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Ducted and Multi-Split Air Conditioner: The Complete Comparison

When preserving the ideal temperature in your home, selecting the right air conditioning system is essential. Ducted air conditioning systems offer centralized cooling or heating, providing consistent home comfort. On the other hand, electric split system air conditioners offer more flexibility, allowing you to control the temperature in specific rooms or zones. While both options have advantages, cost considerations often play a significant role in decision-making. Ducted systems generally involve higher upfront costs due to installation complexity and the need for ductwork throughout the house. Contrarily, split systems are typically more affordable upfront and offer easier installation, especially in existing homes. However, it’s essential to consider long-term operating costs as well. To better understand their cost consideration, move to the following sections and read the details.

Brief Overview of the Air Conditioner

A ducted system comprises a centralized unit connected to ducts that distribute air throughout the home, offering uniform heating and cooling. However, it lacks individual room temperature control, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout. The discreet nature of ducted systems is reflected in the inconspicuous vents in each room. On the other hand, a split system comprises an indoor unit or the evaporator and an outdoor unit (condenser), ideal for cooling or heating individual rooms or smaller areas to reduce energy use. This setup often requires simpler and more cost-effective installation, requiring minimal ductwork.

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Differences and Considerations to Remember

Ducted Air Conditioning

  • Initial Expenses: The upfront costs are generally higher due to the intricacies of installation and the centralized unit.
  • Installation and Appearance: Setting up involves routing ducts throughout the house, which can be a more intrusive procedure. Nonetheless, the vents are typically discreet, resulting in a neat and inconspicuous appearance.
  • Centralized Management: A centralized control unit allows you to oversee the entire system from one location, enhancing convenience and overall effectiveness.
  • Zone Temperature Regulation: They offer zoning capabilities, allowing you to independently regulate temperatures in different rooms or zones. This proves especially advantageous in larger residences where distinct areas may require different cooling or heating levels.
  • Efficient Energy Usage: Ducted systems’ capacity to efficiently cool or heat the entire house demonstrates your responsibility and environmental consciousness, making them a more energy-efficient choice for larger homes than employing multiple split systems.

Multi-Split System Air Conditioner

  • Installation Versatility: Split systems are simpler to install, making them suitable for single-room or multi-room configurations. This adaptability makes them a preferred option for compact areas.
  • Front-Cost: The initial cost of multi-split systems is high. That is why the Victorian government offers Victoria rebate air conditioner under the VEU program to help residences minimize their expenses. 
  • Energy Efficiency for Targeted Spaces: Although efficient for smaller areas, employing multiple split systems across a larger home might lead to increased energy usage compared to a centralized ducted system.
  • Economical Solution for Limited Spaces: Multi-split systems often offer better cost-effectiveness for cooling or heating individual rooms or smaller residences. Also, they are economical if your cooling requirements are confined to specific areas.
  • Personalized Control: Each unit functions autonomously, enabling personalized temperature regulation in various rooms. This proves beneficial if particular areas require distinct temperature settings.
  • Maintenance and Repair: Since each unit operates independently, maintenance expenses are typically lower, and repairs may be simpler.

Features to Check for Both Systems

  • Home Size and Arrangement: Consider the dimensions and arrangement of your residence. Ducted systems are typically better suited for larger homes with multiple chambers. In contrast, split systems offer adaptability for both compact and expansive areas.
  • Energy Efficiency Objectives: Evaluate your energy efficiency objectives. Aim for a system that permits precise regulation in various zones. Ducted systems equipped with zoning capabilities might be preferable. Split systems can be effective for targeted cooling.
  • Future Expansion: Contemplate future expansions or alterations to your residence. If you intend to add rooms or undergo renovations, a ducted system can more readily accommodate such changes.
  • Financial Constraints: When assessing your financial limits, it’s important to consider both initial expenses and ongoing energy bills. While ducted systems may entail higher upfront costs, they could yield greater cost efficiency over time, particularly for larger residences. This long-term financial benefit can give homeowners peace of mind about their investment.

How to Have a Split System Air Conditioner Rebate

  • Check Eligibility Criteria: Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements of the VEU program. Typically, rebates are available for households and businesses in Victoria, but specific eligibility criteria may vary.
  • Select a Participating Provider: Choose a licensed and accredited provider participating in the VEU program. You can contact Opt Energy, which offers eligible products and services that qualify for rebates and incentives.
  • Submit Documentation: Work with your chosen provider to complete the paperwork and documentation for the rebate application. This typically includes proof of purchase, installation details, and compliance with program requirements.
  • Receive Rebate: Upon successfully verifying your application, you will receive the rebate for your split system air conditioner installation. The rebate amount may vary depending on the system’s energy efficiency rating and size.
  • Enjoy Energy Savings: Once your split system air conditioner is installed, you can enjoy improved energy efficiency and reduced cooling costs in your home or business. Take pride in contributing to a more sustainable future while enjoying enhanced comfort.


In conclusion, both ducted air conditioning and multi-split air conditioner systems offer distinct advantages tailored to diverse needs. Ducted systems provide centralized cooling, which is ideal for larger homes with multiple rooms, offering seamless temperature control and aesthetics. Conversely, multi-split systems offer flexibility, allowing individualized climate control in different zones, perfect for smaller spaces or buildings with varied cooling requirements. Each system caters to specific preferences, budgets, and environmental considerations. Ultimately, the choice between ducted and multi-split air conditioning depends on property size, layout, energy efficiency goals, and future expansion plans, ensuring optimal comfort and efficiency for every user. Luckily, with the help of a government air conditioner rebate under the VEU scheme, you can get a multi-split air conditioner system.

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