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Choosing Your HVAC System: Split vs. Ducted

If you’re new to the world of HVAC systems and need information on choosing the right one, welcome! These systems can come in two different forms, ducted and split, each serving its purpose. Whether you inherited an old system, or you’re starting from scratch with a new one, investing in an HVAC system may be an intimidating decision without a bank of knowledge to draw from. To help, let’s start by reviewing the basics.

What is a Ducted HVAC System?

Ducted systems are called central air conditioning systems, which regulate heating and cooling across your home through a series of ducts. It starts with a large, centralized unit, either a split central air conditioner or a packaged centralized air conditioner, and that unit sends hot or cool air through vents and ducts installed throughout the entire building. Each part of a ducted unit’s composition comes with its own pros and cons depending on what your building is like, but ducted systems provide an overall balanced airflow throughout an entire space, making them useful for heating large residential homes, complexes, and commercial buildings.

What is a Split HVAC System?

A split system, also called a ductless system, is a standalone HVAC system type that focuses on processing heating and cooling to one centralized location. Air is sent through an indoor unit, which can be wall-mounted, portable, or installed inside the space’s ceiling. Ideally, the unit is designed to have all the components in one package, sometimes including an outdoor unit to provide refrigerant or a hose venting heated air through an available window. They are more noticeable, but they help customize the air within a large space where higher or lower temperatures may be required for a targeted comfort level.

How Do I Decide Which System is Better for Me?

Like most choices in life, it depends on your situation. Ask the following questions about your location to start leaning toward one system or another.

Is the space residential or commercial, and how old is it?

If you’re working with an established structure, there’s a high chance it has an existing ducted system to work with due to how common they are. If you’re starting from scratch or renovating a property, a ducted system will create a more powerful airflow through the entire building, but a split system will give you greater control over individual dwelling areas or storefront units. Some buildings may not have adequate space for a ducted system, where ductless systems can bring a flexible advantage. Also, take into consideration whether you want the units or ducts to be aesthetically concealed (try a ducted system), or if you don’t care if the unit is visible and audible in the space (try a ductless system).

How big is the space and what areas have the highest rate of use?

If you want a consistent temperature throughout the building at all times, a ducted system is a way to go, especially if you’re trying to combat the climate of a perpetually dry, humid, or frigid environment. Some ducted systems can regulate temperatures with special zoning settings, but if you’re more worried about heating or cooling specific common areas of a building that see more traffic or require certain room temperatures for storage, a split system may be favorable.

What are my budget expectations?

Ducted system installations are traditionally more expensive unless you have a pre-existing system to work with inside the building. You may also pay the costs of heating/cooling the entire building when changing the settings for one room. Ductless systems cost less to install per system and can help bring down overall costs during use, but the more units you install to separate areas of the building, the more the price can go up. Write out all the limits and requirements you have beforehand and weigh out the pros and cons about the kind of air control you want in the building.

Ready to know more? We’re happy to help.

The best HVAC system ultimately depends on your needs, space, and budget. A ductless system is great for focusing on one area but comes at the price of being much more visible. A ducted system, on the other hand, provides great heating and cooling for large spaces but is often more expensive. No matter which type of system you choose, F.H. Furr is here to get the job done right.

Check out the other F.H. Furr blogs to find more HVAC system tips to help you keep the ideal temperature all season long. You can also give us a call to get direct contact with our experts, and we’ll be happy to see what we can do to meet your HVAC installation and maintenance needs.

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