Do I Need Central Air Conditioning or a Ductless Air Conditioner?

When you want to cool your home significantly, air conditioning can definitely get the job done.

Depending on your home’s unique needs, you may want to install a central air conditioner or a ductless system.

While both of them will keep your home cool, there are advantages and disadvantages to installing each one.

Here is a comprehensive guide to help you determine if you need central air conditioning or a ductless system.

Central Air Conditioning And Ductless Systems

Central Air Conditions

These types of cooling systems are most known for their ducts that can cool many areas of your home.

Most central air conditioners are placed outdoors, but they can be installed on the roof or attic in certain cases. If you already have ducts inside your home, installing this type of air conditioner will be easy for professionals.

Ductless Systems

Often referred to as a mini-split system, these types of air conditioners are typically placed in the walls of your home. These systems are obviously more visible since they are positioned right on the walls.

Many homeowners use them to cool certain parts of the home, especially spaces that are extremely warm.

Since these systems are not equipped with ducts, they are fairly affordable to install.

Indoor Air Quality

As compared to a ductless air conditioner system, a central air conditioner often collects many harmful pollutants in its ductwork, some of which include dust, bacteria, and pollen.

When the ductwork isn’t regularly cleaned, these harmful pollutants could be spread throughout the home, reducing the overall air quality.

A home with poor air quality may drastically affect your family’s health as the pollutants could cause severe skin irritation, asthma, and even colds. Although poor air quality could affect anyone, children and elderly people are the most susceptible. Those who are suffering from respiratory problems may also be negatively impacted.

Due to its extremely effective filters, harmful pollutants typically don’t accumulate in the ductless system. The filters in these systems are designed to catch harmful contaminants, so that poor airflow is not produced. In addition, the system’s highly effective fans can also remove these pollutants.

The ductless system’s highly effective fans and filters have been shown to keep harmful pollutants out of the air, which ultimately protects your family’s health and saves money on medical bills.

Utility Bills

One of the primary reasons why homeowners may choose ductless air conditioners over central air conditioning systems is to save money on utility bills.

In many central air conditioning systems, air flows through the air ducts to deliver coolness to many areas of your home.

According to much research, as much as 30 percent of the energy used to cool a home can be lost because of leaky ducks. So, during the cooling process, it’s possible that cool air will leak through the ducts, forcing your system to work harder than necessary. When this happens, your system will be wasting a lot of energy.

With a ductless air conditioning system, the whole cooling process is much more efficient.

These types of units are often equipped with fans that can based their speed on indoor and outdoor elements. Whenever the home reaches the desired temperature, the fans automatically switch from high speed to low speed. Also known as variable-speed air handlers, the fans always stay on to maintain the temperature. As a result, a lot of energy is saved, and utility bills will be lowered.


If the noise of a system is a concern to you, it’s probably a good idea to consider a ductless system.

Instead of featuring ducts that can often cause sounds to echo, these systems are equipped with hoses to reduce sound.

With that said, some central air conditioners are quieter than ductless systems.

Make sure that you ask a professional the noise level of the air conditioners that you’re seriously considering.

Size Of Home

When considering these two types of cooling systems, ask yourself how big is your home.

Even though ductless systems are extremely efficient, many of them simply don’t have the power to cool a big house.

For a home that is 2,500 square feet or bigger, you’ll probably want to go with a central air conditioner. These units have greater power, and it’s likely that they will be able to cool a large home with more energy efficiency.

Zoning Control

The great thing about central air conditioners and ductless systems is that you can obtain optimal zoning control, which really comes in handy if there are family members with different temperature preferences.

Zoning control is also extremely beneficial when there are certain spaces that get hotter than others.

Although zoning control is featured in both central and ductless systems, it’s typically more cost-effective with ductless systems.

If you want zone control with a central air conditioner, you may need to install internal dampers.


Regardless of the air conditioner that you choose, you’ll have to keep the system in tip-top condition.

Central air conditioning systems will require regular duct maintenance to ensure that the air is flowing properly without any leaks. In addition, the system’s air filter will need to be regularly replaced.

If you have a ductless system, you will also need to change the air filter occasionally.

Resale Value

Did you know that a ductless system can drastically increase your home’s overall value?

Many homeowners are attracted to the system’s unique energy efficiency and effectiveness.

With this extremely interesting fact in mind, a home equipped with a ductless system could be much easier to sell than one with central air conditioning.

Central Air Conditioning Or A Ductless Air Conditioner?

As you can see, there are pros and cons to owing central air conditioning and a ductless air conditioner.

Some homeowners may even choose to use both of these units as there is much research to suggest that a ductless system is more efficient with central air conditioning.

Before purchasing one of these systems, just make sure that you know all of the pros and cons, which can help you decide the right one.

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