Which Is Better To Install, Ductless AC Or Central AC?

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If you’re thinking about getting a new AC system or if it’s simply time to replace your current one, you might be wondering whether it’s better to go with central air conditioning or one of those new ductless systems you’ve heard about. Of course, the answer will be dependent on your specific situation.

What is the difference between Ductless AC and Central AC?

A ductless or mini-split air conditioning system works similarly to a central air conditioning system. They both have two units: a condenser outside the house and an evaporator/air handler inside the house. Coolant circulates between the two units, transporting heat from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit, where it is released.

However, with a central air system, the cool air is routed through the air handler on your furnace and into your ductwork, where it is carried throughout the house. A ductless system uses a thin cable to connect the condenser to a box on your wall, eliminating the need for ductwork and floor vents.

Here is a detailed comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of a central air conditioner and a ductless mini-split unit:

The initial cost as well as the cost over time

When it comes to making big purchases, whether you’re like most people, the expense is a major consideration. A central air conditioning unit has the lowest initial cost of the two types of A/C units. According to the US Department of Energy, installing a central air system costs up to 30% less than installing a ductless system. However, ductless mini-splits are less expensive to operate in the long run. Furthermore, they frequently necessitate less maintenance and repair.


Installing a central air conditioning system takes about a week on average. The method can take longer if you don’t already have ductwork. To mount the ductwork, installers will have to take down portions of your walls and ceilings, then patch and repaint the damaged areas. Custom-made ducts are needed in some homes, and they take up precious space in closets, attics, and basements.

Since the majority of the components of a ductless device are installed at the factory, installation takes just a day or two. Contractors mount indoor units in your rooms and drill a conduit hole in your wall. The suction tubing, power cable, refrigerant line, and condensate drain are then run through the conduit from the outdoor to the indoor devices. You’ll save money on labor because installation is quicker, and you’ll be able to get back to your regular schedule earlier.

Temperature Regulator

When it comes to temperature regulation, central air conditioners, and ductless mini-splits are vastly different. Since central units are operated by a single thermostat that is centrally located, your entire home will be set to the same temperature. Zoned temperature controls are available on ductless mini-splits, allowing you to set each zone to a different temperature. This allows you to keep rooms that aren’t in use warmer, potentially saving money. It also means that you can maintain a comfortable temperature for the occupants in each room.


You won’t have to waste time testing the ductwork for problems if you use a ductless air conditioning system. You won’t have to pay for duct repairs such as leak sealing, duct cleaning, or insulation. Central air conditioning systems, on the other hand, usually have longer warranties than ductless systems.

Long-Term Efficiency

Central air conditioners have a 12- to 15-year lifespan, while ductless mini-splits can last up to 20 years. Mini-splits are much more efficient and cost-effective in the long run. Mini-splits, while more expensive upfront, are usually the more flexible and cost-effective alternative in the long run.

Do You Need an HVAC Installer You Can Trust?

Superior Mechanical Services, Inc. began in 1948 as a family-owned business with a vision to provide value-minded service with a down-to-earth approach to customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As the premier Commercial and Residential HVAC Service provider for Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton, Superior Mechanical can do it all, from heating and air conditioning services to boiler services, to plumbing services. Our technicians are certified professionals who will ensure every part of your project is done right using a careful checklist to guide and test each step. At the end of your appointment, we’ll show you how to get the most out of your new system and give you tips on maintenance so it lasts for years to come. Contact us today for amazing service tomorrow!

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