When it comes to comprehensive comfort in the average Atlanta home, most residents know that it takes a centralized air conditioning system to get the job done. That is, they know they can’t rely on portable or window AC units to keep their homes cool enough at an affordable price. These systems are noisy, they cost a lot to run, and you have to completely maintain them on your own if you want them to last for several years.
When you want to stay truly comfortable, and avoid paying an arm and a leg for that comfort, then you want to invest in a centralized, whole-home air conditioner.
Note: we didn’t say central air conditioner. This is one type of ducted AC system, and we’ll explain more about that below. Read on as we uncover the different types of ducted and ductless air conditioners on the market, the pros and cons of each, and what may be best for your specific home.
Explaining the Difference between Ducted and Ductless
If you’re ever asked what a whole-home air conditioner is, your answer would probably reflect what you’re used to seeing in the average Atlanta area home. A split-air conditioner setup, a.k.a. a central air conditioner, with an outside unit that is connected by a series of ducts to an indoor unit known as the air handler.
There is a blower fan within the air handler that takes the air cooled down by the refrigerant process and distributes it evenly throughout your living space, through the ventilation system known as your ductwork. A ducted system relies on this airflow to keep your home cool.
On the contrary, a ductless system requires no ducts at all. Instead of a single indoor unit and a single outdoor unit, a ductless air conditioner is comprised of a small outdoor unit, which is connected to up to 4 indoor air handlers usually mounted on walls. The connections are routed through a small hole that we drill into your drywall and contain a power supply, the refrigerant line, and the condensate line to rid the system and your home of moisture.
Ductless systems have become increasingly popular due to their efficient setup and the way they save space. More on that below!
Popular Ducted AC Units
When it comes to a ducted air conditioner, you’re looking at two main options.
There is the central air conditioner that we mentioned above. This system functions by drawing heat out of your home using a refrigerant process, cooling air through a condensing and evaporating process, then distributing that cooled air throughout your home via the use of air ducts and a blower fan.
The pros of using a central air conditioner are that today’s models are extremely powerful, and highly efficient, saving you a lot of money in the long run. Central air conditioners are great for large homes as well as small homes, as long as there is room for ductwork.
The cons include that you’re cooling the whole home even if you don’t necessarily need certain rooms to be as cold. This can lead to inefficient use and more money out of your wallet from month to month. Plus, ductwork can accumulate damage which can lead to energy loss and can introduce pollutants and allergens to your living space.
Then there is the heat pump. The heat pump works just like the central air conditioner, with one important difference. The flow of refrigerant can be reversed so that not only will the system cool your home in the summer, but it will heat it in the winter, too.
Pro’s and Con’s of a Ducted AC System: The pros and cons of a heat pump are similar to that of a central air conditioner. But, remember how we mentioned that heat pumps can be used to heat your home, as well? They actually make very efficient heaters for climates like ours. So if you’re looking for a year-round solution, you’d do well to consider this one! It can even be paired with a furnace in what’s known as a dual fuel system, so that if temperatures get a bit too chilly for the heat pump to work efficiently, you have that backup.
Popular Ductless AC Units
Ductless systems have been growing in popularity! As we mentioned, ductless systems do not use ductwork. Instead, there is a single outdoor unit connected to up to 4 air handlers.
These systems save space in resident’s spaces and are much more efficient than central air conditioners or heat pumps since they do not have the threat of air loss through ductwork.
Are Ductless Systems Popular in Atlanta?
Yes! While many homeowners still have not discovered the benefits of ductless systems, they have indeed become pretty popular in Atlanta. A ductless system operates on heat pump technology. This means that just like a heat pump, it can both cool and heat your home.
This is great for efficiency, and even better because it doesn’t have ductwork that can become damaged and leak conditioned air.
Should You Choose a Ducted AC or Ductless AC System?
This truly depends on your specific home and needs.
If you already have HVAC ductwork in place, and it’s already in good shape, then you might do very well with an upgraded, efficient model of central air conditioner or heat pump system. If, however, that ductwork is damaged, you’ve never had ductwork, or you would really have to struggle to make room for air ducts, then a ductless system may be the right choice.
Ductless systems are a bit more expensive to install than their ducted counterparts. However, because each air handler can be independently controlled from the other, they’re highly efficient and end up saving homeowners on their month-to-month energy bills. There’s no need to worry about paying an arm and a leg for comfort when you have a ductless system in your home.
On the other hand, if you have a very small 1-bedroom home or studio apartment, the investment you make in the installation may not be worth it, particularly if this isn’t a long-term home for you.
Our team is happy to help you with your air conditioning decision.