Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Central A/C or Ductless Mini Split? Deciding Which System Is Right For Your Needs

If you’re looking for ways to keep your home cool this summer, central A/C and ductless mini split systems are both reasonable options for most homeowners. If you’re having trouble deciding which is the best option for you, there are a few factors to examine to help you decide. First of all, though, it’s important to know the difference. A ductless mini split is a heat pump or A/C system that uses an outdoor condensing unit to provide conditioning to one or more air handling/evaporator units inside the house. The conditioned air is delivered directly to the room or areas, without the need for ductwork. Each air handler has independent temperature control.

Your home’s structure and its cooling needs

Central A/C or Ductless Mini Split? Deciding Which System Is Right For Your NeedsIf you already have a forced-air heating system with a complete duct system, you’ll probably want to go with a central air conditioner. Existing ductwork eliminates a lot of the installation costs associated with central A/C. However, a ductless system is ideal if you’re adding onto our home, or have a difficult-to-condition wing or area.

If you don’t already have ductwork, you will want to consider your ceiling height. Ductwork typically requires a foot of height for installation, and this might not be reasonable if your ceiling is too low. The indoor air handling units of a ductless mini split system offer many installation options, making them easy to fit into your home.


Both systems will be similar in their efficiency ratings, but their energy use can be different in practice. Ductwork, which is prone to air leaks and energy loss through conduction, can be a major source of inefficiency, so a ductless mini split avoids this potential efficiency loss. They also offer an individual thermostat for each area an air handler is serving. This means that you can turn down the cooling or heating in unused areas, saving energy.


The initial purchase price is relatively similar. Ductless mini splits typically cost a bit more. If you have to have ductwork installed, a central air conditioner will have much higher installation costs than a ductless mini split.

For help choosing an air conditioning system for your Yuma area home, please contact the experts at Hansberger Refrigeration & Electric Company.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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