Ducted Aircon Replacement - Cost and Queries

Hi guys,

My agent just called and said my tenants called and said every time they try to turn the aircon on the power gets cut off.

Agent sent an electrician out for inspection and was told the whole system needs to be replaced.

Couple questions from here

  1. The aircon I have now is zoned ducted aircon, is this covered by strata? The only reason I'm asking this is last time something happened to the aircon Strata fixed it.

  2. What cost am I looking at here? Is it just cheaper to ditch the ducted aircon to just have say 3 separate aircon installed (1 for living room 1 each for my bed room).

Bit concerned now because I feel like it's going to be extremely expensive.


Some additional info: I just got the invoice and this is what the guy said

"Found system constantly tripping the main AC circuit breaker, main breaker in the apartment and also main switch in the building's electrical meter room. At the first test with the electrical access panel removed, the system shot a flame/flash out of the electricals. Owing to excessive damage, a replacement system is recommended"



    you wont have to replace the zones and existing ducting, probably only the inverter/compressor unit


      hi thanks for replying.

      agent had a further chat with the technician - confirmed the compressor is damaged and some of the wiring connected to it as well. One of the options is to disconnect and unwire the existing electricals and wire in a 3rd party controller and leave the compressor disconnected and then troubleshoot to see if the other components are working.

      Best case scenario if everything was to work after electricals are rewired with a 3rd party and a new compressor is installed would cost approx $5k.

      I guess another concern here is down this route, the warranty would only be on the new parts installed i.e. compressor which is around 3-12 months.



        Left a comment below before reading replies.
        Can't see why they would need to rewire electricals to add a third party controller for diagnosis or how it would even help.
        Compressors are fairly expensive to replace, $5k is on the high side for a domestic AC but could be fine depending on sizing.
        Might be worth contacting the manufacturer to see if they have any local techs/contractors.

  • +1 vote

    Sounds like very bad advice, somewhat similar to "replace the whole car because it doesn't start". There are many components in the ducted system and some of them can be fixed or replaced.


      Hi thank you . Got some further info from the technician as per above.


    You would need to look at the contract of the sale and see if the AC is provided as a strata service or the equipment is listed.

    Ducted AC is expensive to replace - ours died this year (lasted 16 years - cost $9k for a 15kw unit).


      thanks i have no idea where I placed the contract.

      My agent has spoken to Strata before they sent the technicans out and was told it's not covered but I just remembered that last time something happened to the cooling system the Strata fixed it.


        There might have been an issue with the main switchboard which would have been a strata problem.


    First problem was your agent sent an electrician for an air conditioning fault, could be a circuit breaker/wiring fault but much more likely to be directly related to AC.
    I work in the trade and find most electricians I run into aren't very good at electrical fault finding ACs or don't care enough.
    "System shot a flame" is ridiculous to put on a an invoice, flash can happen though.
    Electrician likely didn't know what they were looking at and just gave you a catch all replace system.
    Could be a few things wrong and with varying cost, without more information and a proper diagnosis it could be anything.
    There are a few things you should consider about whether a replacement is necessary.
    Age of the unit - if its a 15+ year old system and it needs more than a few hundred to fix then it is probably time to spend the money on replacement as even if you fix the fault, everything else is 15+ years old.
    Size of the unit - larger the unit the larger the price gap between repairs and replacement will be.
    Long term plan for property - if you only want to hang onto the property for a few years then just do the cheapest option.
    Hope some of this helps, would recommend getting a decent AC mechanic to look into it.


      Hi Mike,

      Appreciate you taking the time for these recommendations

      1. I was shocked to seeing they put 'flame' on the invoice.. kinda scary really.

      2. Tbh, I don't know how old is the system I bought the place 4 years ago but I know the apartment is definitely very close to 15+ years hence I don't actually want to go down the route where they just replace the compressor and have a 3-12 months warranty on that.

      3. I'm actually intend to move into the apartment this time next year hence I don't mind to replace the system at all. It's just $12k is a huge cost to me, I can pay this but also wanting to minimise the cost.

      4. Size of the unit - 2 bedder appprox 120sqm

      5. My bad, I just read the invoice these guys aren't electricians. they are actually AC technicians but I'm now reading the new system they quoted me, warranty is only 5 years this can't be right.



        IF the compressor has failed and IF the system is around the 15 year mark then I would be considering replacement.
        You will more than likely need to replace outdoor and indoor system and possibly refrigerant piping if it was on R22, current refrigerants are R410a and R32 which operate at higher pressures and therefor need greater piping wall thickness.
        Ductwork may be needing replacement at that age too. Depending on how it was installed to begin with you may want to change it, but then again you may not get any better.
        12k sounds a alot for a 2 bedder. I don't really do much with sizing but there are some online calcs you could use for a ballpark guide.
        I'd suggest just shopping around some local installers/repairers depending on which way you want to go, most of the guys I know just do it as a side gig.


          Thanks Mike.

          I'm actually considering not to replace the ducted aircon but to install seperate split system instead. Do you think this would be a better option? I never liked ducted aircon the cost and all.

          I'm assuming the split system will cost me a lot less with labour included, I'm thinking around $6-7k mark? Would you have any idea? Thank you again really appreciate the detailed response.


            @sauce2k: Splits have a lot going for them.
            Can just do 1 room to begin with if you're short on cash. Even if you do 2 x bed + living I would still recommend getting individual units, if 1 fails its only 1 not all of them and allows more individual control. Also only have to cool 1 room rather than whole house, even with zoning and inverter units it won't reduce to a capacity suited for 1 bedroom for a ducted system designed for the whole house.
            Downside is that they are more visible and airflow noise can be more than your ducted system.
            Pricing seems ballpark but I don't install so can't give much accurate information on that.


    As soon as he mentioned flame/flash this would be treated as a fire claim under your insurance policy.
    As the body Corp to lodge a claim.