Can’t stand the idea of sweltering through another summer without air conditioning? Or shivering through another winter? It’s time to get air conditioning and our easy guide is designed to help you choose the one that’s perfect for you. Should you opt for a Split System or a Ducted? What’s best for your type of home? And what even is a Multi-Split System?
Questions before you get started
Here are some important questions to consider before embarking on having your new air conditioning system installed.
If you live in an apartment with a small balcony or share walls with other apartments, this may dictate where you locate your system. And if you’re installing within a few meters of your neighbor’s windows or doors, you should check whether your system is quiet enough to meet the local council noise regulations. You’ll also probably need body corporate approval before you go ahead.
If you’re in a freestanding home, it’s worth remembering that installing your air conditioner shouldn’t reduce the fire resistance level of any wall or affect your home’s structural integrity. There are many other factors which can affect the installation of your new air conditioning system which can place restrictions on where and how your air conditioning system can be installed. To avoid any wasted costs, we highly recommend arranging an AC Specialist to come to your home and carefully assess your property. They will be able to advise on the best location to install your unit both inside and outside.
The answer is simple. It’s wherever you want to enjoy cool or warmth the most.
If, for example, you choose a Split System Air Conditioning unit that cools & heats just one or two rooms in your home, think about which ones you’d like them to be. Perhaps it’s your bedroom, for those hot, sticky nights. Or your home office, where you’ll be working during chilly winter days. Or potentially you’d like to control the air in the baby’s room.
Remember hot air rises and cool air sinks to the bottom of each room, so having your air conditioner installed in the right position will help to ensure air circulates more evenly.
You should also consider whether your home layout will stay the same long term, as you don’t want to divide a room into two down the track and find that the second room is no longer serviced by the air conditioner you originally installed.
If you want a fully integrated Ducted Air Conditioning System, you’ll enjoy discreet air-conditioned comfort throughout your entire home, installed so you hardly even know it’s there.
Ideally, your outdoor unit should be mounted where there’s plenty of free space on either side to allow airflow and easy access for maintenance.
If you’ve chosen a split system or a multi-split system, the outdoor unit should be installed on a firm base – attached to a wall, or on a concrete slab. For maximum efficiency, it should also be located within approximately 15 meters of an indoor air outlet.
A Specialist can explain in detail how the location of your outdoor unit will affect efficiency, noise levels, and performance.
Unless your system is portable, your air conditioning system should only be installed by a licensed professional installer. Licensed installers carry an ARCtick of approval, which means they are qualified to safely handle refrigerant gases.
We highly experienced certified installers who can advise on everything you need to know and show you how everything works. You’ll also have peace of mind that when you install with a Specialist Dealer you’ll receive a high-quality installation that is complimented by 5-year Manufacturer’s product warranty.
Our process begins with a complimentary design consultation, so we can learn about you and your family’s needs and recommend the best possible options.
We take the information from the consultation back to the office to design the air conditioning system you require, from there we send you a quote via email.
We are Daikin dealers that get the best prices on units but we also supply other brands. Our systems are proven performers balancing our three core factors, quality, reliability, and sustainability. You can also supply your own if you wish.
Our installation process continues right up to the moment we handover a quality air conditioning system that you feel comfortable and confident to operate.
So whether you just want to cool down a couple of rooms, or want the ultimate in climate control over your entire home, we make finding the perfect air-conditioner system a breeze.
Split Systems are ideal for heating and cooling individual rooms in your home Compact spaces
Quite simply, a Split System Air Conditioner is designed for individual areas in your home. For instance, you may only want to air condition the baby’s room, or maybe the main living area where you do most of your entertaining. Or perhaps your own bedroom, for those humid nights. With a Split System, the compressor is installed outside your house and the unit that passes air into the house is either discreet wall-mounted or a compact floor-standing unit.
There are two main benefits.
The first is that a Split System is more economical than other types of Air Conditioning systems, as you’re only buying and installing one unit at a time and using less energy than some other systems.
The second benefit of a Split System is that they allow you to select the rooms you only want to air condition.
Multi-Split Systems are ideal for:
Heating and cooling up to 5 rooms
Homes with limited space for ducted air conditioning When you want to control room temperatures individually.
In every family or couple, there’s always someone who loves the room to be icy cold. And there are those who want comfort without a chill. A Multi Split Air Conditioner lets you run multiple air conditioners with just one outside compressor, giving you independent temperature control over each room. You can choose which rooms and the type of indoor unit for each room.
There are three key benefits.
Firstly, it’s a convenient, economical air solution, allowing maximum comfort, with minimum running costs, because you can heat or cool rooms exactly as you need.
Secondly, with just one outdoor unit, you can choose up to 5 different kinds of indoor units to suit each rooms décor. Choose from wall-mounted, duct connected, floor-standing ceiling suspended or a cassette type unit.
Thirdly, separate controls let you tailor and control the climate in each room, so everyone’s happy.
Ducted Systems are ideal for:
Heating and cooling your entire home
When you want a discreet look along with ultimate comfort
When you want your whole home to be a comfort zone, Ducted Air Conditioning systems are your all-in-one climate control solution. All it takes is a discreetly positioned outdoor unit and an indoor unit concealed in either your ceiling or under your floor, with flexible ducting distributing conditioned air via vents throughout your home.
There are four main advantages.
First, you have the choice to install a Ducted System into a new home or it can be tailored to suit your existing one.
Secondly, you’ll hardly know it’s there – only the controller and grilles are visible inside your home and with all its technology hidden away, it’s the quietest of all air conditioning solutions.
Thirdly, ducted air conditioning will not only enhance your lifestyle, but it will also significantly add to the value of your home.
Last, but not least, you enjoy the flexibility to heat or cool every room and can zone control your home to maximize energy efficiency.
Okay, so you probably have a general idea of what type of system you want but some other things to consider like
what size do you need?
How much will it cost to run and how noisy will it be? and where can I save money on a feature I don’t need?
Having decided on the general type, you also need to think about whether to go for an inverter model, and whether you want both cooling and heating, or cooling only.
These models can vary the compressor speed. That means the compressor (in the outdoor unit) doesn’t need to switch on and off continuously, but instead just speeds up or down as need demands. By not actually having to stop and start several times a day, there’s less stress on the compressor and less electricity is used, so inverter models are generally more efficient and cost less to run. They can maintain a set temperature within a narrow range. Most split systems on the market these days are inverter models.
Also called conventional air conditioners, the compressor in the outdoor unit is either on at full power, or off. The compressor switches on and off as need demands. This can cause more wear and tear on the compressor and uses more power to start up each time, so these models aren’t as efficient to run as inverter models but can be cheaper to buy.
Reverse-cycle models can be used for cooling in summer and heating in winter. While the purchase and installation costs can be high compared to an electric heater, reverse-cycle air conditioners are actually among the cheapest and most effective forms of heating for large spaces over the long term. Even if you only need heating for a few days or weeks each winter, a reverse- cycle model could be your best option.
If you only need the air conditioner for cooling in summer (for instance, if you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, or if you already have another heating system in place), then a cooling-only air conditioner could be right for you. They’re generally cheaper than reverse-cycle models and usually otherwise have all the same features.
For most homes, an inverter reverse-cycle split-system air conditioner will be the best option.
When buying air conditioners, a big consideration is likely to be how powerful the device needs to be to adequately cool your home. Air conditioner capacity is rated by BTU (British Thermal Unit) and power output in kilowatts. Buying the right size unit is very important as air conditioners that are too big will use more energy, while under-sized ones will not cool the room sufficiently.
Models too powerful for the room size may run frequent short cycles to achieve the target temperature – which is like tapping the accelerator in your car to maintain speed instead of applying steady pressure.
This can result in the room getting too cold or hot, inadequate dehumidification (i.e. not drying the air enough. making the room feel less comfortable), increased power usage and running costs, and wear and tear on the system. Underpowered models may have to run more often at maximum output, dry the air too much and you’ll similarly suffer excessive wear.
Heating and cooling appliances account for about 40% of the energy usage of the average Australian home. To save money when running your air conditioner, there are several things you can do.
Having the correct size of an air conditioner is an important first step (see Choosing the right capacity).
A model with more stars will be more efficient and use less power than a model with fewer stars.
Use Economy mode (“Eco mode”) if your air conditioner has one.
Set the thermostat (target temperature) to a reasonable temperature so the system doesn’t have to work too hard and use more power than really necessary.
Air conditioners are never going to be particularly ‘green’ or energy-efficient appliances, but some are far better at keeping electricity costs down than others.
Split system air conditioners are typically going to be the most energy-efficient type of air conditioner you can buy. In this category, high-end brands such as Panasonic dominate the ranks.
Split system air conditioners are the most energy-efficient type of air con you can buy. They are also a favorite among Aussie households, usually for their quiet operation and effective cooling, along with minimally-invasive installation and aesthetic units.
Some models have a quiet mode for the indoor unit, and sometimes the outdoor unit too. This may reduce the cooling/heating power or airflow, but will keep the air conditioner running at a very quiet level.
A noisy indoor unit may interfere with your activities, conversation or sleep. A noisy outdoor unit can disturb you (if it’s too close to a bedroom or living room window) or your neighbors. Most local councils have noise restrictions relating to the use of air conditioners. Check council regulations before buying, and your strata rules if you live in an apartment, especially if the outdoor unit needs to be installed close to a neighbor’s house.
Noise is measured in decibels (dBA). Indoor noise levels for air conditioners range from 20 to 30 dBA on the lowest fan setting, up to 40 to 50 dBA on the highest speed. Outdoor units are typically in the 45 to 65 dBA range.
Cleaning and maintaining your air conditioner is extremely important. An air conditioner that is neglected won’t perform properly and will use more energy, which can, in turn, increase your power bills; especially since space cooling accounts for 6 percent of the average household’s energy usage.
Not cleaning and maintaining your air conditioner can cause a multitude of problems, such as filters and ducts becoming clogged with dirt, which limits airflow and reduces the air conditioner’s ability to cool your home (and heat it if you have a reverse cycle split system).
Filters capture airborne particles so these can get extremely dirty. Regularly cleaning or changing filters (as often as every month or two in summer) is the quickest way to save energy on home cooling, helping you use 5-15% less energy and reduce your bills. Homes with pets or lots of exposure to dust will need to replace their filters more often.
Dirt inevitably collects in the evaporator coils and condenser coils over time. Dirt in the evaporator coil reduces airflow and the ability to evaporate heat, so check the evaporator coil every year and clean it when it needs it. Dirt can also collect on condenser coil fins, especially if it’s in an outdoor area that’s dusty or leafy. Keep the area around the condenser coil clear of tree foliage, grass cuttings, and other debris so there’s enough airflow around the condenser.
The evaporator coils and condenser coils both have fins which can bend, blocking airflow. Buy a “fin comb” and use this special air conditioner tool to straighten the fins out again and ensure maximum airflow.
Air conditioners have condensate drains that can clog, which stops the air conditioner from being able to reduce the humidity and can cause excess air moisture to affect your carpets and walls. To prevent clogs, feed a stiff wire through the drain channels every now and then.
At the start of every summer, check the seal that sits between the air conditioner and the window to ensure it’s still a tight seal, and that moisture damage isn’t causing cool air to escape outside.
Once you’ve worked out what capacity you need, compare the star ratings of models of similar capacity. The more stars, the lower the running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Star ratings are different for heating and cooling.
The government energy rating website has more information about the star rating system and the rules for air conditioners.
A new star-rating label has been recently developed, giving more information about how the air conditioner performs in different zones of Australia, making it easier to choose a model best suited to where you live. This will be phased in over the next few years. We’ll also start seeing new regulations and labels for portable and ducted models, to help consumers choose the most efficient models.
The fan circulates cooled or heated air around the room. Look for a model with a wide airflow range and multiple fan speeds: from very high – to help the room cool down quickly, to very low – so there’s less noise and no unpleasant draught once you have the right temperature.
This controls the air conditioner to deliver the target temperature. Usually, you just set the desired room temperature with the remote control, and the thermostat measures the indoor temperature and adjusts the air conditioner output accordingly.
This detects whether someone is actually in the room so that the unit knows to keep working. When no one is detected, the unit might switch to an economy mode to reduce power consumption. Some models even direct the air movement towards the sensed person, so that the cooling or heating is mainly focused on the areas actually being used.
Look for large, well-spaced buttons and a big, easy-to-read LCD screen.
This function adjusts the temperature in steps, to a comfortable level for sleeping so the air conditioner doesn’t work as hard (and more quietly) when you’re sleeping.
Adjustable or oscillating louvers point them up for cool air and down for warm. This can be done via the remote for most models. Left and right adjustability help direct air where it’s particularly needed.
A protective feature that prevents the air conditioner from starting up again too soon after being switched off.
Buying an air conditioner is probably best thought of as an investment – an investment in your home and your comfort. With that in mind, it pays to do your research. Below is an overview of the six brands in this year’s review, plus several others worth a mention.
(Reviewed on https://www.canstarblue.com.au/)
They are said to be designed to meet the same very high standards. The range includes reverse cycle, cooling-only inverter, inverter multi-split, ducted, cassette, and under ceiling air conditioners. In the wall-mounted category, consumers can choose from nearly 30 different models. Some include Panasonic’s ECONAVI feature, which detects human activity and sunlight to automatically adjust to reduce energy consumption.
It will reduce output if it detects that you’re just sitting there reading or watching TV, as opposed to doing something more active, like exercising or cleaning. The Panasonic inverter design has variable rotation speed so that it can heat up or cool down a room faster during start-up, then slow down to maintain the set temperature.
Across the range are various levels of filtering, deodorizing and dehumidifying features to explore for optimal air quality. Panasonic air conditioners come with a slightly higher starting price than most other major brands – just over $1,000 – and you could pay in excess of $3,000 for its top of the line models. But Aussie consumers are sold on Panasonic, rating the brand five stars in almost every category in 2017.
Across the Daikin air conditioning range, there is an even spread of wall-mounted split system, multi-split system, and ducted air-con models. Within the split system line up, the six different models offer more choice than first meets the eye, as each system comes in a few different varieties with varying features, including a choice of the reverse cycle and cooling only, or add-on Wi-Fi capability.
The US7 has an astonishing 7 star ‘Super Efficiency’ energy rating, while all Daikin air purifiers and split systems are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia and labeled as a ‘Sensitive Choice’. In addition to the traditional wall-mounted design that sits up near the ceiling, a version that’s more accessible can be mounted down near the floor.
A Daikin split system air conditioner can come in at under $1000, or up to nearly $4000 depending on how many features your budget can accommodate. However, Daikin is generally considered to be a leading brand in the aircon world, previously topping our customer ratings and this year earning a respectable four stars in most research categories, but only three in terms of value for money.
Fujitsu General produces almost every kind of air conditioning unit you could want, including wall-mounted, multi-type system, ducted, cassette, ceiling and floor. Within its offering for the most popular type (wall-mounted), there are three ranges to choose from – Classic, Lifestyle and Designer. Within each, a choice of a reverse cycle or cooling only options means you can save the money you’d otherwise be paying for nothing if you don’t want the heating program.
The Classic range is apparently designed to be quick, efficient and easy to use. The Lifestyle range is Fujitsu’s most energy-efficient, with some models nabbing a 5-star energy rating while coming in a stylish, standardized style, so the whole home matches. The Designer sits at the higher end of the range, with a sleek, modern finish and extra features.
Across the three ranges, many models include a ‘human sensor control’, which automatically turns the air conditioner off if there’s no detected movement for 20 minutes. When someone re-enters, the sensor picks up the movement and switches the air conditioner back on. No more accidentally leaving the air con on all day when you rush out the door!
Fujitsu, like most brands, has offerings priced under $1000, but at the other end of the spectrum offers pricier units costing over $4,000. A previous winner of our air conditioner ratings, Fujitsu has rated four stars overall in 2017, with three and four stars across the board.
Covering both domestic and commercial sides of the Australian market, across wall-mounted, ducted, console split, bulkhead, ceiling mounted and multi-head systems, Mitsubishi Electric is a one-stop-shop for every kind of air conditioner. If you’re bored of the traditional white finish, some models come in a black or silver finish for something different. Wide and long airflow patterns from specifically designed horizontal vanes help push air further into the room. The Mitsubishi Electric wall-mounted range offers both
‘premium’ inverter and standard ‘classic’ single speed.
Different models offer focuses on different features, such as the MSZ-GE series which operates extremely quietly – as low as 19dBA. Wi-Fi control (available with compatible models) allows you to connect through your smartphone, tablet or computer, so there’s no more fumbling around for the remote. Some models are even potentially DRED compatible. The Catechin air cleaning filter is claimed to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, as well as generally improving the air quality, while the Plasma Duo Filter System adds filters that remove odors.
Mitsubishi Electric’s wall-mounted systems can be picked up for less than $1,000, with prices ranging up to just under $3,000. Mitsubishi Electric was rated four stars in this year’s review, with a mixture of three and four stars across specific categories.
Claiming to provide a wider operation range than regular air conditioners, LG has six different wall-mounted, split system, ducted and multi-split systems to choose from. All are reverse cycle and include the ‘Active Energy Control’ feature, which allows users to set a cap on the unit’s energy consumption to improve energy efficiency.
LG air conditioners also offer four-way air control – both vertical and horizontal airflow adjustment. Wi-Fi Smart Control is available with compatible models as an optional add-on. Features to look out for in particular models include sleep mode with ultra-low operating sound (19dbA), outdoor quiet mode – to reduce noise from the exterior unit – and multiple kinds of filtration and auto-cleaning systems.
LG units can be found for under $1,000, with price points reaching up to over $3,000. LG was rated three stars in every research category in 2017.
With a focus more on ducted and commercial-grade air conditioning, Samsung offers just one model of a domestic wall- mounted air conditioner. With an 8kW cooling capacity, turbo mode for maximum speed to reach the set temperature quickly, and an auto mode that automatically selects the required operating mode
(heat or cool) to reach and maintain the set temperature, you can expect reliable temperature control from your Samsung air conditioner.
The Auto Clean feature will automatically keep the fan running on low speed for a bit after the air conditioner is switched off, to dry off the heat exchanger and prevent bacteria growth. It’s not so strong on the energy efficiency front though, with a two-star energy rating.
However, it’s a Demand Response Enabled Device (DRED), which means that, depending on your energy provider, you can opt in to have power consumption limited during peak demand times in order to reduce strain on the network, while also potentially saving you money. Samsung rated three stars overall in 2017, with three stars in most other categories, too.
Panasonic has now topped our air conditioner customer ratings for two years in a row, which is a good sign that it’s delivering on the reliability, functionality, ease of use and value for money that Australian consumers expect. However, it’s important to compare a wide range of brands and models before settling on a product that’s right for your home.
Air conditioning capacity and energy efficiency are perhaps the most important factors to keep in mind when comparing models.
Ultimately, there is no point buying a system that is too large or too small for your property’s requirements. These are factors that will also have an impact on your ongoing energy costs. With power prices continuing to rise, energy efficiency has never been more important.
Buying a highly efficient model will likely cost you more upfront, but it should save you money in the long run. You’re also likely to get an all-round superior model if you’re willing – and able – to spend a bit extra. When it comes to air conditioners, you typically get what you pay for.
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, ducted air conditioning prices are determined by a number of factors, specifically, the brand you pick, its energy rating and what size system you require. Other factors to take into account include:
The more points and zones you add the more expensive your ducted air con system becomes. As a rough guide, expect to pay:
Around $5,000 to have a small system installed in an apartment or small home. $6,000 to $10,000 for a system for a three-bedroomed single story home $11,000+ for a ducted air con system for a large 4 bedroom 2-story home.
The cost of installation can vary wildly simple because some situations require more time and material. Of the many installs we do, price is usually a factor, we do our best to install the units in the easiest locations to minimize cost, but a lot of times it’s not best to do it that way. Nobody wants an air conditioner sitting next to their front door or coming perilously close to there car every time it’s backed into the driveway.
Expect to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars or more for an air conditioning unit. A new split system unit can start from $900 up to $2000+. The price you pay depends on the unit’s kilowatt capacity. If the unit has a higher energy output, it will cost more than a unit with a lower output.
Having manufactured and sold air conditioners in Australia for more than 40 years, it’s safe to say that Daikin probably knows a fair bit about what goes into a high-quality air conditioner. Its products have received many awards over the years for things including energy-efficiency, with the company placing an emphasis on the innovation found in its top of the range air conditioners.
Here are the Daikin split system air conditioning prices to use as a guide. This does not include the installation price which generally starts from $600 up to $2500 but is job-specific as every house is not the same layout.
If you are interested in a FREE in-home Consultation in the Sydney area please call JC AIR CONDITIONING INSTALLATION SYDNEY on (02) 8599 4546.
For Eastern Suburbs please visit JC AIR CONDITIONING INSTALLATION – EASTERN SUBURBS
For Inner West please visit JC AIR CONDITIONING INSTALLATION – INNER WEST