Is Ducted Air Conditioning the Right Choice?

There are many advantages to a ducted air conditioning system. It’s a set-and-forget system that cools or heats the entire house – at least the parts you choose – and ensures the ultimate in climate comfort.

But is ducted air conditioning the right choice for your home? Does it suit your needs or is it an unnecessary expense?

There are a number of factors that come into play when considering a ducted system. Before putting the focus on the advantages and disadvantages, let’s take a closer look at what exactly a ducted air conditioning system is.

What is a Ducted Air Conditioner?

A ducted air conditioner works in a similar way to a split system air conditioner, in which an indoor unit is connected to an outdoor unit. But there are many other differences between the two systems.

With a ducted system, the central indoor unit is located in the ceiling. This unit has an internal fan, connected to ducts that deliver cooled or heated air to whatever rooms and areas you choose.

That air is released by vents in each of the rooms you have chosen. You can control the temperature and timing of the climate control through a central control panel, which can be programmed to suit your needs.

Zoning can be used to heat or cool desired rooms while shutting off the flow of air to other rooms. You can also choose different temperatures for different parts of the house, to suit various members of your household.

Is Ducted Air Conditioning Expensive?

The bottom line is that ducted air conditioning is an expensive investment. The cost will vary depending on the size of your home, but it can be in the range of $10,000 to $15,000.

The type of ducted air conditioning system will vary from home to home, so it’s important to consult with an air conditioning specialist as you plan how many rooms you want to heat or cool. Your AC professional will need to inspect your home thoroughly before giving you an idea of what the costs might be.

The Pros of Ducted Air Conditioning

There are many benefits to having a ducted air conditioning system installed in your home. Here are some of the key advantages of choosing a ducted system:

  • Heat or cool the entire home – A ducted air conditioning system connects the whole home. This means one remote gives you climate control for every room.
  • Discreet looks – A ducted air conditioner is barely noticeable in the home. Apart from a ceiling or wall vent in each room, the system will heat or cool quietly and discreetly.
  • Zoning – A zoned ducted system enables you to heat or cool all rooms, specific rooms or just one area, depending on your needs. It also allows you to choose different temperature settings for different rooms.
  • Energy efficient – A ducted air conditioner can efficiently heat or cool large or small rooms. Using the zoning functions, you will only use the system where it’s needed, boosting its energy efficiency.
  • Adds value to your home – Any home that is fitted with a ducted air conditioning system will gain in value. Many people regard a ducted system as a luxury item.

The Cons of Ducted Air Conditioning

There are some arguments against choosing a ducted air conditioning system. The main downside of a ducted system is the cost, which comes in several forms.

Your home must be suitable for a ducted system. Primarily, you must have the ceiling space for the central unit and the duct work. It definitely wouldn’t suit certain apartments, townhouses and smaller houses.

However, some buildings are designed with central heating and cooling in all rooms and spaces (such as hotels, offices and apartment buildings). In those cases, the decision has been made for you.

Here are some of the cons of a ducted air conditioning system:

  • Upfront cost – Due to the size and complexity of the system, it will be more expensive to buy than a split system and other single-room heaters and coolers.
  • Installation cost – This is a more invasive installation than a split system. Your new ducted system will take over your ceiling space. Ducts will need to reach all areas of the home (or as many spaces as you choose) and ceiling or wall vents will be installed in those areas. Installation time is likely to be at least a day.
  • Expensive to operate – This depends on how often you use the system, but a ducted system is likely to be more expensive to run than a split system. Without zoning you’ll be heating or cooling areas you’re not in, which is a waste of money and energy.
  • Requires extra power – A three-phase electricity supply is necessary for some larger ducted systems. This will add to installation costs unless you already have it.Maintenance costs – Being a large, complex system, annual maintenance (including duct cleaning) is necessary and can be costly.

In Conclusion

A ducted air conditioning system could be right for your home if you’ve got the ceiling space and multiple areas that need heating and cooling. It’s particularly handy if you’ve got a larger household with different climate control requirements throughout. A ducted air conditioning system is a big investment in your own home which is likely to pay off.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Last Edited on: 4th January 2023