Ductless Mini Splits vs Central Air Solutions Irvine CA | What’s Better For You?

Figuring out the airflow for your home can be a perplexing task, when trying to maximize your value and longevity of the system that you are implementing. Commonly the solutions found in homes break down to two options: ductless mini split systems and central air systems. One boasts flexibility while the other has lower up front costs and a larger range, so it begs the question – when do you know when one is the better answer for your current situation? Ultimately it boils down to what you need your cooling solution to do for you, and what complications you have within your current living space. For example, do certain rooms need more concentrated cooling/increased airflow, or would you like a solution that’s capable of integrating with a humidifier or air purifier? Based on some of these needs (don’t worry we didn’t forget about cost), you should know the benefits of each option and how they enable you to get the best cooling possible for your home. We’ll take a look at what each system excels at and provide you with all the information you need to make your decision in your airflow solution. Finding an adequate HVAC solution is understanding how to work within the constraints that your home gives you. 

Ductless Mini Splits

Ductless Mini Split system

Ductless mini splits are the air solution that can provide a real punch to certain areas of your home that struggle to receive air because they don’t require air ducts to operate. They cool one room area, with a dedicated fan and evaporator coil. Due to their generally compact sizing and simplistic structure, they are extremely efficient solutions that solve the cooling conundrum in hard to reach areas. 

They are called mini splits because there is still an indoor and outdoor unit that functions as part of the system, and also that they are relatively much smaller than traditional A/C or furnace equipment. This makes them highly convenient with a relatively low footprint and a dedicated function for a specific space. Let’s start by taking a look at the benefits that mini split systems provide.  

  • Operating Efficiency – Mini split systems are extremely efficient and are equipped with some of the best technology in HVAC, achieving very satisfying temperatures while using as much or as little energy as needed. 
  • Airflow Zoning – Although there are very simplistic mini split systems going to individual rooms such as basements or attics, there are also more intricate systems that weave into multiple mini-split heads for each room or multiple indoor units. With zoning you can directly keep one area on and the other off, helping create the optimum efficiency for those rooms that never seem to achieve good temperatures. 
  •  Flexibility – Mini-splits have the flexibility to work in tandem with central air systems. The rooms that are out of the way that don’t have ducting to connect to such as some attics and basements greatly benefit from a mini-split system.

Central Air Systems

Central air systems are definitely more common amongst homes, as they are more capable of providing quality heating and cooling to large homes that have more consistent needs. They distribute airflow through the home’s ducting and are more than capable of being a complete solution for homeowners. Mini split systems are also capable of cooling a large unit, but it essentially defeats the purpose of having a big amount of rooms managed via mini-split, as a central air system will handle the job better with less management required. 

One variable that gets introduced with central air systems is duct upkeep. It is imperative that the air ducts are maintained for a central air system to function at its optimum capacity. Even with this extra need, the overall cost of a central system is still very effective and efficient compared to what it would cost to implement a mini-split. We can go deeper into some of the benefits of central air to help determine if these winning characteristics apply to your situation at home.

AC Condenser

Effective Range and Area of Effect – A big benefit of central air systems is that one unit can pack a lot of power, and manage an entire home given all the ducts are providing adequate airflow to their respective rooms/areas. Addons are not required to get quality heating and cooling in most homes with central air, and they are a simple system managed by one unit. Conversely, split systems would have multiple heads managed separately (which can be a positive or negative depending on your situation).

Ability to Further Improve Your Air Quality – There are far more options to add to central air systems to boost your IAQ than mini split systems. Humidifiers and air purifiers are a few of the viable options to give yourself a better heating and cooling experience. Filtration is an extremely useful addition to a centralized system as it increases the efficiency of the unit constantly pumping air. 

Larger Depth of Solutions – When deciding what you are looking in your final solution of heating and cooling, central systems have more options such as heat pumps, furnaces, and dedicated AC units. Depending on what you prioritize in your experience (given the weather in Irvine, we like having a dedicated heating solution such as an electric heat pump), as it has its own dedicated purpose and is able to sustain more wear and tear, while costing less up front than a mini-split.

Concluding Thoughts

After taking a look at the benefits of each system, we feel that you should have an idea of what system benefits your situation better. For example, a ductless system can be cheaper on your energy bills if you are constantly only in a few rooms within your home. On the flip side, if you have family members constantly in different rooms the central air system will definitely provide you with more benefit. If you are unsure of what system will maximize your efforts, talk to one of our expert technicians at Omni Air HVAC today. We like to always take a good look at the environment before we make our assessment because some rooms can be tricky and usage is a factor we also like to consider. With a fully certified staff, if the data in this article wasn’t enough for you to feel confident in your decision we are more than happy to help guide you to your best heating and cooling solution within Irvine, CA.   

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