Ducts vs. Ductless HVAC Systems

With so much technical jargon floating around, it can be hard to understand what the differences between HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems are and why they matter. There are two primary systems available for your household: HVAC’s that use ducts, or duct systems, and HVAC’s that don’t, or ductless systems. But, what does that mean?

  • Duct Systems produce cooled/warmed air from a central unit and then deliver it to every room via discreet vents.
  • Ductless Systems are small boxes affixed to your wall and connected to an outside unit. When your environment is too warm or too cold, they cycle air through refrigerants/heaters and distribute through blowers.

Both of these systems are effective in their own right but aren’t suited to every environment. This leaves us with the most important question: which is the best for you?


If you or your loved ones suffer from asthma or allergy issues, a ductless HVAC might be the best choice. With ductless, the risk of having dust, aggravating particles, and other pollutants circulate around your home is greatly reduced.

However, the ducted HVAC systems are far superior at controlling humidity and sustaining better air flow. Due to a lack of air handling mechanisms in the ductless systems, they are less effective when it comes to removing and draining air moisture.


When it comes to system safety, ductless systems come out on top. Unlike duct systems, they don’t require any combustible gasses such as carbon monoxide, meaning there is no risk of such gasses backdrafting into your household. That is not to say the duct system should be considered dangerous. With proper maintenance and repair, any risk of harmful leakage can be avoided.

Eco-Friendliness and Savings 

Photo by cafecredit.com.

When purchasing new electronics, everyone loves to reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on bills where you can. Carefully considering the efficiency of your HVAC systems is a great way to do both. The main energy issue with ducted systems is that they heat/cool your whole house at once – therefore resulting in you wasting energy controlling the climate of rooms you’re not even using.

With ductless HVACs, this problem is avoided using individually zoned units. Although, depending on your requirements, using several individual units to simultaneously climatize multiple rooms could end up wasting more energy than just using one central ducted HVAC.

The initial unit cost and installation charge of a ductless system is significantly cheaper than ducted. If your living areas are small, then the upfront cost of 1-2 ductless units will work out to a lesser expensive option. Alternately, if you’re living in a large space that requires 2+ ductless units to heat/cool, buying one ducted system would actually end up saving you more money.

Choosing the right HVAC can seem like a stressful decision to make, but you really don’t need to worry.  As long as you take time to consider which system is best suited for you and your environment and ensure professional insulation and maintenance, both duct and ductless HVACs will be capable of providing a comfortable and cost-effective climate in your household.

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