How ductless and central air compare
Ten years ago, the industry standard refrigerant was R-22. Today, manufacturers can’t even ship systems that operate on R-22 because it’s not good for the Earth’s ozone layer. The standard minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) for central air conditioners and heat pumps prior to 2006 was SEER 10. Today, the minimum SEER is 14 in most southern states, although SEER 13 equipment can still be sold in the northern states.
Consumers care less about efficiency ratings than they do about their electric bills, even though the two are directly related! Consumers are looking for ways to reduce their utility bills without sacrificing comfort. These questions all factor into the comparison between ductless mini-split systems and central air conditioners.
Mini-split systems compare favorably to central air conditioners, and offer some significant advantages. While mini-splits may have a higher initial installation cost, when you compare system lifetime costs of both types of systems, ductless systems are the clear winners.
The latest ductless air conditioning systems are highly efficient. Like central air conditioners, they have an outside unit and they operate on electricity. That’s about where the similarities end. Central air conditioners rely on a home’s ductwork to transport cool air around the home. Ductwork decreases the efficiency of the system by about 30%, meaning that homeowners are wasting $0.30 cents of every dollar they spend to operate their air conditioners. Mini-split systems eliminate the largest single inefficiency in a central air system. More of what you spend to make the system work is returned in the form of cool, comfortable air.
Ductless systems use insulated refrigeration lines that run to evaporator units in the home. Evaporators are individually controlled, so each room can have its own climate settings. This arrangement also allows any area of the home to get clean, efficient cooled air. That super-hot second floor will stay cool as a cucumber, even in July.
No ducts? No problem for a ductless system! Installation is simple and requires little to no inside modification.
Central air conditioners can be noisy. While ductless units also have an outside compressor, the inside evaporator units are literally whisper-quiet. In acoustic tests, the evaporator units operate at a sound level no louder than a human whisper. If it weren’t for the cool, comfortable air, you might not even know the system is running!
The biggest difference you’ll notice is in your electric bill. Ductless systems are highly efficient, and because they’re custom-controlled, you decide which rooms to cool and when. Aside from being more efficient and flexible, they consume less electricity. You will spend less to keep your home comfortably cool in the summer with a ductless system that you’ll spend to operate a central air conditioner.
Right now, MassSave is offering some excellent rebates on both ductless systems and central air conditioners. If you’d like more information about keeping your home cool with ductless air conditioning, please give us a call at New England Ductless at (781) 995-2665. We’ll be happy to show you how you can save with environmentally friendly, ductless heating and cooling.
Photo Credit: yenhoon, via FreeImages.com