Summer’s on its way. That would ordinarily be great news… except you just found out that your air conditioner is kaput.
So now you’ve started researching AC replacement on the internet, and the term “ductless” seems to keep popping up. What exactly is ductless air conditioning, and how does it compare to central air?
Most importantly, which will be best for cooling your home?
How Does Each One Work?
Although you may be mentally contrasting “ductless vs. central air conditioning,” the two types of air conditioner work in surprisingly similar ways, both consist of two main components: the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser. Both pull in hot air from your rooms and transfer that air’s heat and moisture outside. And both rely on a refrigerant fluid (also called coolant), which is alternately evaporated and condensed to cool your home.
The main difference between the two is the way they distribute cooled air. Central air conditioning circulates it via your home’s ducts (the same ductwork used by your furnace to circulate the heated air in winter). Ductless, as the name suggests, does not require ducts. Instead, the air is blown directly from the inside unit.
How Is Each One Installed?
Central air conditioning installation is a complex process. Typically, the job will take a couple of technicians 2-3 days if you already have ductwork and it’s in good shape. Repairs to leaking or sagging ductwork will add to the job. If you need new ductwork installed, expect the work to take twice as long and involve some cuts to your walls and ceilings.
By comparison, installing ductless air conditioning is much simpler and faster. Your tech will drill a 3″-diameter hole in one wall, mount the indoor and outdoor units, and connect the power and refrigerant lines, condensate drain, and suction tubing. This process takes a few hours if you’re putting in a single air handler, or 1-2 days for a larger, multi-room system.
Which Is More Energy Efficient?
Although today’s central air conditioners are much more energy-efficient than they used to be a decade or two ago, ductless AC still ranks highest in this category. That’s due in large part to its inverter technology, which reduces electrical consumption. Plus, since ducts leak as much as 30% of cooled air before it ever reaches you, eliminating ductwork eliminates wasted energy.
Whether central or ductless, for the most energy-efficient air conditioning, look for Energy Star certification, plus a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) and low annual energy use in kWh. You can find all this information on the product sticker — or consult your Husky HVAC pro.
What’s It Going To Cost Me?
The answer to this air conditioning question consists of three parts:
- cost to buy
- cost to install
- cost to run
Expect to pay a higher initial purchase price for ductless AC. Ductless installation will be cheaper, however. And due to ductless air conditioning’s higher energy efficiency, it will also be less expensive to run, meaning you’ll pay less for your electricity bills over the years that you own the system.
How Does Each Improve The Comfort Of Your Home?
Central air conditioning will cool all your rooms, even in a large Vaughan home of 2,000 square feet or more. However, it’s essential to have an expert calculate the right size unit for your home. An undersized air conditioning system won’t cool enough, and an oversized system will cycle off too quickly. When this happens, indoor air won’t properly dehumidify.
A ductless air conditioner is a perfect solution to keep that one hard-to-cool room comfortable throughout the summer. More good news: Most ductless AC systems are heat pumps, allowing them to provide cozy, energy-efficient heating as well as cooling. Depending on the system, you might need a backup heat source in extreme Vaughan winter cold. However, a low-ambient ductless air conditioner could heat at 100 percent efficiency even when the thermometer dips below -17° Celsius.
Does It Add Aesthetics To My Home?
So far, no one has designed an air conditioner that adds to your home’s aesthetic appeal. Both kinds look precisely like what they are — functional, hardworking appliances.
Central air conditioning is more discreet because the indoor unit is usually hidden in your basement, snuggled up with your furnace. The only sign of it in your living areas is the air registers. Of course, you still have that boxy condenser unit out in your yard. It’s easy to disguise with some cleverly placed fencing or shrubbery, though. As long as you allow for airflow and service access, you’re all set.
Ductless air conditioners must be mounted right in one of the rooms you want to cool (usually the living room), so its harder-to-ignore appearance might clash aesthetically with your décor. If that’s an issue, consider installing a less visible low-wall or ceiling-mounted unit.
Do They Have Zoned Cooling?
Zoned cooling is possible with both central air conditioning and mini-split. For central air, you’ll need to have some modifications done to your ductwork, installing dampers to regulate the amount of cooling in different areas of your home. If you’re opting for a mini-split, you’ll have multiple air handlers installed in various areas indoors, all connected to one outdoor unit.
How Noisy Is It?
While better than a window AC, a central air conditioning condenser unit can still be disturbingly loud, and if it’s above 70 decibels, it might even cause hearing loss over the long term. A mini-split will usually be the quieter option, both indoors and out.
Count On Husky For Air Conditioner Expertise
Don’t you feel smarter now that you know the facts?
Your next smart move is to contact us for reliable, professional air conditioning installation. Husky’s team of experts are authorized dealers of top-brand Carrier mini splits and Lennox ductless air conditioners.
But don’t just take our word for it. Read the following Google Review from a satisfied customer:
I have a brand new air conditioning unit, and I have Husky Heating and Air Conditioning to thank for that! The installers were great, also very knowledgeable. Overall I’m very happy with my install. I will refer family and friends.
Fredrick L, Vaughan