Central air conditioning is common in the United States, but ductless or mini-split systems are becoming more and more popular. Here’s some information about their characteristics and cost differences.
Ductless Mini-Split System
Advantages: Ductless mini-split system does not require ductwork, making it the more convenient cooling and/or heating option for older buildings with thick walls. Unlike an air conditioning unit that goes on and off throughout the day, mini-split system keeps your room temperature at a constant temperature which increases its energy efficiency.
These systems run very quietly, and are easier to install. Their compact size also allows for greater flexibility in temperature zoning — air conditioning is limited to the rooms in which the indoor units are located.
Disadvantages: Although a ductless mini-split can save you money in the long run, the initial installation is usually more expensive than for a central air conditioning system with the same capacity. Moreover, sizing of the system can be tricky – if not properly sized it will run less efficiently. Some homeowners can also have aesthetic issues with a unit mounted on the wall.
Central Air Conditioning System
Advantages: Central air conditioner is most likely your best option if you want to keep your whole house cool. The system is virtually invisible so if you’re very particular about your décor, this may be a better choice for you.
Disadvantages: As with the mini-split system, you can run into cost problems if the unit has not been properly sized. Unit also requires annual maintenance. Finally, air ducts should also be cleaned every 3-5 years which increases its maintenance costs.