What Type of AC Does Your Home Need?
Most homes have central air conditioners, but if you are remodeling, building a new home, or converting a garage or outbuilding, you may be wondering which type of AC you should install. People often ask us which kind of air conditioning system is better, central air systems or ductless mini-splits. The short answer is that it depends on your home’s configuration and your needs.
Generally speaking, one type of AC isn’t better than the other. Instead, when selecting a new AC or upgrading your current system, you will need to consider several things. Below we review the difference between central air conditioning and ductless systems and provide guidance on how to decide for yourself.
Central Air Basics
The standard air conditioner relies on a compressor, evaporator coil, and condenser coil to cool your home. Refrigerant moves back and forth between the condenser and evaporator coils, where it is converted from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid again. While this process is happening, the system’s fan blows warm air from your home over the evaporator coil, where the refrigerant absorbs the heat. The conditioned (cooled) air is then pumped back into your home through a series of ductwork.
Central air systems work to condition your entire home at once, with the cool air being dispersed into every room or area with an open vent. Central air is the most popular type of air conditioning system, with most homes in the U.S. having this type of system.
There are many benefits to having central air, including:
- Regular, consistent cooling throughout your home
- Your entire home remains at a stable temperature
- Multiple rooms are cooled at the same time
- Central air systems have built-in air filters that help protect your indoor air quality
- Most central air conditioners can have air purification or humidifier/dehumidifier systems incorporated into them
- Cost-efficient cooling
Ductless Mini-Split AC Systems
Ductless air conditioning systems feature two units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Like central air systems, they rely on evaporator and condenser coils to move refrigerant back and forth, removing heat from your home and creating cool, conditioned air to pump back into your home. However, where central air systems are connected to ductwork that moves air throughout your entire home at once, ductless mini-splits only cool the air in the room they are installed in and do not feature any ductwork.
Modern mini-split AC systems are relatively small and unobtrusive in your home. They are also incredibly versatile, enabling homeowners to bring air conditioning to rooms and areas of their homes they may otherwise be unable to.
Some of the benefits of a ductless system include:
- Very quiet operation
- Air filtration and humidity balancing capabilities
- Energy efficient
- Easy, relatively quick installation
- Enables zoned cooling
- Can be installed in areas with no ductwork
Many people install mini-split systems in room additions, garages, workout studios, and ADUs. They are also popular in movie rooms and recording studios where people need effective cooling but want to limit the sound the cooling system makes.
Which AC System Is Right for Me?
When deciding which type of air conditioning system you want for your home, you should consider both your cooling needs and your budget. These are the two most important factors when selecting an air conditioner. Keeping these two things in mind will help ensure that you choose the system that not only meets your needs and which you will be happy with long-term.
For example, if you only want to add cooling to your garage so that it is more comfortable when you work on the occasional home improvement project, it may not make sense to spend the money to hook the garage up to the central air system. However, hooking up the room to the central AC system may be worth it if you are setting up a home office and spend a lot of time in the area.
Other important things to consider when selecting a new AC are:
- Is there existing ductwork where you want to add the AC?
- Does the area need to be the same temperature as the rest of the house?
- Do you need more precise control over the temperature in that room/area?
If you are working on a home improvement project or new build and need a new AC system, reach out to H. L. Moe Co., Inc. for guidance. Our AC specialists are here to help you identify which systems are best for your needs. Once you’ve chosen your new system, we can provide reliable, professional installation services.