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The Cost of Split-System Air Conditioner Installation

With rising temperatures and the prospect of a sweaty summer night beckoning, there’s never been a better time to start thinking about your split system air conditioner installation cost. Climate control is key to a better nights sleep and can even add value to your home.

The Australian refrigeration council is the governing body when it comes to air conditioning installers, so it is vital to ensure your air conditioning expert is a fully certified air conditioning specialist.

Air conditioning installers fit split systems more than any other units, with these devices being the most popular type and for a good reason.

What is a split-system air conditioning system, and how does it work?

A split air conditioner is any air conditioning unit with two separate parts, with one being on the inside and the other being on the outside of the home. Copper pipes and cables connect the split system. The unit’s exterior section contains the compressor and stays on the outside of your home, while the interior unit will remain inside your house and is the place cool air is filtered into the room.

One of the key advantages that come with a split system is that the compressor remains outside. In any air conditioning system, the compressor is the loudest part of the unit. The downside is that a split system unit isn’t the most attractive, with a bulky exterior fan seen outside your house.

Compared to floor-standing systems, split system air conditioners are great in saving space and efficiency. They can be operated by a remote device that can keep track of temperatures, the power of the fan, and some other features such as any timers, night mode, and climate control.

Factors influencing split-system air conditioner installer costs

Type of air conditioner

As well as the split system, there are two other models that you can purchase, a freestanding/portable air conditioning unit or ducted air conditioning unit, also known as a central air conditioner.

Freestanding or Portable Air Conditioning

A free-standing system works just the same as a plug-in heater. All you need to do is buy it, place it in the location of choice, and connect it via a power outlet. Out of the 3 available air conditioners, this is the cheapest option and is a great choice for small rooms. The small size and portability allow you to move this unit around the room to where it is needed the most.

A downside is that being a floor unit, they can take up space in your home and become a bit of an eyesore compared to a wall-mounted or ducted system. Additionally, a freestanding system isn’t as efficient as other models available, but the low installation cost is the main attraction.

Ducted Air Conditioning (Central Air Conditioning)

The ducted air conditioning unit is the most expensive out of the three available, but it comes with some key features and a sense of discreetness you don’t find with other models. Similarly to a split system, they work in the same way, with the main difference being that cool air is filtered via the ceiling duct of your home.

Within your home, there should e several outlets that all connect to the same central unit allowing you to control the temperature of your home in an efficient manner. Similarly to a split system, a ducted air conditioner can also individually control different available outlets.

Size of space

The bigger your space, the more money it is going to cost to cool down. You need a system to treat your entire room. The general space to air ratio is around 1-ton air con units for every 400 sq feet of space you have. For example, if you had a room of 16m², you would need an air conditioning system of around 1/2 ton.

The ton reference in air conditioning isn’t regarding the weight, but the amount of air that the air conditioning system can remove in an hour. When it comes to your unit’s size to the space ratio, this equates to how many units you will need in your home per room.

Additional features

Air conditioner cost will be lower if you choose a less expensive unit that doesn’t have as many features, but spending that little extra provides you with some added extras that you may not want to live without.

A more sophisticated air conditioning unit will keep your energy bills low with its efficient use and also include some added features such as:

  • Timer function – Letting you forget about your air conditioning units and let them run automatically at different periods of the day.
  • Remote-controlled app – A remote control allows you to manage your air conditioning unit from afar. A controller is a convenient way to use your device. This control will also feature modes such as night or sleep mode, making the system run more efficiently and much quieter than normal, allowing you a peaceful atmosphere when sleeping.
  • Climate control feature – This allows you to set the perfect temperature for your room. If you know what temperature you’re most comfortable in, this is a great feature.

Labour and supply costs

When it comes to unit cost, the prices vary between all the different air conditioning units available. The cheapest available is the portable versions ranging between $300-$1300 for the unit with no need for air conditioning installer costs. A great choice for anyone renting who doesn’t have the option t mount things to the wall or make structural changes.

The most common air conditioning type in Australia is split systems. Great for open plan living but have a higher cost to install and purchase, ranging between $600 and $5500.

Ducted air conditioner installers are great in bringing discreetness to your home. The cost is the most expensive, with the process starting around $5000, but it can be way above $10,000 for home installation. If you want full control of the climate of your home, then this extra cost is necessary.

Labour and supply costs will vary in different areas of Australia, but the general cost break down will follow such as:

  • Materials – 80% of the cost
  • Labour – 20% of the cost
  • Waste removal – 0% of the cost

Final thoughts

With prices falling in the middle category for split systems to be bought and fitted by an air conditioning installer, there’s no surprise that this type is so popular in Australia. With the compressor unit sitting on the building’s exterior, you are given all the cooling positives you desire without the sound a condenser brings. Great for all kinds of homes and our favourite when it comes to bringing better-conditioned air and climate control into your home.


How much do split-system air conditioners cost to install?

The cost of split system installation can change with different variables affecting the overall cost. According to certain websites, the standard price you can expect to pay for this kind of installation will fall between $600 and $5400. Licensed technicians should always complete this installation, and you will also have to pay the additional cost of the unit price.

Are split-systems the best type of air conditioners?

If your home is open plan with the kitchen and living room being one big space, installing a split system is the best choice. With the condenser being an outdoor unit, these systems are not only quiet, but energy efficient. They may not be the most attractive but are a great choice for open floor plan homes.

Can I install a split-system air conditioning unit myself?

Split-system installation shouldn’t be fully completed by yourself. It would be best if you always used registered air conditioning companies. This being said, you may be able to partially install your air conditioning unit, such as mounting the external and internal units and feeding the copper pipes between the two. When this is finished, you should have a professional installer complete the rest of the installation to fit correctly.

If you do not have your air conditioning installation completed by a professional, you could potentially harm your property, invalidate your home insurance, and incur more costs at a later date.

Is the installation cost of a split-system worth it?

Split-system installation comes with lots of benefits that can help you in your home. Here are just a few that you can expect from split-system air conditioning installation:

  • Home climate control
  • A better nights sleep
  • Air filtration
  • Fewer insects found in your home
  • Improves working at home performances

Air Conditioner Types – choosing the right one for your home

Are you in search of a new air conditioner? Maybe your current unit is on its last legs and you’re desperately looking for a replacement? If you haven’t purchased one in a while you may be a bit overwhelmed when you realise just how many air conditioner types there are!

Which one do you pick? What are the different types of air conditioning units and what do they do? It can be very confusing knowing which one to pick but don’t worry, that’s where this useful blog steps in to help.

Read our useful buying guide and you’ll know exactly what to look for when buying your new AC unit! From energy consumption to maintenance, we’ve covered some important factors to consider before making your final choice.

Even better, we’ve explained the types of air conditioning units and listed the pros and cons so you know whether you’re buying the right system. Want to know more? Then let’s jump straight in!

Air conditioning buying guide

Before you rush out and buy your new air conditioner, there are a few essential things to think about. We’ve covered the most important factors to think about below, so be sure to keep reading to find out more!


If you’re on a tight budget then portable air conditioners or window air conditioners are the cheapest. Keep in mind though that these types can only cool a single room at a time.

Ductless air conditioning systems or mini-split air conditioners are considered cost-effective options if you only need to cool one or two rooms. If you want to cool your whole house with a ductless system you’ll need to keep it on constantly.

Not only will this not be very effective, but it’ll cause some eyebrow-raising energy costs! On the other hand, Smart AC units are a bit more pricey to buy but they’re more energy-saving and therefore not as expensive to run.

A central air conditioning system is considered more expensive than other types we’ve mentioned but they’re also more effective in the long run. Not only that but this type of air conditioner tends to last longer than other types.

The most expensive option is a Geothermal air conditioning unit, but they’re so effective they pay for themselves with energy-saving. Geothermal AC units have unbeatable effectiveness and efficiency compared to other types.

It’s likely that if you pay out for one of these state-of-the-art air conditioning units, it could last a lifetime!

Energy consumption

Purchasing an energy-efficient air conditioner is a great way to help reduce the cost of your energy bills. This energy-efficiency ratio is also called the EER rating.

It’s essential to check this so you choose the most cost-effective option. Remember, the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit will be.

Another important parameter is the SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The air conditioner’s SEER rating is the cooling output divided by the electric energy input at the same time.

The SEER rating might sound similar to EER, but the difference is that the SEER is decided over a whole cooling session of many months at various temperature points.

The EER is decided at a fixed temperature. Like the EER rating, air conditioning units with a higher SEER rating will be more energy-efficient.


Air conditioners that are easy to maintain can make a big difference in how long they last. Also, always choose an AC unit that’s suitable for the size of your home.

There are lots of brands and designs available and your decision depends on many factors. Take into account the space requirement, your budget and how easy they are to use and maintain.


It’s essential to take into account how much space you have to spare as this will determine the kind of air conditioning system you can have. If you don’t have much floor space then a floor-mounted unit wouldn’t be suitable.

On the flip side, if you don’t have a suitable wall or window space, then a wall-mounted system wouldn’t be a good idea. Having insufficient space for your AC unit will prevent it from functioning effectively.


Next, consider how powerful your air conditioning system needs to be. The amount of energy air conditioners produce is measured in BTUs, British Thermal Units.

To determine how many BTUs your AC unit should have, you’ll need to decide how much space, in square feet, you want to cool.

You can measure the square footage of the room just by using a tape measure. Don’t forget to include any closets, entrances, and other tight spaces the room may have.

Control system

Lastly, think about how easy the control system is to use. A good example is a central air conditioning system. These are usually connected to the thermostat and once you’ve set the desired temperature you can leave it, and the AC will do the hard work for you.

On the other hand, a window or portable air conditioner won’t automatically respond so you’ll need to check them manually. This can include anything from manual dialling to digital remote controls and keypads.

As we mentioned before, a huge benefit of a ductless split system is the ability to cool down multiple rooms at different temperatures. If every member of the household is in the same room, it doesn’t make any sense to cool the entire home.

The different types of air conditioners

Central air conditioning

If your home is large and you want to cool multiple spaces at the same time then a central air conditioner is your best bet. This type of air conditioning has a split system that regulates the air through ducts in your home. It’s also called a ducted system.

Split systems are a combination of two main unit types. The outdoor part houses the condenser and compressor while the indoor unit comprises the air handler and evaporator coils. Like all air conditioning, central AC uses refrigerant to remove heat from indoor air.

The unwanted heat is then expelled outside and cool air is pushed in through the installed ducts. Using clever HVAC technology, the programmable thermostats can be combined with central air conditioners to cool your home in a smart way


  • It can cool every room that’s connected to the ducts at the same time, creating a cool and effectively regulated environment in minimal time.
  • Because it circulates cool air in every room, the humidity levels are reduced, making the whole environment more comfortable even in hot and humid weather.


  • It does consume lots of energy, making your energy bills more expensive.
  • If there’s a problem with the ducts, the AC unit may lose effectiveness and efficiency.
  • The outside unit may look a bit unsightly, but you can always get creative and hide it.

Window air conditioner

Because window air conditioners are available in different sizes they’re ideal if you want to cool one room or a small area of the house. If you choose a large window air conditioner you could cool a small house as long as it’s just single storey or an open plan type design.

For the longest time window air conditioners have been considered an excellent choice for cooling small spaces and considered the most commonly used AC type. A window air conditioner is just one unit with all the components inside it.

It pushes the heat outside and blows a cool airflow into the room. They are installed by a window, hence the name, or by creating a hole in the wall.

These types of air conditioning systems have filters so they can be cleaned easily for maximum AC efficiency. These units also have controls and sometimes come with a remote.


  • Window air conditioners are usually more budget-friendly and cheaper to run.
  • Easy to install.
  • The maintenance is easy.
  • They don’t take up floor space.


  • They can be noisy during use and can be seen from outside the house.
  • They block the view from the window and have to be placed close to an electrical outlet.
  • Not every window will be able to support a window air conditioner, especially if it’s irregularly shaped.

Split-system air conditioner

Split system air conditioners provide cool air to different areas of the home. Unlike portable air conditioners or window units, split systems are not self-contained but are two-part systems.

They’re commonly used in buildings that don’t have a complete duct system. They’re known as split systems because they have two or more parts. The condenser unit is installed outside and the compact blower or evaporative units are typically mounted on a wall.

These components are connected through conduits that carry power and refrigerant lines. A split system has the advantage of being able to cool different rooms using different temperatures. This is because each unit has its own thermostat.

This feature, unfortunately, does make the split system air conditioners more expensive than a central AC unit.


  • Can cool different rooms simultaneously, at different temperatures.
  • They are quieter than other units.


  • They are more expensive than other types of air conditioning units.
  • Can be tricky to install.

Ducted air conditioner

Ducted air conditioners are commonly used in shopping centres, workplaces, and other large spaces. But they’re also becoming more and more popular in homes.

This type of air conditioner system involves a central location where the air is filtered and then sent through a series of ducts and pushed into each room. Ducted AC units are great for keeping large rooms at a comfortable temperature.


  • Capable of cooling multiple rooms simultaneously.
  • Ideal for larger homes.


  • The installation is quite extensive.

Portable air conditioner

Similar to a window air conditioner, portable air conditioners are placed in one unit with the components inside. The difference is that it’s a free-standing AC unit and can be moved around.

All it needs is a power outlet to run it and window access where the air can be exhausted from, through the funnel. Portable air conditioners are ideal if you only want to temporarily cool your home, or if it’s not practical to have a window or split air conditioning system.

They are smaller and more convenient versions and can even be used for bathrooms and other small spaces. Portable ACs can have a single air pipe that takes in the air from the room and expels it outside.

Alternatively, they may have a dual hose that takes air in from outside using one hose. This cools down the compressor and it’s then expelled outside using the other hose.

Because portable ACs are used indoors, the evaporator fans run constantly to evaporate any condensed moisture that builds up inside the unit.


  • Easy and quick to set up.
  • It can be moved easily around the home.
  • You don’t need to permanently install it.
  • The perfect option for cooling particular spots in the house.
  • It’s easy to store when you’re not using it.


  • It may be noisy to operate.
  • It’s not very good at cooling large rooms or areas of the house.
  • A portable air conditioner that comes with a hose will need to be positioned near a window. The hose will also block the bottom half of your window.

Floor-mounted air conditioning

A floor-mounted air conditioner is designed to be a convenient option if you’d prefer a mini-split system but you don’t have the space to accommodate a wall-mounted air conditioner.

The indoor part of a floor-mounted AC sits on the floor, and the outside part can be installed without any preparation or ductwork. This is also an ideal option for spaces with tilting walls such as lofts or buildings made from delicate materials such as glass.

A floor-mounted air conditioning unit can also be installed up to 6 inches off the floor. It’ll be attached to a small hole made in the wall and connected to the outer unit. A great benefit of this placement is that it makes it easy for you to check the air filters.

Having easy access to the filters makes floor-mounted air conditioning units perfect for people who suffer from respiratory problems or those who want to keep the indoor air quality as high as possible.

This type of air conditioner cools and heats the room faster than other mounted systems because the fan blows the air at your level. Air conditioning systems that are positioned high up on the wall often struggle to cool the space uniformly.

Floor AC units need space around them to operate effectively and circulate the air properly, so be sure the unit isn’t blocked or obstructed by walls or furniture.


  • Ideal for elderly people because of the accessibility.
  • Easy to install.
  • A good choice for small or odd-shaped areas as they don’t take up too much space.


  • The airflow can be affected by obstructions such as furniture.
  • Not ideal for large rooms because the airflow won’t be distributed evenly.

Hybrid air conditioner

Hybrid air conditioners alternate between using electricity and burning fossil fuels to operate. Intelligent technology chooses between energy sources to save money and power, meaning you won’t get a nasty shock when you get your bill!

In the summertime, this type of air conditioner pulls heat from the room and throws it outside. In the winter, the AC unit functions in reverse. Instead, it pulls heat from the outside and expels it into your home.

When the refrigerant drops below the temperature outside, the heat from outside is transferred to the coils in the AC and into the refrigerant. The extracted heat can then be turned into warm and clean air for the room.


  • Saves money by choosing the best energy source.
  • Works effectively in summer and winter.
  • Provides a consistently comfortable airflow.


  • They may have a higher price range initially but will prove to be cheaper in the long run.

Mini-split air conditioner

If you’re looking at air conditioning systems that are more efficient or you don’t want a ducted system, then mini-split ACs are an ideal choice.

These types of air conditioners are a combination of an outside unit with a cooling compressor and a condenser, plus an indoor unit. The indoor units are attached to a wall and they have air blowers.

The units are connected through various tubes and the refrigerant circulates through them. Which tube they circulate through will depend on the desired type of use.


  • These air conditioning systems can be installed anywhere without hassle.
  • They can control the temperature of each room.


  • Single mini-split air conditioners aren’t enough to cool large homes.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, to choose the right air conditioner type for your home, you need to pick the one you need. Investing thousands of dollars when you only need a small AC system is unnecessary, while only buying a small portable AC when you have a big house won’t be enough.

Remember to be realistic about how much power you’re going to need. Also, decide if you’re ok with holes being drilled in your walls and how quiet you want your air-con unit to be.

Being realistic will not only save you money but time as well, especially useful if a hot summer is just on the horizon!

What is a split system air conditioner?

For most of us, shopping for a new air conditioner can be confusing and overwhelming, and something we usually hand over to the professionals. However, making uninformed decisions could lead to you overspending on a unit that doesn’t even do what you want it to!

If you don’t already know, a split system air conditioner is one of the most cost-effective and energy-friendly ways that you can keep your home at the perfect temperature year-round. A split system conditioner is discreet, easily installed, and low-maintenance once you have it up and running.

If you want to know more about split system air conditioners and how they work, then keep reading this guide!

What is a split system air conditioner?

A split system conditioner is comprised of two main components: one outdoor unit and one inside unit. The outdoor unit is placed outside, near the room that you want cooling, and contains a compressor, condenser coil, and capillary tubing or an expansion coil. The indoor unit is what contains the cooling coil, air filter, and a long blower.

What makes a split air conditioner different from a ducted system is that refrigerant is moved through pipes rather than ducts to produce hot or cool air.

How does a split system air conditioner work?

Split system air conditioning works by feeding refrigerant gas into an outdoor compressor in order to condense it into liquid form, move it through condenser tubes, and back into a compressor. During this process, the gas will heat up and cool down in a cycle.

The indoor unit and outdoor unit are connected by electric cables and copper pipes: this is how the refrigerant flows to different components in the units, such as the compressor, fan, and inverter.

Air is taken from a room and cooled down using the indoor unit, then pushed back into the room through vents, where it can be regulated using a remote control. Most remote controls have a function that allows power to be turned off automatically, as well as various modes and timers.

Outdoor units tend to be the more unsightly and noisy part of the system, whilst the indoor unit is much more portable and quiet, so it can be mounted on a wall or window without being too noticeable.

How to choose the right air conditioning system

There are many different types of split air conditioning out there, and it is vital that you get one that suits your personal preferences and your space.

We recommend getting the opinion of a professional when it comes to figuring out the size of the air conditioner you need. If you want to do this yourself, then you should measure every room that will make use of the split air conditioner and make a decision based on this.

If you buy air conditioning that is too heavy-duty or large for your location, you will end up with high maintenance costs and utility bills for no reason. As well as this, a larger air conditioner unit will not necessarily heat up or cool down your space any better than a smaller choice could have.

Another thing you need to know before making a decision is how energy efficient each air conditioner unit is. Choosing one with a high energy efficiency rating will save you money on bills and make sure that you are doing your bit for the planet.

What is the difference between a split system and other air conditioners?

When browsing split systems, you will come across standard split system air conditioning and reverse cycle split system air conditioning. The difference is that a reverse cycle air conditioner provides heating and cooling to a room, whereas a standard air conditioner will only blow cool air. However, a split system can provide a reverse cycle, you just have to make clear that this is a priority whilst searching.

The other common type of air conditioner is a ducted unit. This differs from split systems because it does not require indoor and outdoor units, only indoor. Air is regulated in a single central unit and moved along ducts rather than pipes, to maintain a stable temperature across a large space.

Benefits of having a split system air conditioner

Minimal noise

A split system air conditioner is ideal for those who do not want to be disturbed by A/C noise. The noisiest parts of any air conditioner are the compressor and the fan, both of which are located in the outdoor unit of a split system.

In other air conditioners, such as a window unit, even the most disruptive components are located indoors, meaning they are not only irritating but very noticeable.

Multi-split system

A multi-split system air conditioner can be installed as an add-on to your unit, making it possible to regulate the heating/cooling of each individual room, a luxury that other air conditioners do not have. Every different space in a house would hav\ze its own control, meaning different parts of a building would be different temperatures.


Once your desired temperature has been reached in a room, the split system air conditioner will turn itself off until needed again. This will do wonders for not only your electricity bills but your carbon footprint as well, thanks to its energy efficiency.

Split systems that are designed and manufactured by trusted brands will also last you a lifetime, meaning you are doing your bit for the planet by reducing your waste and investing in appliances with longevity.


Although the initial cost of a split air conditioner is substantial, the costs balance themselves out and most people see the spend as an investment.

What’s more, split systems tend to be cheaper than ducted air conditioners when it comes to air conditioning installation. This is because if your home does not already have ductwork it can be a lengthy and costly process.