If you have an older condo in a warm climate, then one of the best upgrades you can make is to install a new air conditioning system. Central air conditioning offers many advantages over traditional window units, and can even increase the value of your property. While ducted, split unit systems have been the typical option installed in newer homes for years, mini-split systems are becoming more and more common. These systems are especially useful for spaces that are smaller than the average house, including most condos. They aren't necessarily the right option for all cases, however, so read on to discover if your condo is a good candidate for a mini-split AC unit.
Mini-Split Systems Explained
Although many people are not familiar with the term, most people have probably experienced a mini-split system at some point in their lives. These units are commonly found in hotel rooms, and for good reason. Unlike a standard split central system, mini-split systems do not require extensive ductwork. Instead, the system utilizes a combined blower/indoor unit placed within the space to be cooled. Mini-split systems still use an outdoor condenser unit, so they remain much quieter than window units since the compressor should not be audible as it turns on and off.
The design of mini-split AC units offers numerous advantages and disadvantages, depending on their particular use case. The lack of ductwork means that retrofitting these into an existing home is more manageable and may also be a better option for condo owners that do not own shared walls or other shared portions of their structure.
Why Are Mini-Splits Perfect For Condos?
Mini-split units tend to be less powerful than standard central air systems, and the lack of ductwork and multiple vents means that they have more difficulty cooling large spaces or areas divided by doors. These drawbacks can be significant if you are cooling a large house, but they can be advantageous for condos and other smaller living spaces. Mini-split units are also highly efficient, making them a great choice if you are looking to keep your energy bills manageable. The relatively small size and mounting flexibility of the indoor air handling units also make them a suitable choice if space within the condo is limited.
Is a Mini-Split Right For You?
Choosing between a mini-split system and a ducted system is ultimately a matter of choice, budget, and installation difficulty. If you do not have access to floors or ceilings to install ductwork, then a mini-split system may be your only option. Since ductless systems tend to be slightly more expensive than traditional ducted central air systems, your budget may also be a limitation. Since they tend to be less common than other types of conditioning systems, the most important thing is to be aware of their existence so that you can discuss this option with your contractor. A skilled HVAC installer can guide you through the pros and cons for your specific situation so that you can make the right choice for your new air conditioner installation.