Historically and statistically speaking, most people have central air conditioners. But lately, you hear a lot of talk about people opting for ductless air conditioning. Japan and several countries in Europe have been using ductless systems for years already, and many Americans are starting to see the benefits.
So the question on everyone’s mind is whether they should stick with their central ACs, which use duct systems to transport air through the home, or switch to a ductless system and ditch those ducts entirely?
While we could give you a straightforward answer, we don’t actually believe that one system is best for everyone. Instead, we’ll give you three reasons to keep or ditch your ducted system to ensure that you’re giving this decision plenty of consideration.
1. You Have Ducts
That’s right—having ducts is one of the strongest reasons to keep them, just as much as it is to get rid of them. It’s certainly not a black-and-white issue.
On one hand, keeping the ducts is the obvious decision:
- If you have ducts, a significant portion of the installation cost is already taken care of when installing a central AC.
- They’re compatible with both an AC and furnace or a heat pump.
Or they can be a source of inconvenience:
- They can trap dust and will need occasional cleaning.
- They’re susceptible to forming leaks, creating a huge drain on energy.
In the end, it all depends on whether you want to pay more upfront or more in the long run.
2. You Can Only Cool or Heat the Whole Home
When it comes to heating and cooling your entire home, there’s nothing like a duct system to do it for you. One unit supplying air to the entire home makes for an inexpensive installation and a reasonable monthly energy bill, too. This reason, as well, is perhaps why so many people choose to stick with these systems.
On the other hand, these systems can only cool or heat the whole home. If your home has several bedrooms but is only occupied by two people during most of the year, you can bet that a lot of your energy will go toward heating and cooling empty rooms. A ductless system gives you the ability to control the temperature in each room individually. Talk about convenient and efficient!
3. You Have Air Quality Issues
Does your family suffer from allergies or asthma? Those triggers can be substantially reduced by installing air filtration and purification systems in your HVAC system. However, these devices need to be installed in the duct system to be used to their full potential.
Alternatively, if dirty ducts are the source of your symptoms, then it might be better to stop using them and opt for a ductless system. While the ducts can certainly be cleaned to eliminate this problem, a permanent solution would be to just avoid using the ducts entirely. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll still need to change the air filters in your ductless units.