When selecting a high-end air-conditioning system for their homes, homeowners have a choice between central air and ductless units. A quick call to an air conditioning installation specialist can supply you with facts you need to assist you with the decision making. In the meantime, here is a description and comparison of the two types of units.
Ductless systems have indoor and outdoor components, but they aren’t built to be used with duct systems or furnaces. Outdoor units are usually mounted on outside walls. Depending on the heating and cooling needs of a home, more than one complete system may be needed. The indoor units may be mounted on ceilings or on floors but are most often mounted high on walls. There are important differences in the systems that make each have specific benefits and home owners must choose which benefits make them the best choice. Here is a comparison of the two systems.
A central air conditioning system also has two units. The indoor unit is attached to the furnace, whose blower forces cooled air through ducts built into the walls around the home. The outdoor unit houses a compressor and condenser.
These are the advantages of a ductless air conditioner:
- Simpler Installation -Installation is simpler because the units rest in a hole cut into a wall or ceiling and their outdoor units get mounted outside somewhere near the indoor unit. Since these types of air conditioners blow air directly from the unit, no ducts are required.
- Less Cost – The units needed to meet your cooling needs are often not as costly to purchase as a central system. If you need cooling for no more than two rooms, the cost of the units should be less than the price of buying a central air unit. However, if you are looking to cool more than two rooms, the price for a central air unit should be less. The operating costs for ductless units will usually be are higher, for units with comparable specifications.
- Units Heat and Cool – While central air units will only cool your room, ductless units will both cool and heat a room. This is done without the need for a furnace or heat pumps. There are limitations to their cooling abilities however, and in general are not the best choice for areas with temperatures consistently below freezing.
Cool Only Where You Want – When you set the temperature on a central air conditioner, the temperature is set for the entire home. With ductless air conditioning, you decide which room to cool and when. If you want different temperatures for different rooms, you simply adjust each thermostat to the desired temperature. The result is complete control over your cooling and a significant savings on your energy bills.
These are the advantages of a central air conditioner:
- Lower Noise Level – Because their units are far from where they are providing cooling, rooms being cooled by central air units are whisper quiet. With a ductless unit, where the in-room portion of the unit is in the room being cooled, the noise level is much higher. There may even be some noise from the outdoor unit if it is placed too close to the room it is cooling.
- Higher Overall Efficiency – Central air units have become extraordinarily efficient and use a variety of very sophisticated parts to make them so. This is one of the reasons their units are so large. That size is needed to house the parts that create the efficiency. Wall units just cannot compete with their central air counterparts. Although it is true that there is loss in the system because the air from central air comes through ducting (which may have some loss), overall a well laid-out and installed central air unit is still more efficient than operating several ductless units.
- Controls Humidity Better – Air conditioning systems cool partly by removing humidity in the room. Central ACs are extremely efficient at removing humidity compared with ductless units. If you live in a high humidity area, this should definitely be a key consideration when you are choosing the type of unit to purchase.
- Better Room Air Quality – Air conditioners also filter room air quality. The air filters on central air conditioners and usually of much higher quality than wall mounted AC units.