Ducted Air Conditioning Vs. Evaporative Cooling

Ducted Air Conditioning Vs. Evaporative
10 Jul, 2020

Are you confused about which air conditioner is best for your home? With so many types out there, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The cost of air conditioner installation alone makes you think twice before committing to one type. Metropolitan Air Conditioning are experts in the industry and know the ins and outs of all air conditioners. To help you decide between ducted air conditioning and evaporative cooling, we’ll break down the pros and cons of these two popular types so you can make the best choice for your home.

Ducted Air Conditioning

Ducted reverse cycle air conditioning is a heating and cooling system for your home all year round. A ducted air con uses a refrigerant to cool external hot air which is then used to cool your home. When it is used for heating, it warms air from outside and pumps this into your home. Ducted heating and cooling have a range of pros which make it an attractive solution to keep your home air conditioned:

  • Ducts are discreet and seamlessly installed
  • One unit for both your heating and cooling needs
  • Filters the air
  • Works well in all weather conditions
  • Zoning control so you can target specific rooms
  • More energy efficient
  • More environmentally friendly
  • Modern ducted air cons use safe refrigerants

Despite these benefits, there are a few negatives that come along with having a ducted AC. The cost of ducted air conditioning installation, as well as the ongoing cost, can be higher than other comparable air conditioners. For a ducted air conditioner to work efficiently, all your doors and windows must also be shut. If this isn’t the case, your ducted air con will need to work harder, and possibly waste your money, to efficiently heat or cool your home.

Refrigerants in Ducted Air Conditioning

In addition, some older ducted heating and cooling systems use potentially dangerous refrigerants. In 1996, Australia started phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. These refrigerants have relatively high global warming potential, and also require special handling. Bulk imports of HCFCs will be banned from 2030 in Australia. Servicing systems that still use them will solely rely on reclaimed HCFCs.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are an alternative refrigerant with less global warming potential than HCFCs. They are currently the most common refrigerant used, however, there is an HFC phase-down as of 2018. When compared to HCFCs, they still have a relatively high global warming potential. There are refrigerants with no to low global warming potential that are slowly replacing HFC-based air conditioners for consumers.

Evaporative Cooling

Evaporative cooling works in a different way to ducted cooling. External air is sucked in through a fan and is passed through water-soaked pads. The warmth from the air causes the water in the pads to evaporate, effectively cooling the air down. This now cool and more humid air is pumped into your home via your ducting. It exits your home through open windows and doors.

Evaporative cooling has been a popular choice for Australian homes for a variety of reasons:

  • Cheaper to install than ducted air conditioning
  • Running cost is more affordable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Only uses fresh air
  • Eco-friendly

This system relies on the air outside being less humid than the air inside, so evaporative air conditioning is most effective in drier climates such as Adelaide and Perth. For locations with greater humidity, such as in Queensland, an evaporative cooling system won’t be as effective.

Additionally, while evaporative cooling has a more affordable installation and running cost, it can only be used to cool your home. If you desire any heating, a second system will need to be installed. Furthermore, evaporative cooling has less temperature control than ducted air conditioning and also runs the risk of a water leak.

What is the Best Air Conditioner?

When choosing whether a ducted air conditioner or evaporative cooling will best suit your home, there is a range of things to consider:

  • Installation cost
  • Running cost
  • Maintenance
  • Climate
  • Environmental impact
  • Temperature control

If you live in an especially humid climate, evaporative cooling likely won’t be the best fit for your home. Likewise, if you want one unit to both heat and cool your home, an evaporative system won’t be the solution for you. Ducted reverse cycle is an effective solution for most homes, but will set you back more upfront.

Choosing the right air conditioner for your home can be a major decision and a big financial commitment. If you’re unsure what type will suit your home, contact Metropolitan Air Conditioning and we can help you in this process.