Gas Ducted Heating Vs Split System: Make the Right Home Heating and Cooling Choice in 2023

Imagine stepping into your home, greeted by the perfect temperature—whether it’s a blazing summer afternoon or a chilly winter evening. The choice between an electric split system air conditioner and a ducted gas heater holds the key to achieving this tailored comfort, ensuring your living space is an oasis of coziness year-round. As we venture into the heart of 2023, the decision between gas ducted heating vs split system technologies takes on renewed significance, prompting us to explore their intricacies and unearth the ideal solution for your home. 

Electric Split System Air Conditioner

Here’s how an Electric Split System Air Conditioner works– 

Cooling Process

Evaporator Unit (Indoor): The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and a fan. Warm indoor air is drawn in through the return air grille and blown over the cold evaporator coil. As the air passes over the coil, heat is absorbed by the refrigerant within the coil, causing the air to cool down. 

Refrigerant: The refrigerant is a chemical compound that changes state from a gas to a liquid and back to a gas, absorbing and releasing heat in the process. 

gas vs split system which is cheaper

Heat Transfer

Compressor: The heated refrigerant gas is sent to the outdoor condenser unit, where the compressor pressurizes it. This action increases the temperature of the refrigerant gas. 

Condenser Coil (Outdoor): The hot, pressurized refrigerant gas is released into the condenser coil located in the outdoor unit. As outdoor air is blown over the coil by a fan, the heat from the refrigerant is transferred to the outdoor air, causing the refrigerant to condense back into a liquid. 

Expansion Valve

The high-pressure liquid refrigerant then passes through an expansion valve (or metering device), where it rapidly expands and changes back into a low-pressure gas. This phase change causes the refrigerant to become very cold. 

Cool Air Circulation

The now-cold refrigerant gas is sent back to the indoor unit’s evaporator coil, where the cycle repeats. The fan inside the indoor unit blows warm indoor air over the cold evaporator coil. This air absorbs heat from the coil, thus cooling down and circulating as cold air into the living space. 

Electric Split System Benefits –

  1. All-in-One Cooling and Heating: 
  2. Electric split system air conditioners are versatile units that offer both cooling and heating capabilities. This dual functionality makes them a great year-round investment, allowing you to stay comfortable in both hot summers and chilly winters. 

  3. Installation and Zoning: 
  4. The installation of a split system is relatively straightforward. It involves an indoor unit (evaporator) and an outdoor unit (condenser) connected by refrigerant lines. One of the notable advantages is zoning, which lets you control the temperature in different areas independently. This can lead to energy savings by conditioning only the rooms in use. 

  5. Initial Cost and Energy Efficiency: 
  6. In terms of upfront costs, electric split systems are generally more affordable than ducted gas heaters. However, while modern units are designed to be energy-efficient, they can consume a significant amount of electricity, potentially leading to higher energy bills. Keep an eye out for units with high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings. 

Ducted Gas Heater

Combustion Process

Gas Combustion: The process begins with the ignition of natural gas in the heater’s combustion chamber. The gas burner creates a controlled flame that generates heat energy. 

Heat Generation

Heat Exchanger: The heat energy from the flame is transferred to a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is a component that separates the combustion gases from the air that circulates through the ducts. As the heat exchanger heats up, it warms the air around it without directly mixing the combustion gases with the indoor air. 
split system heating and cooling

Air Circulation

Air Intake: Indoor air is drawn into the system through a return air grille. This air is typically cooler than the heat exchanger. 

Air Heating: The heated heat exchanger warms the incoming indoor air as it passes over the exchanger’s surface. This warmed air is then directed into the ductwork. 


Ductwork: The warmed air is pushed through a network of ducts that are distributed throughout the house. These ducts deliver the heated air to various rooms and living spaces. 

Vents and Registers: In each room, vents or registers allow the heated air to flow into the space. These can be adjusted to control the amount of warm air entering each room, providing customizable comfort. 

Thermostat Control

Thermostat: The entire process is controlled by a thermostat. The thermostat monitors the indoor temperature and signals the heater to turn on or off based on the set temperature. Once the desired temperature is reached, the heater cycles off to maintain consistent comfort. 

Gas Ducted System Benefits -

    1. Focused Heating: 

Ducted gas heaters are designed solely for heating purposes. They utilize natural gas to generate heat, which is then distributed throughout the house via ducts and vents. This makes them an effective choice for regions with colder climates. 

    1. Whole-House Heating and Zoning: 

One of the strengths of ducted systems is their ability to provide consistent and even heating throughout the entire home. Although some ducted systems offer zoning options, this feature might not be as customizable as in split systems. 

  1. Installation and Energy Efficiency: 

Installation of a ducted gas heater is more complex due to the need for ductwork installation. Consequently, the initial investment tends to be higher. However, the operational cost can be more economical in areas where natural gas unit prices are lower than electricity rates. But that scenario is to be changed very soon. As gas is phasing out in Victoria along with the entire nation in the near future.   

Learn more about gas phasing out in Vic here – Will Natural Gas Be Phased Out in Victoria? 

Here Is a Quick Comparison Table of Gas Ducted Heating Vs Split System

here’s a comparison table highlighting situations where an Electric Split System Air Conditioner might be a more favorable option than a Ducted Gas Heater: 
Feature/ConsiderationElectric Split System Air ConditionerDucted Gas Heater
Heating and CoolingOffers Both Heating and CoolingHeating Only
Initial CostGenerally Lower Initial InvestmentHigher Initial Investment
Zoning CapabilityPrecise Zoning for Energy EfficiencyLimited Zoning Options
Installation ComplexityEasier Installation ProcessMore Complex Installation
Flexibility in RetrofittingRetrofitting into Existing Homes EasierBetter Suited for New Construction
Energy Source AvailabilityWorks Regardless of Gas AvailabilityRequires Access to Natural Gas
Climate SuitabilitySuitable for Milder ClimatesLess Effective in Extremely Cold Areas
Environmental ImpactLower Environmental Impact in Some RegionsConsideration of Gas Usage Impact
Space HeatingEffective for Moderate Heating NeedsEffective for Strong Heating Needs
Utility Cost VariationElectricity Rates Stable/VariedNatural Gas Rates Can Fluctuate
While an Electric Split System Air Conditioner has its advantages in certain scenarios, remember that the choice ultimately depends on your unique situation, preferences, and budget. Consulting with HVAC experts can provide personalized guidance tailored to your needs. 

Gas Ducted Heating Vs Split System – Which is Cheaper?

When comparing the cost difference between gas ducted heating and a split system, several factors come into play. Understanding these elements can help you make an informed decision based on your budget and preferences. Which provides the cheapest heating? Let’s delve into the price differences and the key factors that drive them: 

Gas Ducted Heating – Price Factors

Installation Complexity: Gas ducted heating systems involve extensive installation, including ductwork throughout your home. This complexity can lead to higher upfront installation costs. 

Equipment Costs: The central heating unit, along with the required ducts and vents, contributes to the initial expenses. 

Efficiency and Maintenance: Gas systems tend to require maintenance to ensure optimal efficiency and safety. Regular servicing may lead to additional costs. 

Energy Source: Natural gas prices vary by region and over time. Areas with lower gas prices will likely have a more competitive cost advantage. 

Split System - Price Factors

Installation Simplicity: Split systems are simpler to install since they don’t require extensive ductwork. This ease of installation usually results in lower upfront costs. 

Equipment Costs: Split systems consist of indoor and outdoor units. While the components might be more affordable, the need for multiple units in larger spaces could impact the overall cost. 

Efficiency and Maintenance: Energy-efficient split systems might result in lower running costs. Maintenance for split systems is generally straightforward, potentially reducing ongoing expenses. 

Energy Source: Electricity rates can vary significantly. In regions with lower electricity prices, operating a split system can be more cost-effective 

Comparing Price Differences

The primary price difference between gas ducted heating and a split system often lies in the installation costs. Gas systems involve complex installation due to ductwork requirements, resulting in higher upfront expenses. In contrast, split systems are simpler to install and typically have lower initial costs. 
Price AspectGas Ducted HeatingSplit System
Installation ComplexityMore complex, involves ductworkSimpler installation, no extensive ducts
Upfront Equipment CostsCentral heating unit, ducts, ventsIndoor and outdoor units
Efficiency and MaintenanceRegular maintenance for optimal efficiencyGenerally lower maintenance needs
Energy Source DependencyGas prices vary by regionElectricity rates can differ significantly
Cooling Functionality ImpactHeating-focused, no cooling capabilitiesCan include cooling, affecting overall cost

While price differences stem from installation complexity, equipment costs, and energy source considerations, it’s crucial to evaluate both short-term and long-term expenses. Consider your home’s specific requirements, energy rates in your area, and the benefits each system offers. Installation cost for ducted vs split system vary for the type of system they are.  

Consulting with HVAC professionals can help you gauge the most economical option based on your circumstances and preferences. 

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