Well for most homeowners it comes down to budget—what you’re willing to spend upfront for an AC installation in the New Jersey area.
This is what we recommend:
- If you already have ductwork, the least expensive option upfront would probably be to go with a central AC system.
- If your home doesn’t have ductwork, it’s probably cheaper to go with a ductless AC system.
We’ll explain both of those answers below.
Have ductwork installed? Go with a central AC
If your home already has ductwork installed, you’re typically better off going with a central air conditioner.
Why? Because central AC units typically cost 30% less than ductless AC units (if you don’t need the additional cost of ductwork installation).
- What’s the Cost to Install a Central Air Conditioner in NJ?
- How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ductless AC in NJ?
The important thing to remember with central ACs is that most every home has leaky ductwork. In fact, the Department of Energy (DOE), estimates that about 30 to 40% of all conditioned air in a home leaks out of holes and cracks in the ductwork.
That means, for every $10 you spend on cooling, $3 to $4 is wasted via leaky ductwork.
So, you’d be wise to have a professional inspect your ductwork to see if you could benefit from duct sealing.
Don’t have ductwork? Consider a ductless AC
Some older homes don’t have ductwork. Additionally, some newer homes with add-on rooms/renovations don’t have ductwork installed in certain areas of the home.
If this is similar to your situation, consider investing in a ductless system.
Why? Well, the cost to add ductwork throughout a home can range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000+ on top of the cost of the AC installation. That said, you can save a lot of money and time by skipping the ductwork installation altogether and installing ductless units.
One thing to remember about ductless ACs is that you could end up needing several “units”. You see, ductless systems need a separate indoor unit, or “air handler”, for each room/area. The more indoor units needed, the more expensive the installation. The good news is that one outdoor units can connect to up to 8 indoor air handlers.
An image of one indoor unit (left) attached to one outdoor unit (right). Each room needs its own indoor unit.