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Ductless Mini‑Split AC vs. Central Cooling for Older Homes in Minneapolis

Got an older home?

If you’re looking for options to cool your whole home you have 2 main options:

  • Central air conditioning
  • Ductless mini-split system

Which one should you pick? You’ll know by answering this one important question...

Does your home have an air duct system?

If your home already has an air duct system, then you should lean towards getting central cooling (check out our central AC buyer’s guide). The infrastructure that accommodates central cooling is already in place, so take advantage of it!

But if your home is old and does not have an air duct system, lean towards getting a ductless mini-split system.

Here’s why.

Installing ducts ANDcentral air conditioning will most likely cost you way more than installing the mini-split system to cool your whole home. (This, of course, depends on the size of your home and your specific needs.)

Can a ductless air conditioning system really cool my whole home?

Now, you may be wondering if a mini-split system can actually cool your entire home like a central cooling system can.

It can. Here’s how:

A ductless mini-split system has an outside condenser unit and an inside evaporator unit with refrigerant lines connecting them (just like central cooling).

However, unlike central cooling, you can install up to 4 evaporator units to one condenser unit to cool multiple rooms in a mini-split system.

The great thing is that each of these units can cool the rooms as independent zones. Meaning each room gets its own remote control to cool the rooms to different temperatures.

This saves tons of money because now you have the option to only cool rooms you’re actually using.

You also won’t have to worry about losing money due to air duct leakage.

According to Energy.gov, “Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic.”

Make sure the ductless mini-split system is installed properly

Sizing and placement of the ductless mini-split units is crucial. If the units are oversized or the indoor unit is placed in the wrong area, the system will “short cycle.”

This means it turns on and off too often, which will:

  • Waste energy
  • Prevent the system from properly dehumidifying your home
  • Leave you uncomfortable

With all that in mind, you’ll need a qualified professional to:

  • Correctly size the system
  • Find the best location to install each indoor unit
  • Run refrigerant lines between the outdoor and indoor units and install them

Got any questions?

If you have any questions about which cooling system is right for your home in the Twin Cities, or you need an estimate, contact us online for help.

Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing, Heating and Air has served the Twin Cities since 1918.