Ducted Air Conditioning

Is ducted air conditioning the right choice for your Melbourne home?

When it comes to an all-in-one dual heating and cooling system for your family home, Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning performs flawlessly all year round, even under the most extreme weather conditions.

It is why Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning (also known as Ducted Refrigerated Cooling) is used in commercial precincts such as shopping centres, where the year-round comfort of customers is paramount. It’s also why Ducted Refrigerated Cooling is the system of choice in overwhelmingly hot, humid states such as Queensland and New South Wales.

Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning in Melbourne is hugely popular, too! For those Melbourne-ites chasing a frigid blast of cool air upon entering the family home in those withering summer months, Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners are hard to beat.

These units are generally installed in your roof space, or outside the home – working in much the same way as a wall-mounted system, except much bigger. Ducting installed in your roof space sees deliciously crisp air in summer and toasty air in winter delivered directly to you, via ceiling vents throughout your home.

But Ducted Refrigerated Cooling is not the perfect solution for everyone because they can be expensive to install. These types of systems would be the most expensive form of whole home cooling but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.

But here at Plum Trade Services, we pride ourselves on putting the needs of our valued customers front and centre. It’s why we’ve written this comprehensive guide detailing everything you need to know – including the pros and cons of running a Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner in Melbourne – when making the best investment for you and your family.

After all, knowledge is power!

So without further ado, here are a few important things to think about before buying a Ducted Refrigeration system for your home.

What is Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning

Melbourne. It truly does tend to deliver four seasons of weather in one day, no matter the time of year.

It’s under these conditions though that a Ducted Reverse Cycle system shines.

Your Ducted Refrigerated system will operate much like a Split System attached to the wall, but instead of heating or cooling a single area, it has the grunt and means to deliver heating or cooling to your entire home, via a comprehensive pattern of ducts and vents installed in your ceiling.

It comes with an outdoor condenser unit and a central indoor unit, usually installed in the ceiling, although it can be fitted under the floor if and where there is space and access. The ducting carries the cool air from the indoor unit through to the air outlets in each room of your home.

The words Reverse Cycle are a reference to the fact that your system is dual-purpose, meaning it cools and heats your home depending on your needs and the time of year. In winter, the refrigeration is reversed, resulting in a toasty warm home environment.

When it’s set to heating, the system extracts the heat from the outside and transfers it inside. If it is set to cooling, it extracts the heat from the inside while delivering delightfully cool air to you and your loved ones, ensuring the ultimate comfort levels.

The units we install are inverter systems, which make them much more energy efficient because the inverter allows the air conditioner to maintain a consistent temperature by operating at the speed required. Air conditioners without inverters must keep powering on and off in order to maintain temperature, which takes up more electricity.


  • Refrigerated Cooling throughout the entire home
  • Cost-effective with solar panels
  • Dual Heating and Cooling system
  • You can zone/close different areas of your home that are not in use
  • Performs flawlessly on humid days
  • Heating cycle is much nicer than Gas Ducted (does not dry the air like Gas Ducted)


  • The most expensive Heating and Cooling option
  • The outdoor condenser can take up a lot of space
  • Filter needs to be cleaned regularly
  • Can be more expensive to run if the system is not zoned
  • Must close all doors, windows and curtains in extreme conditions

Requirements for a Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning System

Ok, so the very first and probably most crucial factor when considering whether Ducted Refrigeration is for you is space. These bad boys take up quite a bit of room, as you’d expect from an all-in-one dual heating and cooling system!

So the first thing you’d need to discuss with your friendly, expert Plum Trade Services consultant is:

  • Do you have enough space in the ceiling for the indoor unit?
  • Is there enough clearance outside for the condenser unit?
  • And whether there’s enough room left over in the roof space for the extensive ducting

Add-On Cooling Vs Ducted Reverse Cycle

We’ve worked to satisfy our Melbourne customers for many years and we can reveal this: there seems to be an equal split between those who favour Gas Ducted Heating with Add-On Cooling versus those who prefer Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning. Neither camp is wrong. But when it comes to customer preference across the nation, Ducted Reverse Cycle is a clear winner, especially if you have solar panels.

In a comparison of output, the quality of cooling is the same in both systems. Both systems are also refrigerated. But the difference lies in the heating, Ducted Reverse Cycle provides a much nicer, cleaner air than Gas Ducted Heating. Gas Ducted Heating dries the air more than refrigerated heating, and the gas burners tend to create more dust with its air.

When comparing prices, both systems are similar.

How does Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Work?

Ducted Refrigerated Cooling has two operational modes, Heat and Cool.

But no matter whether you are seeking a significant cool breeze or toasty comfort, your system will deliver air from the main indoor fan coil unit through the ducts to your ceiling outlets, from where it will flow into your rooms.

And the bonus is that while you are able to cool or heat your entire home at once, you can also select specific areas – known as zones – using less energy and reducing running costs. 

During the summer months when set to Cool, your Reverse Cycle system draws the heat from inside the home and transfers it to outside. The cool air is produced by the fan drawing air from the filtered return air vent, then it blows the air across the refrigerated cooling coil. This process is reversed when the system is in the Heat mode.

Plum Trade Services recommends ducted systems as the best option for large properties, especially two-storey homes with a lot of bedrooms. This option allows your entire home to be cooled or heated effectively via the hidden ducting, with outlets conveniently placed throughout different rooms and living spaces.

All of this is delivered via a handy control panel, featuring clear settings for both the temperature you desire, and zones you wish to open or close.


Zoning is a must with Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning since they are designed to be turned on sections at a time. It’s not common to have all the zones open at once.

This gives you have the ability to divide your home into different zones that you are able to turn on and off when required. Our consultants will work with you to understand your lifestyle and home layout – and zone your system accordingly. For example, if you only use your study during the day, we will make that a separate zone so it can be switched off during the evening. This set-up will drastically reduce your running costs.

In addition, you can opt for a different type of zoning system that gives you the ability to have the different temperatures in various rooms in your home. For example, you can set the living room at 23C and your bedroom at 20C.

During our consultation stage, we will discuss your preferences and run you through all the common zoning setups. That way, we can mix them up and together come up with a perfect plan on how to structure the zones for your home.


OK geeks and tech-heads, this is where things get exciting, because today’s smart technology is capable of running much more than your fridge and security camera set-up – it also extends to your Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner.

By upgrading your system with a Wi-Fi adapter, you’ll be able to control the comfort of every zone in your house from bed if you like, or even overseas if that is your desire.

In practical terms, what this means is that you can turn on your Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner at home before you leave work for the day – ensuring it is delightfully cool upon your return. Or in the frigid winter months, you can power on the warmth before you get up out of bed, making your start that much easier.

Most customers opt-in for Wi-Fi for this reason. But a word of warning, you will need a home internet connection.

Air Type

With Ducted Reverse Cycle, Cooling mode delivers crisp, moderate air that feels like a blast from the fridge when you open the door. The advantage of Refrigerated Cooling when compared to Evaporative Cooling is that Refrigerated systems are temperature controlled, so you can set your thermostat to a desired temperature.

Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning will easily cope with a hot and humid 40C day. In fact, they actually have the ability to regulate humidity. If it is a warm and humid Melbourne day, the fan coil will remove moisture from the air being blown over the indoor fan coil. The water collected then falls down to a tray and is drained outside.

Inverter Technology

We love clever technology, it’s why we only stock Ducted Reverse Cycle systems with inverter technology.

What this means is, that it will kick in to maintain your set temperature by cooling your zone when the room temperature rises, or heating it when the temperature falls lower than your setting. This is important, because in systems without this inverter technology, the motor speed stays constant, and the temperature is adjusted by the motor turning on and off. In the long run, this consumes more energy.

With the inverter-type air conditioners, the temperature is adjusted by changing motor speed without the motor turning on and off, consuming less power – helping to keep your energy costs lower during peak periods.

Same vents for both Heating and Cooling

A common question we get is will the vents be the same for heating and cooling. When you choose Ducted Refrigerated, rest assured that everything runs through the same single set of ducts, vents and outlets.

This is unlike Gas Ducted Heating with a system such as Evaporative Cooling, where each system is different and requires its own vents.

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Prices and Costs

Ducted Refrigerated Cooling systems are a little like V8 cars – all of that performance comes at a cost.

For instance, entry costs for a Ducted Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioner installed in a small home, such as a unit, sit around the $9000-$10,000 mark. This jumps to $10,000-$15,000 including installation for the average family home, depending on the size and type of system you choose. For an extra-large or multi-storey home, you should expect to pay $15,000-$20,000.

You also need to factor in running costs prior to purchase. These bad boys aren’t the cheapest and average operation will see you paying $5 to $10 a day (compared with just $1-$2 a day for Evaporative Cooling). But you do have control of these costs by using the zoning arrangements and minimising the space you need heated or cooled.  However, for those with solar panels on the roof, these costs are much lower.

Many factors will affect your running costs: the system type and size; the energy efficiency; run time; whether you have a solar-passive home design; insulation; floor coverings; the east and west-facing glass areas; double glazing; curtains; external window coverings; and the temperature you choose on the thermostat.

When setting your thermostat, it pays to remember that each degree Celsius lower (cooler) that it’s set in summer, and each degree warmer in winter, will up your running costs by 10-15%. As a guide, we recommend a setting of 25C in summer and 20C in winter.

Is it worth the cost?

As with a V8 car, having power and performance at your fingertips can be a more costly way to manage the climate in your family home.

Before committing to investing thousands having Ducted Refrigeration installed – as well as the hundreds of dollars each year to run it – Plum Trade Services will ensure you understand other options available to you. These include Gas Ducted Heating with Add-On Cooler, an Evaporative Cooler, or a few separate Split-Systems throughout the home.

If you have booked a consultation with us, we can go through the pros and cons for each option and guide you to making the best decision for your needs and your family’s lifestyle.

So, is Ducted Reverse Cycle right for you? Things to consider

  • First up, do you have the space – both in the ceiling for the indoor unit, and outside for the large condenser.
  • These bad boys tend to use a lot of power. However, they are perfect if you run Solar power – and are ideal for those wanting consistently crisp air on even the most withering hot, humid days. Plus, it’s an all-in-one Cooling and Heating solution for your home.
  • Ceiling or walls? Would you like your vents, which come in a range of different designs, affixed as standard square outlets in the ceiling, or as linear grills in the wall?
  • How would you like to control it? Controls are usually hard-wired and mounted on a wall and you may opt for one for your entire home, or have extra Controllers installed throughout the house for convenience.
  • Zoning. For convenience and economy, we recommend zoning your house to control which parts are Heated and Cooled, and when (for example, heavy traffic areas during the day and bedrooms at night).

Tips for Shopping Around

Don’t be swayed by those too-good-to-be-true bargains, which often don’t represent value, but a compromise on quality.

When shopping around, it pays to take everything into account: such as the quality of materials, how the designer lays out the plan, whether the installation will provide an even airflow throughout your home, who will conduct repairs and servicing, customer support and warranties (for both the system and workmanship).

Importantly, and as a priority, you should also check how long the brand and company have been in operation – as well as reading their Google reviews! Learning how responsive a company is to their customers online can be an extremely clear indicator of the type of support you’ll receive in the future. If there is a bunch of 5-star reviews, you are likely onto an absolute winner.

Why we stand behind our customers

We are Plum by name and Plum by nature: meaning we will always do a plum job!

It’s a powerful motto that’s been embraced by all our staff, who appreciate that as a family owned and operated company, we are driven by strong values and integrity.

We have no time for competitors who give customers short thrift, because we put our valued clients’ needs front and centre of every decision we make.

So if you appreciate being treated with honesty and respect while receiving a seamless, stress-free service – from the initial consult right through to installation and after-care throughout the lifespan of your system – look no further … we’ve got you, fam!

For your best home heating and cooling in Melbourne, please come and join the Plum Trade Services family today.  You won’t regret it!

Let’s talk

If you’re considering a Ducted Refrigerated system, we can help you decide the best system for your home. You’re spending a lot of money on this system, and you want to get it right from the start… and planned perfectly. We are professionals at this and will guide you to the best solution.

During our consultation, here’s a few of the factors that we will go through to help determine the right solution.

  • Your home’s floor plan: how many levels are there? What are the dimensions of the rooms (including ceiling height)? Which direction do the rooms face?
  • The size, position and orientation of windows and doors.
  • The type of construction (for example, weatherboard or full brick).
  • The amount of insulation in the ceiling, under the floor and in the walls.
  • The number of people living in your home.
  • The main use of each area (for example, sleeping, living, cooking).
  • The ceiling cavity space – if there’s limited ceiling space, you may need underfloor ducts instead, though slimline systems are available for homes with small ceiling spaces.
  • The limitations of your outdoor spaces – just as with split system air conditioners, the outdoor compressor unit(s) needs to be installed somewhere where noise won’t be an issue (for you or your neighbours!).
  • Large systems may require a three-phase power supply, which will be an extra installation cost if you don’t already have it.
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