Ducted vs Ductless Air Conditioning Systems: Which Is The Best For Your Home’s Air Conditioner Installation? | Fort Worth, TX
Photo By Hase-Hoch-2 at istock
Air conditioning is a major need for residential and commercial properties. Whether planning a new construction project or renovating your home, you will inevitably be faced with a choice between a ductless AC and a ducted one (central AC), especially if you live in and around the fluctuating weather in Fort Worth, TX.
Both ductless and ducted HVAC systems come in different types under multiple brands. This guide covers the basics of both ducted and ductless AC systems. Read further to get the pros and cons of each system, as well as expert advice on which air conditioner you should recommend to your air conditioner installation team.
Ducted Air Conditioning System
As the name implies, a ducted AC provides cooling and heating via a duct system spread out all over your commercial space or home. A corresponding central unit consisting of a compressor, condenser, and air handling unit is typically installed in the property’s garage, attic, or basement.
A ducted air conditioning system provides hot or cool air, subsequently distributed throughout the entire property via a series of vents and ducts. This provides the desired climate control in all parts of the home.
Types of Ducted Air Conditioning Systems
At One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating, our air conditioning installation team has experience installing all types of ducted AC units in Fort Worth, TX. We have also installed almost all major and minor ducted AC brands.
Ducted air conditioning systems, also known as central air conditioning systems, are widely categorized into split central AC and packaged central AC.
1. Split Central AC
Split central AC units are the most commonly used air conditioners. They comprise a compressor and condenser in one package located outside the property. The air conditioner installation team installs a separate evaporator inside the property, typically in the attic or closet.
The exterior unit provides the refrigerant to the interior evaporator. This refrigerant cools the air, after which the air handling unit is used to pump the cool air down the network of central air ducts. A split central AC is typically thrice larger than an equally packaged central AC. Splitting it twice makes its size more manageable.
The split central AC has higher SEER ratings than packaged central AC units. Generally, split central AC is economical for properties without an air conditioner but a furnace since they can use the same ductwork.
2. Packaged Central AC
Almost all parts in a packaged central AC, including the evaporator, compressor, or condenser, are placed in a single unit. The air conditioner installation team can install these on your roof or a concrete slab next to your property.
The packaged central AC is ideal for already built homes, commercial properties, or generally in homes with limited interior spaces. Air is then circulated from the air handling unit to different rooms and returned via the central air ducts.
At your request, the air conditioner installation team can couple your system with either furnaces or heating coils for added heating functions. Despite its smaller size, the packaged central air conditioner is less energy efficient than split systems. Fortunately, its small size means it doesn’t take up significant space in your home.
However, before tasking the air conditioner installation guys to install your packaged central AC, it is advisable to inspect your exterior space beforehand. Packaged central units tend to be heavy, and your roof should be able to handle the load comfortably. Alternatively, if you place the unit on the ground, ensure a visible, strong, and durable concrete establishment.
When choosing ducted AC units for your home or commercial property in Fort Worth, TX, our air conditioner installation experts advise on ductwork as a vital consideration. Regardless of the ducted AC system you want, central air ducts require plenty of space in a property. Therefore, consult with an air conditioner installation expert to determine if your ducted AC choice matches your home’s design and layout.
Ducted Cooling/Heating Duct Types
Ducts make up a significant part of the ducted AC systems. Central air ducts come in various types depending on the materials used to make them. Common types of ducts for central AC systems include;
1. Rigid ducting
Rigid central air ducts are fixed structures distributing hot/cool air throughout an interior space. These metallic ducts are sturdier and more durable than flexible ducts. Unfortunately, they are more complex to install than flexible ducting, which is why you need air conditioner installation experts to handle the installation for you.
In addition, rigid ducting tends to be noisier than flexible ducting. However, you can request your serving air conditioner installation technician to add fiberglass insulation around the metal to absorb the air conditioning sounds. Unfortunately, this poses a severe health hazard because fiberglass subjected to heavy tear and wear releases harmful particles into the atmosphere. Upon skin contact, these particles can irritate and, upon inhalation, can cause lung irritation.
2. Flexible Ducting
Flexible ducts are tube-like structures with a sizable diameter. The ducts comprise a metal framework surrounded by insulation and flexible plastic. In addition, flexible ducting is easier and cheaper to install. Air conditioner installation experts recommend installing confined spaces, especially where it is virtually impossible to install rigid structures.
Moreover, flexible ducting is perfect and ideal for connecting rigid ducting to the air outlets. When directing the air conditioner installation guys during installation, ensure no obstructing bends or kinks interfere with airflow.
Pros and Cons of Ducted AC Systems
Pros of Ducted Air Conditioners
- Reduced installation costs. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that 91% of American homes built since 2000 use central ducts. Therefore, the high chances are that you already have a ducting system in your home. In case you foresee an air conditioner installation and replacement project, you won’t need a bigger budget since you already have central AC ducts
- Aesthetic/Visual Appeal. The ducted AC system vents provide a discreet and unobtrusive appearance. If you prefer aesthetics, then the ducted systems are for you
- They remove humidity more effectively. Unlike the ductless AC systems, the ducted (central) AC units efficiently help you maintain the perfect humidity levels
- They are ideal for large spaces, unlike ductless systems.
Cons of Ducted Air Conditioners
- Higher installation costs if the air conditioner installation team has to also factor in new ducting
- Lower SEER(Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings, unlike the ductless systems
- They require lots of maintenance. 30% of air gets lost via joints, leaks, and poorly installed joints within the system’s joints
- Higher chances of mold growth in the ducting.
Ductless Air Conditioning System
These systems do not require ducting to flow air around your home, as the name implies. Alternatively, ductless air conditioning systems blow cool air directly into your room, making them highly energy-efficient. A ductless AC system has two primary components; an interior air handling unit with a fan and an evaporator, and an exterior unit. These indoor and outdoor units are connected by a copper conduit that houses the suction tubing, refrigerant tubing, condensate drain, and power cable.
Types of Ductless Air Conditioner Systems
These systems are generally preferred due to their notable features and advantages. Conventional ductless AC units are smart and more energy-efficient than ducted systems. When consulting an air conditioner installation expert, ensure you consult with them on the benefits of installing ductless systems over ducted systems.
Below are some common types of ductless air conditioners:
1. Wall-Mounted Mini Splits
These systems are installed on walls with sufficient outdoor space for the outdoor compressor unit. Professional air conditioner installation experts install these systems as high as possible for effective cooling and also because cold air sinks.
Wall-mounted ductless AC units are easy and affordable to install. In addition, they allow you the flexibility and convenience of setting individual room climates. Owing to technological advancement, these systems can function as reversible heat pumps.
2. Window Units
Instead of installing separate outdoor and indoor units, the condenser and evaporator are packaged into one functioning unit and installed on your windows. The evaporator cools the indoor air, whereas the absorbed heat is eliminated to the outdoors. Air conditioner installation professionals advise installing multiple window units in a large property, one in each room, to provide sufficient cooling.
3. Portable Air Conditioners
These are similar to window units since all components are packaged as one unit. However, the major difference is that you can install the portable air conditioner anywhere without the help of an air conditioner installation expert.
4. Ducted Mini Splits
Also known as concealed mini-splits, these units offer the perks of both a ductless and ducted AC unit. The mini-split unit connects to ducts transporting warm or cool air throughout the space.
5. Floor-Mounted Mini Splits
This mini-split system has an indoor unit located on the floor or close to it. It is perfect for rooms with slanted walls or low-hanging roofs/ceilings. Floor-mounted mini splits are also perfect for rooms with sizable windows that don’t leave sufficient space for a wall-mounted unit.
Pros and Cons of Ductless AC Systems
Pros of Ductless Air Conditioners
- Perfect for small houses (reduced space). Ductless air conditioning units leave a reduced footprint in any installation area, unlike the ducted ones. They lack any ducting or the presence of a large air handling unit or condenser. As such, ductless AC systems are ideal for renovating spaces where there are limited duct spaces
- The flexibility to have multiple temperature zones. With this unit, you can alter each room’s temperature as need be without interfering with the entire home’s temperatures
- Owing to their increased energy efficiency, different utility companies are currently providing financial incentives and rebates to buyers and users who install the units. Our AC experts can help you locate the best energy-efficiency rebates and incentives in Fort Worth, TX
- Decreased energy usage. The units have an inverter technology that allows the compressor to slow down or speed up as per demand
- They are easy to maintain.
Cons of Ductless Air Conditioners
- They may be obstructive and an eyesore, especially since it requires a unit to be installed inside
- They provide limited airflow compared to the ducted air conditioning systems.
Which is Better Between Ducted and Ductless Air Conditioner Systems?
While both have their perks and cons, each system is ideal under different circumstances. However, when planning on installing an AC unit in your Fort Worth home, you may have to settle on a choice.
When Should You Install a Ducted (Central) AC?
- You have existing ductwork in your Fort Worth, TX home. It will be cost-effective and practical
- You live in a humid area. As previously established, ducted air conditioners are better at regulating indoor humidity than ducted systems
- Your space needs better airflow
- It would be best if you had a more discreet solution. Depending on the air conditioner installation quality, it is practically impossible to notice a ducted AC unit save for the registers.
When Should You Install a Ductless AC?
- You have limited spaces for ducting. If installing ducting isn’t an option for your home, then ductless systems are the perfect choice
- You want to add to an existing space. Ductless systems are cheaper if you are looking for extra cooling/heating in your shed/grow room or if you are adding an extra space
- You want multiple area temp control. If your home has several rooms, each differently occupied, high chances are that not everyone prefers the same indoor temperatures. You can have separate air handlers for individual rooms with ductless systems. Additionally, you can control each room’s heating and cooling settings individually.
A Bit of Both?
Fortunately, there is no hard and fast rule about choosing ductless over ducted. On the one hand, ductless vs. ducted is a never-ending debate. On the other hand, there is a common ground. Homeowners can install ducted ductless cooling to enjoy the features provided by both sides. A combined ducted and ductless HVAC system can effortlessly provide comfort, convenience, and efficiency.
The choice for the best of these two depends on several factors:
- Are you installing AC in an already built establishment or beginning from the ground up?
- How big is the space you want to cool or heat?
- Are you looking for individual zonal control or otherwise?
- What is your budget?
While most homeowners are concerned majorly with cost-savings, we here at One Hour Air Heating and Cooling advise you comprehensively on the best choice for your air conditioner installation.
Air Conditioner Installation, Fort Worth, TX
Contact us at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas to schedule an expert air conditioner consultation or installation for your Texas home or commercial establishment. Rest assured, we take a wholesome approach to advise you accordingly and provide top-notch air conditioning services in Fort Worth, TX.