Nancy’s Notes

Air con… ducted or split system

When constructing a new home in South East Queensland, the investment in air conditioning is a reasonably material consideration. Personally, we’re not fans of air con unless it’s absolutely necessary so at our house it’s generally off until we hit the mid 30’s when everyone agrees windows and fans just aren’t cutting it.

We currently have fully ducted which means one large unit powers the entire house and you control the areas being cooled through different zones on a single panel. We’re happy with this set up as it’s simple and easy to use but it’s expensive to run because a massive unit is being powered whether cooling one room or the entire house.

The other option is split systems which are generally controlled by remotes and cool individual rooms. Although these set ups seem to have lost popularity in recent years, they can be a better option if:

  • You don’t have a lot of people living in the home and are more likely to only require cooling in one area at a time. If this is the case, the main bedroom and lounge room are really all you need so two split systems will service very nicely and efficiently.
  • Your budget is in question and you’re looking for savings; two split systems over fully ducted will save you thousands.
  • Like us, air conditioning is something you avoid anyway so having one cool room on those dreadfully hot days should be enough.

Our preference will always be a house with lots of windows and fans as we absolutely love the smells and breezes that come with living in this part of the world. Having said that, we recognise the importance of air conditioning in a climate like ours so we fit all our homes with fully ducted and zoned air conditioning systems.

The way we balance the running costs is by installing a system designed to cool half the home at a time. Days are living areas and nights are bedrooms. The variation in cost and value between a large system and a slightly smaller one is minimal but the running costs can be material so we don’t go for the biggest unit available which results in more economical running costs. Think of the V8 cars… do you see many of them around? No one wants to spend the money on fuel so why spend money on electricity running a massive air con unit unnecessarily?