Figuring Out Which to Choose

A central air conditioning system requires ductwork running throughout your Phoenix-area home, an exterior compressor and condenser plus an interior evaporator coil to cool your home. Ductless AC units, on the other hand, require only small holes in a single wall and are great for bringing cool air to new home additions or tough-to-cool spots.

Ductless AC works like a heat pump, while central AC actually chills your air. Choosing the best AC unit for your home depends on many factors, such as existing ductwork for heating.

Existing Ductwork

Existing Ductwork - Howard Air

For Phoenix-area homes currently enjoying forced-air heat through ducts, a central air conditioner system can piggyback on many of the same parts as your furnace. Your air handler and ducts will carry cool air in the summer just as they carry warm air in the winter.

Side By Side

Central vs Ductless Unit - Howard Air

Comparing the two cooling methods comes down to various attributes, and in head-to-head comparisons, you can see what fits your home better:

  • Flexibility: Nothing beats a ductless system for ease of installation and flexibility with tackling add-ons, remodeled rooms or areas that never quite get cool enough.
  • Heating and Cooling: Ductless mini-split systems can be purchased to provide either warm or cool air; a central air conditioner works in tandem with your furnace, but provides only cooling.
  • Energy Use: Because it has a limited range, a ductless system usually takes far less energy to run than a whole-house central AC system.
  • Installation Ease: A ductless system installs in less than a day; a complete central air conditioner requires two or three days of work if ducts need to be run inside walls and between floors.
  • System Design: A central AC system requires extensive calculation, measurement and design; a ductless system is also rated by cooling tons, but is a far simpler design process.
  • Utility Bills: Wisely run, a ductless system can save you money by cooling only the spaces you want; a central air conditioner will cool ducts first, then cool every room in your home.
  • Cost: Generally the ductless system will cost more for the same cooling capacity, but that may not be true if you need to run new ducts for a central AC unit.
  • Air Quality: A central air conditioner features a large air filter, cleaned or replaced monthly, to remove particulates from your airflow; a ductless system has a much smaller, less efficient, reusable filter for the same purpose.

Schedule an Evaluation Today

For a reliable evaluation of which system is right for your life and your home, contact the pros at Howard Air. We have ample experience in both designs and can help you pick the cooling method that fits your budget and needs. We specialize in keeping an eye on energy efficiency.