how to zone ducted air conditioning

For those living in hot climates such as Australia cooling is an absolute lifesaver which has grown in popularity over the past few decades. A government report2 from 10 years ago showed that 3 out of 4 Australian families had some kind that used air conditioners, a figure that could increase to even more today.

Air conditioning can be found in a variety of units, ranging from small portable units that can cool one room, to large ducted systems that encompass all of a property. This article will look at zones of air conditioning, how it functions and what its primary components are, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this particular type of system.

How does zoned air conditioning work?

Zoned air conditioning occurs through ducting. A ducted air conditioning system is split into areas (or “zones”) which can be heated or cooled independently. It is made up of a number of ducts on your roof that channel air into the different zones of your house. Zones are generally determined by the principal living spaces of the home however, if you want more control, there could be zones for each separate area or room.

To make zones within the air conditioning system that is ducted the ducts have to be extended into each area and then end at an outlet vent from which the air escapes. To regulate the airflow in the zone, mechanical dampers, also known as valves, are employed and the strength of the flow controlled by the amount to which the damper is opened. When it’s fully opened it allows the most airflow can be allowed to enter the zone. When it’s closed completely the zone will not receive any conditioned air. A majority of air conditioning systems that are zoned have different degrees of airflow for each zone, allowing you to have complete controls over your system.

Air conditioning components with zoned zones

Zoned (ducted) cooling system comes with a variety of crucial features and parts:

Indoor unit

Usually , they are installed in the ceiling cavity, this is the unit that supplies cold or hot air into your house. It’s comprised of a heating coil as well as a fan, filters, as well as a Remote Thermostat/Control.

Outdoor unit

It is located outside and it works in conjunction with an indoor unit in order to circulate refrigerant between both units, as well as blocking the heat generated by inside the unit. It’s comprised of a compressor and heat exchange coil, and fan.


Air is pumped into each zone via ceiling vents that are available in a variety of styles that will fit the style of your home.


Zones are the parts of the property in which you’d like to regulate the climate. They can be adjusted in a specific way.

Control units

The cooling system is controlled by the central wall-mounted unit controller and zone controllers. Certain advanced systems feature individual control for each zone, and let you manage the climate using your tablet or smartphone.


Sensors monitor the temperature of each zone to keep the temperature in check.


Dampers (also called zones motors, or volume dampers to control) regulate the flow of air into the zone.

Benefits of air conditioning zoned

Efficiency in energy use

If you have larger homes with an extensive amount of area to be cooled or heatedup conditioning is more effective than a split system that has separate units1.

Zoned air conditioning lets you manage the airflow of different rooms of the house and can be turned off for areas not being used to save electric power. A lot of manufacturers (e.g. Daikin) permit you to set individual timers to your zones, so that you can regulate the temperature according to the exact needs of your family which will save you even more money.

In a standard air conditioning system that is ducted each kilowatt of power generates 3 or more Kilowatts of heating or cooling capacity, however this may differ based what energy rating. To determine the cost of running one can look at the following scenario:

  • 20kW air conditioning system that is ducted that has four zones
  • 10kW average output
  • 21c/kWh electricity price
  • 500 hours of running time per year.

According to these numbers the system is able to use 5000kW every year and at a price of 21 cents per kWh is a total of $1150. It is important to remember that this is only an estimate. estimation that can change in accordance with the energy efficiency of the unit.

Distinction and peace

The cooling component of a ducted cooling system is hidden under the roof (or underneath the floor) and is far more subtle and quiet than split systems. If you’re looking for a quiet system for controlling the temperature that provides an ambiance of peace and quiet in which to work, then ducted cooling is the best option.

Health improvements

Air conditioning that is duct-driven removes dust and moisture from the air, helping those who have weak immune systems and asthma. It’s also healthier for older people and children.

Aspects of air conditioning zoned

More expensive to install

Zoned air conditioning is more costly to set up it comes to the cost of a split system. It generally covers a bigger area, which means it requires an increased capacity cooling unit and more air vents and ducts to be installed. However, even though it has an initial price increase however, the higher efficiency of the system will result in making savings over time as compared to a split-system.

Unsuitable for some buildings

The cooling component of a ducted air conditioner is typically located on the roof or underneath the flooring of the building, however, if neither the roof or floor has spaces large enough to accommodate the unit, a different air conditioning system is needed to be looked at.

Air conditioning has become an essential part of everyday life in Australia, particularly in the hotter parts of the country. For property owners looking to invest in an air conditioning system for their home, zoned air conditioning is one of the most sought-after solutions, offering climate control that is energy efficient, discreet, and with a high level of control over their own comfort.