How much does ducted air conditioning cost?

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:

  • Daikin
  • Hitachi
  • Actron
  • Carrier
  • Fujitsu
  • LG
  • Mitsubishi
  • Panasonic
  • Samsung
  • Teco
  • Temperzone

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:

  • NSW - 26.53 cents
  • VIC - 25.86 cents
  • QLD - 22.20 cents
  • SA - 35.32 cents
  • ACT - 22.81 cents
  • TAS - 26.59 cents

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

  • 2 hours per day: $2.58
  • 4 hours per day: $5.16
  • 6 hours per day: $7.74
  • 8 hours per day: $10.32
  • 12 hours per day: $30.96
  • 24 hours per day: $61.92


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.

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