Summer in Adelaide calls for running around the backyard sprinkler and taking a swim in the pool. But if the heat gets too much, the next best thing to do is to invest in an air conditioner. But what type of air conditioner? A lot of people may not have any idea on which air conditioner is best for their homes. The most popular types are ducted and split system air conditioners. To someone who has no idea on the types of air conditioner available on the market, the difference between a ducted and a split system air conditioner is vague. But when you look deeper into it, you’ll see that the differences between the two are more apparent than it seems.

Ducted and split system air conditioning systems share numerous features but they also have some differences. These differences become more apparent once they are installed in a home. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the dissimilarity each type of air conditioning system below.

What are the characteristics of each air conditioner?

They may have a few key differences in features, but they share a sole purpose-cool your home the ways they go about it are entirely different.  So, let’s learn about some of their unique features.

How do ducted air conditioners work?

Ducted air conditioners are called as such because they provide cooling or heating to the entire house through a series of ducts. An internal fan coil unit is installed and becomes the central location inside the roof space of the home. A series of ducts are then connected to it to send cooling or heating into any or all of the rooms the owner desires. You will then be able to control the temperature in each room individually. This is called zoning. A thermostat installed on the wall will allow you to adjust the temperature and other settings.

If you’re looking to cool a whole house, a ducted air conditioner is the easiest way to achieve it.  If you’re also building a new house or getting major renovations, a ducted air conditioning system might be a practical choice. But because getting a ducted air conditioner is also a challenging task, it causes a few homeowners to steer away from the air conditioning system. Getting one installed for your home costs a significant amount of money just for the unit itself.

So, if you’re only looking to heat or cool one room, a ducted air conditioner might be too much. It will also drive your electricity bill through the roof if you don’t have zoning functions. While having a ducted air conditioner installed in your home sounds great and easy to use, it still does have some downsides to it.

How do split system air conditioners work?

Just like its name, the split system air conditioner is split into two main parts. These two parts are the one installed inside and one installed outside. The inside unit is the evaporative heat exchanger that provides cooling into your room. While the outside unit is the condensing heat exchanger. So, if you see a box outside the wall of the house, chances are the owners are using a split type air conditioner.

Split systems are popular for their affordable initial purchase price. The installation is also not so labour intensive. As a matter of fact, a licensed technician can easily install the unit in a day or less. But because of its size, it’s best suited to cool a single room. This may not or may not be what you’re looking for. But nevertheless, it is an efficient and affordable air conditioning system to cool your home. You can try to install it in a large area but don’t expect it to cool or heat the entire place. You can only expect so much from such an affordable air conditioning system.

Pros and Cons: Split system vs Ducted

Pros Cons
Ducted Air Con
  • Unnoticeable, hidden behind walls and ceilings
  • Cools or heats the entire house. Each room’s temperature can be adjusted
  • Is able to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the entire house
  • Operates more silently than split system air con
  • The most expensive type of air conditioning to install
  • Homes that have small spaces cannot accommodate this
  • If you’re looking to only cool a single room at any given time you’ll have to pay the energy costs of cooling the entire house
Split System Air Con
  • Can be installed in a single room and add additional units in the future
  • Cheaper to install than ducted air con
  • Better for smaller houses and single rooms
  • The external and internal unit can be distracting to the home’s aesthetic.
  • Cannot cool a large area

Now that you know the key differences between each air conditioning type, it’s time to consider the pros and cons and which one could be potentially the best for your home.

Split System vs Ducted: Which is best?

Both air conditioning system have their own pros and cons. It’s really up to you if you’re more concerned about the cost or the benefit. If cooling or heating your entire home is your main priority and cost isn’t really a problem then a ducted air conditioner is the one for you. But if you’re on a tight budget and can settle having one or two air-conditioned rooms, then a split system air conditioner can do the job.

Another thing to keep in mind is the size or type of the property you live in. A ducted might not be suitable for your home but a split system might be a perfect choice or vice versa. You will have no more problem choosing which one to purchase. But if you’re living in a modern apartment block, then chances are you already have a ducted air conditioning system.

Split system and ducted air conditioning both have their own benefits and disadvantages. It really all just depends on your needs. Their features might be different but one thing’s for sure both are better in cooling you down than that sprinkler in your backyard.

The two ways of cooling your home are pretty even in terms of user benefits and drawbacks – it all really depends on your individual circumstances. One thing’s for sure though – both are better than running through the sprinkler in your Speedos as a grown adult.