Many homes come with central air conditioning already installed, especially in areas where the summer temperatures soar. But if you happen to live in a place where the climate is a bit more temperate, central AC may not be a very common commodity. In this case you could be considering how to best keep your home cool when the summer sun is beating down and turning your house into an oven. And there are a couple of options. You could install central air in your home, and if you happen to have central heating already in place it might not be too much of a hassle. Or you could opt for a ductless system instead. But before you decide you’ll want to consider what each stands to offer when it comes to cooling your home. Here are just a few things that could affect your selection.
First you must understand the basic differences between ductless and central air conditioning systems. Central air is comprised of an AC unit that attaches to ductwork running through the walls, ceilings, and other hidden spaces in your home. When you turn it on via your thermostat, it cools the entire house, just like your furnace heats every room when you crank up the dial. In fact, these two systems run on the same ductwork, so if you already have central heating installed in your home, adding central air shouldn’t be too difficult. As for ductless air conditioning, it cools your home without the use of ducts, as you may have guessed from the name.
Instead, it operates through wall units installed in individual rooms. These may be placed in widows or you might choose to cut a hole in the wall to accommodate the unit. Either way, there will be a compressor portion that is located outside the wall as well as an air-flow unit that is inside. The unit itself is squarish and will likely stick out from the wall slightly. Whenever you want to cool your home, you’ll simply have to turn on each unit to cool the rooms they are located in.
So the question you might be asking yourself now is why you should choose one over the other, and there are three main considerations: cost, convenience, and cosmetic appeal. As you may have guessed, central air is a lot more expensive to install than ductless. Even if you happen to have central heating, the AC unit itself (not to mention hookup) will cost you a fair sight more than ductless products. On the other hand, the central air system is hidden, whereas the ductless units can be unsightly eye-sores in your home. And central AC cools your whole home with a single control. However, you can save energy and money with ductless since it allows you to limit usage to just the room you happen to be occupying. Want a nice cool bedroom while you sleep? You don’t have to pay to cool the whole house in order to get it.
In short, there are pros and cons to each solution for your air conditioning needs. But one further thing to consider is the value of your home. If you happen to live in an apartment, installing ductless units is the obvious choice since you can stick them in windows so as not to make permanent changes to a residence you don’t own. However, if you own a home and you want to increase the resale value and see some return on investment, you’re probably better off using the convenient and cosmetically sound solution provided by a central AC unit, even if it costs more.