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

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