Ducted Air Conditioning Cost
This post looks into the feasibility and cost involved to install and maintain a ducted air conditioning system. Ducted air conditioning cost varies by brand and model, depending on system size. The running cost of a ducted air conditioner also depends on how energy efficient the brand and model is.
Before we jump into a discussion of the cost of ducted air conditioning, let’s do a quick intro into what Ducted Air Conditioning is and what home scenario is it more suited for.
Ducted Air Conditioning Cost – Quick Intro
Ducted Air Conditioning is a widely preferred form of air conditioning. Alternatives to ducted air conditioning will include Split System and Evaporative air conditioning. To put things into perspective and help you understand the key differences between different systems, here’s a short overview of each type of air conditioning system.
Ducted Air Conditioning
Ducted Air Conditioning is quite simple in design. It is made up of an internal and an external compressor. These are usually located in a secluded part of the house – at the back or sides of the house.
The internal unit is also often mounted into the roof space. Ducted air conditioning uses ducts to distribute the conditioned air throughout a home. All the ducts are hidden in the roof and wall spaces, so the only part of the air conditioner that you can see are the air vents.
Also known as Central Air Conditioning, ducted air conditioning is very popular for it’s versatility and minimalist design.
Split System Air Conditioning
Split System air conditioning is another popular choice. It comprises of a main compressor that serves multiple wall units (aka fan coils). The wall units are mounted on the walls of each room that requires air conditioning.
All the heating and cooling is done at the compressor and the warm/cold air is then passed on to each wall unit which blows the air into a room or space. Split Systems are the conventional form of air conditioning that most people know and love. You can control each wall unit separately.
Split systems come with many features. Most of these features are incorporated as part of the wall units. Some features include air filtration/ionisers, advanced airflow controls and 3D sensors – all enhancing the comfort level of a home.
Evaporative Air Conditioning
Evaporative air conditioners have become increasingly popular with home owners – especially those who value better air quality. It also uses a similar ducting setup as the ducted reverse cycle, but the key difference is that it relies on evaporation for cooling the air.
Warm air is drawn into the evaporative air conditioner, passed through wet cooling pads where evaporation cools the air, and thrown back out into the home. Since it uses evaporation and not refrigeration to produce the cool air, the resulting air is not as cold and crisp as that from a ducted reverse cycle or split system air con.
However, the air has a better air quality and feels more natural – like a cool breeze. This is due to the evaporative process, which produces air with a higher moisture content. This air is easier to breathe and gentler on the skin. Families who value air quality would prefer evaporative over the other systems.
Ducted Air Conditioning Cost – How To Compare Prices?
Given the vast number of brands and models available in the market for ducted air conditioning, it would not be possible to compare all the prices and running cost granularly. What would be better is to examine the cost difference between the types of air conditioners. So you can decide which air conditioner type fits your budget – both in terms of installation and long term running cost.
Ducted Air Conditioning Cost – Installation Cost Comparison
In terms of upfront installation cost, the ducted air conditioning cost is the highest in most scenarios. However, in saying that, you need to be sure you are comparing the same system size between say the split system and evap, vs a ducted air conditioner.
Usually, the ducted air conditioner would cost between 20-30% (and in some cases 50%) more than the cost to install a split system or evaporative air conditioner. However, this cost is justified by a few factors.
Firstly, ducted air conditioning can serve as central air conditioning. Providing heating and cooling to much larger homes with complicated layouts. Especially multi-storey homes with harder to reach places. A split system may not be economically viable – and in fact could be cost-prohibitive, for larger homes. Using split systems to air condition such homes may require multiple compressors and many wall units – which then escalates the upfront costs. So while the ducted air conditioner seems to have a higher upfront installation cost, it does server a much larger area and is suited for bigger homes with more rooms.
Secondly, most ducted air conditioners now come with reverse cycle capability. This means it can produce both hot and cold air. This makes it a very versatile all-season air conditioning solution. If you purchased an evaporative system, you only have cooling. You will need to install separate gas heating which is another upfront cost. So you can say that the ducted air conditioning cost more, but it takes care of both heating and cooling. And therein lies it’s value.
In terms of the upfront cost between different brands, here’s a quick insight. Most ducted air conditioning cost are set within the same range. Starting from $5990 fully installed. This could go up to over $10,000 depending on the system size and ducting required.
Of all the brands, Mitsubishi Electric ducted air conditioning comes at a slight premium over the rest. This could be in the range of 10-20% more than say a Toshiba, Carrier or Braemar. Mitsubishi Electric has a very strong reputation of quality, reliability and and excellent service and support network. Many home owners are happy to pay the premium for this brand.
Ducted Air Conditioning Cost – Running Cost Comparison
In terms of running running costs, it’s harder to run a fair comparison.
For example, it all depends on how many zones you usually turn on – vs how many wall units of a split system you would use concurrently. If you have many wall units in operation concurrently, the the running cost compared to a ducted air conditioner of similar system size, may be on par.
As each wall unit consumes a set amount power to run it. However, if you only are a low usage user, then the split system would be more economical as you can turn on each wall unit separately – as an when needed.
Most air conditioning systems nowadays come with Inverter Technology. The inverter systems are far more energy efficient than previous non-inverter models and have closed the gap between running cost of split systems and ducted reverse cycles.
In terms of running cost, the Evaporative takes the crown. Evaporative air conditioning uses the natural process of evaporation. This requires much less power to produce the cooling. Compared to a ducted reverse cycle air conditioner, the running cost of an evaporative air conditioner is touted to as low as 10-20% that of an equivalent-sized ducted reverse cycle. Seeley International, a leading manufacturer of evaporative air conditioning, states that running an evap cost as little as running a light bulb over a one year period. So if you are looking for the lowest running costs, an evaporative air conditioner may be your thing.
We hope this informative post about ducted air conditioning cost has helped you in your research. If you need more help or personalised advice from one of our expert consultants, please call us at 1300-Cooling. We will help review your home plans and recommend the best ducted air conditioning system for your home.