Air conditioning units

Air conditioning units - split or central?

Homeowners across America are debating the everlasting question of what will suit their house better - a central AC unit or split AC throughout the house? In this short guide we have assembled the advantages and disadvantages of each option, to help you make the better choice.

AIQ Home
Editorial Team
AIQ Home

Getting ready for those hot summer days? This may mean you're about to make a big decision regarding the right cooling solution for your home. There are enough options out there to make your head spin and making the right choice can be confusing. Before you choose a brand and installation professional you’ll have to decide whether you’re going for a central AC or split AC. Follow this guide and we promise you’ll find it an easy task after all.

Central AC advantages

Breathe cleaner air

Most central air conditioning systems use better filters than split AC units. This helps improve air quality and eliminate pollen, dust and lint from the air we breathe.

A more effective circulation

Using a central AC system allows effective circulation of cool air throughout your entire home.

Less noise

While any form of AC makes a certain amount of noise, central systems make far less noise than window units by comparison.

More space - and better design

No space-occupying units hanging on every wall. That gives you additional indoor space and makes for a more neutral backdrop when it comes to your design options.

One control panel

Instead of having several remote controls strewn throughout the house, you can operate your entire home’s AC using a single control panel. You can easily set the time and temperature at which you want the unit to operate.

Central AC Disadvantages

Ductwork required

Especially in older homes, this is a big consideration, seeing as you might have to perform the ductwork to install a central unit. You should take into consideration that this may prove to be a costly expense on top of purchasing the central system.

Energy inefficiency

Ducting usually leads to increased energy costs, year by year. Cleavages, cracks and holes normally appear in ductwork over time. That leads to air escaping out of those ducts, which means your unit is working harder and longer to cool down your home.

Unnecessary cooling

If your home has spare bedrooms or spaces you rarely use, then the central AC unit is going to be cooling them whether you need to or not. That means you’re paying to cool areas that don’t require cooling at all.


Routine maintenance is required when you own a central AC. Expect an annual upkeep of the unit itself and a thorough cleaning of the air ducts every 4 years.

Split AC - the right way to go

After considering the pros and cons - although split AC units might make a bit more noise, take up indoor space and may add a couple of extra remote controls to your home - we think that it is the better way to go. It's much less expensive to install and maintain, plus, it’s dramatically more energy efficient, and overall the more effective cooling option. At the end of the day, that is what counts the most. Therefore, you won’t be surprised to learn that over 77% of new construction projects of residential properties opt for split AC.

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