North Manly resident, George asks

“We’re interested in having a ducted air conditioning system installed in our home but we’re unsure if it’s within our budget. Is it possible to give an idea of how much it costs to install ducted air conditioning and what else we might need to consider if we go ahead with it?”

How much ducted air conditioning costs really depends on the type of property and a range of other factors that need to be taken into consideration before being able to provide an accurate quote. Let’s have a closer look at some of those factors.

Usually, when we’re asked by a homeowner to provide a quote to install a new ducted air conditioning system, we typically ask three questions. Let’s take a look at them, and then we’ll explain how they can affect the pricing.

  1. Do you have room in your roof or sub-floor for an air conditioner?

To install the unit, we need to have space in the roof or sub-floor to work. If your home has a flat skillion roof and built on a slab, for example, your only option is to install split or multi-split air conditioning systems. Split system units would be placed on the walls as an alternative, as there simply wouldn’t be enough space to accommodate a ducted system.

  1. Do you want it primarily for heating or cooling?

This can be a factor also that helps us decide whether or not its best to install the system in the roof or under the floor.

  1. Is your home single or double-story?

If it were a house with two floors, we’d have to run ductwork between the ceilings of the first floor to reach the roof of the ground floor. We refer to the connections as ‘risers’ or ‘droppers’, and generally speaking, when one does that, you have to run ducts through wardrobes or cupboard spaces. If it’s a single-story home, with room in the roof, it’s obviously a much simpler installation.


Planning can make the difference

If you’re keen on a ducted aircon system in your home, and it’s a new build, we recommend you work with an HVAC contractor from the planning stage of construction. Modern homes often have slanted roofs or designs that don’t take cooling and heating needs into account.

As installers, we’re usually the last trade to be called to quote on work and then have to find more costly solutions to make a system fit in the infrastructure. Or, you would have to make structural stages. At this stage of the build, you may have to consider adding bulkheads to the design if you want ducted air conditioning, for example.

As you can see, it’s more cost-effective to factor the air conditioning in before the house is built. Your contractor will also only be able to supply you with a ballpark quote before the roof is on, however. That’s because as a build progresses, architects or builders can make adjustments that change the scope of the installation. You may also decide to change the specs of the grills or other features once the build is underway. These changes can influence the final installation cost.

A site visit is essential

Never ask a contractor to give you a quote to install a ducted air conditioning system over the phone or by email. We always visit the property and give it a thorough inspection to take in factors such as the roof space, but also the sizes of rooms, their orientation, the insulation, and more. The only way to do it is to get us to come out and have a look, and we’ll give you a quote. Simple as that.

A closer look at the numbers

Every home is different, and it’s impossible to give anything more than a ballpark figure for the cost of installing a ducted air conditioning system. However, let’s look at some of the options and their estimated associated costs.

Example 1: You have a two-story home, and only choose to install ducting on the top floor. In this scenario, you’re likely to have three or four bedrooms upstairs.

  • Solution for three-bedrooms: A 7.1-kilowatt system – $6,900 to $8,500
  • Solution for four-bedrooms: A 10-kilowatt system ­– $7,800 to $9,500

Example 2: You have a two-story home, and want to install ducting on both floors. This calls for the use of droppers between levels. The sizes of the units will also need to be bigger to accommodate the downstairs floor.

  • Solution for a three to four-bedroom home (upstairs), with variable spaces downstairs: A 14- to 16-kilowatt system – $11,000 to $12,900.

Example 3: A single-story home.

  • The solution, three to four-bedroom, with additional rooms: A 14- to 16-kilowatt system – $10,400 to $11,900.

Note: if the system is installed under the floor expect to pay an extra $1,000. This is because this option requires us to use brushed aluminium grilles, which cost more than plastic grilles that are used for ceilings. A jigsaw is also needed to cut the holes in the floor, which takes more time.


Before you pay

The air conditioning industry is guided by regulations placed by the Department of Fair Trading. It allows contractors to charge a maximum deposit of 10%. If a contractor asks for higher deposits or phased payment, refer them to the department’s rules. When you choose to work with Penair, you will receive a final bill only once the installation is completed, usually a day or two afterwards.

Interested in getting a quote for a ducted system? Give us a call

If you’ve been considering have a ducted air conditioning system installed in your home, give us a call and we’ll come out, inspect the property, make recommendations and provide you with a detailed interactive quote.

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