3 Installation Differences Between Mini-Split And Central Air Systems

If you're upgrading your home from traditional window unit air conditioners, you'll need to choose between a conventional split central air conditioning system and a ductless mini-split system. Each option can effectively cool your home, and they both have numerous advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, the best choice will come down to your budget and installation needs. 

This article will discuss three key installation differences to help you decide which option will work best for your home.

1. Mini-Split Systems Require Minimal Retrofitting

Retrofitting ductwork into your home may be the costliest part of your AC installation if you don't already have a forced-air heating system or existing ductwork. The overall difficulty and cost will depend on the layout of your house, however. In many cases, retrofit ductwork can run through attics, closets, or other relatively accessible locations, although some homes may require more disruption.

On the other hand, mini-split systems require minimal modification. Each head unit will need a hole to carry condensate, refrigerant, and power lines to the outside, but otherwise, you won't need to make any substantial changes to your house. This simplicity may be a better option if you don't have space for ductwork or need to save money on your installation costs.

2. Mini-Split Systems Can Be More Expensive

While mini-split systems don't require extensive modifications, the equipment is often more expensive for an equivalent cooling capacity. This added cost can make planning your new installation slightly more complicated because you'll need to compare the system's price to the amount you'll save by avoiding a ductwork retrofit.

Your home's size is another factor to consider. Although mini-splits and central air systems can both cool large houses, a mini-split will typically cost more per BTU of cooling. As a result, the cost savings may be less substantial as you move into higher capacity systems. You'll need to consider your home's size and cooling load to determine which option is more cost-effective for your usage.

3. Central Air Systems Use Less Interior Space

While central air systems require you to retrofit ductwork into older homes, they don't need much space in your living area. Although you cannot block the ductwork, you can install vents in walls, ceilings, or floors, minimizing their impact on your home's décor. A conventional ducted central air system may be a better option for rooms where wall space is at a premium.

However, mini-split systems offer a variety of head designs, including ceiling cassettes, wall mounts, and floor-standing units. If you're looking to make a mini-split installation fit into your space, one of these options may be worth considering to help minimize the head unit's impact on your living area.

To learn more, contact a company like Carolina Air Care.