When the time comes to replace your AC system, there are many questions you should consider. Topmost of many people’s minds in this process is the question of cost. Which system will be least expensive to purchase? Would a more expensive choice up front end up saving you money in the long run? Is it enough money to be worth it?
Ductless systems are an amazing choice for many reasons. In some situations, though, the up-front cost is higher. Is it still a good choice? Let’s consider.
If You Have Ductwork
In a home that already has ductwork, the least costly option up front would be to purchase the same kind of system you’ve previously had: a traditional central AC unit. Installing air handlers for a ductless system would be an additional cost that’s not necessary.
However, if your ductwork is old and deteriorating, or has sustained damage at some point, it’s making your AC much less efficient. You could be paying an additional 30% for your cooling every month! Repairing ductwork or replacing damaged sections would add to your cost. Depending on how much work your ducts need, it could be more expensive than going ductless.
If You Don’t Have Ductwork
This is a simpler scenario. If you’ve been scraping by with window units because your home never had ducts, a ductless system is the way to go. Ductless installation is significantly less complex than creating a system of ductwork from scratch. This makes the process quicker and less costly.
First, keep in mind that no matter what system you choose, a new system is going to use less energy than one that’s several years old—less than the older system did when it was brand new, in fact! Recent innovations in HVAC technology have improved energy efficiency tremendously, making it possible for you to cool your home with far less electricity than ever before.
Ductless systems do use less electricity than ducted ones for a variety of reasons. Most ductwork does have damage or deterioration that allows air to escape. Even tightly sealed ductwork has so much surface area that there is energy loss. Ductless systems use smaller blower motors, which makes them quieter as well as more efficient. But the biggest energy benefit might be zone control.
Ductless systems have multiple air handlers which each have their own thermostat. Temperatures can be set differently for each area of the home. With this control, you can use your system more judiciously, avoiding unnecessary energy use.
System Longevity and Versatility
The outdoor AC unit for either a ducted or ductless system will last a similar amount of time. A heat pump, however, can last much longer, depending on the specific model and assuming it gets regular maintenance. It can also provide heating at an extraordinary level of efficiency during the times of year that temperatures require heating but rarely drop below zero.
The thing that makes heating so energy-intensive is that most heating systems actually generate heat. Since heat pumps merely transfer it, carrying it from one place to another, they use a fraction of the energy.
Which system is ideal for your home and your budget? We’d be delighted to help you assess your needs and figure out what’s the best fit. We can also answer any questions about air conditioning, heating, and all things HVAC in Stamford, CT.