- If you have a central air conditioning system, existing ductwork might be reused but have the duct system inspected before assuming it is usable. The ducts may have been installed poorly, gotten damaged over time, or be incorrectly sized for a new system.
- If you have a furnace but don’t have central air conditioning, it may be possible to incorporate it with your existing ductwork, depending on cooling load and sizing.
- If you do not have ductwork, installing ducts in an existing home may not be worth the cost (unless you are also installing a central furnace). Ductless mini-split heat pumps may be a good alternative.
- If you only plan on cooling sections or additions to your home, ductless heat pumps work well for zone cooling. Alternatively, window unit air conditioners can be used to cool individual rooms. Look for energy-efficient models.
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Should I install a new central air conditioning system?
The decision tree and the cooling systems characteristics listed on this page may also help you in your decision-making process. The table below presents details on the most common of the cooling systems discussed, including an indication of cost. It also gives the Federal minimum efficiency rating (if established), the minimum ENERGY STAR efficiency criteria, and a range of efficiency levels for high-performing models you should look for if you are purchasing a new system.