What are the Different Types of Air Conditioning?

White air conditioner installed on outside of house

If you want an air conditioner, you have two main options:

    1)  a ducted air conditioning system, or

    2)  a split system.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about both options, including answers to FAQS. 

Ducted air conditioners

A ducted air conditioning system takes outside air, adjusts its temperature, and then pumps it through pipes (called ducts) around a home or business premises. These ducts are located in the ceiling. They can be throughout a home or building, or they can be in specific rooms or areas. 

Ducted air con systems use reverse cycle technology, so they can provide both cooling and heating to cater to different needs. Different locations in the same home or premises can also be set for different air con temperatures to cater to individual preferences. This is known as ‘zoning’. 

The only visible components of a ducted air conditioning system are the air discharge and circulation grilles, as well as the unit controller.

The pros and cons of ducted air conditioners

Ducted air conditioners have pros and cons compared to split systems.


  • A ducted system is unobtrusive. You won’t see the air con units like you will with a split system.
  • Ducted air con systems are usually more energy efficient and therefore can have lower running costs than multiple split systems.
  • Ducted systems are usually less noisy than split air con systems.
  • Ducted systems are more suitable for larger areas than split systems.
  • Homes or building premises can be divided into zones with different temperatures set for each.


  • Installing a ducted system is usually more complex and expensive to install than a split system.
  • Ducted systems are less suitable for small areas than split systems.

Split system air conditioners 

A split system air conditioning system has at least two units. One is located outside the home or business premises, and one (or more) is inside.  A home or business premises can have multiple indoor units connected to an outdoor unit. 

Both the indoor and outdoor units can be wall-hung or floor-mounted, so they are quite visible. The outdoor unit pumps refrigerated or heated air (depending on the setting) to the indoor unit, which then circulates it. 

Split systems can have reverse cycle technology to enable you to have both cooling and heating options. Alternatively, you can just have a cooling system.

The pros and cons of split system air conditioners

Split air con systems have pros and cons compared to ducted systems.


  • Installing a split system is usually more straightforward and less expensive than installing a ducted system.
  • Split systems are better suited to smaller areas than ducted air con systems.


  • A split system is highly visible inside and outside your home compared to a ducted system.
  • Multiple split air con systems tend to be less energy efficient and therefore can have higher running costs than ducted systems.
  • Split systems are usually noisier than ducted air con systems.
  • Split systems are less suitable for larger areas than ducted systems. 


Which type of air conditioner is best – ducted or split system?

This depends on your needs, including the size of the area you need air conditioned and your budget.

How long do air conditioners last?

This depends on factors such as the quality of the system you buy and whether you keep it regularly serviced and maintained. The better quality system you buy and the more you maintain it, the longer it will last. A high-quality, well maintained system can last for at least 10 years.

How often do you have to service an air conditioner?

This depends on how frequently you use it. You should clean your home air conditioner filter every change of season, and every month for a commercial system. You should also get your home system professionally serviced once a year, and twice a year for a commercial system.

How much warranty do you get on an air con system?

Most brands offer a 5-year warranty. 

What is the ideal temperature for home air con?

This depends on personal preferences and the time of year, but a good rule of thumb is:

  • 24 degrees in summer
  • 23-25 degrees in winter

Are air conditioners energy efficient?

This depends on the air conditioner you buy and how well you maintain it. The better quality air conditioner you buy and the better you maintain it, the more energy efficient it will be. You can maximise your energy efficiency by getting a smart air conditioning system that contains wall sensor temperature controls that automatically adjust air flow. Outdoor air management systems can also be installed to make ducted air conditioning more energy efficient.

What is smart air conditioning?

Smart air conditioning systems allow you to control the temperature of your home or business premises online via an app on your smartphone or tablet, or via the touch of a screen. It means you can always return home or go to work knowing that the temperature will be comfortable.

What size air conditioner should you get?

This depends on a range of factors, including your location, the size of the area you want to cool (or heat), the orientation of the area (i.e. if/when it faces the sun), and whether or not you have ceiling insulation. 

Getting the right-sized air conditioner for your needs can save you money in terms of ongoing running costs and it can help to ensure better performance. 

How we can help

At Airforce Air Conditioning, we offer our home and commercial customers a choice between both ducted and split air conditioning systems. Popular brands in our range include:

  • Daikin
  • Samsung
  • Panasonic
  • Rinnai. 

We are authorised Daikin dealers and Advantage Air Premium Dealers, and we also provide air conditioning maintenance and warranty services. 

Contact our Perth or Bunbury offices today to discuss your home or commercial air con needs. We’d be happy to provide you with advice and to answer any questions you have.