Ducted air conditioning is a central air conditioning system that uses discrete ducting to deliver uniform heating and cooling throughout every room of the house. These systems can also offer advanced zoning and temperature settings, allowing you to customise the individual temperature of each room. Ducted air conditioning is an efficient and minimalistic way to cool your home or office space.
This article covers the basics of ducted air conditioning for your home, including how ducted and reverse cycle air conditioning works and how ducted systems weigh up against split systems. We’ll also explore the benefits of zoning, cleaning and regular maintenance for overall efficiency.
How Does Ducted Air Conditioning Work?
Ducted air conditioning cools your home through a refrigerated cooling system. This system uses an evaporator, compressor, condenser and refrigerant. During the cooling process, the system removes warm air from the home and passes it through evaporator coils. The evaporator coils are located in the indoor unit and contain refrigerant.
A refrigerant is a substance capable of changing between gas and liquid, which, when done, causes the substance to change temperature. Low-pressure refrigerant is the chemical’s cold liquid form, while the high-pressure refrigerant is the chemical’s warm gas form.
When the warm air passes through the evaporator coils, the refrigerant evaporates and becomes high-pressure gas. The cooled air is then returned to the house through ducting. Simultaneously, the high-pressure gas refrigerant is transferred via the compressor located in the outdoor unit. The compressor sends the refrigerant to the condenser coils. The condenser turns the refrigerant gas into a liquid by releasing hot air outside via a fan. Finally, this liquid refrigerant goes to the expansion valve. The refrigerant depressures and further cools it down. Then, the refrigerant goes back to the evaporator to continue the cycle.
What is Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?
A ducted reverse cycle air conditioner offers dual functionality by cooling and heating your home through refrigeration and reverse refrigeration. Refrigeration uses a refrigerant to cool air, while reverse refrigeration uses a reversing valve to heat air.
The reversing valve reverses the flow of the refrigerant. This causes the condensing coil to operate as an evaporator and vice versa. Now the hot air is drawn from the outside and blown inside.
Ducted Air Conditioning vs Split Systems
The most popular types of air conditioning, ducted and split systems, are often pitted against each other. Typically ducted air conditioners are preferable for high-efficiency whole-home or office cooling solutions. Split system air conditioning is preferable if you only need to cool one or two rooms.
Split system air conditioners are wall units that only heat and cool the room they are installed in. If you install multiple split system units, each one will have an independent outdoor unit. You can only avoid this issue if you install a multi-head split system.
Multi-head split systems offer multiple indoor units connected to one single external unit. This setup, however, places more stress on the singular outdoor unit, increasing running costs.
There are multiple benefits to each system, including:
- Ducted Air Conditioning
- Minimalistic installations reduce wasted wall space and visual clutter.
- Improved future property valuation.
- Clean air flow through dust-reducing air filtration.
- More cost-effective for whole-home heating and cooling.
- Split System Air Conditioning
- Cheaper upfront installation and purchase.
- Practical and more cost-effective for single-room cooling.
- Simple cleaning and at-home maintenance between servicing.
- Easy installation completed in a day or less.
Both systems are great depending on your independent cooling needs and the layout of your home. However, ducted air conditioning is a clear winner for efficient whole-home cooling. This is, for the most part, due to zoning.
Zoned Ducted Air Conditioning
The most significant benefit of ducted air conditioning for household cooling efficiency is zoning. Zoning refers to the division of the house into different zones. These zones are typically applied to each room and allow you to heat or cool each room independently.
Ducted air conditioning is zoned through a combination of ducts and dampers. The ducts lead to each zone, each with its own electrical, mechanical valve known as a damper. Dampers are connected to the central control system and allow you to control the airflow in different rooms. Zoning is typically implemented at installation but can also be installed in a pre-existing ducted air conditioning system.
Zoning can positively impact energy bills. A zoned system saves money by providing the ability to heat or cool certain areas at one time. This functionality means less wasted energy and money on areas that are not currently being used. With some zoning systems, you can even set schedules or times for operation, allowing the system to automatically turn on or off after a certain amount of time has passed.
To further improve the efficiency of your air conditioning, you will need to have a consistent maintenance schedule. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help a ducted air conditioning system operate at up to 95% of its original efficiency. Zoned ducted air conditioning is extremely easy to maintain as there is only one single unit requiring maintenance as opposed to multiple units spread across the house.
A well-maintained servicing routine can positively impact your heating and cooling costs, with consistent maintenance, servicing, and efficient usage habits sure to help your system operate at its best and save you money along the way.
How to Clean Ducted Air Conditioning
You can keep your system operating smoothly between services by cleaning the filters. Ducted air conditioning filters are typically located behind each return air grille, which can be removed with a screwdriver. To clean the filters, use a gentle brush or vacuum dusting brush head, then run them under water. However, check your air conditioner/filter manufacturer guide for specific instructions. Our filter cleaning article also provides standard filter cleaning instructions.
Regularly cleaning your filters every six months can help keep your system running smoothly and extend its lifespan. Routine cleaning of your ducted system can also improve the quality of the air released by reducing particle buildup. This is especially important for those with allergies or respiratory illnesses, as an unclean system can exacerbate symptoms.
Most in-depth ducted air conditioning cleaning is completed during regular servicing and maintenance. During maintenance, our experienced technicians will check your system for any issues and clean the condenser, evaporator and ductwork. These services are completed per Australia Safety Standards.
Getting a routine professional service will not only improve the efficiency of your system but also give you a longer duration of warranty coverage.
Ducted air conditioning is an efficient and minimalistic way to heat and cool your entire household. Choosing a ducted reverse-cycle air conditioner allows for fantastic zoning capabilities and simple maintenance. With SimplyAir, we provide comprehensive installation, maintenance and repair services, ensuring that your system operates efficiently and hygienically. If you’re interested in a ducted air conditioning system for your home or business, please contact us today!