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What does a ducted air conditioner cost?

Many people ask about ducted air conditioning costs, however, far fewer people ask about its value.  There are many benefits of air conditioning beyond the financial sense that are well worth considering.

However, money is still an important factor.  Common questions asked about ducted air conditioning installation include:

  • How much does ducted air conditioning cost?
  • Can I have a rough estimate for ducted air conditioner installation?
  • Do I need a zoned air conditioning system?
  • What do you recommend for ducted aircon install?

There are many factors involved in determining the true cost of ducted air conditioning for you and your specific home or business:

  • Brand
  • Zoning
  • Installation
  • Usage
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Replacement

This article will go through a few of the key points regarding ducted aircon install cost.  Hopefully by the end you will have some of the answers you were looking for.

If you are trying to decide on who/what/when/where/how to install your ducted air conditioner, such relevant considerations will be explored here.  Read on to learn more about ducted split system costs and what you need to know.

What is split ducted system?

First, before we can start to understand the costs involved, we need to know exactly what Air Conditioning is.  Specifically, what a split ducted air conditioner is.

DX refrigeration cycle

Air conditioning refers to cooling or heating an indoor environment with refrigerant used to transfer heat.  The refrigerant alternates between gas (vapour) and liquid form as it moves through the refrigeration cycle.  Heat is typically transferred directly (direct expansion air conditioning) or indirectly (central air conditioning).

Split air conditioners consist of 2 units; an indoor evaporator unit and outdoor condenser unit.  The units are connected by refrigeration pipework and interconnect cable.  Ducted air conditioners also have the added feature of ductwork supplying air to the indoor occupied space.  Hence the name: Split Ducted Air Conditioning.

AC ducting consists of a series of flexible ducts and associated ductwork that allows air to travel from the central indoor unit out into various rooms/spaces of the building.  This is not to be confused with central air conditioning, which refers to heat transfer via a secondary medium (typically water).

Air conditioner ductwork is typically found the roof, behind the ceiling, and connects to supply air outlets in each room.  However, it is becoming increasingly common for ducts to be exposed, creating an industrial look.

There will also be a return air grille and filter (or multiple) strategically installed in the ceiling to allow air to be filtered and return back to the indoor unit for re-circulation.  The location of this within the home or business is important to ensure the ducted system operates as designed. This is also why cleaning aircon filters is so important.

Ducted outdoor units have great variation, depending on the AC system they are connected to.  Common variations include single, dual or even quad fan, horizontal or vertical discharge, single or three phase, and standard or premium.

Square air conditioning unit on roof

Split ducted indoor units vary also, but not to the same extent as condensers.  Indoor units mainly vary in terms of height (slimline, bulkhead, or standard) and inverter type (standard or premium).  The Daikin ducting AC range provides a great example of the different types of split ducted systems available.  In fact, Daikin ducted air conditioners are amongst the most popular on the market.

The whole ducted aircon system is controlled by a wall controller and/or optional remote controller.  There is often the added option of Wi-Fi control with modern ducted air conditioners and smart zoning systems, like iZone.

What costs are involved in ducted air conditioner installation?

When discussing ducted air conditioning cost, it’s important to understand what installation refers to.  Installation typically refers to the labour AND materials involved in putting in air conditioning.  Basically, everything required for ducted system air conditioning in your home or business except the price of ducted air conditioner units themselves.

You may choose to buy the ducted units yourself or purchase them as part of a package deal from an AC company.  Either way, it’s important to realise that the cost of installation is so much more than just the installer’s wage.

Air Conditioning expert

Ducted air conditioning cost includes, but is not limited to:

  • Installation team, include technician/s, apprentice/s, and electrician where required,
  • Hourly pay rate of all employees involved,
  • Superannuation,
  • Employee days off, including public holidays, annual leave, sick/careers leave, compassionate leave, etc.,
  • Business expenses and overheads, such as vehicles, tools, phones, insurances, licencing, training, advertising, office rent/outgoings, administration staff/equipment, repair/maintenance/upkeep on all items etc.,
  • Ducted unit connection materials, including refrigerant pipework, interconnect cable, joiners, duct tape, etc.,
  • Ducted AC drain materials, including drain, drip tray, safety tray, and p-trap where required,
  • Electrical materials, including isolator, cabling, isolator, circuit breaker, etc.,
  • Coverings such as refrigerant pipework capping, electrical conduit, j-box, etc.,
  • Ductwork including insulated flexible duct (flex), joiners, T-pieces, supply and return air plenums, supply air outlets, return air grille/s and filter/s, etc.,
  • Zoning system including zoned controller, damper motors, zone barrels, cables, connections, sensors (in duct and/or room, where applicable), Wi-Fi components (where applicable), etc.,
  • Freight and transport of all items, including the AC units, materials, zoning gear, etc.,
  • Clean up equipment and materials, including wet/dry vac, chemical spray, wipes, etc., and,
  • Rubbish disposal fees, particularly when old air conditioner units and/or ductwork is being replaced.

When you break it all down, there are more costs involved than first thought.  A good ducted install company will negotiate the best pricing possible from all of their suppliers.  This helps to ensure they can pass on the lowest cost possible to customers.

A good AC company also takes the time to calculate their overheads and minimise and/or spread them out as far as possible.  This also helps ensure the cheapest ducted air conditioning installation possible while retaining the highest quality possible.  After all, no one wants to pay more than they have to for a quality ducted aircon install.

What are reverse cycle ducted air conditioning prices?

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the majority of air conditioners sold in Australia are reverse cycle aircons.  This means that the air conditioning system can provide heating and cooling using the one device.

Good building heat insulation

There is little difference in price between cool only models and reverse cycle models, but the versatility varies dramatically.  Few brands even offer anything other than ducted reverse cycle air conditioning anymore due to popular demand.

The actual cost of ducted air conditioner installation varies dramatically.  This variation is due to 4 key factors:

  1. Installation type – New install or replacement (change over),
  2. Brand of ducted air conditioner – Low, medium, or high-quality,
  3. Installation quality – Labour and materials, and,
  4. Type of zoning system – None, entry level, mid-range, or smart-home based.

With these factors in mind, ball-park figures can be estimated.  However, its important to remember that they are very rough only.

Ducted air conditioning Brisbane supply and install pricing:

  • Small single-story house or studio apartment: $5,000 – $10,000 + GST
  • Standard 2 or 3-bedroom house:  $6,000 – $12,000 + GST
  • Standard 4-bedroom or small two-storey home: $7,000 – $15,000 + GST
  • Standard 5+ bedrooms or double-storey house: $8,000 – $18,000 + GST

Given the number of factors involved and the wide range of ducted aircon costs, it’s always recommended to get a free ducted air conditioning quote based on your specific property, personal preferences, and price range/budget.  A ducted system expert can save you a lot of time, money, and headache in the short and long-term.

Is a zoned air conditioning system required with a ducted air conditioner?

Firstly, we need to understand what air conditioning zoning actually is.  Ducted zoning involves dividing up the area to be served by the air conditioner on paper.  Then, the zoning system is designed to allow separate climate control in each of the distinct areas.  This is applicable to any home or business.

The degree of control will vary depending on the zoned system chosen.  Control can range from basis on/off, to airflow percentage (%) control, all the way up to individual room sensors and even individual room controllers.

The range of features available these days with ducted aircon zoning is amazing.  Touch screens, timers, motion sensors, airflow bypasses, Wi-Fi, and smart home integration, just to name a few!

Air conditioning controls

All the “added extras” obviously cost more, but they are worth investigating.  Some are lovely to have but may not necessarily save you money.  However, the majority of features certainly do save you money when used correctly.  The question is, will the features save me MORE money in the long run compared to upfront supply and install costs?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.  It really all depends; on you, your air conditioner, and usage patterns.  This is where it pays to ask an expert ducted air conditioning company what option/s they believe would be worth you considering.

Top 3 Ducted Air Conditioner Installation Tips:

Firstly, smart people do their research.  They chat to the right people, do their own research, and take the time to consider what it the best ducted option for THEM.

During the research, many questions can be directed to ducted air conditioner install companies.  Many people want to know what can be recommend for all aspects of ducted air conditioning.  While there are hundreds of routine questions to be answered, there are 3 top pieces of advice that can be shared to help you make the best decisions about ducted aircon install.

1. The cheapest ducted air conditioning is not always best.

It’s important to remember that you get what you pay for in the world of air conditioning.  You can shop around and find the cheapest ducted air conditioner, but BUYER BEWARE.

There are so many air conditioning mistakes that can be made.  Common ducted AC install mistakes include using the wrong air conditioner size, poor ducted design, incorrect unit locations, use of uninsulated materials (pipework, flex, diffusers, etc.), inadequate drainage systems, dodgy electrics, and the performance of sub-standard or even unlicenced work.

Air conditioning leaking water

Going with the cheapest ducted aircon install quote you can find may end up costing you more in the long run.  With ducted air conditioning, cheap really can mean nasty, endless frustration, and more money at the end of the day.

2. Timing is important for the best value ducted air conditioner installation

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to ducted air conditioning Brisbane.  It’s recommended to plan ahead, obtain quotes, and choose ducted AC install in the cooler months or shoulder seasons.  It really pays to understand the Brisbane climate, or the climate of your town/region.

You may save significant money as ducted air conditioners often come on sale in the off-peak seasons.  Ducted aircon installers will also have more time to negotiate better pricing with their suppliers and therefore for you.

If possible, avoid looking for ducted aircon install the middle of summer in cities where summer is significantly hotter and/or more humid than other times of the year.  It is also recommended, where possible, to avoid ducted system install in the lead up to Christmas when air conditioning installations are in peak demand around the country.

3. Consider ducted air conditioning zoning

It’s strongly recommended to consider zoning your ducted air conditioner.  Take some time to research the different types of air conditioning zoning available.  Zoning doesn’t come standard with ducted air conditioner units, and often comes from another manufacturer entirely.

Ducted zoning can save significant money, with at least some degree of zoning being recommended.  Zoning system features range from simple on/off buttons, through to energy efficiency bypasses, individual temperature control (ITC) sensors, and Wi-Fi control.  It is well worth weighing up the initial upfront costs with potentially long-term savings and comfort.

House plan for Brisbane air conditioning zone controller – izone system designed and installed

Zoning also tends to cost less when installed with ducted aircon units compared to separately down the track.  Current zoning systems may also not be compatible with older models of air conditioner unit.  So, if you are going to zone, it’s highly recommended to do it when the ducted air conditioning system is installed.

Initial supply and installation costs and considerations are critical to ensure you get your ducted aircon installed right the first time.  It is a significant investment, and can be costly to alter once already installed.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to ducted air conditioning pricing.  That is why it’s strongly recommended to get an obligation free, personalised estimate on any business or home ducted air conditioner installation.  The team at Ice Blast are ready and waiting to advise and refine your own ducted air conditioner costs.