Is Central Air Conditioning System or Ductless A/C System a Better Option?

If you’re in a toss-up to central air conditioning systems to see which is the better central air conditioning system – a ductless A/C system or a central A/C system, you better get the expert opinion of a Fischer technician. Our technicians are not only trained in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioning systems; they are also knowledgeable in the different types of air conditioning systems and what suits the requirements of a home or a business office/building.

You know very well that you need an air conditioning unit if you live in Seattle, as it can be quite warm in the city during the summer months. As it starts to get warm as early as April, we advise you to either schedule repair or maintenance work on your A/C system early. If you’re planning to buy a new one, look at the advantages and disadvantages of a central A/C system and a ductless A/C system, also called a ductless mini-split.

What’s the major consideration when you’re making a choice between the two systems? Aside from your budget, it’s the size of your home. If you’re living in an older home, you might run into some major problems when the ducts are installed. Likewise, it might be difficult to have a mini-split if the house is not properly sized. Still, let’s look at their pros and cons.

Ductless mini-split A/C system

This is a system that consists of two components—an air handling unit that’s placed indoor and an outdoor compressor. The two parts are connected by a conduit.


Without the ducts, the mini-split system is ideal for older homes where placing ductwork will incur huge costs. A ductless air conditioning unit is ideal for cooling older houses with thicker walls that help keep the temperature constant. Temperature settings are programmable, so maximum cooling efficiency is achieved depending on the requirement of the people in the particular room. The system is more cost and energy efficient because you only cool the room that you are going to use.

It is more compact than the traditional central air conditioning system, thus it is more flexible. The units are easy to install as well, and runs quietly compared to a central A/C system. Thermostat adjustment is done through its remote controller so you do not need to get up and interrupt whatever you’re doing.

The initial purchase and installation cost of a ductless mini-split is relatively high. It requires professional and highly trained installers. If you’re considering installing a ductless mini-split, call Fischer for professional advice and service, because a mini-split requires proper placement and sizing so your unit will run efficiently. If you’re fussy about aesthetics, this could be a concern because the air handlers are visible and quite noticeable.

Central air conditioning system

Many of you are familiar with this air conditioning system because this has been around for ages. As stated, the air distribution passes through a series of ducts to allow cool air to circulate around the entire house.


This is your best option if you want to keep your entire house cool. Lower humidity and efficient cooling are maintained by newer models. The ducts are almost invisible and this type of air conditioning system adds higher resale value to your property. The initial cost is lower than what you’ll spend for ductless mini-split. The larger filters work better for more efficient air filtration.

The noise of the outdoor condenser is one of the major disadvantages of this type of air conditioner. It is also larger compared to the mini-split, which some consider unsightly. It is not very energy efficient because it cools every room in the house, even those that are not in use. The cooling can be zoned but this requires additional cost and work. Duct repair due to cracks and leaks can likewise be a problem.

Making a decision

Heating and cooling consumes a lot of energy, therefore it has a big effect on your expenses for utility as well as the environment. Air conditioning systems are very important for homes in the United States. A ductless air conditioning system or ductless mini split and central air conditioning systems are both popular choices. Each one has its own characteristics and cost benefits. Therefore a homeowner has to check and double check several aspects of each system to make an inform purchase decision. It is also beneficial to seek the expertise of a professional air conditioning contractor, who can give more intricate details that are not available in a product’s marketing materials.

1. Initial investment
When you compare costs, a central air conditioning system is less expensive that a ductless system, even if they are of the same capacity. If you choose a central air conditioning system, be prepared to pay more because you either have to repair your existing ductwork or install a new one.

If you move into your new home or had new rooms added to your home, a ductless air conditioning system is ideal. It is a better way to avert replacing your old ductwork. If you decide to invest in a ductless air conditioning system as a replacement, an expert installer will be able to seal the air registers to prevent dust, pests and other contaminants from entering your home. This will help the contaminant from circulating around your home and lowering the quality of indoor air. You do not have to spend money to remove the old ductwork.

2. Installation
Installing a central air conditioning system will take about a week. It will take longer if ducts have to be installed as some walls and ceiling will have to be taken down. After installation the walls and ceilings will have to be repaired and repainted.

A ductless air conditioning system only takes about two days to be fully installed. The contractors will install the indoor units in all the rooms while a hole will be drilled in your wall where the conduit will pass through. Labor cost is lower as well because the installation time is faster.

3. Energy costs
It takes time to cool your home with a central air conditioning system because the air has to travel through the ductwork before it reaches the interior of your home. It is inevitable that some cool air will escape, making the system work harder and consuming more energy in the process. In terms of cooling efficiency, a ductless system is better than a central air conditioning system.

4. Indoor air quality
Ductwork is a possible trap of various types of air contaminants. It needs cleaning and maintenance on a regular basis to ensure that the air entering your home is of high quality.

Because of the absence of ductwork in a ductless A/C system, contaminants are caught by the air filters. Cleaning or replacing them is easier, ensuring that you maintain the air quality that circulates inside your home.

Regular maintenance is needed whatever type of air conditioning system you purchase. While any type of system adds value to your home, if you are thinking of selling your home in the future, it is better to consult a realtor to know which the preferred system in your area is. You also have to keep in mind that you can recover your initial investment on installing a ductless air conditioning system through lower utility bills in four or five years.

Contact Fischer at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050 to get help in making the right choice on whether to get a central air conditioning system or a ductless A/C system. Our professional technician will assess your home or building, look into your needs and give you the best option.

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