Split system or ducted air conditioner? Ducted systems are more expensive upfront but can help you save money in the long term. Split systems are less expensive upfront and provide more flexibility in installation. That’s the short answer.
If you want a longer explanation, read on. We’ll discuss the costs, return on investment (ROI), energy consumption, pros and cons, warranty, preference and other related things. We’ll also discuss what are the important things to take note once you’ve decided which one to install in your home. Let’s start.
Why ducted systems are expensive?
Ducted systems could be 2x to 5x more expensive than split ACs. After all, ducted systems cool more than 2 rooms at once. It’s similar to having multiple split air conditioners installed in your home’s different rooms.
However, the cost is not all about the unit itself. That’s because ducted systems often require home reconfigurations and ductwork installations. Laborious retrofitting might often be required depending on your home design and layout.
Because of those requirements, you’ll need a few more thousands of dollars to have the ducted system ready and running. In addition, the whole installation could take at least 3 days (depends on your home configuration). The cost of materials and labour could add up during that installation period.
For instance, contractors will need to install additional ducts and a dedicated switchboard. They will take care of the connections and the electricals. Two contractors might be needed to finish the job. If the labour cost is $100 per hour and it takes over 10 hours for the whole work (2 men working), the total installation cost could reach up to $2,000 to $3,000.
That estimate could be a lot higher than actual costs. It largely depends on the reconfiguration needed and the duration of the job. You could save a lot of money (up to half the total) if your home was initially designed for ducted systems.
If you want to save more money, you can search for affordable package deals. The unit and installation costs (including materials and labour) are already included. You’ll get discounts because you’re buying the equipment and requesting the installation from the same company. It’s a win-win solution because you save money and you’re availing the company’s unit and service.
Now that you’ve learned why ducted systems are expensive. You’ve also learned how to save money in case you decided to choose ducted over split ACs. Next is we discuss about the split systems and why many families choose this. Just like with ducted systems, we’ll also discuss the costs.
Why many homeowners choose split ACs?
Split ACs are less expensive upfront. The unit is a lot more affordable and the installation is quick and easy. You’ll save on material and labour costs. In almost all cases, there will be no retrofitting or special reconfiguration required. In just a few hours (less than one day), the split air conditioner will be ready.
Both families and business owners make split air conditioners as their first choice. Split ACs are popular, energy efficient, compact and easy to install (you could even get the installation for free). They also have advanced features such as noise reduction, human sensor and effective temperature control.
It’s also a great choice for starting families or individuals moving to a temporary residence. You could start with one split AC unit and add more as your family gets bigger. You could only start with one room and add more units as years go by.
If you’re moving to a new home and you think it’s only temporary, it’s recommended to choose split type over ducted. Perhaps you would move out soon because of changes in career, lifestyle or preference. Split type is a great choice for you because you won’t spend much on the installation.
Upfront and long-term costs
It all goes down to costs. After all, it’s a huge decision. Both split and ducted systems cost thousands of dollars. Whichever you choose, you need to consider both the upfront and long-term costs.
As mentioned earlier, ducted systems are more expensive upfront because of the installation difficulty. But what about the long-term costs? Will the investment pay off soon? Will it be worth it?
Over the course of a year, you might get the payback from a ducted system. Each month you might actually save hundreds of dollars from your electricity bill (both in cooling and heating). In several months or less than a year, you might have recouped your investment already.
However, this is not always the case. Remember that ducted systems cool multiple rooms at once. This means uniform temperature is maintained all throughout the home. Even if some of the rooms are unoccupied, the ducted system cool them nevertheless. It’s a waste of energy and this could pile up the whole year.
That’s why it’s good to find out if there’s a convenient control option available. Many ducted systems have controls mounted on the wall. It lacks the convenience of the remote control available in most split systems.
It’s recommended to ask the company and installer about the controllers. You can still find ducted systems with control via WiFi. Be sure that this feature is available especially if you want efficient and convenient control of which rooms to cool.
Relatively new models of split and ducted systems are already energy efficient. Engineers and manufacturers have already developed technologies that allow for more cooling and less energy consumption. Many AC units now have an inverter system which allows for a more effective control on compressors. This translates to monthly savings on your utility bills.
Aside from monthly savings, quality AC systems can also help you save money from repairs and maintenance. These units are already thoroughly tested for reliability and longevity. In addition, many companies now offer a comprehensive warranty (up to 5 years) which cover both parts and labour.
Regular and timely maintenance can actually help you save money regularly. This helps ensure that your unit and system work optimally. You get better cooling at less energy (and lower electricity bills). This also lengthens the useful lifespan and optimal performance of your air conditioner.
Electricity consumption and unit maintenance are the long-term costs. If you choose a relatively new model and known brand, you’ll save electricity each month. You’ll also save on future repair costs and the need for replacement of your AC system.
Flexibility and the future
Families and homeowners think about the future and long term. After all, there are thousands of dollars at stake. Through the years, you might spend or save an extra ten thousand dollars depending on your choice.
What should you think about the future? Do you plan to move out in a few years? Do you plan to settle there for decades to come? Once you move out, will you sell your current property?
These are important questions. If you’re planning to move out soon, a ducted system is not a good choice. Remember the installation alone costs thousands of dollars. In addition, your home might have been slightly reconfigured because of the installation. The good thing though is that a home optimised for ducted AC would be perceived as more valuable. The future owner might prefer ducted and your property makes it easier for him or her.
Ducted systems don’t offer much flexibility in contrast to split ACs. Ducted is more permanent and requires many changes. On the other hand, split air conditioners could be perceived as temporary. If you’re about to move to a new home, you could easily disconnect the unit. Some companies even offer a free re-installation in case you relocate. You might also get free fittings and pipings at no extra cost. It’s recommended to enquire the company about re-installation.
Installation of a ducted system requires a huge commitment. You really have to think about the long term if this is your plan. It’s a bigger expense compared to split ACs.
On the other hand, split systems seem a lighter decision. You can start with one unit and add two or more as your family grows. You can even take it with you easily when you relocate due to future career or lifestyle changes.
If you have long-term plans in your current home and location, the ducted system is recommended. It could be more efficient in the long term. You can get the payback from your investment in one or two years.
But if you’re only ready for a small commitment, split systems will still suffice in most cases. You can start with one unit if you’re only just one or two at home. You can then add more units and these can be used to cool multiple areas. One outdoor unit can actually be connected up to four indoor units. You can start small and add more later.
The one thing you should consider
Whichever you choose, you have one important thing to consider. It’s about the installation. After all, the unit’s quality is only as good as its installation. No matter how good the AC is, professional installation still is a huge factor to achieve optimum performance.
Professional installers will take care of the strategic placement and proper installation of wiring and ducts. Whether it’s split or ducted, they would come up with optimal solutions that will help you save money in the long run.
That’s why it’s advisable to buy from a reputable company (and request for an installation if they offer the service). The technicians should have experience installing the AC unit of your choice in other homes and commercial properties. This way, you ensure that you’re getting the most out of the service and your purchase (upfront costs). You should also ask about the warranty coverage (for the long term).
Split system or ducted air conditioner Sydney
Here at Conduct Air Conditioning, we offer affordable package deals for ducted systems. It’s all-in and our technicians will set up the whole system for you. If you prefer a split type, we also offer a complete package (unit and free installation).
Our experienced technicians can install almost all known brands such as Daikin, LG, Fujitsu, Samsung and Panasonic. We also offer a comprehensive warranty and discounted deals. Contact us today if you want to get the most value out of your money when it comes to air conditioning.