Central Air Vs. A Mini-Split System
The standard for an air conditioning system is to install a system that uses one centralized air-conditioning unit to push air through ducts to all of the rooms in your house. Just because this is the standard does not mean that this is your only option. Depending on your air conditioning needs and/or the size of your house, you might be able to save more money and keep your house comfortable by using a mini-split system.
When Is a Central-Air System the Right Choice?
When you have a large house, and every room of the house is in use, then you need a system that will push air into every room in your house. You could put separate window-mounted AC units in every room in your house, but you will get more efficient cooling if you install one central unit.
Central air systems do have their weaknesses, however. The air flowing through ducts creates an outward pressure, and over time this pressure can cause joints and seams to fail. Once your ducts start leaking, they will undermine the efficiency of your system. You can repair leaky ducts, but in some cases, you can save yourself money by eliminating your ducts and installing a mini-spit system.
What is a Mini-Split System?
A mini-split system will have one external condenser unit located on the outside of your house and up to four evaporator units. Coolant lines will run from the condenser units to each of the evaporator units. You should also have a thermostat to govern the amount of cooling available at each evaporator. Cool air will flow from these evaporator units directly into the rooms that need to be cooled.
When Is a Mini-Split System the Right Choice?
If you live in a small house, then you probably don't need a ducted system. A mini-split system might help you to get more targeted cooling for your home. At the same time, if you live in a big house, but you have rooms that are not exposed to the sun and, therefore, stay cooler, you have a basement that doesn't need cooling, or you have rooms in your house that you don't use that much, then you can put an evaporator unit in the rooms that most need cooling and save yourself some money by not paying for a system large enough to push air into every room of your house.
In order to cool your house efficiently, you need to be willing to think outside of the box with an hvac installation. While central air systems are more common, you can effectively cool a home with a mini-split system if you carefully design your system to meet the cooling needs of your house and family.