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Ducted Aircon vs. Split Systems

Choosing the right air conditioning system for your home is a big decision. There are mainly two types: ducted aircon and split systems. Ducted air conditioning controls the temperature of the entire house with special zones.

Split systems cool or heat one room at a time and are easy to use with a remote control. While ducted systems might cost more upfront, they can be quieter and save energy in the long run.

On the other hand, split systems have lower starting costs but may not fit well in some homes due to space issues. Both use smart technology that makes heating and cooling super efficient, being able to transfer heat rather than create it, making them up to 600% efficient! Choosing between these depends on many things like how big your home is, what you’re willing to spend initially, and what you want from your system in terms of ease and looks.

Let’s explore which one could be best for you!

Understanding Ducted Air Conditioning Systems

Ducted air conditioning systems offer a seamless way to cool and heat your entire home. They hide ductwork in the roof, delivering climate control to every room through vents.

Key Features and Benefits

Ducted air conditioning systems offer climate control across the entire home or office through a network of air ducts. This setup provides efficient cooling and heating in all rooms, making it ideal for larger spaces.

These systems come with zoning capabilities allowing different areas to be heated or cooled at different times. It makes them highly energy-efficient, reducing running costs significantly.

The installation of a ducted system could increase the marketability of your property due to its sleek design that hides vents and ductwork out of sight. They also feature reverse cycle technology, capable of achieving up to 600% efficiency in space heating and cooling.

This means they can provide warmth during winter and cool air in summer, all while conserving energy. Such versatility adds considerable value to homes or offices equipped with ducted systems.

Considerations for Purchasing

Before buying an air conditioning unit, think about your home’s layout and size. Large houses benefit from ducted systems for even cooling and heating in all rooms. Smaller homes or single rooms are perfect for split system units.

Both options come with their own installation costs and energy efficiency ratings.

Your lifestyle and the climate you live in also play a big part. If you like having control over different zones in your house, ducted air conditioning with zoning technology is ideal.

For those living in flats or smaller spaces, a split air conditioner provides efficient heating or cooling where it’s needed most. Next, we’ll explore how insulation affects ducted air conditioning efficiency.

Role of Insulation in Ducted Air Conditioning Efficiency

Insulation plays a crucial role in ducted air conditioning systems. It helps maintain efficiency and prevents air leakage. With proper insulation, these systems use less energy and perform better.

This reduction in energy consumption leads to lower electricity bills. Insulation ensures the desired temperature is maintained throughout the property, easing the workload on the air-conditioning unit.

Well-insulated ducts minimise temperature loss and keep cooling or heating even across different rooms. Without this, ducted systems may fail to keep consistent temperatures, making some areas too hot or too cold.

Energy costs can rise as the system tries harder to compensate for these losses. Hence, investing in good insulation contributes significantly to a ducted system’s effectiveness and lowers overall expenses.

Let’s explore understanding split system air conditioning next.

Understanding Split System Air Conditioning

Split system air conditioning features two main parts: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. This setup cools your room efficiently while being quieter than other systems.

Components of a Split System

A split system air conditioner consists of two main parts: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit, often referred to as the head unit, is mounted inside the room. It blows cool or warm air into the space.

The outdoor unit houses components like the compressor and condenser. It expels heat from indoors to outdoors.

These units are connected by piping that carries refrigerant between them. This setup allows for efficient cooling or heating of individual rooms or areas within a home. Split systems offer quiet operation and come with remote control features for easy adjustments.

They are energy efficient, making them a cost-effective solution for controlling climate in specific zones without needing to install ductwork throughout the property.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Split systems offer ease of control with remote operation and are pocket-friendly regarding both installation and running costs. These units excel in single-room cooling, making them ideal for smaller properties or specific areas within larger homes.

Their lower initial purchase cost also allows for a gradual upgrade of air conditioning throughout the house without a hefty upfront expense.

Ducted systems, on the other hand, provide comprehensive cooling across the entire property. They support even temperature distribution and have zoning capabilities to conserve energy by only cooling rooms in use.

Despite their higher installation and maintenance costs, ducted systems add value to properties because of their efficiency and reverse cycle heating feature. However, they require significant space for ductwork, which might not be feasible in all building types.

Comparison: Ducted Aircon vs. Split Systems

Ducted aircon systems offer a seamless look and can cool entire homes efficiently. On the other hand, split systems provide flexibility, letting you cool specific rooms as needed.

Installation and Aesthetics

Installing a ducted aircon system requires more initial work and expense due to its complexity. It hides most of the equipment in ceilings, under floors, or behind walls, offering a sleek and minimalist look to your home.

This system delivers airflow through vents positioned strategically around the house, maintaining a consistent temperature in every room.

Split systems stand out for their ease of installation and are more budget-friendly for smaller spaces or individual rooms. However, these units might not blend as well with your home’s decor due to their visibility on interior walls.

They do provide flexibility though; you can add multiple units across different rooms without needing extensive ductwork. This makes them an attractive option for houses with limited space for ducting or those looking to condition specific areas independently.

Performance and Efficiency

Ducted air conditioning systems shine in their efficiency, especially with reverse cycle technology. They can heat and cool entire buildings or homes up to 600% efficiently. This makes them ideal for larger spaces where uniform temperature control is a priority.

Their zoning capabilities allow users to set different temperatures in various rooms, cutting down on wasted energy and reducing costs.

Split system air conditioners have a different kind of advantage. Each unit operates independently with its own remote control, making it easier to manage the environment in specific areas without affecting the whole house or building.

This setup can lead to savings since you only need to heat or cool rooms that are being used. Despite being more economical to run than ducted systems, split systems may require more units to cover the same area, which could affect overall efficiency and aesthetics.

Maintenance and Cost

While performance and efficiency are critical in choosing between ducted and split system air conditioners, considering the long-term maintenance and cost is equally important. Ducted systems often involve higher installation expenses mainly due to their complexity and the need for extensive ductwork throughout the home.

These systems also require regular cleaning of air vents and ducts to prevent mould build-up and ensure efficient operation.

Split systems, on the other hand, come with a lower initial cost but may demand more frequent maintenance checks for each unit. Because these units operate independently, any issue in one won’t affect the whole system, making troubleshooting potentially simpler but more frequent.

Running costs for ducted units tend to be higher as they offer whole-home coverage, whereas split systems can provide heating or cooling in targeted areas only. Despite these differences, both types of units need careful consideration regarding ongoing costs related to energy consumption measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), reliability of service provided over time, and potential repairs or part replacements.

Making the Right Choice: Factors to Consider

Choosing the right air conditioning system requires careful consideration. It’s essential to weigh several factors to ensure your choice meets your needs.

  • Home Size and Layout: Ducted systems are ideal for larger homes with multiple rooms, as they provide whole-home coverage and allow for independent temperature control in different areas. In contrast, split systems might be more suitable for smaller houses or single rooms.
  • Installation Requirements: Consider the structure of your property. Split systems are easier and cheaper to install but may not be feasible for properties with limited wall space or weak exterior walls. Ducted systems, on the other hand, require more extensive installation work, including ductwork throughout your home.
  • Energy Efficiency: Both ducted and split systems offer energy-efficient reverse cycle technology. However, electrically powered reverse cycle systems are generally more energy-efficient and cost-effective compared to gas ducted heating options.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Initial installation costs for ducted aircon can be higher than those for split systems. Yet, if you’re building a new home, installing a ducted reverse cycle air conditioning system could offer long-term benefits and savings on energy bills.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: Ducted aircon units are almost invisible once installed, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your home. Split systems require an external unit on the outside of your property and an internal unit mounted on the wall or ceiling inside.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Think about long-term maintenance. Ducted systems often require professional maintenance to ensure efficiency and longevity. Split systems can be easier to access for cleaning and routine checks but still need regular professional servicing.
  • Your Lifestyle Needs: If you require different temperatures in various parts of your house due to personal preferences or lifestyle needs, a ducted system offers zoned heating and cooling solutions. A split system could suffice if you’re looking to heat or cool one area at a time.


Deciding between ducted and split system air conditioning units involves weighing your specific needs against each system’s features. If a quiet, efficient, whole-home solution suits you, consider the ducted option.

For those prioritising cost-effective installation and cooling for individual rooms, split systems shine brightly. Remember, professional advice tailors your choice to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency in your home or office space.


1. What is the difference between ducted air conditioning and split systems?

Ducted air conditioning uses a central unit connected by ductwork to cool or heat multiple rooms, while split systems are individual units installed in specific rooms for targeted cooling or heating.

2. Can both ducted and split systems provide heating as well as cooling?

Yes, both types of air conditioners can offer reverse cycle operation, meaning they can produce both cool and warm air. This makes them suitable for use in all seasons.

3. Are ducted systems more expensive than split system air conditioners?

Generally, installing a ducted system tends to be more costly upfront due to the extensive ductwork required. However, split system units might increase costs if many are needed to cover an entire house.

4. Which is better for energy efficiency: Ducted or Split Systems?

Split-system air conditioners often have higher Energy Star ratings per unit because they target specific areas rather than cooling or heating an entire home. Yet, the best choice depends on your needs and how you plan to use it.

5. How do I decide whether a ducted system or a split system is right for my home?

Consider factors such as the size of your home, the need for zoned temperature control across different areas, installation costs, energy efficiency desires, and whether you need centralised ventilation alongside cooling and heating.

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