Central Air Conditioning vs. Split System Air Conditioning

Author Rod Marchant-Smith | Peninsula Air Conditioning

When it comes to keeping our indoor spaces cool and comfy, the kind of air conditioning system we pick really matters. Two popular choices are Central Air Conditioning units and Split System Air Conditioning. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons, and understanding the differences between them is essential for making an informed decision. In this article, we’ll break down both systems to help you figure out which AC system is right for your home or office.

What is Central AC?

Central air conditioning is a cooling system that distributes conditioned air throughout an entire building via a network of ducts. It’s commonly used in larger spaces such as commercial buildings, offices, and larger homes.

Central Air Conditioner: Pros

  • Uniform Cooling: Central air conditioning ensures even cooling throughout the building, maintaining a consistent temperature in every room.
  • Aesthetics: With no visible indoor units, central AC provides a clean and unobtrusive appearance in your living or working space.
  • Quiet Operation: Since the noisy components are usually located outside or in a separate utility area, central AC systems offer quieter indoor operation.

Central Air Conditioner: Cons

  • Initial Cost: Central AC systems tend to have higher upfront costs due to the installation of ductwork and the central unit.
  • Energy Consumption: Cooling the entire building can lead to energy wastage if only a few areas require cooling.
  • Maintenance: The extensive ductwork requires regular cleaning to prevent dust buildup, and any leakage can result in inefficient cooling.

Verdict: Is Central AC Good or Bad?

The suitability of central HVAC depends on your specific needs. For larger buildings where consistent cooling and aesthetics are crucial, central AC offers be a good solution. However, the higher upfront costs, energy consumption, and limited zone control might not make it the ideal choice for every situation.

What is Split AC?

Split air conditioning consists of two units: an indoor unit that blows cool air and an outdoor unit that dissipates heat. These systems are commonly used in homes, small offices, and individual rooms.

Split System Air Conditioner: Pros:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Split AC systems are generally more affordable in terms of installation costs, making them a popular choice for smaller spaces.
  • Energy Efficiency: Since split AC cools specific areas, it can be more energy-efficient than central AC systems.
  • Individual Control: Split AC systems allow for individual temperature control in different rooms, optimising comfort and energy consumption.

Split System Air Conditioner: Cons

  • Aesthetics: Indoor units are visible, which can affect the aesthetics of the room.
  • Inconsistent Cooling: Since each unit is responsible for a specific area, there can be variations in temperature between rooms.
  • Noise: Indoor units can be noisy, especially for larger models.

Verdict: Is Split System AC Good or Bad?

Split system air conditioning is perfect for smaller spaces like homes and individual rooms, prioritising cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency. The ability to independently adjust temperatures in separate zones adds an extra layer of personalised comfort. However, trade-offs like visible indoor units and potential temperature variations mean that when it comes to split systems, you’ll need to consider your personal preferences and needs.

Which Is Better? Central Air Conditioning vs. Split System Air Conditioning

The choice between centralised AC and split AC systems depends on your needs and preferences. While central AC provides uniform cooling and a clean appearance, it comes with higher costs and energy consumption. Split AC offers cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, and individual control, but it may have aesthetic and consistency drawbacks. 

Still unsure? The PenAir team is here to assist. We’ll assess your priorities, space, and budget to determine which system best aligns with your requirements. Reach out to us today!


What questions to ask when buying a central air conditioner?

When purchasing a central air conditioner, it’s crucial to ask the right questions, such as:

  • What is the cooling capacity of the unit in relation to the size of your building?
  • What is the energy efficiency rating of the system? 
  • What is the recommended frequency of ductwork inspection and cleaning?
  • Is the system compatible with smart thermostats?

What are 3 disadvantages of centralisation?

While centralised AC systems offer advantages, they also come with a set of drawbacks to consider, such as higher energy consumption due to cooling unoccupied areas, lack of zone control, and the complexity of maintenance due to extensive ductwork.

Are there any potential health considerations associated with centralised AC systems?

In some cases, centralised AC systems might contribute to indoor air quality issues if the ducts are not adequately maintained or if air filters are not changed regularly. Proper maintenance and filter replacement are essential to ensure healthy indoor air quality.


When you’re ready to install the best air conditioning system for your home, our team of skilled technicians are equipped to handle everything from new installation processes and requirements to long-term maintenance and repairs. We offer installation and maintenance for air conditioning in Vaucluse, BondiRandwick, and other Eastern suburbs. Discover our full list of Sydney service areas. ranging from Northern, Eastern, and Inner West areas.

Free, No Obligation Consultation.

Get a Quote

Schedule a time with us to organise a quote for your home or business.

One of our technicians will perform an inspection and provide you with an obligation free quote.