Ducted Air Conditioners vs Split System
Usually cheaper to purchase and install, split air conditioners have the advantage of being retrofitted easily to any home or room. Ducted air conditioners are a system that is more regularly installed during the construction phase of a new home and offers superior performance, although at a higher overall cost.
Picture this! Summer is closing in; the temperature is rising. Once again, your attention starts to focus on air conditioning. You didn’t install it the year before because the decision to choose a split or ducted system was just too hard. Here you are again this year with the same quandary. Why struggle through yet another hot, steamy summer or cold, freezing winter? To help you make the right choice between split systems or ducted air conditioners, continue reading to let Reef Air Conditioning, Sunshine Coast help you discover more about the pros and cons of each.
There are certain fundamental differences when it comes to split systems and ducted air conditioners, particularly surrounding functionality, cost and installation. A split system generally costs less to purchase and install and is also quite easy to retrofit to any required area or home. Ducted air conditioners tend to offer a better overall performance, though with higher costs and are normally installed during a home or building construction stage though can be fitted after construction.
To help you discover which air conditioning system is the most suitable for your home/office and budget, read on for a more in depth look at each individual system.
Understand the difference: split vs ducted air conditioners
The system most commonly used in offices and homes around the globe is a split system. It comprises a head unit (indoors) – normally mounted up high in a room on the wall, and a compressor/condenser (outdoors) which is installed on a roof, wall, or balcony. These systems are reasonably affordable however coverage is typically on a per room basis.
Pros: Affordable, heating and cooling options, relatively quick and easy installation
Cons: Coverage is limited – normally 1-2 rooms
Ducted air conditioning systems are built-in to your buildings wall cavities and ceiling and are designed for cooling and heating the entire space. Cool or warm air is circulated throughout your home via a duct system within your ceiling cavity, floor and/or walls. Grills or vents are fitted in your desired rooms, along with a programmable panel which will allow you to control the specific temperature required and also when to run your system. A ducted air conditioning system can be easily integrated with a smart home, allowing control via an app or a panel fixed to your wall. Ducted air conditioners are considerably less visually invasive in comparison to a split system, but costs are higher for purchase and installation.
Pros: Cools large areas more effectively, coverage by zone, possible smart home integration, visually unobtrusive
Cons: Retrofitting is difficult, expensive
Capacity and costs: split vs ducted air conditioners
Both split and ducted air conditioning systems will easily cool you down or heat you up. The two main things to consider though, are how much you are wanting to spend and the number of rooms you wish to cool or heat.
If it is only a living room you’re wanting to cool, a wall mounted split system would be perfect for you. When you choose your system, firstly, you will need to define the size of the area you need air conditioned and then match the area with the system capacity. As an example, a 2.5-kilowatt (kW) system would typically provide enough coverage for an average bedroom of around 25 square metres, but if wanting to cool a 70-75 square metre living area, you would need a 7kW system. There can be a significant cost difference between the sizes.
A quality reverse cycle wall mounted split system 2.5kW in size will more than likely cost less than $900 or so, while the same system in 7.1kW will empty your wallet of around $2,000. A licenced electrician will be needed to install your split system which could cost between $500 and $850.
Ducted air conditioners operate from a centralised location from where cool or warm air is dispersed to various rooms within your house via a system of ducts (insulated pipes). This type of system costs considerably more than the cost of a split system. If you would like to air condition your entire house, is will cost less than installing separate split systems in each room of your home. Ducted air conditioners increase in cost the more zones and points are added.
The majority of homeowners today opt for reverse cycle ducted “zone” systems allowing as few or as many rooms as you like to be cooled or heated. The capacity of ducted air conditioners is as important as it is with a split system. The kilowatt output of a ducted system is also much higher because of the larger areas they are required to heat or cool.
If you need to air condition 100 square metres in total, you will need a 10kW system at least. A 10kW system can cost between $8,000 – $10,000 (including installation) depending on design and layout of the area to be air conditioned. You will need a 20kW system if needing to air condition 200 square metres. A larger size system such as this would be closer to $15,000 in costs (including installation) You may also have the added expense of a licenced electrician if you need to change to 3 phase power (if it is not already in place).
What is the right size for your home or office?
Below are some factors that need to be considered when working out the capacity of air conditioner required:
Number of rooms or zones including: The greater the floor space, the greater capacity the unit needs to be. Ducted air conditioners may prove to be the most viable option if you have a multi-storey building, though splits can still be installed in any rooms you need covered.
Ceiling height: Standard or low ceilings are an advantage as it means less of an area to heat/cool. If the ceilings are high, you will need to ensure the unit generates enough air to provide and maintain the same temperature in each individual area.
Windows: Windows can often allow heat loss of around 40 per cent of your temperature. This needs to be factored in when looking at what size and type of system you choose.
Now you are armed with the information above, what is your decision? Ducted air conditioners may be your best choice if you are planning on living or occupying the same space for some time. Your home or office resale value will increase but, won’t necessarily repay the outlay. So, if you’re contemplating selling some time soon, a split system in the room/s used most used may be of more benefit.
Whatever your thinking, the professional team at Reef Air Conditioning Sunshine Coast can assist you with choosing a system to suit your needs. Skimping on capacity in an attempt to save on costs of your air conditioning will most definitely backfire when the higher electricity bills start arriving. Why leave it to chance? Our reputable air conditioning experts here at Reef Air Conditioning Sunshine Coast will assist you with finding the highest performing and most cost-effective system to suit your requirements.
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