Does ducted air con use a lot of electricity?

Phill Crawley

Smarter Air & Electrical

i 3 Contents

Does ducted air con use a lot of electricity

When considering air conditioner electricity use, many homeowners find themselves questioning whether ducted air conditioning systems consume more power compared to other types, like split systems. Given that heating and cooling can account for up to 40% of a home’s power bill, it’s crucial to understand how different air conditioning systems stack up in terms of energy consumption.

 

Getting to know your options

When it comes to the electricity use of your air conditioner, it’s good to understand the differences and benefits of various systems so you know what costs are coming down the line. 

Ducted systems

Ducted air conditioning offers a comprehensive solution for cooling multiple rooms or an entire building. With a central unit distributing conditioned air through a series of ducts, it provides uniform temperature control across different spaces. This system is ideal for larger homes or commercial settings where consistent climate control is desired. Although the installation can be more complex and potentially costlier due to the ductwork, the investment often pays off in the efficiency and comfort provided for extensive areas.  New inverter technology in ducted systems now also enhances their energy efficiency, adjusting the cooling output to the current needs of your home to reduce any unnecessary energy consumption. You can essentially have a thermostat in every zone, allowing you to run your ducted system like a split system.

Split systems

Split system air conditioners consist of an outdoor unit connected to indoor units, each serving a specific area. This setup allows for customisable temperature control in separate rooms, making it suitable for smaller homes or specific areas within larger buildings. The installation process is generally cheaper than ducted systems. 

Evaporative cooling

Evaporative cooling offers an eco-friendly alternative, especially effective in hot and dry climates. This system operates by drawing hot external air through water-saturated pads, where evaporation cools and humidifies the air before circulating it indoors. Evaporative coolers are energy-efficient, using less electricity compared to conventional air conditioners. However, their effectiveness diminishes in humid conditions, reducing their use across many areas of the country. 

 

New tech is making ducted air conditioning more efficient and cheaper

Technological advancements have dramatically improved energy efficiency and user control for ducted aid conditioning. 

Inverter technology

A key advancement in ducted air conditioning systems is the integration of inverter technology. Unlike traditional air conditioners, which operate at a constant speed and switch on and off to maintain temperature, inverters adjust the compressor speed dynamically. This adaptability allows the system to maintain a consistent temperature more efficiently, reducing the energy spikes associated with starting and stopping the compressor. The result is a smoother operation, prolonged lifespan of the system, and substantial cost savings.

Smart zoning controls

Modern ducted systems can now incorporate smart zoning, helping you to control the temperature in different areas or ‘zones’ within your home without the need to cool or heat the entire property. This not only enhances your comfort but also avoids wasting energy on unoccupied spaces, leading to further efficiency and cost savings.

Improved ductwork and insulation

Advances in duct design and insulation materials have also contributed to the increased efficiency of ducted air conditioning systems. Today’s systems use ductwork with higher ‘R-values’, indicating better insulation properties. In regions like Brisbane and the Gold Coast, where R1.0 flexible ducts are standard, opting for R1.5 or R2.0 ducts can lead to substantial energy savings. Better-insulated ducts reduce energy loss as air travels through them, ensuring that the air delivered to each room is at the desired temperature. This improvement means that less energy is required to maintain comfort levels, reducing overall power consumption.

Integration with smart home systems

The rise of smart home technology has seen ducted air conditioning systems become more integrated and user-friendly. Homeowners can now control their systems via smartphones or voice-activated devices – setting schedules, adjusting temperatures or even monitoring energy usage in real-time from outside the home. This level of control not only provides convenience but also empowers you to understand and improve your energy use.

Filtered air for better health

Ducted air conditioning systems not only manage the climate in your home, but they also play a crucial role in filtering the air your family breathes. The system uses a series of ducts to circulate filtered air throughout your home, effectively removing impurities and maintaining indoor air quality. This feature is especially beneficial for family members who may suffer from allergies or respiratory issues, as it helps in creating a cleaner and healthier living environment.

 

How much power does the average air conditioner use?

The best way to understand this is to look at the average air conditioner kwh usage. 

When discussing the power usage and operational cost of residential air conditioners, it’s crucial to distinguish between a unit’s cooling capacity and its actual power input. Misunderstandings in these metrics can lead to significant discrepancies in the expected running costs.

For example, a common misconception is around the usage and efficiency of a 2.5 kW air conditioning system, often thought to consume 2.5 kW per hour in operation. In reality, the figure refers to the unit’s cooling capacity, not the energy it consumes. Let’s clarify this with accurate data and calculations.

Cooling Capacity vs. Power Input

Cooling Capacity: This is typically advertised as 2.5 kW for certain models, like a Panasonic split system, which indicates the amount of cooling the unit can provide.

Power Input: The actual energy an air conditioner uses per hour, which is crucial for calculating operating costs. For the mentioned 2.5 kW system, the average power input is much lower, around 0.57 kW under normal conditions. Even at its maximum capacity, the power input might only reach 0.89 kW.

Cost Calculation

The cost of running an air conditioner is directly tied to its power input, not its cooling capacity. Taking the maximum power input scenario:

Maximum Power Input: 0.89 kW

Electricity Cost: $0.30 per kWh

Using these figures, the cost for running the system for one hour is:

0.89 kW x $0.30/kWh = $0.267 per hour. 

Remember, these figures are just a starting point. Your actual costs will depend on your specific use, the settings you choose, the insulation in your home, and even the outside temperature. The key takeaway is to use air conditioning wisely, maintain your system regularly for peak efficiency, and consider investing in models with better energy ratings to keep those bills down.

Jason Warren
Benji and his team of guys were the most polite, professional and knowledgeable service that we have received. They were on time and the work ...
Jason Warren
Benji and his team of guys were the most polite, professional and knowledgeable service that we have received. They were on time and the work preformed was faultless even to the vacuuming and cleaning at the end. I can not recommend Smarter air and Electrical enough including the initial quote we received and Amanda with her organising and communication. All first class
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Nicola Alison
10 star review to the team at SmarterAir & Electrical have the WOW factor. Brilliant from start to finish. Having a Property Manager...
Nicola Alison
10 star review to the team at SmarterAir & Electrical have the WOW factor. Brilliant from start to finish. Having a Property Manager background and high standards I know quality service and you were fantastic! The Neo Panasonic unit ducted system is so quiet it’s a dream unit. Don’t even know it is on! Sensors in each room and can remotely turn the system off via the MyPlace app. Specialists in what you do and don’t outsource the annual service shows your genuine accountability “Thank you so much” to all involved, Alex, Davis, Amanda & Chris. Today the installation & electrical team, professional and friendly, Tom, Jake, Eden, Levi, Nav and Will were simply brilliant a Very big Thank you for making my day! They even vacuumed my house and cleaned up & used drop sheets when installing they really looked after my property. I will be adding lights and the garage door to the future to the MyPlace app and also will be upgrading my residential smoke alarms with them. I am a client for life and will recommend you to everyone. Nothing is too much trouble. I chose well and grateful for all of the answers to my questions. It takes a lot to WoW me these days, but you did, thank you for all your hard work.
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Temnit Teshager
I had smart air & electrical for air conditioning service install a new unit and I couldn't be happier with the experience. From scheduling the ...
Temnit Teshager
I had smart air & electrical for air conditioning service install a new unit and I couldn't be happier with the experience. From scheduling the appointment to the completion of the job, everything was seamless. The technician arrived promptly, was courteous, and thoroughly explained the work that needed to be done. They also provided helpful tips for maintaining the unit in the future and cleaned the house after finishing the job.The pricing was fair, and the service was top-notch. I highly recommend them for all your air conditioning needs!
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steve fernandes
Had my Panasonic ducted unit installed in December. They did not try and upsell me a unit that was too big for my house size ,...
steve fernandes
Had my Panasonic ducted unit installed in December. They did not try and upsell me a unit that was too big for my house size ,Other companies recommended 1 -2 (16kw-18kw)sizes bigger. Recommended a 12.5kw which would be sufficient for my home size or could get away with the larger 14kw(summers only getting hotter). Ended up going with a Panasonic 14kw Delux unit with MyAir. On the day all the materials were delivered 30 mins (6.30am) before the guys turned up. Started at 7 am and left by 2 pm, They check with me the location of each room where the ducts were going as I have fans as well. House was vacuumed and marks on the wall cleaned. The electrician stayed back till about 3 ish to finish up, test each zone and run through the MyAir tablet. Easy to deal with, quick responses with emails and calls and happy to work with me as I built a stand so my unit was of the ground. Also went up in the ceiling to finish off some work and the ducting is all tidy. Highly recommend!
steve fernandes
steve fernandes
Saji Joseph
Smarter Air and Electrical recently replaced our ducted Air Conditioning system. The team is very professional and their service from start to finish was excellent. ...
Saji Joseph
Smarter Air and Electrical recently replaced our ducted Air Conditioning system. The team is very professional and their service from start to finish was excellent. I would like to extend our special thanks to Jack, Benji, Jacob and Kesan who did the installation and the commissioning. Also, sincere appreciation to all the pre planning work carried out by Davis, Chris, Alex and Amanda. Everything went smoothly from start to finish. Thanks again.
Saji Joseph
Saji Joseph
Darren Maloney
The Smarter Air & Electrical team has been amazing to work with from start to finish. The team have made the process seamless and we ...
Darren Maloney
The Smarter Air & Electrical team has been amazing to work with from start to finish. The team have made the process seamless and we could not be hapier with the finished product. The process has been so good that we have a freind currently getting a system from the team I only have great things to say about my experience it was easy to send them your way. A big thank you to the team and I'm sure I will send more business your way.
Darren Maloney
Darren Maloney
Matthew Harriott
The guys at Smarter Air and Electrical are great. From the inspection and quote through to the install and after sales service the company is ...
Matthew Harriott
The guys at Smarter Air and Electrical are great. From the inspection and quote through to the install and after sales service the company is outstanding. The install team are professional and clean up after them selves. Once mine was complete, they even came back and did a neighbours as well. Highly recommended.
Matthew Harriott
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Dallas Werder
From the first interaction, quoting and installation- Absolute outstanding service. They were always on time, polite, professional, attentive and explained everything perfectly. We could not ...
Dallas Werder
From the first interaction, quoting and installation- Absolute outstanding service. They were always on time, polite, professional, attentive and explained everything perfectly. We could not be happier with our ducted air con. Use this company if you want ducted.
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Dallas Werder
Sue Cee
Once again, brilliant customer service from start to end. Professional, courteous, explaining the process as they went along, Jacob and Will were great. I 100% recommend ...
Sue Cee
Once again, brilliant customer service from start to end. Professional, courteous, explaining the process as they went along, Jacob and Will were great. I 100% recommend Smarter Air & Electrical
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Sue Cee
Bhavesh Bhatt
The guys at Smarter Air did very good job at installing ducted system in my already built home. Starting from their Sales team to...
Bhavesh Bhatt
The guys at Smarter Air did very good job at installing ducted system in my already built home. Starting from their Sales team to customer rep to Electrician and installation team all were very professional and helpful. Highly recommended 👍🏼
Bhavesh Bhatt
Bhavesh Bhatt

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