What is the Difference Between Ducted and Ductless AC?

A ducted AC delivers air through ducts made of sheet metal or fiberglass duct in your walls and ceilings, while a ductless AC distributes refrigerant to small air handlers installed within your house. Ducted and ductless AC systems both blow cool air into your home, but with different approaches. It’s important to know which AC system works best for your size and style of home.

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Ducted Vs. Ductless AC

In a ducted AC system, air travels from your central AC unit through the metal or fiberglass ducts and is released through the vents in your home. A ductless system, on the other hand, does not have one central unit to cool. Instead, it uses air handlers that look like small boxes on the walls or ceilings of your home to remove heat from each room individually.

To Duct or Not to Duct

You and your home are unique. So, you want to select an AC system based on the needs of your home and your own personal preferences, not according to trends or opinions. There are several factors to consider when you’re deciding between a ducted or ductless AC system.

Why Choose a Duct System?

A ducted AC system can bring a host of benefits for you and your home. It’s smart to install a ducted system when:

  • Your space has existing ducts. If your home already has ductwork installed, all that needs to be added is a new unit to the existing ventilation, which can be the quick and less expensive way.

  • Humidity is not for you. Ducted AC systems are more efficient when handling humidity by removing moisture from the air during the cooling operation.

  • You want better air flow. Ducted AC systems enhance air circulation since they’re not confined to one room or closed space.

  • You have aesthetic concerns. If you’re concerned with how your AC system looks, it’s smart to choose a ducted system because its parts are hidden behind walls and in crawl spaces. The air handlers in a ductless system are visible once installed in the rooms.

  • You want to save money on maintenance. Ducted AC systems require less maintenance than ductless systems because they only consist of the outside unit and a single indoor air handler (a ductless system has air handlers in each room that will need servicing).

Why Choose a Ductless System?

There are several reasons to go ductless with your AC, and it could be the best move, depending on your preferences. It’s best to install a ductless system when:

  • There’s no room for ducts in your home. If you have high ceilings, there is no existing ductwork, or simply no room for ducts in your walls, then ductless AC is the best option.

  • You’re adding on rooms to your space. If you’re making additions to your home or want to cool separate spaces like a garage, it can be expensive and difficult to install ducts to your existing system. A ductless AC would allow you to cool these spaces individually.

  • The dust is too much. Ducts collect dust, and since a ductless system doesn’t force your air through ducts, your rooms will be easier to clean.

  • You want multiple cooling zones. Ductless AC systems allow you to control the temperature for each room in your home. So you can keep certain rooms cooler than others, and change that up whenever you like.

Cool the Right Way

If you’re choosing between a ducted or ductless AC system, it’s smart to consider which type would be best for your home, and be sure to inspect what parts or systems are already in your home. Each system will keep you cool, but it’s up to you how to make that happen.

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