Split System Vs Ducted Air Conditioning

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When it comes to air conditioning, it’s probably right to say that an average homeowner is not educated on the specifics of what is going on right now within the industry.

We all like to feel the benefits of air con, but how much do you really know about the model you have or about the quality of your unit? Here at Breeze Air Conditioning, we are the people that you should be coming to when you need to know all the facts!

We specialise in installing air conditioning in Newcastle and its surrounds, and if you want to know about the differences between split system and ducted air conditioning, then you have come to the right place! Here is the basic information on split system vs ducted air conditioning.

What Is Split System Air Conditioning?

A split system is a type of air conditioning unit where one part of the system, the condenser, is situated outside of your house on an external wall. The rest of the system, the head unit, is situated inside and is usually fixed to an interior wall but can sometimes be a floor standing unit if needed.

The main advantage and benefit of a split system is that it is generally much cheaper to buy and can be installed one part at a time if you want to spread the cost over a period of time rather than paying everything up front. It is also better recommended for apartment living and multi-storey properties.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Split System Air Conditioning

Before you choose to install a split system air conditioner, it’s essential to consider the following advantages and disadvantages:



Window or central air conditioners are susceptible to hot or cool air leaking out of a room due to drafts or opened doors, while split system air conditioning systems are renowned for their efficiency and the even circulation of cool air. Multi-split system air conditioners are also able to operate multiple indoor units while remaining one of the most energy-efficient systems on the market.

The long-term energy costs of split air conditioning systems are also much lower than those associated with ducted air conditioning systems, but it’s essential to choose the right cooling system for your property to prevent energy wastage.

Easy to install

Split system air conditioners are easier to install than traditional air conditioning systems, but it’s still essential to have them installed by a professional. If the installation is carried out without a license, re-installation, servicing and warranty voidance costs can be expensive in the long term.

Once the outdoor and indoor units are all set up, the pipework needs to be fed through and held into place, and any holes need to be sealed up. By hiring a professional air conditioning engineer, you can have your split system air conditioner installed within a day.


Because the interior units of split systems are usually located high up on a wall, out of people’s line of sight, they tend to be unobtrusive. If you have minimalist decor, the sleek, modern designs of split systems will blend in well.


A split system allows you to cool specific areas of the home by segmenting the area into zones. This zoning is achievable through the use of thermostats for each room. These additional thermostats allow you to have total control over the cooling in specific zones, conserving energy and saving you money.

It’s Quiet

A ducted air conditioner can be quite loud when it’s in operation, but when you opt for a split system, you’ll enjoy near-silent operation.



While interior split system air conditioning units are extremely quiet, the compressor unit installed outdoors can be very noisy. If you live in a densely populated area, this could cause issues with your neighbours, so make sure that you install your compressor unit as far away from your neighbours’ bedrooms and windows as possible.

The noise that your split system air conditioner produces will depend on the model, make and age of the unit. Older air conditioning systems tend to be louder.

Some local councils will have noise regulations for residential areas, so it’s essential to check your local council criteria before installing your cooling system.


The exterior compressor unit and interior units of a split system air conditioner need to be located 30 metres apart from each other to accommodate the length of the tubing that they are connected by. If you live in a very tall apartment or building, a split system air conditioner may be unsuitable for you.

Your outdoor compressor unit should be installed against a concrete slab or wall where it won’t vibrate or come loose. It also needs to be installed in a well-ventilated, shaded area, away from direct sunlight with plenty of space on either side. The outdoor unit also needs to be away from any shrubs or trees that might drop leaves that could block the unit.

It’s More Expensive

Split system air conditioners are considerably more expensive than traditional air conditioners. You can expect to pay anywhere up to 50% more on a split system, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the energy bill savings will offset this initial investment over time.

What is Ducted Air Conditioning?

Ducted air con consists of a system that is an entire single unit, usually concealed in a property’s roof space. It is very effective at directing cool air into multiple rooms in a house, using connected ducts system to do so.

One of the key advantages of a ducted system is that it cools your property much more comprehensively, and it maintains a more stable temperature that is kinder to your furniture, your flooring and your pets! It costs more, but in many ways, you do get more for your money.

What Are The Advantages Of A Ducted Air Conditioning System?

There are many advantages to installing a ducted air conditioning system in your home. These include:


One of the major advantages of ducted air conditioning is the fact that zoning allows you to individually control the temperatures in different rooms. This is perfect for homes where someone likes it ice cold, while the rest of the family prefer a warmer temperature.

It’s Practically Invisible

Ducted air conditioning units are either installed in the walls or the ceiling. Often, the only visible part of the AC unit will be the vents that the air is coming through and the control panel. This makes it a fantastic discreet option.

It’s Much Quieter Than a Split System Air Conditioning Unit

Ducted air conditioning is often whisper-quiet and generally much quieter than a split system air conditioner. You often only notice it’s on due to the cool temperatures, perfect for anyone who dislikes the sound of constantly running fans.

It Can Increase The Value of Your Home

Ducted air conditioning is a great feature in any home and can help to increase its value. What’s more, a lot of buyers are now looking for homes that already have ACs installed. So if you put your property up for sale, you should have plenty of interested buyers.

What Are The Disadvantages Of a Ducted Air Conditioning System?

There are also a few disadvantages that you should consider before investing in a ducted air conditioning system. These are:

It’s Expensive to Install

Generally speaking, it’s expensive to have ducted air conditioning installed in your home. This high cost can often put homeowners off and they will instead opt for split system air conditioning which is undeniably cheaper.

Complicated To Install

Your ducted air conditioning system needs to be installed by a professional who knows what they’re doing. There are many factors that need to be considered such as the structure of the home, ceiling space, and entryway and window positioning. This can make it a complicated process.

A Ducted Air Conditioning Unit Is Large and Many Homes Are Unable to Install One

A ducted air conditioning unit is much larger than a split system and it takes up a lot of space in your home. Due to this, many homes are unable to accommodate ducted air conditioning.

Ongoing Maintenance and Repairs

As with any mechanical system that will be used consistently in your home, a ducted air conditioning system will require regular maintenance and servicing to ensure that it is running at optimal capacity. Ducted air conditioning tends to be more expensive to service and repair than a standard split system air conditioning system due to its size and location within the home.

Higher Running Costs

Ducted air conditioning is often more expensive to run than a split system is, even when utilising economical mode. This is due to its size and the amount of energy that it requires to work at full capacity.

Feature-based Differences Between Split System And Ducted Air Conditioning

Ducted System:

  • Rooms: You can choose what rooms to cool thanks to zoning
  • Aesthetics: Vents in the ceiling or wall means there isn’t any visible ducting
  • Noise: Very quiet operation as condensers are in remote areas
  • Cost: Initial investment costs more than traditional systems, but lower energy bills in the long term offset this
  • Operation: Control panels for every room or zone

Split System:

  • Rooms: Rooms are cooled with individual units
  • Aesthetics: Each room has a wall-mounted unit and exterior condenser
  • Noise: Quiet interior units, but the outdoors unit can be noisy
  • Cost: Initial costs of these types of air conditioners are less expensive than split systems
  • Operation: Controlling the system is usually done via remote control

Which Air Conditioning System Suits You?

The answer to this question largely depends on your situation, so take the time to consider what best suits your needs. You’ll need to consider the initial investment and how much you can afford, as well as the level of cooling you require throughout the home.

Split systems are great if you’re on a budget as the initial price is much smaller than a ducted system. They’re also more versatile and can be fitted in most spaces and are easier to install. You also have more control over what areas of the home are cooled because each room has its own unit.

We suggest going for a split system if you:

  • Want to stick to a lower budget
  • Have a smaller property
  • Don’t have sufficient roof or floor space

Ducted systems are a more expensive investment but offer greater savings on energy bills over time. You also have more control over what areas of the home are being cooled thanks to zoning. Air quality tends to improve when using a ducted system due to improved air filters.

We recommend ducted systems if you:

  • Want to save on energy bills
  • Want a hidden air conditioner system
  • Want a quiet air conditioner

If you are interested in getting new air conditioning in Newcastle, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

We are the frontrunners when it comes to quality of service in the area, and we look forward to being able to set you up with a great new unit that can keep your house running nice and cool for many years to come!