Despite the stereotype that Australia is always hot, anyone who lives in here knows that most areas have at least two seasons and some of us even experience four separate seasons. Anything south of the tropics can even get cool / cold in winter.

Just like living in Cairns during summer's heat and humidity without without sounds unbearable - so does braving Melbourne's freezing winter nights without a heater. For this reason, reverse cycle air conditioning systems are the standard choice when installing a new system.

Most people know what a reverse cycle air conditioner is: it's an AC unit that can cool a room and heat it up. However, that's about as far as most people's knowledge on reverse cycle air conditioning goes. Here, we elaborate more on how reverse cycle air conditioning works, its benefits and frequently asked questions surrounding reverse cycle air conditioning.

What is reverse cycle air conditioning?

As mentioned above, reverse cycle air conditioning is a singular system that not only cools a room with the same effect as a normal air conditioner but also warms up a room or area with heating. Basically, it acts like an everyday air conditioner, with the added benefit of being able to warm a space as well.

Air conditioners are normally significantly more efficient than conventional means of heating a room - such as electric bar or oil heaters.

How does reverse cycle air conditioning work?

Reverse cycle air conditioning systems are made up of three major parts: an outdoor condenser unit, an indoor evaporator unit, a reversing valve and the control circuitry including the thermostat.

When a space is being cooled - the refrigerant is compressed at the outdoor unit and this creates heat. This heat is released into the atmosphere by means of the outdoor coil and fan. The compressed refrigerant is then pumped to the indoor unit and expands. The expansion process absorbs heat, and as it does so it passes through the indoor coil. Air is pushed through the indoor coil by a fan, is cooled and released into the air conditioned space. As well as cooling the air it also draws humidity out the air, hence why there is drain pipe fitted to the indoor unit.

When a space is being heated - the process is reversed. The heat release occurs at the indoor unit and the cooling occurs at the outdoor unit. This is why in winter you may find water pooling under your outdoor unit - this is normal behaviour. If this creates a problem the systems can normally have a drain fitted.

All types of air conditioners sold today - ducted air conditioners, split system air conditioners or wall unit - come in reverse cycle.

As long as a reverse cycle air conditioner has been sized correctly, it will be able to reach and maintain whatever temperature the thermostat is set to.

As long as a reverse cycle air conditioner has been sized correctly, it will be able to reach and maintain whatever temperature the thermostat is set to.

Advantages of reverse cycle air conditioning

Energy efficient

The running costs of heating a room through a reverse cycle air conditioner are significantly lower than the costs of using an electric heater. In fact, a reverse cycle air conditioner in heat mode uses approximately one-third of the amount of energy that a plugin electric heater uses.

Reverse cycle air conditioning units are also significantly more economical than gas heaters. For example, the average cost of running a reverse cycle air conditioner on heat between 2.9 -4.2kW in size is approximately $57 over 90 days, with it switched on for three hours a day. On the other hand, the average cost of running a gas heater between 2.9 -4.2kW in size for the same amount of time is $196.

Multi-use

Of course, one of the biggest advantages of a split system air conditioner is the fact that it's multi-use; it can cool and heat. This is economical because only one unit will need to be purchased, rather than paying for a separate heating and cooling system. Reverse cycle air conditioners should be able to cool a room down - or heat it up - to the desired temperature. However, it's important to ensure that you purchase a system with adequate capapcity for the room size you're installing it in. For more information on the correct size AC system to purchase, you can check out our guide here.

A safer way to heat

Plug-in portable heaters or gas heaters can be dangerous devices. We've all heard horror stories of a heater accidentally setting a house on fire. Reverse cycle air conditioners are a much safer way to heat a room as they don't pose the risk of overheating and setting it on fire. Reverse cycle air conditioners are also safer than using a gas system because gas systems produce carbon monoxide. If a gas system is poorly installed or faulty you can run the risk of releasing too much carbon monoxide in a room, which can have devastating health effects.

FAQ's

Can I install my own reverse cycle air conditioning system?

If you're opting for a split system reverse cycle air conditioner, or a ducted reverse cycle air conditioner, you will not be able to legally install the system on your own. Both variations include electrical work and refrigerant handling - both of which require licences.

Installing ducts involves climbing within confined roof spaces. This can be dangerous and should be done by a professional. Experts will have the knowledge on how to move around roof beams safely, one wrong move can cause a ceiling to cave in and accidental falls are also possible.

That being said, if you are installing a reverse cycle window unit, you may be able to install it yourself. You can check out our guide on here to do so, here

Does reverse cycle air conditioning cost any more than a cooling only system?

Not much. Many manufacturers do not make cooling only air conditioners any more. There a few who still do make cooling only systems - but the difference in cost between the a reverse cycle system and cooling only is usually negligible.

Is it possible to have a home inspection to receive a quote for the costs of installing reverse cycle air conditioning?

Absolutely! If you're located in the greater Brisbane area, one of our skilled technicians can travel to assess what sort of reverse cycle air conditioner is best suited to your house. Our experts will be able to explain to you your options and recommend the right size air conditioner, as well as write up a quote for the cost of the system and installation.

Ready for a quote?

If you're interested in installing an air conditioning system, fixing your current one or would just like some more information about your options, get in touch with our friendly team for a quote or to schedule an at home inspection.

If you've thought about installing air conditioning in your home but are overwhelmed at all the options and models available - then don't worry, you're not alone.

From ducted air conditioners, to wall mountsplit systems ac and portable air conditioning, the choices of different air conditioning units can be confusing. Even homeowners who are familiar with different types of air conditioners may have trouble deciding which one suits their needs and living space best.

Fortunately, we've put together some guides to help you decide on the best air conditioner for you. Here, we dive into ducted air conditioning cost and prices surrounding installations.

What is a ducted air conditioning system?

Ducted air conditioners are a popular choice to cool a modern, open-plan house. Ducted air conditioning is a central system where the internal indoor evaporator coil unit is concealed inside a ceiling space (normally in the roof). The air conditioning runs throughout the house and connects each room together with duct work which delivers the cool air into each room.

A ducted air conditioning system will often have one central thermostat, normally located in the wall controller, which controls the air conditioner. There are more sophisticated control systems available which can set and control individual temperatures for each room. Ducted air conditioning systems are usually the first choice for large spaces when it comes to cooling. Not only are they powerful, but they're also discreet. When ducted air conditioning is installed only the vents and grilles are visible inside the property, along with the controller/s.

Unlike wall mount splits and window units (which are a lot noisier than wall mount splits), which can generate some noise, ducted air conditioning systems are very quiet and in most cases will be effectively silent when running.

New ducted air conditioners will often have the option to connect the AC systems to your smartphone. This feature allows the user to start and stop the air conditioner as well as monitor or change temperature settings from their phone. Many wi-fi enabled systems also have the ability to connect to smart home systems and voice assistants.

The cost of installing ducted air conditioning

Ducted air conditioning systems are considered to be one of the more superior and advanced styles of air conditioning. For this reason, they aren't the cheapest option available, but you can be sure that they will do a great job of cooling your house.

Systems like a split system air conditioning unit, wall unit and a portable ac unit are fairly simple in structure and installation, meaning that they are usually a more economical choice when it comes to system and installation cost. However, they may not have the power to cool your whole house effectively.

Ducted air conditioning installation involves a fair bit of physical work: the indoor evaporator coil unit must be installed in the ceiling and have electrical wiring connected. Next, the duct work will be installed through the roof of the house, then supply air grilles will need to be attached to the duct and cut into the ceiling in each room. The controller and outdoor condensing unit will need to be installed and connected up, too.

As you can see, the installation of a ducted air conditioning unit is quite complex: so it will take time and you can expect a higher installation cost than more basic units, like split system air conditioning, wall units and portable ac units.

A simple installation of a small ducted system could be done in as little as 20 hours, whilst larger and more complex installations could take a team of technicians a number of days.

In Australia, you can expect to pay around $80-$120 per hour for air conditioning installation.

The cost of the system itself will depend on the brand, size and power that you pick. Big brands that are well known for being trustworthy, like Daikin, tend to be priced higher than little-known brands.

However, it's the capacity of the air conditioner that affects the price of the system most dramatically. For a ducted air conditioner installed to cool a small home / unit , you can expect a price of around $7,000. If you're looking to cool a large two-story, four-bedroom house, you can expect to pay around $10-15,000.

At Sun City Air we work with a range of trust ducted AC brands including:

Why it's important to schedule a home visit for a quote

While these points can help to give you an idea of the costs involved with installing an air conditioner, it's always best to have an estimator come to your house to put together a quote. The cost of both the system and installation will range greatly depending on the floor plan and the size of your house. Certain layouts will need more supply air grilles and zones as compared to other floor plans, and this will raise the price of ducted air conditioning substantially.

If you're based in Brisbane, a member of our friendly team will be able to visit your house in-person to supply you with a quote. They can have a look around your home, as well as listen to your air conditioning needs, and recommend options and prices that they think will be suitable for you.It's also important to note that if a ducted AC system has previously been installed in the home, this will normally reduce the cost of the replacement system installation - assuming ductwork and grilles can be re-used.

The cost of running ducted air conditioning systems

While there are a number of factors that affect the cost of running an air conditioner - the size of the area being cooled and the capacity of the air conditioner itself are the two factors that have the most significant impact on costs.

The size of the area being cooled will determine how long the air conditioner will need to run in order to adequately cool it to the desired temperature. The length of time the air conditioner is on directly impacts the costs of running it.

The capacity of the air conditioner also directly correlates to the amount of electricity it consumes whilst running. Air conditioners with higher capacity cost more to run per hour when they are utilising that capacity than smaller systems.

If you have an air conditioner that has insufficient capacity to cool the space you have then it will be running at capacity most of the time - this will lead to premature wear on the system.

If you have an air conditioner that has excess capacity for the space you are cooling - you will have invested too much in your air conditioner and if it is extremely oversized then the system will be constantly cycling on and off - which is also leads to premature wear.

The cost of each kW hour of electricity your air conditioner consumes is determined by your electricity retailers tariff - unless you are lucky enough to be using electricity you have generated yourself from Solar.

Another factor that affects the costs of running an air conditioner - that many Aussies aren't aware of - is where in the country you are located. Australia doesn't have blanket costs for energy across the country - each state has varying costs as each state has different electricity retailers.

Below are the average costs per kW per state:

In order to calculate the cost of running your air conditioning system, you'll need to figure out how many watts you're using. If you have the measurements for the area you want to cool, you can figure out how many kW of capacity are required by heading to our guide here and using the calculation equation.

Alternatively, if you already know the kilowattage of your air conditioning unit, you can go ahead and use the below equation to figure out the approximate cost of running your air conditioner.

This equation will help you figure out the cost per hour of running your air conditioner.

(kW (capacity of unit) / EER (Energy Efficiency Rating -published by the air conditioners manufacturer) x price/ hour (based on the electricty retailer in your state) = cost to run per hour (price/ kWh)Below is an approximate guide to the costs involved with running ducted air conditioning - assumes a 16kW system - which is a medium / large sized system - at full load.

(16.0 kW Capacity / Energy Conversion Factor 3.45) x $0.28 per kWh = $1.29 per hour

A 16.0kW air conditioner has enough capacity to cool 95 square metres of space down to 24 degrees

FAQ's

How long does it take to get a home inspection and a quote for ducted air conditioning unit?

Not long at all. Just give us a call or shoot us an email here and we can organise for one of our friendly team members to come out to your property. The estimator will need less than 30 few minutes to look around your house and take a few measurements. After this, they can explain in person what they think will work best for you, or they can put together a formal quote shortly after.

Will a technician be able to tell me what sized ducted system they'd recommend for my house, so I can work out approximately how much it will cost to run per month?

Absolutely. Sizing the ducted air conditioner is a key part of the estimating process.

A common assumption made by many Australians is that air conditioners cost a lot of money to run.

You may be surprised at the cost of running an air conditioner, it's actually significantly lower than many would assume. That being said, the fact is that running an air conditioner does raise energy bills and undeniably costs the user money.

Here, we detail the running costs of operating an air conditioner, what you can do to save money on AC costs and take a look at some questions commonly associated with the cost of running an air conditioner.

Cost breakdown for running split system air conditioners

While there are a number of factors that affect the cost of running an air conditioner - the size of the area being cooled and the capacity of the air conditioner itself are the two factors that have the most significant impact on costs.

The size of the room will determine how long the air conditioner will need to run in order to adequately cool it to the desired temperature. The length of time the air conditioner is on directly impacts the costs of running it.

The capacity of the air conditioner also directly correlates to the amount of electricity it consumes whilst running. Air conditioners with higher capacity cost more to run per hour when they are utilising that capacity than smaller systems.

If you have an air conditioner that has insufficient capacity to cool the space you have then it will be running at capacity most of the time - this will lead to premature wear on the system.

If you have an air conditioner that has excess capacity for the space you are cooling - you will have invested too much in your air conditioner and if it is extremely oversized then the system will be constantly cycling on and off - which is also leads to premature wear.

The cost of each kW hour of electricity your air conditioner consumes is determined by your electricity retailers tariff - unless you are lucky enough to be using electricity you have generated yourself from Solar.

Another factor that affects the costs of running an air conditioner - that many Aussies aren't aware of - is where in the country you are located. Australia doesn't have blanket costs for energy across the country - each state has varying costs as each state has different electricity retailers.

Below are the average costs per kW per state:

In order to calculate the cost of running your air conditioning system, you'll need to figure out how many watts you're using. If you have the measurements for the area you want to cool, you can figure out how many kW of capacity are required by heading to our guide here and using the calculation equation. [insert hyperlink - WHAT SIZE AIR CONDITIONER DO I NEED]

Alternatively, if you already know the kilowattage of your air conditioning unit, you can go ahead and use the below equation to figure out the approximate cost of running your air conditioner.

This equation will help you figure out the cost per hour of running your air conditioner.

(kW (capacity of unit) / EER (Energy Efficiency Rating -published by the air conditioners manufacturer) x price/ hour (based on the electricty retailer in your state) = cost to run per hour (price/ kWh)

As an example:

(2.5kW Capacity / Energy Conversion Factor 4.5) x $0.28 per kWh = $0.15 per hour

We've also taken the hard work out for you by putting together the average costs to run different sizes of air conditioners in the table below based on an AC that is run eight hours a day in QLD (current energy tariff's in Qld are around $0.28 per kW hour.

Air conditioning costs for a small room

A room 10m2 - 20m2 will require a 2.5 kW unit to cool the room.

Air conditioning costs for a medium room

A room 20m2 to 30m2 using a 3.5 kW unit to cool the room.

Air conditioning costs for a large room

A room 30m2 to 45m2 using a 6.0 kW unit to cool the room.

Air conditioning costs for an extra-large room

A room 45m2 - 65m2 using an 8.0 kW unit to cool the room.

Cost breakdown for running ducted air conditioners

The cost of running a ducted air conditioner is worked out in the same way as a split system, however, the air conditioners capacity is normally larger and you may not be using all of the system's capacity all the time.

However, below is an approximate guide to the costs involved with running ducted air conditioning - assumes a 16kW system - which is a medium / large sized system.

(16.0 kW Capacity / Energy Conversion Factor 3.45) x $0.28 per kWh = $1.29 per hour

A 16.0kW air conditioner has enough capacity to cool 95 square metres of space down to 24 degrees

Tips to lower the costs of running an air conditioner

Increase the temperature set point of your air conditioner

The air conditioners temperature set point, is the factor most easily changed, that has the biggest impact on the energy used by your air conditioner.

Each degree you raise the air conditioners temperature set point reduces your energy consumption by approximately 10%. So a set point of 25 degrees uses 10% less energy than a set point of 24 degrees.

Engage the auto mode on your thermostat

One feature that's often underutilised and can save a significant amount of money on your electricity bills is setting your air conditioning to 'auto' mode.

If your fan setting is set to the high, constant mode, the fan will continue to run even when the desired temperature is reached. The fan works independently of what the thermostat says unless it's set to 'auto'.

If a thermostat is set to auto, the air conditioning will work in conjunction with the fan to reach the set temperature. Once this temperature is reached, both the fan and the air conditioning will go into an idle mode until the temperature rises higher than what's set on the thermostat.

By engaging the 'auto' function, your air conditioner and fan will only run when it's required, this will result in lower electricity bills and a longer life span for your unit. You'll also enjoy the added benefit of having to change the filter less frequently, as less air is filtered through it.

Set a timer on your thermostat

For a lot of people, rugging up in a thick doona in an icy cold room is thoroughly enjoyable. However, your air conditioning doesn't need to stay on all night for you to enjoy a cool night's sleep. If you use the timing set on your thermostat, you can enjoy lower energy bills AND a cool night's sleep.

Most thermostats will have a different way or button to set the time function. So, it's best to consult your manual to check how to set yours.

Use the smart function of your thermostat or remote

Many newer models of air conditioning have smart functions. One of these smart functions can give you the ability to access and control your air con from afar. Some systems have phone apps that allow you to control your system like a normal remote.

This app is really handy for people who love coming home to a cool house. Rather than leaving your air conditioning on all day while you're out and sending your energy costs through the roof (quite literally), you'll be able to switch on your air conditioning half an hour before you head home.

Use a fan in conjunction with your air conditioner

When you already have an air conditioner installed, a fan may seem moot. However, fans can actually help the cold air from an air conditioner circulate around, resulting in lower electricity bills. Fans are significantly cheaper to run than air conditioning - on average a ceiling fan runs at about 30 watts an hour - so this means they cost less than a cent an hour to run.

FAQ

Does turning an air conditioner on and off cost more than leaving it running?

A common question is whether turning an air conditioner on and off a lot costs extra due to the powering up and powering down activity. This is comparable to an iPhone - when you turn an iPhone on and off a lot the battery tends to drop faster than just keeping it on because of the extra battery needed to start it up and shut it down.

While this theory may make sense in a way - it's not really correct. Turning an air conditioner on and off throughout the day will use much less energy than leaving it on for an entire day. Yes, turning an air conditioning on does use slightly more energy than it's uses when it's already running. However, the energy it takes to turn on the system is so small that it would barely have an impact on your electricity bill - especially compared to the electricity cost of running an AC all day long.

Aside from power costs, what other costs are involved with running an air conditioner for long periods of time?

Two things that will be significantly affected by extensive air conditioning use are the life span of your air conditioning, as well as the filters. An air conditioner that is consistently used will not last as long as an AC system that is sparingly switched on.

Filters, on the other head, are a cheap and easy fix if you know what you're doing. But, if you don't change your filters when it's required, it can cause a host of other problems in your system which may come at a costly fix. AC filters pull dirt and debris out of your air conditioning system. If the filter isn't regularly changed, dirt can build up in the filter and your air conditioner's air pathways can be clogged.

It is recommended to clean your air filter every ninety days. Although replacing an air filter may sound straightforward, there are many different styles, types and sizes of air filters on the market. If you're not sure how to change a filter, a technician can come over and quickly and easily change the air filter for you for a small cost.

How does the EER energy rating affect air conditioning cost?

EER stands for energy efficiency ratio. This shows the ratio between the cooling achieved and the energy it takes to do so. So, the higher the number is on your air conditioner for EER (energy efficiency ratio), the more energy-efficient the unit is. The more energy efficient a unit is, the less energy you'll end up using and you'll save more money on your electricity bill. 12 is considered an excellent EER rating, and your AC system should be very efficient at using minimal energy if this rating is awarded.

Ready for a quote?

If you're interested in installing an air conditioning system, fixing your current one or would just like some more information about your options, get in touch with our friendly team for a quote or to schedule an at home inspection.

What size air conditioner do I need? You've decided that you'd like to invest in installing air conditioning in your house or apartment - now what? There are a few different things you should consider once you've decided to go ahead with getting air conditioning, but one of the most important factors is figuring out exactly what kind - and what size - of air conditioner is best suited to the area you're looking to cool. The obvious factor to consider when deciding on the size of your air conditioner is to think about the size of the room you'll be using it in. However, there are a number of other things that will impact the size of the unit, too. Here, we've put together a guide to help you understand the air conditioning capacity you'll need to effectively cool a room or house. We've also broken down all of the factors that will play a contributing part in determining the size of air conditioner that's best for you.

How is an air conditioner's capacity is measured?

Air conditioning units have their cooling capacity measured in kilowatts (kW). When buying a unit its cooling capacity should be very prominent - it's usually in the model name of the unit. The air conditioners capacity is crucial in determining whether or not the air conditioner you have selected will be large enough to effectively cool the area you have selected.

How to predict the air conditioning capacity you need for your room

Calculating the amount of cooling capacity your air conditioner needs to satisfactorily cool space can be complicated, however, there is a general rule of thumb to figure out approximately how many kW will be required to cool a room. To calculate the size of the air conditioner needed, you'll need to start by working out the size of the room in square metres. You can do this by multiplying the width of the room by the length in metres. Considering Australia's extreme weather conditions, Aussie households will normally require 150-180 watts of power per square metre. Keep in mind that there are 1000 watts in a kilowatt (kW). In mathematical terms, the equation to work out how much power you'll need looks like the below: [(square metres of the room) x 170 (average wattage)] ÷ 1000 (to convert into kW) = the minimum size of unit your room requires. We've also put together the below guide to help you understand the amount of kW a unit will need to successfully cool average room sizes. Of course, you can always opt for a larger size than our guide below. However, a larger unit will likely use more electricity and lead to higher power bills. On the other hand, if you go for an AC unit that's a smaller size than the below recommendations, it's likely the unit won't have enough power to adequately cool the room. If the air conditioner isn't large enough it will force itself to constantly work to attempt to meet the desired temperature. This can result in excessive electricity bills and a shorter lifespan for your unit.

Small room

A room 10m2 - 20m2 will require a 2.5kW unit to cool the room.

Medium room

A room 20m2 to 30m2 will require a 3.5kW unit to cool the room.

Large room

A room 30m2 to 45m2 will require a 5-6kW unit to cool the room.

Extra-large room

A room 45m2 - 65m2 will require a 7-8kW unit to cool the room.

Other factors affecting the size of the air conditioning required

Aside from room size the other big factor that determines how much cooling capacity is required, and hence determines the size and type of air conditioner you need, is the heat load in the room. Heat loads can come from either external or internal sources.

Is the roof/ceiling insulated

Aside from the room size, insulation has one of the biggest effects on what size air conditioning unit will be required to adequately cool your room. Insulation is, quite literally, the foundation of maintaining stable temperatures in a room. Insulation works as a temperature barrier - stopping the transfer of heat in or out of a room. For spaces with an uninsulated roof/ceiling, an air conditioner will have to work much harder to cool a space, which usually means a bigger unit will be required. Areas that don't have ceilings/roofs that are exposed to the sun, like the ground floor of a two-storey house or an apartment that isn't on the top floor of a house, typically have lower heat loads than those which are.

The Geographic Location

The climate in your geographical location will drastically affect how strong your unit will need to be. As you'd expect, a hotter area, or an area with high humidity, will require higher cooling capacity than a cold area with low humidity. Air conditioners work to lower the temperature of a room and remove humidity. Some areas in Queensland experience tropical climates that are high in both humidity and temperature. So, an area like this will obviously pose a lot more work to an air conditioner to counteract external temperatures in comparison to low humidity, cold area, and more wattage will be required.

The orientation of the room

The layout of your room or house can play a big part in how hot the area gets which can result in determining the amount of wattage needed from an air conditioner to adequately cool the room. A house or room that faces the sun directly for the majority of the day will heat up a lot quicker than areas that are protected from the sun. If the area you're looking to cool has a lot of windows that face the sunlight directly, a higher capacity air conditioner may be required. A large north or west-facing room with big windows will let more heat in than a southern-facing room with fewer or smaller windows.

The height of your ceiling

The basic formula to calculate the size of an air conditioning unit required doesn't actually take into account the height of the room -it assumes that all rooms are an average height of 2.4m. This is fine if your room actually is this height - but if you have high ceilings or a loft area, then the calculation may be underestimating the amount of wattage you'll need to cool your room. Types of rooms or areas with high ceilings, a loft area or - especially - a large open plan area that connects to a second story will require more powerful AC units. These types of areas can be tricky to determine what capacity air conditioner is required. So, if you're looking to cool an area like this we would recommend enlisting the help of one of our air conditioning estimators. An estimator will be able to determine the size and heat load of the area and suggest the appropriate size unit or units.

The appliances that are used in the room

If the area being cooled is a normal, residential space then the appliances in the room shouldn't affect the capacity of air conditioning required too much. Even a residential kitchen with a full-sized fridge and other cooking appliances will require the same strength as a room with no appliances. However, if you're planning to install air conditioning to cool a space with many appliances - like a commercial kitchen, then the appliances create heat and as such a higher capacity air conditioner will be required when compared to a residential area of the same size. For these types of areas, it's best to have an air conditioning estimator undertake an inspection and recommend the best type of system or unit for the given space. Rooms with large numbers of computers/servers in them typically have extremely high heat loads per square meter.

The number of people using the room

People generate heat, so when there are a large number of people in a room, it will be much hotter than a similar sized room with no-one in it. Rooms that typically have very high heat loads per square meter due to high people density are auditoriums and meeting rooms. So when determing the size of the air conditioner required for rooms like these assumptions must be made about the maximum and normal number of people who will use the room.

The type of AC system

For this guide, we have focused on the capacity of the air conditioners. However, there are a range of different style of systems. Some common examples of popular air conditioning systems include portable air conditioners, window air conditioners, split system air conditioners and ducted air conditioners. Each style of air conditioner has pro's and con's - but not all air conditioners are suitable for all situations.

Ready for a quote?

If you're interested in installing an air conditioning system, fixing your current one or would just like some more information about your options, get in touch with our friendly team for a quote or to schedule a site inspection.

The thought of a brand new air conditioner blasting an ice-cold breeze - or a comforting draft of warm air - around your house sounds great. However, you may be wondering just how much lead time you will need to factor in when getting a new air conditioner installed in your home.

The amount of time that it takes to install a new conditioner will depend on a few different factors.

Here, we navigate through factors that will affect the average installation time for an air conditioner. We'll also look at the quickest way you can have an air conditioner installed in your home if you're looking for a quick fix.

The kind of system being installed

The thought of a brand new air conditioner blasting an ice-cold breeze - or a comforting draft of warm air - around There are a number of different air conditioning systems that you can have installed in your home. The two most popular choices are; ducted systems and wall mount split systems. Depending on the kind of system you choose, the installation time varies greatly, as well as the air conditioner cost.

Ducted Systems installation

Ducted air conditioning systems consist of an outdoor unit, indoor unit and duct that carries the cold (or hot) air from the indoor unit to each of the supply air grilles located throughout the property. Ducted air conditioning is usually installed when there is a desire to supply conditioned air to all rooms in the property. Each room normally has its own supply air grille.

Ducted air conditioners are can take a considerable amount of time to install and are more costly than wall mount split systems - as there is a large amount of materials and labour in the install cost.

The amount of time installation takes for a new Ducted Air Conditioning system will depend on the size of your home and the layout of your home. However, you can usually expect a full ducted system to be installed over 2 days with between 4 and 6 man days of labour.

Split System Air Conditioner installation

A wall mount split system air conditioner is commonly known as a 'split system' and is often used for small spaces, or when just a single room needs to be cooled. Installing a wall mount air conditioner is much more straightforward than installing an entire ducted air conditioner.

This type of unit is ductless, so a technician will simply install the indoor unit onto a wall. The outdoor unit, which includes the compressor, will be located as close as possible to the indoor unit. The two components need to be connected by refrigerant piping and an electrical interconnect. The technician will also need to run a drain to remove condensate from the air conditioner.

A split system air conditioner is normally installed in four to eight hours.

Portable Air Conditioner installation

Are a simple and low cost way of air conditioning a room. There are two main drawbacks to portable air conditioners - they are noisy and unsuitable for large areas However, portable units are cheap, in comparison to wall mount and ducted systems, and require basically no installation.

With a portable unit, there's no permanent installation required, you'll just need to find an exit for the exhaust hose and power up the unit through an electrical plug. Therefore, there's no installation time involved with installing portable air conditioners.

Portable air conditioners are by far the quickest way to have air conditioning in your house.

If an existing air conditioner has been previously installed

If you're looking to install a ducted system or a split system air conditioning unit, the installation time may be cut down considerably if there was an old unit installed previously. If this is the case, there may already be sufficient and suitable ductwork in place a ducted air conditioning system which can be reused, which will only require a changeout of the indoor and outdoor units. In the case of the a replacement wall mount split air conditioner there may be piping and power cables installed in the same wall for wall mount split system air conditioners.

If the necessary equipment is already in place, the materials cost of the installation may be lower than it would have otherwise been.

The size of the air conditioning unit

If you're opting for a split system air conditioner then the size of the system won't affect the installation time by much. However, if you're installing a ducted system, then the size can significantly affect the installation time.

The importance of selecting the correct size of an air conditioning system cannot be stressed enough. If a system is too small for the area it's designed to cool, it will force the system to work much harder at a much higher output. This will not only result in higher energy bills but will probably shorten the life span of your system.

Unsurprisingly, larger ducted air conditioners do take longer to install than smaller systems. Larger units are best suited to bigger houses.

The Bottom Line

The best way to figure out how long it will take to install an air conditioning system in your house is to call out one of our estimators to do an at home inspection. They will be able to talk you through the advantages of different kinds of air conditioners and recommend what system will be best suited to your specific needs.

Once you've decided on the best type of air conditioning, the estimator will be able to confirm the amount of time they'll require for the ac installation.

In summer months demand for air conditioning installations rises dramatically resulting in:

The cheapest and quickest time to get your air conditioner installed is in Winter!

Ready for a quote?

If you're interested in installing an air conditioning system, fixing your current one or would just like some more information about your options, get in touch with our friendly team for a quote or to schedule an at home inspection.

Skipping out on some expensive air conditioning installation costs and installing your own AC unit may sound like a great idea for your bank balance. In Australia, you must have both electrical and refrigeration licencing in order to legally install an air conditioner.

That being said, there are a couple of basic air conditioning units that can safely be installed as a DIY job. Read on to find out which units are safe to install at home, and why some units pose serious safety threats.

Types of air conditioners

We'll quickly run through the different kinds of air conditioning units that are available on the market, before delving into the risk (or methods, in the safe cases) involved with installing them yourself.

Ducted air conditioning

Ducted air conditioning is commonly installed in large buildings with multiple rooms. The air conditioning is connected between rooms via ductwork and flows into each room through a vent. This type of air conditioning is best for people who are looking to cool an entire area at the same time.

Window air conditioning

Window air conditioning is a compact system with all of the components within the same unit. These units are installed in a window or wall-mounted on a supporting bracket/frame.

Split system air conditioning

Split system air conditioners are a unit with an evaporator inside a wall unit disturbing cool air, and an evaporator in an outside unit releasing warm air.

They are very popular and are either used as a single unit to cool one area or have multiple different wall units throughout a building that are connected to the same outdoor unit but can be operated separately. They're ideal for people who are looking to cool one room or are looking to cool different rooms at different times.

Portable air conditioning

Portable air conditioners are commonly available and are normally a floor unit with wheels that is transportable. They are designed to cool small areas and are relatively cheap. They work by sending warm air outside through an exhaust hose, and by sucking in room temperature air and distributing it back into the room cold.

Which of these air conditioners can you install yourself?

Window air conditioning

Window air conditioning is a very simple form of air conditioning, and it can sometimes be possible for a homeowner to install this type of air conditioning themselves. However, it's important to note that a window air conditioning unit is very heavy (around 50kgs), and a DIY installation job runs the chance of an accidental drop which can damage to both the unit and to the person installing the air conditioning system.

However, if you're set on installing your own window air conditioning unit, and are willing to do so at your own risk, you can follow the step-by-step guide below.

DIY installation of window air conditioning

Tools required

Step by step guide

  1. Measure the width of your window and mark the exact middle spot.
  2. Open your window
  3. Attach the side panels to the air conditioning unit. The method to do this will depend on the unit, but usually, these are screwed in.
  4. Place the unit in the window and close the window so it sits on top of the unit.
  5. Make sure that the unit is exactly in the middle of the window. You may want to ask for assistance when placing the unit because it can be very heavy.
  6. Once the window is in place, install L brackets to ensure that the window will be locked into place. If the window cill is wooden you can use a screw to set the bracket in place.
  7. The unit should be in place now, however, there should be an open air gap on either side of the unit. This gap will need to be closed up with a panel. Window panels should come with the unit. Place these on either side of the unit and fix them into place.
  8. The window air conditioner should be installed now, all you'll need to do is plug it into an electrical socket and turn it on!

Portable air conditioning

Portable air conditioning is one of the only types of air conditioners that we can confidently advise that it is easy to install at home. A portable unit will likely come with installation instructions, which are straight forward and installation time should be minimal. While each unit might be slightly different, the below is a basic guide on how to install a portable air conditioner.

1. Attach the exhaust hose fitting to the rear of the system

  1. Place the window fitting in a nearby window frame and hold in place by closing the window

3. Join the system fitting to the window fitting with the supplied hose

4. Plug air conditioning system into power outlet and turn on

FAQ's

How much does it cost for air conditioning installation in Australia?

The

price of air conditioner installation depends on a number of  factors including:

·        the type of air conditioner

·        the size of the air conditioner; and

the location of the indoor and outdoor units. A simple A simple

replacement installation of a wall mount split air conditioning system may cost

as little as $575 including gst.

What specific dangers are involved with me installing my own air conditioning unit?

In Australia it is illegal to install your own air conditioner for two reasons:

1.       In order to install and air conditioner you need to handle refrigerant. In order to legally handle refrigerant you need a refrigerant handling licence.

2.     When removing or installing an air conditioner you will need either a full or restricted electrical licence depending on the type of work you are carrying out.

 So, not withstanding the dangers of handling electricity and refrigerant gases, it is illegal to do so without the proper licences.

If I have a technician install the electrical part of my split system air conditioner, can I do the rest?

As noted above even if you have an electrician carry out all electrical work, to handle the refrigerant gas needed when installing an air conditioner you will need someone with a refrigerant handling licence to carry out the work legally.

What is the most expensive type of air conditioner to install?

Ducted air conditioning is generally the most complicated type or air conditioner to install. Followed by a multi-head system.

The simplest ducted air conditioner installation would start at about $4,400 including gst

Is it safe to repair my own air conditioner?

Repairing an air conditioner that has stopped working almost always involves electrical work, which requires a restricted electrical licence (which all our technicians have). In many cases it also involves handling refrigerant gas which also requires a licence. Most electricians are not licenced to carry out repairs to air conditioners.

Irrespective of the licencing requirements, the complexities of modern air conditioners mean knowledge and experience of air conditioners, often of that particular brand, are required in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis of the fault on an air conditioner.

If the problem with your air conditioner is a serious issue, you may be considering whether it's a better idea to fix it or just completely replace it. Whenever our technicians attend at your house we will collect enough information to quote both repair, where possible, and replacement options.

Wherever possible we will provide options for repair of a faulty system. We will also give you our recommendation about whether repair or replacement is the best option from an economic value perspective.

Read more about our air conditioning repairs.

I'm trying to avoid paying installation fees, can a window air conditioner or portable air conditioner effectively cool my room?

Portable and window mount air conditioners are both cost effective options when it comes to cooling a room. Neither of these systems require any type of licence to install.

The main drawbacks of both systems are:

- Noise. The compressor, which is the noisy bit. Is in the room or window with you

- Capacity. There are limits to size you can get, particularly with portable systems, which make them unsuitable for large rooms.

Ready for a quote?

If you're interested in installing an air conditioning system, fixing your current one or would just like some more information about your options, get in touch with our friendly team for a quote or to schedule an at home inspection.

With hot weather never far away in Australia, it's time to start thinking about how you'll stay cool in the inevitable heat waves of the summer months. The obvious answer is air conditioning. If you don't already have a system installed, you may want to consider investing in one before the pre-summer rush kicks in.

While getting air conditioning sounds simple in theory, in reality, it can actually be quite complex when taking into account the different types of air conditioners available, what's best suited for you and how much it costs to run and install.

Fortunately, we've put together a guide to help you understand your air conditioning options, and the approximate costs you'll be looking at to install them.

Factors that affect air conditioning cost

Before delving into how much air conditioning costs specifically, it's important to realise that there are many factors that can affect the price. Below, are some things that will affect how much money you'll b spending on your new air conditioner.

Whether there was a previous air conditioning system in place

If your house has had a previous air conditioner installed, you may be looking at reduced costs for the price of AC installation. Ductwork may already be installed through the entire house, and even if it's deteriorated, it may only need fixing - which comes in a lot cheaper price than a full system replacement.

Similarly so, if a wall unit has previously been installed in the same wall, there may be piping and power cables already installed for a wall unit. This will reduce labour costs, and sometimes materials cost, too.

The size of the unit

Another factor that affects the price of installing an air conditioning system is the size of the unit. A small studio apartment is obviously going to take a lot less energy - and a smaller system - to cool, as compared to a large house.

A small apartment can sometimes suffice with a small wall hung unit, while a large house will usually need something more powerful, like a central ducted air conditioner. If a homeowner opts for a split system air conditioner, they'll require multiple units throughout a house in order to cool the entire place.

If a homeowner opts for an air conditioner with ductwork and vents, then the more rooms you have, the higher the costs will be. Air conditioners with ductwork will require ductwork and return air pathways to be installed between all rooms that will be cooled.

Amount of cable ducting required

As we touched on above, if an air conditioner is being installed that requires ductwork, larger houses will cost more. Ductwork is the metal or flexible tubes that transport the cool air (or warm air if you're using a heating setting) around the house.

Most houses that have central air conditioning using ductwork will have ducts to connect all rooms of the house. This requires extensive labour, and the cost of all of the parts will also drive up the cost of AC installation.

The model and brand you choose

If you've ever taken a stroll through an appliance store, you'll know that there are many, many different brands and sizes of air conditioners on the market. Air conditioners with more power have the ability to cool larger areas, and come at a higher cost. Some brands that are established and trusted - like Daikin - may also have a higher price tag than similar models by lesser-known brands.

The type of air conditioning

Below we elaborate on the most popular types of air conditioning units. However, costs range dramatically between the lowest cost option, which is a portable air conditioner, and a premium ducted air conditioner. Though prices vary greatly, there are many benefits to investing in an appropriately sized air conditioning system.

What types of air conditioners are there?

Ducted air conditioning

When it comes to cooling an entire house, ducted air conditioning is one of the most popular options. This type of air conditioning uses ducts to circulate the air throughout the house.

Ducted air conditioning has the evaporator in the houses roof space and, the condenser, and compressor are all located together outside the house or building that's being cooled. Ducted air conditioning is ideal for homeowners who are looking for a one stop solution to cool their entire house and prefer the sleek, unobtrusive look of vents over wall units.

Window air conditioner

After a portable air conditioning system, a window air conditioner is one of the most basic types of AC units there is, and they're often considered a little outdated. Window air conditioners are a unit with all of the working parts of the AC system located within the same unit.

The unit is mounted in a wall or window. They are simple to install but are an inherently noisy form of air conditioning as the compressor (the noisy bit) is mounted in your wall or window.

Wall mount Split system air conditioner

As the name suggests, split system air conditioners are systems with part of the air conditioner located inside the house (or room) and part of the system located outside.

Inside the house, you'll find a wall unit that has an evaporator and fan, and outside the house sits an outdoor compressor with initiates the cooling process. The two units are connected via electrical wires and piping. There are no ducts involved with split system air conditioning.

Split system air conditioners cool refrigerant at the outdoor unit and then using the installed pipes to transport the cool refrigerant to the indoor unit. Air is pushed by a fan over the evaporator coil, which uses the cold refrigerant to cool the air.

The most common type of split system air conditioners are wall mount unit air conditioners. They can be just one indoor wall unit that's connected to the outside unit that's designed to cool one room. Or, a multi-head air conditioning system can be installed, which means multiple indoor units are connected to one outdoor unit.

Each unit can be separately controlled and is ideal for house owners who want to cool just one particular area at a time, instead of the entire house.

Portable air conditioner

A portable air conditioner is the most basic type of air conditioner - it's easy to install and it's usually pretty cheap. However, portable air conditioners are only suitable to cool very small spaces and don't have the capacity to cool many areas effectively.

This type of system uses sits on the floor and is simply plugged into an electrical wall plug. It works by using a single exhaust hose that funnels warm air out of the room, and the refrigerant system inside the unit cools air and then sends it back into the room.

Ballpark figures for installation of each kind of air conditioner

Each different kind of air conditioner has a different installation process, as well as varying costs for the unit itself. For this reason, the package price of the unit and installation fee will differ greatly depending on what kind of air conditioner you pick. The model and the brand you opt for will also affect the price.

While costs do depend on a number of factors mentioned above, below are some ballpark figures for what you can expect to pay when it comes to air conditioner cost.

Ducted Air Conditioning costs

Ducted air conditioning is one of the most complex choices with a high installation cost. This is because the unit is large - as it will usually be cooling an entire house or big area - and each different room requires ductwork to connect them up. Both of these factors increase both unit costs and installation costs.

Another factor that significantly affects the cost of the type of air conditioning is whether there was ever previously central air conditioning install. If there was, all - or some - of the ductwork may already be done, which is a significant cost. Even if the ductwork just needs fixing, it can bring down the price a lot as compared to full duct installation.

To install a central air conditioning system you'll be looking at an approximate cost of around $1000 per kW. A small four bedroom house normally costs between $10,000 and $12,000.

Window Air Conditioner cost

Window air conditioners are very easy to install, and you may even be able to install the unit by yourself, meaning you can cut out installation costs altogether. Even if you do opt for an air conditioning technician to install a window unit, they should be able to finish the job in a few hours. You'll be looking at around $400 - $1000 for a fully installed window air conditioner, depending on the brand and model you choose.

Split system air conditioner costs (wall unit)

The installation of split system air conditioners is more complex than wall units - but much less complex than a ducted air conditioner, as they don't require any ductwork at all. For a split system air conditioner, a technician will need to install the wall unit, the electrical and piping work through the walls, and the outdoor unit. Again, the price will be affected significantly depending on the size, brand and model of unit you choose. However, the approximate cost of a split system air conditioner usually ranges between $1600-$3300, with installation costs included.

Portable air conditioner costs

Portable air conditioners are so simple that they generally won't require professional installation. After purchasing a portable unit, you'll just need to make sure the hose is out a window, so that warm air can be released outside. Then, you simply plug in the unit to an electrical plug and power it on.

Air conditioning replacement costs

Blowing hot air, not turning on or an iced-up air conditioner are just a couple of problems that are commonly experienced with air conditioners.

If you're having a problem with your air conditioner, don't hesitate to get in touch with our office and we will get one of our technicians, who are very experienced at troubleshooting and fixing all air-con related problems, to attend. Where possible we will fix the issue on site, if that is not possible we will prepare a quote for repair and or replacement of your air conditioning system.

If you're weighing up whether it's a better idea to completely replace your air con, or just fix the problem, our team can also advise what they'd recommend, and give you a quote for each option.

Ready for a quote?

If you're interested in installing an air conditioning system, fixing your current one or would just like some more information about your options, get in touch with our friendly team for a quote or to schedule an at home inspection.

“Help!! My air conditioner won't turn off in my house!” This is the exact panicked phrase we’ve had emailed to us from troubled clients time, and time again.

While icy cold air blasting out of your air conditioning unit all day long might sound kind of great, the stress the system experiences - and the sky-high power bills - certainly are not! Plus, it’s frustrating when a system isn’t working properly.

Thankfully, we’ve rectified this problem many times before, and have put together a quick checklist to help you identify just why you're AC system is continuously running.

Fan Limit Switch set to "On"

If a fan limit switch is turned to “on” instead of “auto” the fan will continuously run, regardless of what the temperature of the room is, or what the thermostat says. The fan actually operates independently of what the thermostat says when it is switched to “on”.

Of course, a lot of people tend to switch their aircon settings to the max fan, instead of "auto", and this is commonly the cause of why their air conditioner is constantly running. The fix to this problem is extremely simple, just hit the fan button on your thermostat or remote control until the word "auto" shows.

By engaging the "auto" option for your thermostat fan, you won't need to clean filters as frequently as you would when using the "on" option, either.

Faulty Thermostat

If you’ve ever done some AC troubleshooting on Google, then you’ve probably come across quite a few issues that can be linked to a faulty thermostat. And, your air conditioner not turning off is certainly one of them.

When a thermostat is defective, it may not be able to identify when the correct temperature is reached.

This is usually caused by a thermostat wiring issue and you’ll need to call a service technician to fix your thermostat. Thermostat wiring is complex - especially with an HVAC system - and shouldn't be attempted by someone who isn't sure about what they are doing.

Low-Temperature Setting

Another common thermostat-related problem with an air conditioner that won’t shut off, is the temperature being set too low. This issue is common in a hot and humid environment. When a very low temperature is selected on the thermostat, the air conditioning system will continuously stay on and work to reach this temperature. Even if the thermostat is unable to reach the desired temperature, it will continue to try.

An easy way to pinpoint if this is the problem is to raise the set degree on the thermostat to one slightly below room temperature. If the AC unit successfully switches off once the temp is reached, then you’ve identified the problem. If this is the case, you’ll either need to set the thermostat temperature higher than before or replace your air conditioner with a more powerful unit.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

If you've spotted frozen evaporator coils on your unit then this is a surefire sign of a problem. Air conditioning units should never freeze over as this will usually indicate a refrigerant leak. A refrigerant leak can lead to catastrophic damage to the compressor and needs to be addressed straight away.

The reason why this scenario may cause your AC unit to continuously run is that the cooling cycle can’t be completed. This is due to the lack of refrigerant. To produce cool air, the refrigerant travels through the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the air. As it absorbs heat, it vaporizes. When the unit is unable to lower the temperature enough to complete its cooling cycle, it will continuously try.

Dirty Condenser Coil

Put simply, the condenser coils release heat from the room into the outside environment and are located on your outdoor unit. Because these coils are located outside, they’re commonly exposed to dirt, debris and other natural elements. For this reason, it’s important that they receive a regular clean.

If grime builds up on the condenser coils, it can cause them to malfunction - and as a result, not allow your AC unit to turn off. This happens because the dirt can obstruct and restrict airflow, which means they won’t be able to cool air as effectively.

As a result, your AC unit will probably push itself and work very hard to reach the desired temperature. Even though the temp can’t be met - due to the dirty coils - the unit will continuously try. A service technician can quickly and easily clean your condensing unit and coils for you in a short amount of time.

Dirty Air Filter

An early sign of a dirty air filter is when an AC system doesn’t seem to be getting as cool as it previously did. A dirty air filter will restrict airflow and the unit will not be able to get cool efficiently. As a result, it will continually run and try to reach a certain temperature.

This causes wear and tear on the unit, and in the most extreme case, can cause the complete breakdown of your AC.

Aside from breaking your expensive unit, air filters can also catch allergens, like pollen, spores and dander as well as bacteria. If the filter isn’t regularly cleaned out these allergens will cause bad air quality and can lead to physical symptoms, like sneezing, red eyes, and congestion.

If you can’t remember the last you had your AC air filter changed, and your system won’t turn off, this could likely be the problem. Air filters should be changed every 90 days. You can change an air filter yourself, or if you’re not sure on how to do it - or what filter to get - you can contact a service technician for a quick change over.

FAQs

Is it bad if your AC runs constantly?

An effective air conditioner should reach your desired set temperature at some point. If a unit is run constantly there's a good chance that it could be blowing warm air.

While a constantly running air conditioner shouldn't start a fire, a good air conditioning system shouldn't have to run all the time. When an air conditioner is working effectively, it will cool the room down rapidly and not continue blowing, this uses excessive power and could be a sign that something is off with your AC.

The reason for an air conditioning system running constantly could be that the unit is trying to reach the desired temperature, but is unable to. If this is the case there is probably an underlying reason -like the ones mentioned above - that the system can't reach the temp.

Should the fan be on when the Air conditioner is off?

As touched on above, one of the most common mistakes people make with AC is engaging the fan setting. While the fan function is important to distribute air, it doesn't constantly need to be on.

The fan works independently from the thermostat on the air conditioner. So, even if the temperature that you set the thermostat to is reached, the fan will continue to blow. This means that your air conditioner will constantly run until you manually power it down.

If you engage the "auto" function, the fan will only run when the system is on and not run continuously. Choosing the auto function is the most energy-effective option.

By setting your fan to "auto" you'll also experience better dehumidification in your home. When a fan runs constantly, moisture doesn't have a chance to drip outside and will be blown back into your home.

Time to call the experts?

If you are still having issues - it's time to call in the experts. Our Brisbane-based air conditioning repairs team are on hand to give you the assistance you need. Call us on 07 3283 5566 or fill out a quick quote to get your air conditioner back up and running!

Experiencing other air conditioner issues?

Check out our other guides on common problems below:

My air conditioner heat mode is not working

My air conditioner will not turn on

My air conditioner is making a loud buzzing noise

My air conditioner is sweating inside

My air conditioner is icing up

My air conditioner is blowing hot air

My air conditioner is leaking water

My air conditioner smells bad

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