Ducted air conditioning | Expert guide

Ducted air conditioning | Expert guide

Ducted air conditioning offers a whole-house or property cooling solution, and if the system is a reverse cycle model, will heat your home as well. “Zoning” technology allows you to control the temperature of individual rooms and switch it off in rooms not being used, all from a centrally controlled thermostat. We can also install smart technologies for your air conditioner, which allows you to control the system from your phone, tablet, or computer.

In a ducted system, the indoor unit is usually located in the ceiling cavity, and the outdoor unit in a discrete position outside. These indoor units are then connected with ducts, with conditioned air circulating through them, and delivered to each designated zone in the property. This means you can choose the temperature of each room, or switch it off entirely for rooms not being used.

How does ducted air conditioning work?

Ducted air conditioning uses two units and a series of pipes and ducts to channel the cooling refrigerant and air around the system. One of the units is indoors (the fan coil unit) and this is usually placed in the ceiling cavity. The other unit (the compressor) is kept outside, preferably somewhere tucked away so it doesn’t disturb you. Together, these two units are the “engine” of the ducted system, and they work together to pump air around ducting (which is also kept in the ceiling cavity). The ducts are usually silver, which reflects heat and helps to keep the air inside nice and cool.

The beauty of ducted air conditioning is that you can set zones, which are essentially divided areas in your home where you can individually control the system. In a typical 3-bedroom home, you’d have one zone for the kitchen and lounge, and one zone for each bedroom, and each of these zones can be turned on or off, and even have different temperatures if you have a premium system. Zones are possible due to air regulators called dampers within the ducting, which open and close and control the airflow via diffusers.

With zoning, a “constant” must always be on for the system to work, which is usually the main living area. This prevents pressure build-up in the system. Zoning is amazing technology because it allows you to simply turn off zones that aren’t being used, and save tons of power.

Every ducted AC system must also have a return air vent, which filters and cleans the air and ensures that the efficiency of the system is maintained. For this reason, the return air vent should be regularly cleaned.

What are the benefits of ducted air conditioning?

Powerful capabilities

Ducted air conditioning offers fast, comprehensive, energy-efficient and even temperature control. Ducted systems also disperse cool air more effectively and have the ability to minimise the loss of cold air.

Ease of control

Ducted systems are easy to control, particularly if there are smart features enabled. If the system is zoned, it allows you to select different settings for different rooms. Timers can also be set to activate warm or cool air and turn off after a set period.

Aesthetically pleasing

Because the ducts and air conditioning vents are built into the property, ducted air conditioners are discrete and blend in seamlessly, with only the ceiling ducts and control panel on display.


Ducted air conditioners are whisper quiet with none of the humming and noise that can be produced by other systems (particularly older systems).

Value for money

Ducted air conditioning is more expensive than split systems, but lasts for up to 20 years, and tends to add value to a property. They also allow for the efficient heating or cooling of larger properties, including larger homes with three or more bedrooms.

What is the cost of ducted air conditioning in Brisbane?

The cost of a ducted conditioning system in Brisbane depends on the following:

The size of your property

The size of your property is the most important factor when it comes to ducted AC costs, simply because the more space that needs to be cooled, the bigger the machine you will need. We calculate the machine’s capacity based on the size of the area that you want to cool (in cubic metres), but you’ll find a rough guide based on rooms as follows:

  • 1 bedroom = $5,000
  • 2 bedrooms = $7,000 to $8,000
  • 3 bedrooms = $8,000 to $10,000
  • 4 bedrooms = $10,000 to $12,000
  • 5 bedrooms = $12,000 plus

The brand

As you might expect, premium brands cost more because they are more durable and efficient. You can certainly save a lot of money on a cheap manufacturer but you’ll probably pay more for repairs and servicing, and potentially a lot more on your energy bills. Ducted AC systems from cheaper brands just don’t work as efficiently as reputable brands. That’s why we recommend manufacturers like Panasonic, Daikin, and Mitsubishi—you know you’re getting a high-quality system. They have a higher upfront cost, but you will save money in the long run.


Ducted air conditioning includes zones that can be turned on and off (apart from the “constant” which needs to be always on, which is usually the main living area), and the more zones that you have in your home, the higher the cost. That’s because electrical mechanical valves called dampers are required for every zone, which controls the intensity of the airflow and allows you to activate, deactivate, and change the temperatures of individual zones.

The zone’s control system will also be a factor with cost. Advanced systems like MyAir are extremely popular because they provide premium functionality like app control, a wall-mounted tablet (often an iPad or Android device), integration with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, and more. But if you’d like to go with something more basic, you can save quite a lot.

The piping and ducting needed

Refrigeration piping channels the refrigerant around the system, and ducting channels the conditioned air itself. If you have a larger property, we’ll need more of both, which will add to the cost of the installation.

The switchboard

If you live in an older home, your electrical switchboard may need to be upgraded for the ducted air conditioner to work. In this case, you can expect to pay around an extra $1,000.

Contact us for a FREE No Obligation Ducted Air Con Quote or chat to us about how we can tailor an air con solution suited to your needs.

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