Mini-Split Vs. Central Air: Complete Guide

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Do you plan to install a new AC unit this year? It might be your old unit is not working correctly, or you want an additional unit in your home. Whatever the reason is, you will be looking for the best cooling unit. So when you go shopping, you have two options – mini-split vs. central air. Now which one to choose? Read this article to explore the complete guide of mini-split vs. central air. 

Facts suggest that the majority of the homes in the United States use central AC systems. However, mini-splits are also increasing in popularity as they are easy to install and allow flexible usage in summers and winters.

So, when you compare splits with central ACs, you must consider the unit’s price, your home size, décor, energy efficiency, and operating costs to choose the ideal option for your home.

How Do These Systems Operate?


Splits are a smart option for homes and areas with inadequate space. Being much similar to the window AC systems, these are best for single-room cooling. Though, unlike window ACs, they feature a detached open-air unit.

When comparing mini-split vs. central air, the difference is that the former requires no ductwork. So, if your home does not have an existing ductwork system, splits are an ideal choice for you. You may also install it in a garage or shed to enjoy extra cooling.

Also, a split system’s indoor unit features a blower and evaporator coil that sucks in warm air from indoors and replaces it with cold air. Contrary to a central cooling unit, cool air is reverted straight to the room where the unit is. Thus, it reduces the energy losses associated with the ducts. The open-air unit or condenser gets heat from within the home and discharges outside.

Central AC

Unlike splits, a central cooling unit is a ducted system that uses a series of ducts to circulate conditioned air within the home. It features a condenser, compressor, and air handling unit. The vents suck air from indoors and transport it to the air handler for filtration and cooling. The outdoor unit (condenser) facilitates refrigerant to the indoor coils. The warm air blows over the evaporator loop. It cools down and moves via ducts and supply vents. However, if your home already has a ductwork system, a central cooling unit is the best choice.

Pros and Cons of Split Units


Easy Installation

The mini-splits require fixing a wall unit and outdoor unit. But, it does not require long ductwork. The connecting tube is just three inches broad if you want to link the indoor unit with the outdoor unit. Also, there is no obligation to reconstruct walls or roofs around the ducts. So, you can hire any Air duct cleaning in Cumming, GAfor this purpose.

Highly Energy Efficient

Splits have no ducts (where holes and cracks) support energy loss. Also, splits deliver air directly from the unit to the required region that ensures energy efficiency.

Enables Temperature Control of Individual Rooms

When you install, splits in every room allow temperature control in every part of the home. Multi-split units enable you to cool and heat many rooms with a single outdoor unit. Also, you can set a different temperature for every room.

Less Cost Over Time

Though the basic cost of the split is more when you compare it to a central AC of the same capacity, it does not mean that you should not invest in a ductless system. As you know, splits are more energy-efficient, which means you will save in the long run. Also, its maintenance costs are pretty less than central systems.

Negligible Noise

When you compare splits with ducted units, you will see that the latter generate more noise due to the vibrations caused when moving air in the home. However, this problem does not exist in a ductless split system. Also, split fans operate at a lower speed that also promises negligible noise and a comfy environment.

Ideal for Small Detached Rooms

If you have a central unit and wish to have AC cooling in areas detached from the central ductwork system, a split is the best choice for you. You can fix it in your garage, mini work shed area, or any place where ducts cannot extend.

Variety of Design Options to Choose From

With splits, you have an option to choose from a great variety as per your home décor or need. For example, you may pick a concealed split or roof cassette split if you don’t want a sizable indoor unit on your wall. They are fixed on the ceilings and never smash with the overall home aesthetics. Also, floor-mounted splits are ideal for a room with low roofs or sloping walls. It is the preferred choice if you are looking for an AC unit for your attic or loft. Also, if you have straight high roofs, choose the wall-mounted option. It is an economical option and suitable for rooms with seven to eight inches tall ceilings.


May Look Unappealing in Beautifully Decorated Spaces

A huge wall-installed split in your room may seem prominent and destroy your interior décor. While the condensate pipe lingering close to the outdoor unit may also seem unappealing. So, if you are conscious about your interior looks, you should opt for a concealed split unit.

Costly One-Time Purchase

One of the most significant drawbacks of mini-split is their high essential cost. If you calculate, its average cost ranges between $1500 – $2000 per 12000 BTU. So, this is 30% greater when contrasted to central AC. However, this amount does not include the purchase and duct installation cost. Besides, the price is even higher if you have a big house and install separate units in each room.

Inappropriate for Larger Areas

Splits are not ideal for large areas as they feature a limited cooling capacity. So, the perfect places to install splits are individual rooms. And for larger spaces, you may have to install multiple units.

Poor Ventilation

Splits don’t transport fresh air from the outdoors. Instead, they process the existing air present indoors. As you shut the windows and doors when operating ACs, many aerial particles, dust, and germs can invade your indoor space, and you may have to hire an Air Duct Sanitizing in Cumming GA

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