Central VS Ductless: Which Air Conditioning System Is Right For You?

Outdoor condensers for air conditioning system

If you’re like many, you’ve probably never given the question much thought. But if you’re in the market for a new air conditioning system, it might be something worth thinking through. Where to start? Glad you asked. The Air Hawk team has compiled a list of things you should consider before deciding whether central or ductless air conditioning is best for you.

Before we get started, let’s get a better understanding of exactly what each is. While both systems are composed of a condenser (which sits outside the home) and an air handler—and that’s really where the similarities end. A central air conditioning system includes a system of ducts, which are used to equally circulate air to every room in the house. A ductless air conditioning system—as its name suggests—does not rely on a duct system to distribute air. Unlike a central system, the ductless system relies solely on the indoor unit to push out air.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s determine which is the right choice for your needs.

Is there already a duct system in place?

If there’s already ductwork in your home, the best solution might be to go with a central air conditioning system. Why? Simply put—the installation process is relatively straightforward. However, if you’re looking to cool an area that is not part of the duct system, a ductless air conditioning system might be the best solution. It will be less expensive to install and you won’t have to figure out how to work the room into the existing duct system.

Well what if you’re having a new home built? In this instance, a ductless system might be the most cost effective option. Installing ducts can be a very time consuming and difficult process—which translates to higher out-of-pocket costs for you. On the other hand, installing a ductless system is relatively easy and less expensive.

How large is the area you plan to cool?

When it comes to air conditioning, size matters—a lot. Most ductless systems just do not have the capacity to cool a large home. A rule of thumb to keep in mind: if your home is 2,000 square feet or larger, go with a central ac system. It has the power to not only keep your space cool but also be much more energy efficient at the job as well.

Are Allergens a Problem For You?

Due to the process a central air conditioning system uses to circulate air throughout the house, it can actually help improve air quality and reduce allergens in your home. This is because the system uses air filters in order to properly distribute air. When you invest in higher quality filters, you get improve air quality in addition to comfortable temperatures through the house.

Are You Interested in Zoning Control?

Sometimes, certain areas of the house are a little hotter or cooler than the rest of the house. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just the temperature of that area separately from the rest of the house? This is the benefit of zone control. Technically both central and ductless air conditioning systems allow you to zone control—ductless is just the less expensive option. Why? In order to setup zoning control with a central air system, you’ll first need to make some upgrades to the ductwork—which can come with a hefty price tag.

What’s Your Budget?

As with any major purchase, budget is a factor. First, there’s the cost of installation. With a central system, if the ductwork is not already in place, that increases the overall installation costs well beyond that of the ductless system. In addition to installation fees, central air conditioning systems also come with ongoing maintenance expenses for not only the system itself but also for the ductwork.

Still not sure which air conditioning system is right for your needs? Give us a call at (813) 929-4295. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We are also available to schedule an appointment to come and evaluate which solution is best for your home.

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