is to consult with an HVAC professional. Contact Certified Heating and Air Conditioning today for more information on AC options. We are always happy to help!

Works Cited:

https://indoortemp.com/resources/mini-split-vs-central-air-pros-cons

https://www.cielowigle.com/blog/mini-split-vs-central-air/

https://jacobsheating.com/blog/mini-split-vs-central-air/

https://www.sylvane.com/mini-split-vs-central-ac.html

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