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How Much Does Ducted Air Conditioning Cost?

Ducted air conditioning is one of the most common types of air conditioning available.  It is found in homes and businesses worldwide due to its many benefits.  In some regions of the world, ducted air conditioning is a luxury.  In some regions, like Brisbane and Queensland in general, it’s almost a necessity for most buildings.

When looking at Brisbane air conditioning, here are some estimated prices for ducted air conditioning:

  • A small home typically involves a price range of $6,000-$12,000 for ducted supply and installation.
  • A standard 2-4 bedroom home may involve a cost of between $8,000-$16,000 for supply and install of ducted air conditioner.
  • A large 4+ bedroom/double-storey may vary from $10,000 – $20,000 for full ducted air conditioning installation.

Given the variety of factors involved and the wide range of pricing options available, it’s best to opt for an experienced specialist who can assist with quotes tailored to your specific needs.  Key considerations include space measurements, budget requirements, and personal preferences.

Consulting a ducted aircon professional will help you get the most out of your ducted air conditioning system without breaking the bank.  However, some background knowledge is helpful when discussing your needs with the experts.

Understanding the costs involved in a new ducted air conditioning system can be confusing.  It can be helpful to think about ducted aircon varying in price due to three main factors; ducted unit pricing, addition of AC zoning, and ducted install costs.  In this article we’ll explore these main 3 costs.

What is Ducted Air Conditioning & How Does it Work?

Firstly, it’s important start with an overview of what a ducted air conditioner is and how it functions.  Essentially, ducted air conditioning is a system based on the refrigeration cycle and designed to provide heating, cooling, ventilation, and conditioning of air in buildings.

Daikin ducted air conditioning components

Ducted split systems consists of two parts, the outdoor condenser and the indoor evaporator unit.  The condenser (“outdoor”) is typically located in a well-ventilated area outside, and transfers heat from the building to the external environment.  The evaporator unit (“indooSr”) is usually concealed in the roof or ceiling space and distributes cooled air throughout the indoor environment.

The two main units that make up a ducted system are connected by piping and cabling.  Then there are ducts that connect each room or space to the indoor unit.  The ducted aircon system can be controlled with a wall controller or remote control, as well as Wi-Fi controls available on modern systems.  In some cases, an AC zoning system may also be included.

Ducted reverse cycle air conditioning is a type of air conditioner which offers both cooling and heating capabilities in one system.  This reduces the cost of having separate devices for both functions.  With ducted reverse cycle aircon, the indoor environment can be kept at a comfortable temperature no matter what the outdoor climate is.

Commercial ducted systems are often designed to cool the workplace due to benefits of ducted air conditioning for a business, with other heating solutions such as heater banks being used for warming purposes.  However, ducted reverse cycle aircon is becoming increasingly popular in commercial spaces too due to its ability to satisfy both heating and cooling on demand.  This simplifies the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in a commercial building and provides maximum comfort for employees and customers alike.

Ducted air conditioners are primarily used for achieving temperature control and humidity regulation.  Air conditioning works by moving air over refrigerant-filled exchanger coils inside an indoor fan unit.  This fan circulates warm or cool air depending on whether it is a heating or cooling cycle respectively.  A condenser fan in the outdoor unit pushes air through this unit to reject heat into the outside environment.

Basic heat pump cycle

Refrigerant moves around the system in order to perform its conversion from high pressure to low pressure.  During its passage through expansion valves, refrigerant switches between vapour (gas) form and liquid form.  This distinguishes it from central air conditioning systems which use water as their local medium for heat transfer instead of direct refrigerant expansion (Dx).

New Ducted Air Conditioning Costs

The initial cost of a ducted air conditioning system is substantial and includes more than just ducted unit price itself.  Along with buying the indoor evaporator unit, outdoor condensing unit, and controller, you must also buy ductwork components such as flexible duct, supply/return air plenums and/or t-pieces.  Transporting these items to your home also carries a fee.

Furthermore, you will need associated components for new ducted AC install like pair coil or pipework, interconnect cables, insulation materials, and mounting equipment.  Electrical materials such as a circuit breaker and safety switch are necessary in most cases.  It’s also possible that you’ll need zoning gear including zoning controllers, modules, and sensors for individual room temperature control.

The cost of labour can be significant when it comes to ducted air conditioners as well.  Installers will typically be joined by technicians, apprentices, and an electrician in part to complete the job correctly.  The hourly pay rate plus superannuation for each team member should be factored into the total cost, along with any staff days off such as holidays or sick leave.

Calculating a ducted air conditioner pricing

Finally, there are business overheads like licenses, insurances, and advertising that contribute to the overall expense.  Clean up materials and rubbish fees can also pop up during an installation or replacement job.  As you can see, there are many costs that aren’t immediately apparent when it comes to a ducted air conditioning installation pricing.

Ducted Air Conditioner Unit

It’s easy to underestimate just how much goes into installing or replacing a ducted air conditioner.  However, if done properly with the help of a reputable installer, it can save you time, money, energy, and sanity in both the short term and long run.

The cost of a ducted aircon unit varies depending on the brand, size, and model that you choose.  It is important to calculate the size based on factors such as building usage, heat load, airflow requirements, and ceiling heights.  Most ducted units come with wired wall controllers or remotes as part of the package, so bear this in mind when considering prices.

Local suppliers may be able to offer competitive pricing due to wholesale buying and lower retail overheads.  Consider asking for any cashback offers or discounts before committing to a purchase.  Furthermore, quality often correlates with price so it may be worth investing in higher-end models from reputable manufacturers such as Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric or Heavy Industries, ActronAir, Panasonic, Toshiba, or Hitachi.

By taking the time to compare prices and research ducted AC models before settling on a purchase, you can save money on your ducted air conditioner system while getting top quality equipment.  You can also safe money in the long term if the best ducted aircon is chosen upfront.

Ducted AC Zoning

Ducted air conditioning zoning is an optional feature that can greatly influence the price when installing a ducted AC system.  From installation to upkeep and maintenance, the price of a zoning system can change dramatically depending on the size, brand, and features you choose.

The number of individual zones will depend on what size of zoning system you decide to go with.  Most controllers offer up to 8 zones as standard, though some extend up to 14 or even 27 zones with smart systems like iZone.  Each additional zone will add both material and labour costs.

When it comes to brands, there are many options available including Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric or third-party options like Polyaire (AirTouch) or All Air (iZone).  Quality may affect price but so do specific features featured in the system.  It’s worth shopping around for the best value for money before making your decision.

Ducted Air Conditioning controls

When looking at features, you should consider how much control you wish to have over each area.  Ducted air conditioning zoning control can range from basic on/off controls to individual room temperature control.  Additionally, there are various added extra functions such as Wi-Fi connectivity, touch screens, motion sensors, timers, and even whole home automation integration which can come included or as an additional cost depending on the model chosen.

Timing is also important.  Having your zoning system installed at the same time as a new ducted aircon system rather than down the line tends to be more cost-effective.  By investing time into researching all elements of ducted air conditioning zoning prior to investing money into purchasing one, you can make sure that in the end you’ll get the most out of this option for a reasonable price.

Ducted System Installation

When it comes to the cost of installing a ducted air conditioner, there are several factors that need to be taken into account.  The size, type and number of units, space available for components, the degree of difficulty during installation, and materials required all have an impact on the final cost.

Larger units are typically more expensive due to being three-phase power units (18kW and above).  They require additional electrical cabling and materials compared to single-phase units (17 kW and below), as well as additional labour for installation.

Due to their electrical nature, ducted air conditioners should not be installed by DIY or unlicensed contractors.  This poses a risk for extensive damage, voiding warranties and insurance claims, or worse – risking lives.  Therefore, it is vital to engage a reputable company with experience managing and performing installations.

Engineer contractor installing a ducted air conditioning

The quality of materials and service can vary significantly from company to company.  Low upfront costs may seem tempting but could end up costing far more in the long run due to rogue tradespeople taking advantage of customers.  Unfortunately, these cowboys also often use low quality materials that fail earlier than expected.  A good quality installation will save money in the long run while providing peace of mind that the system is operating as designed with maximum energy efficiency.

Before determining whether ducted air conditioning is suitable for your home, you’ll need to make sure there is enough roof space for the ductwork.  If you’re replacing an existing system, the ductwork should already be in place and can be reused or modified as needed.  A pre-install site inspection can assess quality of existing and suitability to reuse existing ductwork with the new ducted aircon install.

It’s important to consider the locations of both the indoor and outdoor units when installing a ducted system.  Incorrect placement can lead to additional costs due to access issues or extra labour and materials needed.  The indoor unit should ideally be placed in a convenient spot near the return air grille, away from manholes and beams that could complicate future repairs.  It may cost more upfront, but it could save you thousands down the line.

Similarly, when it comes to positioning the outdoor unit, investing in an ideal location will pay off in the long run.  This unit is usually more expensive than the indoor one and acts as the powerhouse of the entire system.  If the condenser runs more efficiently, so does the entire system with potential savings on energy bills.  When placing it outdoors, try and arrange a shady, airy spot if possible and practical.

Daikin Ducted Air Conditioning outdoor component

Ducted air conditioning is a popular choice around the world, from luxury residences to essential household solutions.  Its many benefits make it an attractive option for creating the optimal indoor climate.  However, it’s essential to get a basic understanding of the main elements behind its cost – ducted unit price, AC zoning addition, and installation fees.

It’s important to understand all elements that make up your ducted air conditioning system before committing financially.  It’s also necessary to consider factors such as space measurements, budget limits, and personal requirements.   It’s helpful to discuss all these factors with a ducted aircon expert.  This way you’ll have the opportunity to maximize your investment without going over budget.

For any further information on ducted air conditioning, or to help find the best ducted system for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free ducted aircon quote.