Central Air vs. Ductless A/C: Which Is Best for You?
When choosing a new heating and cooling system or replacing an old one, it’s essential to know which option best suits your home. Central air and ductless systems both offer a unique set of benefits to a home, and learning about each one can help you make an informed decision.
What Is Central Air?
Central air is an HVAC system that can circulate cool and warm air (depending on the type of system) in your home through supply and returns ducts. The system uses a thermostat to control the temperature and ductwork to circulate air.
What Is Ductless Air?
A ductless air conditioner and heating system, or ductless mini-splits, cools and warms a single room or several rooms in your home without using traditional ductwork.
The Difference Between Central and Ductless Air
A central air system and ductless mini-splits both distribute warm and cool air inside the home. The main difference is that ductless mini-splits do not require any ducts. They can also be separately adjusted in each room using remotes, while central air is adjusted using a single thermostat.
Pros of Central Air
Are you looking to install central air to heat and cool your home? Here are the pros and cons of this traditional HVAC system.
The pros of central air include:
Lower upfront cost: Most homes already have existing ductwork, making installing central air less expensive.
Air filtration: Ducted systems are excellent at filtering allergens and dust. They also integrate easily with most air quality products.
Consistency: Central air systems provide consistent heating and cooling for the entire home.
Pros and Cons of Ductless Air
If you want a more energy-efficient option, mini-splits may be the perfect solution. Consider the pros and cons of ductless air to ensure this system is right for your home.
Ductless air comes with several benefits, including:
Efficiency: Ductless systems are energy-efficient, and some systems can qualify for additional rebates & incentives from your utility company.
Temperature control: Do you have a room that tends to get colder or warmer than another? You can easily manage the temperature of each room or space in your home.
No ductwork: Installing ductwork is not required, which is perfect for new home additions and rooms like garages or attics.
Install the Right Heating and Cooling System for Your Home
At Bruni & Campisi, we install both central air and ductless mini-splits. Our installation process always starts with free consultation with our Comfort Advisor who will walk you through your options for a new or replacement system. Together you will take into consideration your budget, lifestyle, home size & layout. They will help find the perfect solution for your home!
All Bruni & Campisi Heating or Cooling (HVAC) installs come with a one-year labor warranty and a complimentary Gold Maintenance Membership for peace of mind. Our licensed and insured technicians are here to help you stay cool in the summer and warm on those long winter nights.
When summer comes along, temperatures can quickly rise and make the interior of your home humid and uncomfortable. While catching shade under a tree or hopping into a swimming pool can help you cool off outside, it’s helpful to have an air conditioning system indoors to keep the heat at bay.
There are several types of home air conditioning units on the market, such as central air conditioners and ductless air conditioning systems. These air conditioner systems have distinct advantages and drawbacks to consider to help you decide whether to install them in your home. In this air conditioner guide, you’ll learn about the different types you can choose from and how to make the best decision for your home.
Ductless Air Conditioners (Split)
Split or ductless systems are broken into two parts. The indoor unit handles air distribution and cooling, while the exterior holds the condenser, condenser fan and compressor. Ductless air conditioners are typically mounted high on an interior wall and are usually found in homes without a comprehensive HVAC unit. You can also find split systems in hotels or multi-unit buildings.
These AC systems are more affordable for some than installing a complete HVAC system, allowing homeowners to find relief from the heat while on a budget. Many ductless systems also come with heat pumps, allowing them to offer heating to homeowners on top of their cooling, making them a budget-friendly alternative.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps are similar to ductless or split air conditioners, but they can provide air conditioning and heat, making them ideal options if you’re looking for a two-in-one system. If these systems are correctly installed, they can provide up to three times more heating and cooling energy. Air source heat pump technology has evolved over the years, so the newer models can work in various locations across the United States for effective heating and cooling.
These heat pumps work by utilizing aluminum or copper coils and a compressor. If you’re trying to heat your home, the liquid refrigerant in the exterior coil removes heat from the air while the interior coil releases it into the home. These systems come equipped with a reversing valve, which allows you to change the direction of the refrigerant so it works to cool your home instead.
Air source heat pumps are ideal when you need to heat or cool a smaller home or use them as an add-on while reworking your system. These heating and cooling systems are more affordable for homeowners looking for cooling solutions that fit within their budget.
Central Air Conditioning
Homeowners with a large property who want to cool multiple spaces at once should consider a central air conditioner. Central air conditioners utilize a split system that regulates the air within the ducts in your home, known as a ducted system. The split system is a combination of two components — an outdoor and an indoor system. The outdoor system contains the compressor and condenser, while the indoor portion contains the air handler and the evaporator coils.
Like usual air conditioners, central air conditioning uses refrigerant to help cool the air indoors while removing heat. The warm air is moved outside, and cool air is carried throughout the ducts, helping to cool each room. You can combine programmable thermostats with modern central air conditioning units.
Some of the benefits of central air conditioning are its ability to reduce indoor temperatures quickly and overall humidity, contributing to a more comfortable home.
Geothermal Air Conditioning
This type of air conditioner is one of the newer methods available on the market. Geothermal air conditioners use the natural insulating properties of the Earth. Temperatures at a specific depth underground remain the same regardless of the temperature above ground. These new systems use the home’s existing duct system to force cool air throughout the vents, helping to reduce your home’s overall temperature. Geothermal air conditioners can also deliver heat in colder months and generally has lower energy costs than a central air conditioning system or a furnace.
These systems work by circulating water in the ground, which carries heat from inside the home and allows it to sink into the soil. This process works the opposite in the winter, with the water pushing the heat from the ground into the home. Due to the technological requirements, geothermal air conditioning systems have a high initial and purchase cost and aren’t ideal for homes with little yard space. However, they’re a good option for larger homes that want to extend the life span of their cooling system.
Bruni & Campisi’s Signature Series Units
Another option is Bruni & Campisi’s Signature Series, an energy-efficient air conditioner offering high-quality performance. These units can help you save on your monthly utility bill, reducing how much energy is needed to cool your home. These units are quieter than other air conditioning options, meaning they perform without disrupting your comfort.
You can also pair these units with a smart thermostat, allowing you to control your home’s temperature from the convenience of your phone or tablet. The smart thermostats are Alexa, Google and Apple compatible, giving you complete control from anywhere in your home. We also offer preventive maintenance plans and 24/7 emergency repairs with our Signature Series units, ensuring your air conditioning unit stays operational and lasts as long as possible.
How to Choose an AC System
Many factors come into play when choosing an HVAC system, including:
Size: One of the first things you need to consider is the system size you need to meet your cooling needs. A ductless mini-split would be ideal if one area of your home gets warmer than the other or if you want the ability to keep each room at a different temperature. However, if you want to cool your entire home, consider central air conditioners.
Budget: Another factor you’ll want to consider is your budget. Different air conditioning units are more expensive than others, such as geothermal units or central air conditioners. If you’re looking for something on the lower end, a ductless air conditioner is one of the most affordable options. Consider your overall budget and cooling needs to help you determine what system would work best for your home.
Features: Many AC systems come with different features. Some come with smart thermostats, auto delay switches or fan-only options. You’ll want to consider what features you want to help you make a final decision on the unit you need. Remember that some units may be more limited depending on your chosen model.
Energy efficiency: Some units are more energy-efficient than others and can help you save on monthly utilities. Look for a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) higher than your current unit for something more energy-efficient.
Installation and maintenance: You’ll also want to consider the installation and maintenance requirements before you choose an AC unit. Some units require more extensive installation and maintenance, which can be a hassle for some homeowners. Consider how often you can perform maintenance on your HVAC system before you choose one to help you make the best choice. You can also contact a professional for your AC maintenance needs.
Choose Bruni & Campisi for Your Air Conditioning Needs
If you want to install a new air conditioner in your home or need maintenance and repairs, Bruni & Campisi is here to help. We offer air conditioning installation and repair services to help you stay cool during summer. We can help you feel more comfortable in your home, giving you various air conditioning options to help you find the best system for your cooling needs.
We pride ourselves on our quick, efficient services. We also offer a one-year labor warranty on all of our work, so you know you’re taken care of. If you are ready to install a new air conditioner in your home, call us at 914-229-2809 in New York or 203-263-9662 in Connecticut or schedule and appointment today!
What Is the Best Temperature for the Air Conditioner in Summer?
With record-setting temperatures reaching the triple digits across the Northeast coastline, New York and Connecticut residents depend on reliable air conditioning to escape the extreme heat.
Learn how to choose the best AC setting in summer to keep you cool all season long. Discover tips to help you run your air conditioner efficiently, remove unexpected in-home heat sources and make it through the heat waves with a well-maintained, adequately set AC unit.
If you’ve ever played “AC settings tag” with your family, you understand that people can have very different ideas about the best temperature setting for AC in summer. Educate your household and determine your home’s ideal AC settings based on the following preferences:
Money savings: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) encourages setting the AC temperature at 85 degrees for eight hours per day when you leave the house to save 5-15% on your cooling bills.
A good night’s sleep: If you can comfortably sleep in a warm room, Energy Star suggests an overnight AC setting of 82 degrees, but that may be too warm for most sleepers. Studies show that the optimal sleep temperature is much lower — approximately 65 degrees — because our bodies are programmed to experience a core temperature dip at night. In the Northeast, you can sleep well and save costs by using bedroom fans and opening your windows whenever it’s cooler overnight.
Concerned you may forget to manually change these settings every morning, afternoon and night? Don’t sweat it! Use a programmable thermostat to adjust settings automatically throughout the day.
What Is the Best AC Setting During a Heat Wave?
It may not be hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk this summer, but it certainly feels like it. In recent years, the heat wave season has risen to a whopping 47 days longer than it was fifty years ago, and June 2021 was America’s hottest June ever in 127 years of records.
Even if you have the world’s greatest air conditioner, you can expect your unit to cool your home about 20 degrees lower than the outside temperature during a heat wave. Follow DOE temperature settings and implement the following tips.
7 Tips to Cool Your Home During Hot Days and Heat Waves
Stay hydrated and indoors during a heat wave. Here’s how you can lower your home’s interior temperature and preserve your AC unit:
Switch the fan position from “auto” to “on”: To help with temperature differences between levels and rooms, turn the fan setting to “on” to circulate the air consistently 24/7.
Set the thermostat to a higher temperature: It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a good idea to set your thermostat to 75 degrees or higher to prevent overworking your AC unit on sweltering days.
Only cool the used rooms: Close air vents in unused rooms and keep those doors shut to conserve energy.
Block the sun: Close every shade and draw your curtains in every room.
Avoid appliance use: When it’s already roasting, the last thing you want to do is add more heat. Avoid using the oven, washer and dryer until the weather cools.
Use ceiling fans: While fans technically cannot reduce the air temperature in a room, they circulate the air and dry perspiration on your skin, making you feel cooler.
An average AC unit runs in cycles, turning on for 15 to 20 minutes to reach your desired temperature setting, turning off to rest until the house temperature reaches your setting again, repeating the process every day. When temperatures consistently surpass degrees in the high 80s or 90s, your air conditioning may run more than usual or never turn off. In some cases, running constant AC is fine, and a number of energy-efficient systems are designed to run 24/7.
For other units, running all day long isn’t ideal because:
It overworks the unit.
It increases cooling costs.
It may indicate a deeper problem.
Why Is the House so Hot Even With the AC On?
Does your house seem unusually hot even with your air conditioner on? Even with your AC blowing cool air, your rooms may feel warm due to the sun, poor air circulation, maintenance and other factors that have nothing to do with your unit.
10 Reasons Why Your AC May Be Working at Limited Potential
Check your air conditioner settings for summer and follow these home preparation tips to maximize your unit’s ability to create a cooler interior environment.
Incorrect thermostat settings: Inefficient temperature settings can overwork your unit. Adjust your settings to Energy Star and DOE recommendations for maximum energy efficiency.
Clogged air filter: A dirty air filter disrupts airflow and forces your unit to work harder. Replace filters every 90 days or more frequently at 30-60 days if you have allergies or pets.
Incorrect unit size: An older or undersized unit may cool the air but won’t reduce humidity properly.
Corroded coils: Salt in the air can impact AC units, so homeowners near the shore should check their coils frequently. If you notice powdery white or flaking coils, your unit may require maintenance.
Dirty or damaged ductwork: Leaky ductwork allows cool air to escape before it reaches all rooms of the house. If your ductwork is too small or grimy, it won’t adequately handle the airflow. Check for damage and dirt — your ductwork may need cleaning or patching.
Refrigerant leak: A slow refrigerant leak may escape your notice without proper inspection. Minor leaks are a common AC issue that may require a filter replacement or additional maintenance to correct.
Blocked condensing unit: Check your outdoor AC condenser to make sure it’s clear on all sides. Remove any landscaping overgrowth so it can exhaust heat safely.
Competing heat sources: Remove extra heat from the equation to prevent an overworked unit. Block sunlight, close doors to unused rooms and avoid appliance use.
Poor insulation: Improper home insulation around doors and windows allows hot, humid air to seep into your home. Draft-proof your home with weatherstripping, insulated curtains, new door sweeps or door snakes.
Lack of air circulation: Improper air ventilation and circulation in the home can affect air distribution. Check your vents and turn on fans to improve airflow.
If you’re still sweltering even after implementing recommended adjustments — or if your AC unit shows signs of damage and continued inefficiency — then it’s time to schedule professional maintenance.
Contact Bruni and Campisi for Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance
For air conditioning repairs, maintenance and upgrades to beat the heat this summer, look no further than Bruni and Campisi. For more than 40 years, our full-service, NYSERDA Home Energy Performance–participating HVAC contractors have been helping homeowners in New York and Connecticut increase energy efficiency, lower utility bills and keep their units running smoothly. Quick and efficient, we provide the expertise, quality and customer-first professionalism you and your home deserve. And with our one-year labor warranty on all work performed, you have peace of mind that your investment is protected.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your air conditioning service, upgrade or maintenance plan today. We look forward to working with you.
When it comes to HVAC, most property owners know that their homes or business need a) a furnace and b) an air conditioner. Of course to find the right unit for your needs you need to evaluate the size, brand, and budget to name a few. What many home and business owners might not be aware of is that the standard furnace or the traditional AC system are not your only options. Aside from equipment such as a boiler or a geothermal heat pump one of the most popular forms of alternative cooling is the ductless AC system.
A ductless AC very much resembles the central air conditioner that most people might be familiar with. On the exterior of your property is the compressor and condenser which processes the warm air that is removed from a room. Also, on the interior is an air handling unit (evaporator and fan) where the cool air is created and delivered. What’s really different is the path that the air takes to get from one place to another. Conventional AC units have a duct system that has many flaws. In the ductless version, a conduit houses the power cable, condenser drain, refrigerant, and suction tubing and travels to each room in a much less invasive manner.
Benefit #1 – No Ducts!
If you’ve got a whole house or commercial property that needs to be cooled, ducts do their job to get that air delivered to where it needs to go. That being said there are numerous opportunities for ducts to lose heat as connections and seams become loose or crack and holes develop in the sheet metal. The ductwork is also very loud as air is forced through it. Finally, ducts can harbor dirt and debris that gets kicked up and distributed throughout the home every time the AC turns on.
With a ductless system, the processed air comes directly from the indoor air handler unit. Everything that is needed to communicate between the outdoor compressor and the indoor evaporator is transported via the conduit that is just 3” in diameter. This creates a quieter, more efficient, AC system that distributes less dirt. Plus you don’t want all the bulky duct work taking up space.
Benefit #2 – Convenience
If you were to run a traditional AC into any additional rooms in the house, it would involve tapping into the existing ductwork and creating another path. This simply isn’t feasible because your air conditioner is sized for the specific square footage of your home. Adding more space to cool will have a central air conditioner cycling nearly non-stop thus driving up utility bills and lowering lifespan.
This is the main reason why ductless ACs are so popular. If customers want to add on to their home or finish a garage or basement they can do so without disrupting the existing HVAC system. You can also use a ductless AC as a secondary cooling device to ease the pressure of your current air conditioner during peak times. Running the conduit of a ductless system to a living room or kitchen where most of the family time is spent allows you to turn down your ‘main’ air conditioner’s thermostat.
Benefit #3 – Energy Efficiency and Multi-Zone Cooling
Ductless systems are energy efficient almost because of all their benefits. Not having ducts, for example, prevents energy loss through leaks. The reason you can run a ductless AC in your living room and turn down the thermostat on your ‘whole house’ unit is because of multi-zone cooling. Basically what this means is that up to four different air handlers can run off each outdoor condenser. Each of these air handlers is in a separate room and they all have individual separate temperature controls. Therefore if you’re not in a room, you can turn off the air handler to that area. With most conventional central air systems, one thermostat controls the temperature for the entire home whether rooms are occupied or not.
This is just scratching the surface of a ductless AC systems benefits and potential. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more information about these wonderful home appliances.
Modern AC units are being built to last longer while running more efficient. That being said, manufacturers can only do so much – same for the installers. Home and business owners have a responsibility when they have a new air conditioner installed and that requires scheduled maintenance.
To be honest there’s really no reason not to have your AC maintained on an annual basis. Sure it is an overhead, but at the same time, you recoup that investment in lower utility bills, a more comfortable home, and a longer last HVAC system. Here is what can happen – and why – when you slack on maintaining your AC unit:
#1 You May Lose Your Warranty
Maintaining an air conditioner isn’t just recommended for premium performance, many manufacturers actually require it as part of their warranty agreement. It makes sense, why should manufacturers be liable for problems that occur prior within a warranty period if the unit is allowed to build up dust, operate with chewed belts, function with a condensing drain not being cleaned, etc.? An air conditioner warranty is a two-fold agreement – 1) the manufacturer will supply quality parts and stand by their workmanship if 2) the homeowner agrees to regularly have the unit cleaned, air filters changed, and so on.
#2 You’ll Pay Higher Energy Bills
If you think that lack of AC maintenance driving up utility bills is hyperbole, just look at the process. Air travels through a clean filter much easier than one caked in debris, right? The air conditioner will also continually try to meet the demands of the thermostat regardless of the condition of the filter. If your blower has to work harder to force air through a clogged filter, it’s going to cycle longer which will obviously increase your utility costs. This is true for components besides the filter, too as maintenance includes cleaning ducts and airways as well as inspecting the air flow of blowers and blades.
#3 Your Repair Costs Will Go Up and Your AC Will Die Off Faster
One of the most important aspects of air conditioning maintenance is a thorough inspection and lubrication of all the system’s moving parts. When belts are allowed to operate while worn or debris builds up in the bearings of the fan blade, it means other components must overcompensate and start to wear down faster themselves. In this manner, maintenance is a preventative measure that catches ‘issues’ before they become ‘catastrophes.’ Even more along those lines, blocked up drain plugs and condensation lines can lead to water damage or at the very least mold growth and a musty smelling utility room.
#4 Your House Won’t Be As Comfortable
You WANT your AC to be working on optimum levels not just to avoid financial repercussion, but so that your home is comfortable. Most people are aware that an AC that has failed to be maintained will not cool a property as good as it should. More than that though, the unit’s job is to condition the air in your home or business. A full and complete AC cycle works to remove the moisture and humidity from the air. If your AC isn’t working properly it either short cycles which leaves you with an uncomfortably humid house or it long cycles which drives up utility bills.
When it comes to contracting AC maintenance, failure to do so could cost you dollars at a time or it could cost you hundreds (or thousands) if you need repairs but your warranty is voided. We tell our clients that the other option of a comfortable home, lower utility bills, and much longer lasting system are the more desirable route to take.
Here at Bruni & Campisi, we think it’s great when folks take an interest in adopting a more eco-conscious lifestyle. That’s why we’re more than happy to promote green HVAC options for your home or business facility. Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems serve a dual purpose — they can simultaneously preserve precious natural resources while helping you save money on your utility bills.
Let’s take a look at some environmentally friendly HVAC system arrangements to learn about how you can promote more energy-efficient practices in your building.
Eco-Friendly Heating and Cooling Units
One way to begin to engage in eco-friendly heating and cooling practices in your home or business facility is to procure and install a green heating and air conditioning unit. Look for air conditioners with an EnergyStar rating and a high SEER — Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio — mark. SEER is calculated by dividing BTU — British Thermal Units, which measures a machine’s ability to remove hot air from a space — by wattage, or how much power your air conditioner needs to perform this action.
It isn’t necessary to purchase a machine with the highest SEER available. Simply find an air conditioner with a higher SEER than the unit you have been using, and you’ll realize quite a bit of cost savings over the course of a year.
Other Heating and Cooling Tips
There are a few other ways you can keep your system running efficiently that don’t involve making huge investments of time, money or energy. First, you should check your HVAC system’s filters every few months to ensure they’re clean and not restricting air flow. A clogged air filter can cause your HVAC system to work harder, requiring more power to navigate air through it.
The next thing you can do is to have your duct work inspected for any gaps or air leaks. Like a clogged air filter, a leaky HVAC system will need to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature, driving up your utility bills and possibly reducing the life of your HVAC system’s components.
Finally, you can inspect your building’s windows and doors to look for spots that air might escape from. If it isn’t financially feasible to replace your outdated doors and windows, you can use weather stripping and caulk to plug up areas where air might be getting out.
Bruni & Campisi: Your HVAC Energy Efficiency Experts
If you’re looking to upgrade your Westchester, NY, Stamford, CT or Greenwich, CT-area home or business with eco-friendly equipment, contact us here at Bruni & Campisi today for a free estimate. Our friendly, knowledgeable team has provided expert craftsmanship and outstanding customer care to the area for nearly 40 years.
We offer a wide range of plumbing, HVAC installation, HVAC repair and HVAC replacement services for you to choose from. We will be happy to work with you to determine a cooling and heating system solution that is both eco-friendly and cost effective. Trust the team of professionals at Bruni & Campisi to get the job done for your home or business.