Ductless Mini-Split AC vs. Central Air: Which One is Better?

airmax charleston ductless vs central air conditioning min 1

Ductless Mini-Split AC vs. Central Air: Which One is Better?

The temperature inside your Charleston, SC, home is just as important as the weather outside. It can have a direct effect on overall comfort, health, and even your productivity. 

Whether you’re installing a cooling unit for the first time or upgrading to a new system, you must choose between central air and a ductless mini-split ac system. To decide which is best for your home, you should understand how they work and what makes them different from each other. 

Ductless Mini-Split AC System 

A mini-split ac system requires two parts: an outdoor compressor and indoor air-handling units. Each room has its own control center that works to maintain a constant temperature. 

The system is mounted onto the wall or ceiling in the room you want to keep cold. These interior units are connected to the outdoor unit via a refrigerant line. Unlike in-window air conditioners, these systems require installation by an air-conditioning professional. 

Although it is called a ductless AC, the mini-split is technically a heat pump and not an air conditioner. The size, number, and location of indoor units will determine how efficiently the system will cool your home. 


The ductless mini-split AC system does not require ductwork. This independence makes it a better choice for older buildings or those with thick walls. When the unit is operating, the room remains at a constant temperature throughout the day. It does not turn off and on like a traditional air conditioning unit.  

Additional advantages of a ductless AC include: 

  • Each unit has its own remote, making it possible to adjust the temperature in each room individually
  • Installation is done without making any structural changes to your home
  • Ductless systems are energy efficient and may lower your energy bills 

These systems are also smaller in size and tend to run quieter than central air conditioning systems. 


In the long run, a ductless mini-split will save you money. However, the price of installation is considerably higher. You may also find it hard to find a qualified HVAC professional for installation. 

Another disadvantage is the unit placement. Some homeowners find a wall-mounted unit to be visually unaesthetic.

Our Expert Cooling Services

At Max’s Fix-it 24/7 Heating & Air, cooling is one of our top priorities. We specialize in many types of cooling systems, so we can help you select the right one for your home. 

Central AC Installation and Repair

Deciding whether to repair or replace your air conditioning system can be tricky. Most air conditioners have a lifespan of about 10-15 years, so if yours is over ten years old, you may want to look at AC replacement. 

If you have a younger air conditioner that’s having issues, you can often opt for repair. However, if your repairs are becoming more frequent as your air conditioner ages, you will probably save money in the long run by upgrading your system. A more efficient system will save you money on your energy bills, and you won’t have to pay for frequent repairs.

Here are a few signs you may need to upgrade your AC or call our team for repairs:

  • Strange noises coming from your AC
  • Your home isn’t getting as cold as you want
  • Some rooms are colder than others
  • Your AC is cycling on and off frequently
  • Your energy bills are going up steadily

If you notice any of the above signs or have an air conditioner that’s over ten years old, you could benefit from the expert eyes of our skilled technicians. 

We can perform a thorough inspection to determine the issue and recommend any necessary repairs or replacements. Once we’ve walked you through the steps, we’ll complete your AC installation or repairs quickly so you can get back to enjoying your home. 

Ductless Air Conditioning and Ductless Mini-Splits

Ductless air conditioning systems are a popular alternative to central air. These systems boast a longer lifespan and improved efficiency, so they’re sought after by many homeowners. 

Ductless mini-split AC systems are a popular type of ductless air conditioning system. With this type of system, each room cools individually. You can also use these units for heating, so you’ll only need one system.

There are many benefits to the mini-split AC, including:

  • No need for ducts
  • Energy-efficiency
  • Precise cooling control
  • Heating and cooling
  • Simple installation

Many people confuse mini-splits with window AC units, but they’re not the same. We recommend mini-splits over window air conditioners because mini-split systems provide both heating and cooling, and they’re quieter than a window AC. They’re also more efficient and can be controlled with ease.

Central Air Conditioning 

Central air conditioning is the most common type of cooling system in the United States. It consists of three main components: a compressor, a condenser coil, and an evaporator coil. These components work together to absorb and remove heat by converting refrigerant from gas to liquid and then quickly back to gas again. 

These systems treat the air at a central location and distribute it between rooms using a combination of fans and ducts. They are controlled with a single thermostat that sets the temperature in your entire home. If the AC system senses an increase in temperature, it signals the unit to begin cooling.   


If you live in a larger space, central air conditioning may be the best choice for your home. Benefits of central air conditioning include: 

  • Conveniently controlling the temperature of your entire home with one command center 
  • Lower installation costs 
  • Working in conjunction with existing ductwork
  • Can increase property value by up to 10%

Central air conditioning systems are the better choice for filtering allergens, dust, and other odors in your home. 


Having a central air system installed can become increasingly difficult if you don’t have existing ductwork. After the ducts are installed, they will need regular maintenance too. Central AC systems have a lower installation cost, but you won’t see any financial benefits over time either.

Similarities and Differences 

Both systems are effective at regulating the temperature within your home. Ductless mini-splits require less work to install because they do not need a duct system. Central air systems become increasingly difficult to install without existing ductwork. 

Each unit controls the air differently. You can install ductless systems in each room of your house. They are remote-controlled, and you can keep each room at a separate temperature. 

With central air, there is no remote. The unit is controlled at a single command center, and the entire house is cooled to the same temperature that you select.

Which One Should You Choose? 

Each system has its advantages, and there is no right or wrong answer. Your decision should be based on your house size, lifestyle, home routine, and budget. Other factors to consider include installation time and complexity, your local climate, and temperature conditions. 


HVAC specialists must professionally install both systems. However, a ductless system requires less time, while installing a central air conditioning system is a more complicated process. 


As temperatures change from an extreme high to an extreme low, it creates a conflict within the mini-split system. In the subtropical temperatures of Charleston, SC, a central air system may be a safer choice.   


The way you use your home should play a role in your cooling system decision. Since the mini-split system controls individual rooms, this may be the ideal system if you don’t use your whole home every day. If certain rooms are rarely used during the day, you can keep the temperature higher in them to save energy.

Cooling Unit Maintenance 

Regardless of which system you choose, you’ll want to keep it on a regular maintenance schedule. Having an AC tune-up completed will help keep the machine functioning properly. This approach means lower energy bills during those hot summer months. Proactive maintenance will also prevent costly air conditioning repairs. 

Other benefits of an AC tune-up include: 

  • Higher efficiency 
  • Better indoor air quality 
  • Conforming to warranty qualifications
  • Extending the life of the unit  

Regular air conditioner maintenance is the best way to care for your unit. Max’s Fix-it 24/7 Heating & Air can help with AC repair near Charleston, SC. 

If you still have questions about air conditioning systems, our professionals at Max’s Fix-it 24/7x Heating & Air are here to help. A member of our team can evaluate your home and help you understand your options. Don’t bother searching the web for “AC repair near me” — you’ve already found the local air conditioning professionals. 

We’re happy to help home and business owners in the Charleston, SC, area and answer any questions. We proudly serve Mt Pleasant, Wando, and Daniel Island with 24/7 availability! Call us today to help you make the right decision that will keep your family comfortable all year. 


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