Are you considering installing a new HVAC unit? Is your central air conditioning not cutting it during the sweltering heat? Are you tired of managing window units? No matter your reason for searching for a new air conditioning system, it’s important to consider all your options. Let’s start at the beginning. 

What Is Central Air Conditioning?

Central air conditioning was touted as an introduction to modern convenience. If you have an air conditioning system with vents in each room and a central thermostat, that’s central air conditioning. Just a couple decades ago, it was rare to find a home with central air conditioning. Central air conditioners have an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor unit. 

Central air conditioning units must be adequately sized to the BTU demands of your household. They also require frequent maintenance, including checking the ductwork for leaks and maximizing airflow with regular ductwork cleaning. 

What Is a Mini-Split Air Conditioner?

Mini-split air conditioning systems are easily recognizable by their wall-mounted indoor evaporators. Many people also refer to mini-split air conditioners as ductless systems because, as the name implies, the system doesn’t require any existing ductwork. Mini-split systems will also have an outdoor condenser unit. 

Comparing the Cost of Central Air vs. Mini-Split Installation

HVAC installation costs can vary depending on several factors, including the size of your home. Research from Home Advisor suggests that the typical American central air installation can range from about $4,000 to $7,400. Compared to central air conditioning systems, mini-split system installation can range from $2,000 to as much as $14,500. 

Mini-split systems have such an immense price range because they offer truly customizable solutions. With a mini-split system, you can proactively address comfort concerns throughout your home and develop a solution that allows you to upgrade from a window unit to a more centralized AC system without the additional cost of ductwork installation. 

Generally speaking, if your home has existing ductwork, you may find yourself saving money by replacing your central air conditioning unit with a more recent model. However, if you live in an older construction home or your ductwork otherwise needs to be replaced, mini-split installation often is the more affordable option. 

Aesthetic Difference

Central air conditioning units are often tucked away on the side of the house and in dark corners of your basement, whereas mini-split systems require wall-mounted interior units. If aesthetics are among your biggest concerns, central air conditioning units generally offer a more covert cooling system. 

Energy Efficiency and Consumption

While every home has its own energy demands, generally speaking, mini-split air conditioning systems offer the most energy efficiency. In this system, you can independently cool rooms that you use the most without cooling the guest bedroom that currently sits unused. If you don’t have a mansion with massive cooling demands, mini-split systems will allow you to cool your home without worrying about high energy costs. 

Regional Applications

Air conditioning systems in Arizona have to work harder than air conditioning systems in Minnesota. Generally, central air conditioning units are more equipped to handle the immense airflow demands of hotter climates while mini-split systems may require additional components or further customization to meet the needs of a home in a hot climate. 

If you live in a temperate climate such as the DC area, you may find yourself benefiting from mini-split installation. 

Does Your Climate Require Heating in the Winter?

Many homeowners prefer to use the same system for heating and cooling. With central air conditioning, this fact is a given, but not all mini-split systems will offer heating capacity. If you find yourself in need of a system that heats and cools your home with the same efficiency, you’ll want to look into mini-split systems and heat pumps. 

Mini-Split Installation Can Preserve the Value of Your Historic Home

As mentioned above, mini-split systems are best for homes without existing ductwork, including and especially historic homes. If you want to minimize the amount of disruption caused by installation, mini-split systems are the way to go. The wall-mounted evaporators only require a three-inch hole rather than thousands of dollars and many hours of installation inconvenience.

Reach Out to HVAC Experts to Discover the Best Choice for You 

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the number of options available to you in the HVAC world? You’re not alone. The experts at JC & JC HVAC Mechanical Contractors can help you evaluate your home’s energy demands, examine your existing ductwork design, and help you select the best system for your budget and comfort demands. For more information about air conditioning installation in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas, reach out to our specialists today!

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