Ducted Air Conditioning VS Split System: Which is More Expensive?

When it comes to cooling or heating your home, the type of air conditioner you choose can significantly impact your comfort and energy bills. Two popular options in the market are ducted air conditioning systems and electric split system air conditioners. While both have their advantages, many homeowners are often concerned about the cost implications. In this blog, we’ll delve into the cost considerations of ducted air conditioning VS split systems to help you make an informed decision based on your needs and budget. 

Understanding the Basics

Before we jump into the cost analysis, let’s briefly understand how each system works  

Ducted Air Conditioning

  • A ducted system involves a central unit that connects to ducts running throughout your home. 
  • It provides centralized cooling and heating, allowing you no control over the temperature in different rooms or zones. One set temperature is felt throughout the house. 
  • Ducted systems are discreet, with only vents visible in each room. 
Ducted aircon is expensive

Electric Split System

  • A split system consists of two main components: an indoor unit (evaporator) and an outdoor unit (condenser). 
  • It is designed to cool or heat a single room or a specific area, making it a good choice for smaller spaces. 
  • Installation is typically easier and cheaper, with minimal ductwork required.  

Cost Factors: Ducted Air Conditioning VS Split System

Now, let’s break down the cost factors associated with both ducted and electric split system air conditioners:  

Installation Costs

Ducted Systems: Installation of ducted systems is generally more complex and involves running ducts throughout the entire house. This complexity can lead to higher installation costs. 

Estimated cost installation cost of ducted aircon – $12000 to $16000  

Split Systems: Installation for split systems is often simpler and more affordable, especially for single-room setups. 

Estimated cost installation cost of electric split system aircon – $4000 to $7000 (before rebate, subsidies up to $4400 available with Cyanergy)   

Equipment Costs

Ducted Systems: The central unit and extensive ductwork can make ducted systems more expensive upfront. 

Split Systems: While the initial cost of a split system is usually lower, it can increase if you opt for multiple units to cool multiple rooms. 

Energy Efficiency

Ducted Systems: Centralized control and zoning options make ducted systems less energy-efficient for homes. They can be costly in the long run, especially if notused strategically. 

Split Systems: While efficient for smaller spaces, using multiple split systems throughout a large house may result in higher energy consumption. 

Maintenance and Repairs

Ducted Systems: Maintenance and repairs for ducted systems may be more expensive due to the complexity of the system and the need for professional duct cleaning. 

Split Systems: Maintenance costs are generally lower, and repairs may be more straightforward since each unit operates independently. 

Ducted aircon vs spilt system

Differences and Consideration Before Purchase

Ducted Air Conditioning

Installation and Aesthetics: Installation involves running ducts through the entire house, which can be a more invasive process. However, the vents are often discreet, providing a clean and unobtrusive look. 

Temperature Zoning: They allow for temperature zoning, enabling you to control the temperature in different rooms or zones independently. This is especially beneficial in larger homes where different areas may have varying cooling or heating needs. 

Centralized Control: With a central control unit, you can manage the entire system from one location. This centralized control enhances ease of use and overall efficiency. 

Energy Efficiency: The ability to cool or heat the entire house efficiently can make ducted systems more energy-efficient for larger homes when compared to using multiple split systems. 

Upfront Costs: The initial investment is generally higher due to the complexity of installation and the centralized unit.  

Electric Split System Air Conditioners

Installation Flexibility: Installation is less complex, and they are suitable for both single-room and multi-room setups. This flexibility makes split systems a popular choice for smaller spaces. 

Cost-Effectiveness for Smaller Areas: They are often more cost-effective for cooling or heating individual rooms or smaller homes. If your cooling needs are specific to certain areas, a split system might be a more budget-friendly option. 

Energy Efficiency for Specific Areas: While efficient for smaller spaces, using multiple split systems throughout a larger home may result in higher energy consumption compared to a centralized ducted system. 

Individual Control: Each unit operates independently, allowing for individualized temperature control in different rooms. This can be advantageous if specific areas need different temperatures. 

Maintenance and Repairs: Maintenance costs are generally lower, and repairs may be more straightforward since each unit is independent.  

Considerations for Both Systems

Home Size and Layout 

Consider the size and layout of your home. Ducted systems are often more suitable for larger homes with multiple rooms, while split systems are versatile for both small and large spaces. 

Budget Constraints 

Evaluate your budget for both upfront costs and long-term energy expenses. While ducted systems might have higher initial costs, they could be more cost-effective in the long run for larger homes. 

Energy Efficiency Goals 

Consider your energy efficiency goals. If you want a system that allows for precise control in different areas, ducted systems with zoning capabilities might be more suitable. For targeted cooling, split systems can be efficient.  

spilt system reverse cycle aircon

Future Expansion 

Think about future expansion or changes to your home. If you plan to add rooms or remodel, a ducted system can accommodate changes more easily. 

Professional Consultation 

Seek advice from HVAC professionals. They can assess your specific needs, home layout, and budget to provide personalized recommendations.   

In conclusion, the choice between ducted and electric split system air conditioners involves a trade-off between upfront costs, installation complexity, and long-term energy efficiency. Ducted systems are often associated with higher initial expenses, but they offer centralized control and energy efficiency for larger homes. On the other hand, split systems are more budget-friendly for smaller spaces but may result in higher energy bills when used extensively throughout a larger home. 

Before making a decision, consider your home’s size, layout, and your specific temperature needs. Consulting with HVAC professionals can provide valuable insights tailored to your circumstances, helping you make a cost-effective and comfortable choice for your home. 

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