Ductless vs. Central Air Conditioning

 In Air Conditioner

Do you want to install a new AC system? You may be wondering if it’s better to get central air conditioning or a ductless system. Of course, the answer will depend on your situation. In case you don’t know, mini-split or ductless air conditioning is a lot like a central AC system. The difference is central AC is invisible when you’re indoors. A ductless system requires a slim unit on the wall or a vent in the ceiling.

Is Ductless Air Conditioning Worth It?

All air-conditioning uses the same outdoor components. These components generate the cold refrigerant that chills the air inside your home. Central systems send refrigerant to a large air handler. The air handler then blows cold air into the house through a network of ducts. A ductless system sends refrigerant to compact indoor units within individual rooms. These units don’t have heat gains, air leaks, or pressure imbalances. These problems are common in central air systems and undercut their efficiency.

With a ductless system, one outdoor unit can support up to four indoor air handlers. Each air handler conditions only the room in which you install it. Each air handler has a thermostat. These thermostats are independent of each other. As a result, there will be fewer household fights over who gets to control the thermostat. A ductless system is also more energy efficient than central air systems.

Retrofitting a home to install central air conditioning can cost thousands of dollars. Ductless air conditioners can be the best alternative for cooling an older home. It’s also a good option for an addition built without the proper ductwork.

When installing the unit, the technician will have to cut a small hole through the wall. This hole is to accommodate the power and control cables to and from the central air unit. He or she will also run the refrigerant lines through that hole, and the condensate drain.

Keep in mind that ductless air conditioning is best for spot cooling. It is not a cost-effective option for cooling a large building. You will need several ductless units to cool the entire building. This situation can make ductless air conditioner installation cost prohibitive for some homeowners.

Ductless air conditioner installation is very energy efficient. Duct leaks are responsible for energy losses of up to 30 percent in central air conditioners. Such leakages are not a concern in ductless systems. Also, since each unit has its thermostat, you’ll only have to condition each room when it’s occupied. This setup saves you energy and money.

Ductless air conditioners offer lots of flexibility in interior design options. You can mount the air handler units into a drop ceiling. Some homeowners also suspend them from the ceiling or hang them on a wall. Another option is to get a floor standing model. The average profile of an indoor unit is seven inches deep.

Pros and Cons of Ductless Air Conditioners


One of the most significant advantages of ductless systems is their unbelievable efficiency. Other pros are their flexible locations and the high level of comfort they provide. Their low noise levels indoors and out is another pro. Another significant advantage of ductless systems is that heat pump models can also provide heat. Ensure that you consult with an HVAC professional if you want to use a ductless system as a primary heat source. He or she will need to discuss and address any performance limitations that may exist.

Ductless air conditioner installation is faster and more straightforward than traditional HVAC systems. They are great for replacing or supplementing central air systems. They are also good alternatives for stoves, electric baseboard units, and space heaters. They maintain constant temperatures because they don’t cycle on and off. They are also the most energy efficient systems on the market. This is especially true of those with variable-speed air handlers.

Ductless air conditioning systems are also friendly to the environment. Ductless systems use a refrigerant called R410A, a hydro-fluorocarbon compound. In contrast, traditional HVAC systems use R-22 refrigerant (also known as Freon). The refrigerant R410A does not contain ozone-depleting chlorine atoms. The Environmental Protection Agency has mandated the phase-out of appliances using R-22. The agency issued this mandate because of its ozone-depleting properties.

Ductless air conditioners are also safe. The hole for the connecting cables is far too small to allow intruders to enter your home. They do not emit combustion gases since they don’t use fuel for heating. Thus, they do not need venting.


One of the main strikes against ductless systems is the upfront cost. Other cons are aesthetics and regular maintenance. If you want ductless heat, there’s a fourth consideration. You’ll likely need fuel-based backup if you live in a frigid climate. Check with your HVAC specialist first, however. Some of the newer models handle the load even when the temperature dips below zero.

This type of unit is not your standard DIY installed AC. A qualified technician must do your ductless air conditioner installation. These units can waste energy if not installed the right way. Poor installation means that they may not be able to control humidity in your home. Regular maintenance is also necessary. You will need to clean the components often, especially the unit filters.

Given the advantages of these units, their few downsides seem small. A ductless system is likely to last longer, although they cost more than some other AC systems. It also costs less to run and provides more comfort.

Ductless Air Conditioner Cost

The cost of a ductless system depends on the size of the area you’d like to cool. Another factor affecting price is the brand of the unit. You’ll also need to consider installation costs. You can request a free quote from 1st-air.ca. Financing is available to help you buy the ductless unit that best meets your needs. The approval process is instant with our secure online credit application.

When thinking about cost, keep in mind that a ductless system can add value to your home. This factor is an important consideration if your home has historical significance and no room for ductwork. If you’d like to know all your options, contact us today!

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