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What's the Difference Between Mini-Split & Central AC Systems?

Mini-split and central AC systems are often confused, and while there is overlap in these two types of air conditioning equipment, there are also several key differences.

Ductless mini-split systems are made up of an outdoor compressor or condenser unit which connects to one or more indoor units, pumping warm or cool air into your home. Mini-split systems give the homeowner the ability to control the temperature in each room where one of the indoor units is located, with or without the use of ducts. This often makes mini-split systems a popular option for homes where there are a lot of people who may have different temperature preferences.

What mini-split systems and central AC have in common is that they both use outdoor compressor/condenser units. This is why many people get them confused. The key difference is that in central AC systems, the outdoor unit connects one specific unit indoors. This indoor unit distributes air through ducts and out of vents throughout your home. You also control the temperature of a central AC system through the thermostat, rather than a specific AC unit. Connection to a specific unit, oftentimes a furnace, and this widespread rather than room by room approach is what makes central AC unique among indoor/outdoor systems.

Which System Is Right for Me?

Now that you know the difference between mini-spilt and central AC systems, it’s time to consider which is right for you. We’ve already discussed the customizable advantage of a mini-split system, though many choose to go a different route because of high installation costs. Some also find the look of mini-split systems to be ostentatious, and prefer to go with a system that does not stick out in their home as much. That said, there are still numerous advantages to installing a mini-split system

Many homeowners prefer mini-split systems because:

  • They are small: Mini-split systems, while noticeable, do not take up a lot of room, meaning they are fairly easy to place in anywhere in your house.
  • They are easy to install: Although the installation process for mini-split systems may not be cheap, it is fairly easy, mainly requiring drilling a hole in the wall to feed the refrigerant line between the outdoor and indoor unit.
  • They are efficient: Because you don’t have to use them to heat/cool your whole home at once, mini-split systems are often very energy-efficient.
  • They are customizable: Once again, it’s hard to deny the appeal of mini-split systems just in terms of personalizing temperatures from room to room.

The main downside to central AC systems is that they are difficult to install, and some homeowners may not want to go through the extensive process of putting one in if they do not already have them. They also require some additional maintenance in the form of duct work, including duct insulation. That said, for maintaining temperature consistency, central AC has become the go-to type of system.

Many homeowners prefer central heating/air systems because:

  • They look better: Unlike the clunky look of mini-split systems, central air is modern and sleek, and can be hidden so no one has to look at your AC units.
  • They are easier to control: Because they are completely controlled from a single thermostat, central HVAC systems allow you to easily spread warm or cool air throughout your entire house.
  • They are less expensive to install: In general, central AC costs 30% less to install (minus duct insulation) than mini-split systems. So while the installation process may be difficult, it could also save you a lot of money.

Get the System You Deserve, with Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC

At Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC, our Palm Beach County HVAC experts offer professional heating and AC installation. Regardless of what system is right for you, our technicians promise to provide affordable and efficient service designed to ensure you get the equipment you need. Whether you are looking for a more customizable approach or whether you’re looking for greater temperature consistency, we are trained to handle mini-split and central AC systems that will keep you comfortable year-round.

Call 24/7 at (561) 270-6181, or contact us online anytime.