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How to Choose between a Split System and a Ducted Air Conditioning System

Having the right type of air conditioning system for your home has a huge impact on your indoor air quality and energy consumption. With so many versions and brands available on the market, however, this can be a tough task even for the experienced buyer. An HVAC specialist like Port City Air can help narrow your options and ultimately pin down the best one.

They will most likely bring up two options – split system or ducted air conditioning. Even at this point where your options have already been reduced to just two, you might still have a hard time choosing, especially if you don’t understand how each of the remaining options work. The best thing to do is to compare their features.

What is a split system air conditioner?

Have you ever had a window air conditioner before, the type of air conditioner that has all its components housed in a single box? If so, then you’ve surely encountered issues like drips of water ending up in unwanted places, loud noise, and permanent damage to your window. The split system air conditioner is designed to address all of those issues. It is the better version of the window air conditioner.

Instead of having all components contained in a single unit, they are strategically grouped into two separate units, one installed inside the house and the other outside. The indoor unit contains the cooling coil, blower, and air filter, while the outdoor unit has the compressor. These two units are connected by a set of cables and tubing that runs through the exterior wall.


  • Efficiency – A split system air conditioner allows you to cool only the rooms you want to cool. And if there’s more than one unit in your house, you can save energy by only turning on the units that you are using and shutting off the rest.   
  • Reduced Noise – One of the reasons why the aircon is split into two units is to separate the components that make noise. This is perfect for those who are sensitive to noises like hissing, buzzing, and squealing sounds. 
  • Easy Installation – Installing a split system involves no more than boring a hole in the wall just the right size to fit the wires and tubing, installing a wall-mounting plate, and putting up the outdoor unit. You don’t need to cut through any of your windows and compromise your home’s insulation just to get everything set up.

Aesthetics. The indoor unit of a split system looks almost like any other sophisticated appliance in the house. It’s more visually pleasing than a window air conditioner that has the potential to become an eyesore.

What is a ducted air conditioning system?

A ducted system consists of a central cooling or heating unit and a series of ducts that run throughout the house within the walls, ceilings, or sometimes even under the floor. It usually comes with a fan coil unit installed in the roof space, which allows homeowners to cool or heat each room individually. Older ducted systems don’t have a fan coil, making them hard to control as soon as they start running.  

ducted air conditioning systems


  • Cools and heats the entire house. A ducted system lets you cool or heat every room in your house that has a vent. It’s perfect in winter or summer where the family squirrels in the house longer than usual.
  • The central unit is completely concealed. Air conditioners tend to look awkwardly out of place in some settings. With a ducted system, you can rest assured this won’t happen because the central unit is usually stashed in the cellar.
  • Helps increase property value. Most home buyers prefer a house with a ducted air conditioning system. This is why properties with this feature have a higher value than those with other types of air conditioners.

With this comparison, it’s now much easier to determine which one suits your needs and preference better. However, if you want to experience the best of both worlds, consider installing a multi-split system instead. This is a split system that has multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. The structure is very much like a ducted system, except it does not include ductwork.

A multi-split system allows you to cool and heat each room in your house individually just like a duct system with a fan coil. The problem is, like a duct system, all units will be affected once the outdoor unit acts up. Make sure to factor in all of these things when deciding on the type of air conditioner for your home.

For a successful installation, no matter what type of air conditioning you choose, call in the experts from Port City Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast.