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Are Split Systems Expensive to Run?

As part of our commitment to ensuring you are 100% satisfied with the unit you choose, we offer a 5-year warranty for all of the products we install.

Many customers are surprised when I tell them how inexpensive split system air conditioners are to run. 

By choosing the appropriately sized unit for your home and following a few energy efficiency tips, a split system air conditioner can keep your home cool and comfortable without breaking the bank.

Quick Summary: Are split systems expensive? 

  • A split system air conditioner can be a cost-effective way to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home
  • The cost of running a split system air con will depend on the unit’s efficiency and capacity, your energy usage, your floor plan and insulation, your energy provider, and your temperature preferences
  • The best air con temperature in summer is 23℃ to 24℃ for comfort and 25℃ to 27℃ for cost efficiency
  • The best air con temperature in winter is around 18 to 20°C for efficiency and 21 to 22℃ for comfort
  • A split system reverse cycle air conditioner can be a versatile, efficient way to heat or cool your home year-round
  • Regardless of the season, professional split system installation, proper maintenance, a yearly inspection, and the properly sized unit can optimise your split system’s efficiency

How expensive is it to run a split system? 

What Is a Split System Air Con? 

 With split system units, you can choose between cooling-only options or go for a reverse cycle split system for both heating and cooling capabilities. 

When purchasing and installing a split system air con, there are two choices: 

  • Single Split System Air Con — A single split system air conditioner consists of one indoor unit connected to one outdoor unit. They are a versatile, efficient, cost-effective way to cool your space.
  • Multi Head Split System Air ConditionersA multi head split system consists of one or more indoor units connected to one outdoor compressor and fan condenser. This is an ideal option for larger homes or for homeowners who want to set separate temperatures in different areas of the home. 

Learn More: Split System vs Multi Head Split System


How Expensive Are Split Systems to Run?

The main factors that affect how expensive a split system is to run include: 

  • The capacity of the unit (how many kW)
  • The energy tariff your split system air conditioner is connected to
  • If the unit is an inverter unit
  • The temperature you set the unit at
  • How long you run the split system AC for
  • Your floor plan, insulation, and windows
  • How well you maintain your unit


As part of our commitment to ensuring you are 100% satisfied with the unit you choose, we offer a 5-year warranty for all of the products we install.


How Expensive Are Split Systems to Run in Summer? 

Split system air conditioners are a cost-effective way to stay comfortable in summer, especially if you follow energy-efficient tips when running it. According to an analysis by, a single split system AC unit is the cheapest air conditioner type to use. The average hourly and daily running costs of air conditioning in Australia are $0.73 and $3.44. 

Cooling-only split systems cost around $152 to run over the summer period. Reverse-cycle split systems were found to cost around $185 (source: Air Conditioning Running Costs). 


What Is the Best Air Con Temperature in Summer? 

The best air con temperature to survive summers in Australia will depend on your comfort preference, region, and local climate. For our region, I recommend 23℃ – 24℃ as the best air con temperature in summer if you want optimum comfort. This range is sure to keep you cool and content on scorching days.  If efficiency is a higher concern than comfort, I recommend 25℃ – 27℃ as the best air con temperature in summer. This range provides energy savings while still maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. Keep in mind that for every degree below 23℃ – 24℃ you go, you may be adding up to 10% to your energy bill. 


Tips for Reducing the Running Cost of Your Split System Air Conditioner in Summer

The entire point of split system installation is staying cool and comfortable. Of course, keeping your home at a higher temperature in summer will reduce energy usage. But to stay cool without breaking your budget, here are my favourite energy-saving hacks to follow. 

Here are the best tips for reducing how much it costs to run your split system AC in summer: 

  • Choose an energy-efficient unit with a high star rate (see my Split System Air Conditioner Buying Guide for help choosing) 
  • Opt for professional split system installation to ensure optimal performance and efficiency
  • Have your split system air con unit professionally serviced and inspected once a year to make sure it is running properly and as efficiently as possible
  • Keep up with regular split system AC maintenance to ensure no dust or debris builds up and causes the machine to work harder than needed or malfunction
  • Clean the filter once a month
  • Change the filter every 3 months
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep your home’s humidity levels in check
  • If your unit is struggling to maintain the temperature you set, have it inspected by a licensed air conditioning technician to evaluate the unit and make necessary repairs
  • Give your split system AC a break every few hours
  • Use a fan to increase air circulation in your home 
  • Keep windows, blinds, and doors closed on hot and sunny days

If you want to learn more about reducing your energy usage in summer, I put together this guide to help: 7 Tips for Efficient Energy Use in Summer.


How Expensive Are Split Systems in Winter?

Reverse split cycle air con systems can be an efficient way to cool your home in summer and keep you cosy in the winter. The cost to run a reverse cycle split system depends on the same factors as running it in summer. Your home’s layout, insulation, and windows, your temperature settings, the size and efficiency of the unit, and your region’s climate will determine how expensive your reverse cycle split system is to run in winter.  


What Is the Best Air Con Temperature in the Winter? 

As we move into the cooler months, many Perth residents have been asking me, “what is the best air con temperature in winter?”. 

I usually recommend 18 to 20°C as the best air con temperature in winter in Australia. This temperature range is ideal for providing comfort while still keeping efficiency in mind. For individuals who prefer warmer indoor temps, they may want to bump up the reverse cycle split system temperature to 21 to 22℃.

If efficiency and cheaper energy bills are your priority, try setting the temp between 17 to 18 degrees C in winter.Keep in mind that for every degree you set your reverse split cycle temperature above 20°C, you will increase your heating costs by up to 10%. 


Tips for Reducing the Cost of Running a Reverse Cycle Split System in Winter

Here are some simple ways to reduce your split system running costs and promote energy-efficient heating: 

  • Only heat the rooms you are using
  • Select an appropriately sized reverse cycle split system for your space (an undersized unit may struggle and end up wasting energy)
  • Keep doors closed to unoccupied rooms.
  • Dress season-appropriate and stay comfortable with blankets to reduce your reliance on your reverse cycle split system 
  • Clean the filters monthly
  • Replace the filters as recommended, usually once every 3 months
  • Use the timer to maximise efficiency
  • Schedule a professional inspection for your reverse cycle split system air-con unit at least once a year
  • If your reverse cycle split system AC unit is experiencing an issue, have it evaluated and repaired immediately 
  • Play around with the temperature settings to find your balance of comfort and efficiency
  • Keep up with maintenance (a dirty condenser or clogged filter will cause your unit to work harder and consume extra energy) 
  • Seal any gaps or cracks and make sure your home is properly insulated 
  • Take advantage of free heat by opening shades and blinds during the day and closing thermal blinds at night to trap heat inside 
  • Opt for a split system with inverter technology
  • Select a reverse cycle split system with a high energy rating label


You May Also Like: Energy Saving Tips in Winter


Which Split System Air Conditioner Is Right for You? 

Our team at Air Cond Installs WA is here to help you choose the right air con option for your budget and needs. Stay cool in the summer and cosy in the winter with a reverse cycle split system or opt for the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of a single split system AC. 

For over 30 years, we’ve been Perth’s trusted air conditioning specialists. Contact us with questions or a free quote on quality split system installation.

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