What is a Ducted Air Conditioner?

By Daley Raffin
When your house feels like an oven in summer and a freezer in winter, it makes it difficult to go from room to room without needing to turn heaters and air conditioners on and off. If you’re looking for a whole house cooling/heating solution, ducted air conditioning might be the way to go.

For many Australians, air conditioning is essential to making it through summer. The harsh sun, heat waves that can last for weeks, breezes that feel like someone opened the oven door mean many of us will be scrambling for a place in front of the air conditioner. While a common inclusion in newer digs, many older, established houses go without, meaning summer is a tough time indeed.

For those who decide to take the plunge into the air-con market, finding which type is best suited for your house will be the first hurdle, with not all houses built to support all types of air conditioning. As a result, the system you have your heart set on may not be suitable for your home, meaning a bit more research may be needed before you can kick back and relax.

What is a Ducted Air Conditioner?

As you may have guessed, ducted air conditioning units work through ducts installed in the roof space. From a central fan coil unit, the ducts run to the desired rooms of the house, allowing for cooled air to travel where it’s needed, coming out of grills installed in the ceiling.

The process starts outside however, with the outdoor air-con unit housing major parts, including the compressor, which allows hot air to be exchanged for cooler air. As a result, not only do you need space in your roof to house the central unit and ducts, but you’ll need space outside for the compressor too.

About Ducted Air Conditioners

A ducted air conditioner is one that is capable of cooling your entire home.  It works by having a central unit that cools the air and then distributes the cooled air via a series of ducts into the rooms of your home.  As well as a cooling only ducted air conditioner, you can also choose a reverse cycle ducted air conditioner. These are great as they are capable of cooling your home in summer and heating it in winter.  The air conditioner’s main units are installed in the ceiling, under the floor, or outside, depending on your specific home or office..

Ducted air conditioners can also be fitted with inverters which make them much more energy-efficient as the inverter allows the air conditioner to maintain a consistent temperature by operating at the speed required. Air conditioners without inverters, however, must keep powering on and off in order to maintain temperature, which takes up more electricity, sometimes up to 40% more electricity than an inverter.

Why Choose Ducted Air Conditioning?

We feel that ducted air conditioning is the ultimate climate control solution for your whole home as there is an even dispersion of airflow throughout the house, in every single room so everyone is comfortable without having one area being colder than the other. Aesthetically, it is also appealing as ducted systems are relatively unobtrusive with the conditioned air being disbursed through ducts hidden in the roof space to outlets in the ceiling of each room. It looks flush and discreet including the noise.

Benefits of Ducted Air Conditioners

When considering your needs for air conditioning, our experience – which stretches to more than 30 years – is that ducted air conditioning offers greater benefits to the user than other air conditioning solutions. There is a system to suit all needs, and reverse cycle air conditioning systems have the advantage of heating as well as cooling: comfortable in the summer, cozy in the winter.

Benefits of ducted air conditioning include:

  • The flexibility of choice for your unique circumstances
  • Lower running costs offered from a wide choice of high energy rated units
  • Zoning allows you to heat or cool different areas at different times, Many systems are enabled with programmable settings, reducing energy waste and further reducing the costs of running air conditioning
  • Latest technology units and ducting mean that energy efficiency is increased, with latent temperatures controlled at the touch of a button
  • Refrigerated ducted air conditioning reduces internal humidity, and circulates purified air several times every minute during the summer months
  • With a wide range of units and components available, the overall system can be customized to individual taste and requirements, enhancing aesthetic qualities and further adding to the value of your home
  • Systems can now be controlled through wi-fi applications, allowing full control of the system remotely, from a smartphone or Ipad.
  • Ducted air conditioning is ideally suited to both new and existing homes, as first-time installations or replacement of existing air conditioning systems

Ducted air conditioners are not a “one size fits all” solution and thus cannot be readily bought off the shelf, so to speak.  Our professional team at Raffin Electrical will visit your home and design a customized solution, from the size of the air conditioning unit itself to the number of vents that you need, through to the number of zones that you feel necessary.  This means that the air conditioner is perfectly tailored to the size of your property, and not too small or too large.

Features To Consider

When purchasing a ducted system, we are all looking for a solution that will provide the ultimate in-home comfort for our families that will perform economically and reliably for many years to come. Whilst the selection of the appropriate brand and size of the equipment is critical, it is equally important, the selection of the components which will work in conjunction with the unit and deliver the conditioned air to all areas of your home.

There are several design features to consider depending on the design and requirements of your home.

  • Vents come in a variety of designs and can be installed in the ceiling or walls.
  • Controls are usually hard-wired and mounted on a wall, unlike the remote controls used for single split-systems. You may have one controller for the entire system, but in a large house, you might opt for extra controllers in other parts of the house for more convenience.
  • Sensors are used by the controller to keep the room at the targeted temperature. Large open-plan areas may need multiple sensors.
  • Zones: most systems allow for a home to be divided into zones for convenience and economy so that you can turn on the air-con for only the part of the house you want to be cooled or heated (for example, living areas during the day and bedrooms after 10 pm, or different floors) rather than the whole house. Or, you can set different climate levels for different areas as required.

What About Ducting?

The ducting is a key component of the system. Ducts need to be thermally efficient so that valuable cooling or heating isn’t lost traveling between the air conditioner unit and the target room. The ducting industry association ADMA is concerned that some suppliers are installing inferior ducting and recommends that consumers check with their installer that the ducting meets the Australian standard for ductwork, AS 4254.

Is Air Conditioning Maintenance Really That Important?

In short – YES! There are loads of possible side effects of poor air conditioner maintenance, including major impacts on your health and your wallet!

After installing ducted air conditioning, it is important to understand how to maintain it so that it will stay efficient year after year. Dust, bacteria, and potential rodent droppings can build up over time without proper care. As that air moves through your air con, you could be polluting the air you breathe in your home. Proper cleaning and service will keep your air conditioner pumping clean, cool air into your home.

The best way to ensure your air conditioning is running efficiently is to call us as Raffin Electrical to inspect and clean your system.

Why Maintenance Regularly For Your System Is Required

Just like other home appliances, air conditioning systems also become worn and damaged over time. Regular wear and tear can lead to costly repairs and unwanted breakdowns at the time you need your air conditioner the most.

Regular upkeep of your air conditioner will make sure that your air conditioner is functioning at peak performance throughout the year.

We recommend that you service your Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner at least once a year. This is because your system is continually circulating air and the fan will get dust build up. Just like your car, your Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning needs to be serviced regularly for enhanced performance and lifetime.

Our experienced technicians deliver maintenance services of the highest standard. They are all accredited in their field of expertise and we strive to ensure all services are carried out to our customer’s satisfaction.

A key part of ducted air conditioning maintenance is a regular cleaning system carried out dutifully. This will involve the following:

  • Removal, cleaning and replacement of filters
  • Checking gas range
  • Flushing accessible drains
  • Clean condenser coils if required
  • Clean return air grills if required
  • Clean diffusers if required
  • Inspection and cleaning of blower wheels
  • Checking of motors and bearings
  • Checking operation of thermostat
  • Inspection and test of controls and safety devices
  • Checking temperatures and pressures
  • Inspection of unit wiring
  • Inspection of relays and contactors
  • Checking system operation on heating and cooling

A well-running ducted air conditioning system is truly a thing of beauty. It’s a way to celebrate and be proud of your home and all that you’ve achieved. Your family’s comfort and enjoyment are at stake – don’t short change them by failing to look after something so important.

Whether you’re entertaining, working from home, studying, or simply relaxing, your ducted air con keeps you and your family happy and comfortable. An overheated room can make for overheated temperaments!

Don’t let your household down. Insist on regular, professional ducted air conditioning maintenance from the experts!

Are Ducted Systems Energy Efficient?

Modern air conditioners are very efficient – for every kW of electricity consumed, three or more kW of heating or cooling capacity can be produced. Window and split-system models must carry an energy rating label (the star-rating system). Ducted systems have to meet minimum energy performance requirements, but don’t carry the energy rating label. See the government’s energy rating website for more info.

Made up your mind about installing ducted air conditioning? We’ll talk you through your options and find a solution to meet your budget and lifestyle.

To discover how your home or office can take advantage of all the benefits of ducted air conditioning, reducing your energy bills and maintaining a home or workplace atmosphere that matches your needs, please feel free to call us at Raffin Electrical on 4168 5518.