Ducted Heat Pump VS Multi Head Split System Unit

My ducted heat pump (cooling and heating unit) died and according to multiple professionals, it has to be replaced.

Due to the size of the unit, it's going to involve crane and removal of roof tiles.

Can anyone tell me, which way I should go?

I was thinking, it would be nice to have, per room control with multi head split system.

Which will also save me from damaging the ceiling and all.


  • +2 votes

    Can get per room control with ducted. Sounds like someone cheaped out on original install

  • +3 votes

    multi head split system - gross, what an eye sore in a room. Also depending on the size it MAY not actually be cheaper to get numerous splits (connected to a central outside box) than a ducted.

    get ducted zones for each rooms, simples.

    since the duct work is already setup thats a big expense you dont need to re-do - the zoning is done at the heat exchanger unit.

    source: me, I went through the same problem. also split systems are ugly as f-k

  • +2 votes

    How does a ducted control temperature? Where are the sensors to detect room temp?

    I've never had a good ducted system - eg if you have 3 rooms in 1 zone, one would be freezing and 1 would be barely affected - it's because the relative airflows are determined by the ducting geometry which is never even and perfect (e.g. one room might have a longer run with kinks compared to another) and there's no feedback sensors to tell the main unit to calm down when it's cool enough

    Split systems are actually more efficient (they know when to power down) and cheap to install and cheap to buy and cheap to upgrade. They just look a bit shit but that's opinion - ducting gives you a hole in every ceiling and sometimes a bug comes thru. That also sucks.

  • +1 vote

    Depending on the age of the ducting you may have to replace the duct work. The old stuff isn't very well insulated (if at all). That's a terrible job (expensive too as it's double the work).

  • +2 votes

    Crane? When I got ducted installed, two chunky men just lifted the new unit up through existing air return vent in the ceiling. The indoor units are designed to fit through the opening that the air return needs.

    • +1 vote

      Yeah they are not as heavy as they look. Unless the outdoor unit is on a balcony or something?

  • +1 vote

    You could get the in-ceiling cassette-style split systems that aren't as ugly; however you still need multiple units which will add up over several rooms.

    As you've already got the ductwork a replacement ducted unit will still be your better choice - never had to deal with cranes though. Put some yellowtongue over your trusses and get some spare hands going, these units are bulky but not heavy as they're esssentially a hollow box with a condenser coil and a pair of fans.

  • +1 vote

    For our new build, we were looking at getting multi-head split systems. But it came time for installation, the AC company said that a ducted system with 8 zones (1 per room) would cost about the same and it would look a lot nicer. The look part is right, we wouldn't need to have a unit mounted on a wall of each room. Ducted are so much cleaner in terms of looks.

    In terms of usage, it has worked well. The biggest pain is changing the room configuration when we turn it on. I wish I had upgraded to the wifi model and could use an App on my phone instead of having to go to the control panel and changing which zones were on.

  • +2 votes

    Depends on the size of the house. I ended up going with 3 split systems because I ultimately only have 7 rooms total in my house and really only need heating for the rooms we spend all the time in (Lounge, bedrooms) because the house isn't so big if you run all three at the same time it'll heat/cool the whole house pretty well over an hour or so.

    When doing back to back installs is very cheap to install. Plus you also have redundancy when a unit fails on a hot/freezing day you still have others to pick up the slack while you wait weeks for warranty repairs or replacement units.

    Cons: Some people don't like a bunch of units surrounding their house. For me where they were being installed were down the narrow side of the house and next to the bins so not unsightly. Also once you get over 3 units you have to be careful that your power board/phase power in from the street has enough capacity to run it (in older houses).


    Wow such vast knowledge poured in overnight
    Thank you everyone!