The ducted air conditioning is the culmination of the home heating systems. But its efficiency and convenience come at a price. If you’re considering installing ducted air conditioning or replacing your old one, you better be prepared before you start your home improvement project.
As a follow-up to our previous article on the pros and cons of split-system AC and ducted air conditioning, we’ll now look into more detail on how much does ducted air conditioning installation costs. The two main aspects that form the overall cost are the price of the actual system with all its various components, and the second one is the installation itself.
So if you:
are wondering whether you can install ducted air conditioning within your budget;
want to know the average installation price of a ducted air conditioning system;
are curious about whether you can fit ducted air conditioning at home by yourself;
How much does it cost to install a ducted air conditioning system?
Let’s get to the point, then. Ducted air conditioning doesn’t come cheap, especially reverse cycle systems that can both cool and heat your property in the hot and chilly weather months. It’s a serious property improvement investment, as it’s a long-term beneficial addition to your home that actually boosts the value, saleability or rentability of your home.
For a large house (4+ bedrooms) – up to $30,000 or more if the house has two or more floors.
For a medium-sized house (3 bedrooms) – up to $13,000 for one-storey houses; above $15,000 for two-storey houses.
For a smaller house or a flat – about $5,500 – $8,500, depending on how many rooms the property has.
Note that prices also vary by the contactors you choose to install your AC.
Last but not least, ducted air conditioning installation costs can increase by the various additional features that the system offers, such as air purification, humidity control and enhanced energy efficiency by fitting the right number of temperature control sensors in a said room.
We couldn’t stress more that it’s of great importance to choose a reputable and certified service provider. After all, quality installation is what you want, where no corners have been cut in the process.
What factors are considered in the air conditioner installation cost?
We’ll look into what plays a role in forming the cost of installing a ducted air conditioner. Other than the labour cost, the size of your property and the number of individual features are the major factors when forming the project’s price. The type of system you choose (conventional or reverse cycle ducted air conditioning) matters too.
Note that the climate you live in can also affect how much you pay. Achieving the optimal thermal efficiency in your home comes at a price. For example, people in Sydney may pay less than Brisbane residents.
Size of the property
The smaller the property, the cheaper it will be to fit your ducted air conditioning.
The more rooms you want to heat and cool, the more ductwork needs to be installed. Add the number of floors your house has, and you’ll be looking at paying for the installation of additional vertical duct lines (droppers), which need to be fitted correctly and concealed in cupboards or whatnot. Furthermore, each room can be controlled separately, in terms of the temperature you’d like to set it at, which will also be reflected in the final cost.
Last but not least, the more rooms you have, the more vent grilles you’ll need to be fitted, which requires cutting through ceilings, walls or floors.
Note that floor grilles are a bit more expensive than grilles fitted on the ceiling, as they are usually metal, while the latter is made of plastic.
Zoning your ducted air-con system
The zoning properties of your ducted air conditioning are related to how you control the airflow (conventional or reverse cycle ducted air conditioning) and temperature in each room.
Each room can be classed as a different zone that needs a different level of heating or cooling. Dividing your system into zones certainly increases the ducted air conditioning installation cost. This, however, in the long-term, will prove to be more energy-efficient, as you can control the running costs of your system. Or in other words, there’s no need to heat or cool the guest room if no one is staying there for months.
Complexity of installation
Each home is unique, with its own specific structural features. This can make installing a ducted air-con system harder or easier, depending on various factors.
For instance, limitations with fitting the exterior unit safely and without disturbing your neighbours by the noise it generates can increase the installation cost. Or, when it comes to mounting the interior unit and duct lines, you have two standard options – under the floor or in the roof space. People with limited space above the ceiling usually go for installing their system components in the sub-floor space, although slimline alternatives are also available on the market.
Another option you have is to install individual bulkhead units in each room, suspended from the narrow roof space and mounted and concealed on the ceiling, where the duct lines are usually thinner so that they can still get fitted above the ceiling. This, in effect, is a combo version of ducted and split-system air conditioning.
Depending on how many rooms you’ll be air-conditioning, the installation cost can increase because there isn’t enough roof space to accommodate one main internal unit that connects all ducts.
What to expect from a professional ducted AC installation service?
Installing ducted air conditioning begins with a thorough on-site examination, after which you can get an estimate of how much it will cost you. With this, you’ll receive information about what the process may involve in structural work and how much time the job will take. You can expect to pay for the installation about 15% to 20% of the price you’ve paid for the actual system and its components.
Be careful when choosing a service provider. All professionals have to be accredited by the Australian Refrigeration Council, in order to legally install ducted air conditioning systems.
The following job aspects will be taken into account for the final installation quote:
The size of your property;
The time it takes to install the ducted AC system;
The complexity of the installation;
The cost of the qualified and licensed labour, used in the process.
The installation service will consist of several steps, in general. Still, each job has its individual requirements, based on the type and size of the property you have and its specific structural features.
So, after your team of installers are done with their site inspection, planning and measuring, they will proceed as follows:
Install the indoor unit – in the roof space or underneath your floor;
Install of the refrigeration lines, which will connect the internal and external units;
Mount the outdoor unit to a suitable wall and connect it to the system (via the refrigeration pipes and electrical lines);
Secure the main power supply from the switchboard to the outdoor unit;
Install of all the ductwork, including the air return ducts connected to the air return box;
Install vertical ducting if you have a two-storey house;
Fit the rest of the components, such as the diverters, the vents and the return air grille;
Fit, connect and test the zoning system and controls for their accurate performance and functioning.
As you can see, the installation procedure of a ducted air conditioning system is rather complex and requires experience and qualified expertise.
Can you install ducted air conditioning by yourself?
Unless you hold all the right certifications and licences, you should not even attempt to install your ducted AC system by yourself. In fact, it is illegal in Australia, and you could receive a fine for it. It’s not worth the try, given how pricy and complicated are these systems.
It’s a difficult job that involves electrical work and the installation of complex components. So, if those are fitted and misconnected, this can put your home at risk. The job usually requires an expert team of professionals who know what they are doing and have all the valid qualifications, knowledge of safety standards and the right to perform such services legally.
The risk of jeopardising your air-con system’s warranty by installing it yourself in the wrong way becomes quite real, so our advice is to avoid such attempts. Or in other words, not only may your ducted air conditioning underperform and run inefficiently but also any malfunctioning components and maintenance issues will have to be addressed at your expense.
The cost of installing a ducted air conditioning system depends on various factors, such as the property’s size, the type of AC, the complexity of the job, any zoning and temperature control requirements, the installation labour cost and more;
For houses in the process of construction, it’s best to plan your ducted central heating and its installation before completing the actual building work;
To avoid the risking installing the ducted AC system incorrectly hire a professional and reputable company for the job.
Professional ducted AC installation in your area! Contact a reliable expert for the task!