Air-Conditioning Blog

Bulkhead Vs Split System AC – What’s the Difference?

Bulkhead and Split Systems are two popular types of air-conditioner solutions used on the Sunshine Coast. In this article, we take a look at the differences between these two approaches. If you’re interested in an air-conditioning solution for your home or business, contact our team. We’ll help you determine the best solution for your premises and can also assist with sales, installation, and after-sales support and servicing for your appliance.

The Main Distinction:

Different types of air-conditioning solutions can get a bit confusing. The words used to describe systems (such as split system or bulkhead system) are also sometimes used interchangeably by manufacturers – making it unclear how they are actually different. When you’re comparing bulkhead systems with split systems, the main thing is the difference with the internal unit.

The internal unit of the bulkhead air-conditioner is built into a wall or ceiling (usually a drop ceiling); the internal unit of a split system sits on the wall, so you can see the whole unit. Here are two photos illustrating this difference in action:

Bulkhead Air-Conditioner Installation
Split System Air-Conditioner Installation

Implications of an Integrated Solution

The fact that bulkhead air-conditioners are integrated into the building means that they create a more discrete and streamlined solution. However, because they are built into the room, their inclusion requires either a new build or a renovation. Meanwhile, split systems can be retrospectively added into virtually any existing room – because they are not integrated with the building. This makes them the logical choice if you’re looking to add an air-conditioner to an existing home or business.

3 Similarities Between Bulkhead and Split System Air-Conditioners

  1. Cooling Capacity: Both bulkhead and split system air conditioners are capable of effectively cooling indoor spaces. Both use similar cooling mechanisms involving the circulation of refrigerant to absorb heat from indoor air and expel it outdoors.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Both types of air-conditioners can be designed with energy-efficient features and technologies to reduce electricity consumption. Whether it’s through programmable thermostats, energy-saving modes, or high-efficiency compressors, both bulkhead and split system ACs can help lower energy bills while providing comfort.
  3. Customisation: Both bulkhead and split system solutions offer some level of customisation in terms of capacity and features. They come in various sizes and configurations to suit different room dimensions and cooling needs.

3 Differences Between Bulkhead and Split System Air-Conditioners

  1. Flexibility: Bulkhead systems have less flexibility in terms of placement due to the need for a wall-mounted installation. Split systems offer more flexibility in placement, as the indoor unit can be installed on various surfaces such as walls or ceilings, while the outdoor unit can be placed in different outdoor locations.
  2. Cost: Bulkhead installation costs may be higher due to the need for structural modifications to accommodate the unit. Split system installation costs may be lower as it typically requires less invasive installation and can often be retrofitted into existing spaces without significant structural changes.
  3. Maintenance: Maintenance and repairs on a bulkhead system may be more challenging due to the integrated design and wall-mounted installation. Maintenance and repairs on a split system are generally easier as components are separated between indoor and outdoor units, allowing for easier access and servicing.

What’s the Right Solution for Your Home?

Talk to our team to discover the right air-conditioning solution for your home. We’re experienced and can help you to determine an approach that will meet your cooling and energy objectives:

When is the Best Time of Year to Clean my Air-Conditioner?

Noosa Air-Conditioning Services

Have you ever wondered when the best time of year to clean your AC might be? We recommend Spring – between September and November. If you live in Noosa or nearby on the Sunshine Coast, please contact our team for assistance with giving your air-conditioner a Spring Clean. Our team is licensed and experienced, and ready to assist with your AC solution.

The Benefits of Cleaning Your Air-Conditioner

There are three main benefits of cleaning your air-conditioner unit on a regular basis: health, efficiency and longevity.

Health Reasons

You Don’t Want to Breathe This Air..

Over time, use of your air-conditioner creates a build-up of dirt and mould inside the unit’s filters. After a point, this buildup begins to affect the quality of the air being moved through the unit. This happens faster in places of high humidity such as the Sunshine Coast, due to high humidity / moisture in the air.  Take a look at some ‘before’ pictures of air-conditioners below (prior to cleaning). Imagine breathing air that has run through these machines! Regularly cleaning the filters, which is part of an air-conditioner clean and service, resolves the problem.

Efficiency Reasons / Running Costs

A buildup of contaminants such as dirt and mould in your air-conditioner’s filters affect the efficiency of your air-conditioner. As the buildup increases, the machine needs to work harder to move air through the filters. This additional load increases running costs. Meanwhile, the machine is circulating sub-optimal air. These problems can be resolved with an AC clean and service.

Longevity Reasons

Regular cleaning and servicing is necessary for your air-conditioner to enjoy a long life. Restricting the airflow in the unit makes the unit work harder which will shorten its lifespan. Keeping your air-conditioner clean will help it to last longer.

How Often Should Your Air-Conditioner be Cleaned?

Air-Conditioners should be cleaned at least once per year, or more often if used frequently. This maintenance should be done even if everything appears to be working normally. The cleaning and servicing process will help you with the benefits described above – health, efficiency, and longevity benefits.

Appliances should be kept in good working order.

Do All Types of Air-Conditioners Need to be Cleaned?

Different types of air-conditioners, such as ducted or split system air-conditioners, need to be cleaned and serviced. Regardless of the type of air-conditioner, the filters get dirty over time and need to be professionally cleaned on a regular basis. If you’re interested in learning more about air-conditioners, check out this article about different systems that we work with.

Signs Your Air-Conditioner Needs Cleaning

We recommend annual cleaning and servicing of your air-conditioner even when there are no signs of any problems. However, if left unattended, problems will eventually arise. These problems may include:
a. Functional problems / error codes
b. Weak performance
c. Bad smells
d. Strange noises
e. Inefficient operation
f. Increased electrical bills / power consumption

What Will Happen if You Don’t Clean Your Air-Conditioner?

Regularly cleaning and servicing will help you to avoid the problems discussed above – health issues, efficiency issues, and longevity issues. IAQ (indoor air quality) is important. You can learn more about it here. Air-conditioners are a device that need to be regularly cleaned and serviced for them to operate optimally.

When is the Best Time to Clean Your Air-Conditioner

The best time to clean your AC unit on the Sunshine Coast is in Spring: between September and November. The benefits of this approach include:

  • Ensuring your AC is ready to circulate clean air during the peak season (Summer)
  • Proactively resolving any problems with your AC before the peak time
  • Avoiding last-minute / urgent problems during the busy holiday period (Christmas, New Years, etc)

Book an Air-Conditioner Clean and Service

Book your air-conditioner clean or service with the link below. Our team is licensed and experienced. We service Noosa and surrounding suburbs on the Sunshine Coast. We look forward to assisting with your air-conditioner.

Why Air-Conditioners Should Be Cleaned

Why Air-Conditioners Should Be Cleaned

Air-Conditioners need to be cleaned on a regular basis. There benefits include health, efficiency and longevity. In this brief article, we demonstrate the two reasons why this is essential, provide (pretty unpleasant) images of air-conditioners which we have cleaned. If you need help with an air-conditioning solution including a clean and service, please contact our team:

Why Air-Conditioners Should Be Cleaned

There are three main reasons why you should arrange to have your air-conditioner cleaned on a regular basis: health and efficiency.

Health Reasons

If you don’t like reading, just scroll down to the pictures of air-conditioners that we have cleaned lately – they tell the story. Over time, using your air-conditioner creates a build-up of dirt and mould. This is especially important on the Sunshine Coast, where high humidity creates prolific mould in AC units. If they aren’t regularly cleaned, the air you are breathing will be contaminated by this buildup. Breathe clean air, and get your air-conditioner cleaned regularly. Indoor air quality matters! You can learn more about it here.

Efficiency Reasons

A buildup of contaminants such as dirt and mould effects the efficiency of your air-conditioner. As the buildup gets worse, the space for air to move in the system decreases and forces the system to work harder to achieve the same results. This makes the system operate less efficiently and will cost more to run.

Longevity Reasons

Your air-conditioner can enjoy a longer life with regular cleaning. Restricting the airflow in the unit makes the unit work harder which will shorten its lifespan. Keep you AC clean and it will last longer.

Pictures of Air-Conditioners That Need Cleaning

Warning – Gross Alert!

Understanding Different Types of Air-Conditioners

Air-conditioning Solutions Noosa
Air-conditioning Solutions Noosa

Air-Conditioners come in many shapes and sizes, and it can be bewildering to try and understand what the best solution is for your home or business. In this article, we examine popular types of AC units and look at the pros and cons of each approach. Our approach takes into account the context of the rooms you’re looking to cool, and we also cover Kilowatts and their meaning in an air-conditioner purchase.

Why Understanding Air-Conditioner Types is Useful

Understanding air-conditioner types is useful to optimise your air-conditioners performance, running costs, maintenance requirements and longevity. Getting the right unit for the job will ensure it has the capability to manage your internal environment while operating within an optimal capability range.

There are a wide range of important considerations to take into account, which we cover in this article. If you’re on the Sunshine Coast, please don’t hesitate to contact our team to access our expertise in all things AC, including sales, installation, servicing, repairs, maintenance & cleaning.

Understanding Costs

The upfront cost of an appliance is always an important factor. However, appliances last (hopefully) a long time. Bearing in mind your air-conditioner may have a lifespan of 10-15 years, there are other costs which should also be taken into account. By being aware of these at the time of purchase, you can make a better-informed decision about the type of air-conditioner best suited to your needs over the long term of owning the appliance.

Here are the cost considerations to be aware of:

Purchase Cost: The initial cost of the air-conditioner
Installation Cost: When an installation requires an electrician (for example, a split system or ducted system) there will be an installation fee that will depend on the time and complexity of the installation.
Running Costs: The more you use your air-conditioner, the more electricity it will use. The cost of running your AC will depend on extent of use, and the efficiency of the unit.
Service Costs: Like any mechanical appliance, air-conditioners work best with regular servicing and cleaning.
Repair Costs: Higher quality brands will generally work longer and more reliably, just like any purchase. The cost and frequency of repairs required will depend on the AC unit, how well it is looked after (e.g. regular servicing) and how old it is.

The Goal to Aim For:

The goal when purchasing an air-conditioner is to acquire a unit that is well-suited to the task, adequately powerful, as efficient as possible, and of a good brand and model that will reduce problems and costs in the long run.

Reviewing Your Internal Layout

It is essential to review, and understand, the layout of your premises to select an air-conditioner that will suit your goals. For example, the kW capacity of your air-conditioner will need to be optimised to the space you want to cool (there’s more on this topic below). Also, the number of rooms you wish to heat or cool will also affect your decision. Here are the main points to take into account when assessing your layout:

  1. How many rooms do I want to cool?
  2. How big are these rooms?
  3. Are they joined, or separate rooms?
  4. How many levels are there in the premises?
  5. Is it for residential or commercial purposes?

There are some handy resources available related to this topic at: Don’t worry – when you discuss an air-conditioner sale or installation with our team, we’ll help you solve all of these problems, as we are experts in this field.

Understanding Capacity – Kilowatts

Air-Conditioners have a kilowatt rating which determines the size of the room that they are capable of cooling. Very important! This affects both the capability and the cost of the unit. Capacity is represented in KiloWatts (Kw) and more Kw means more capacity. It also means that the air-conditioner will cost more to purchase. Therefore, you want to get an air-conditioner unit which has a suitable capacity for its intended purpose. You can get some great insight on this aspect at this article by

According to, the following guide can be used to calculate the required Kw:

Generally speaking, you’ll need roughly about 0.15 kilowatts per square metre. For example, a smaller room that measures 20 square metres would need an air con around 3kW, while a 60 square metre room would need a device capable of delivering around 9kW. If your wattage is too low for your room, the air conditioner won’t be able to lower the temperature efficiently.

When you talk to our team, we will give you a free quote for your air-conditioner and also determine a suitable capacity brand & model for your purposes. It is also worth noting that an energy-optimised home utilises solar to power appliances. Visit this page to learn more about solar power solutions with Noosa Electric Co.

Types of Air-Conditioners

Following are popular, common styles of air-conditioning solutions. At Noosa Electric Co, our sales and installations include either split systems or ducted systems, but our AC technicians perform repairs, servicing and maintenance on most common air-conditioner modalities on the Sunshine Coast.

Portable & Window Air Conditioners

Portable air-conditioners are a single, standalone unit that you plug in to use, like any other appliance. They can be moved from room to room. Window air-conditioners are similar, except that they are mounted in a window frame, and are generally a more permanent installation. Both of these options are relatively inexpensive, and may not require professional installation. However, their energy-efficiency, running costs, cooling-capability, loudness and appearance may not make them practical for a long-term air-conditioning solution.

Split System Air Conditioners

Split systems are one of the most popular air-conditioning options for homes and businesses on the Sunshine Coast. They are called ‘split’ systems because they are made up of 2 separate components, an indoor and an outdoor unit (see below). These type of air-conditioners come in a variety of different models, which are suitable for cooling single rooms (split system, mini-split system) to multiple rooms (multi-split, multi-head split).

Indoor Unit

The indoor unit is mounted inside on the wall, and emits cool air into the room. The indoor unit can be controlled with a remote to modulate internal cooling or (depending on the model) heating. The indoor unit is connected to the outdoor unit, which is also known as the condenser or heat exchanger.

Indoor air-conditioning unit
Indoor air-conditioning unit

Outdoor Unit

Also known as the condenser or heat exchanger, the outdoor unit sits outside and works together with the indoor unit to produce your air-conditioning.

This image displays the outdoor unit in a split system configuration. You can see the piping that connects the units. This piping is usually more discrete, but it depends on the installation.

Split System Air Conditioner
Split System Air Conditioner

Single Room Split System Air Conditioning

Single split system air-conditioners, or mini splits, are designed for cooling a single room. These are the go-to for most of our Sunshine Coast residential AC installation jobs. The separated split system design is more efficient and capable than integrated units such as the portable or window air-conditioners mentioned above. They also have a more streamlined appearance, taking into account the capability of the unit, since half of the system resides outside. Split system air-conditioners require installation by a professional electrician.

A key advantage of split systems is that they can be easily retro-fitted to established homes or businesses. This isn’t always possible with a ducted air-conditioner (see below), which are integrated into the actual building, usually at the time of construction.

There are quite a few choices to make when evaluating a split system for your home or business. Our team is here to help. We can guide you to a suitable brand and model for your purposes, and our electricians will install the unit for you.

Split System FAQ

What is the difference between a Split System and and an Air-Conditioner?

A Split System is a type of air-conditioner. There are quite a few different types of air-conditioners – read all about them on this page! A split system gets its name from the fact that it comes in two parts, and indoor and an outdoor unit, which work together to create a complete air-conditioning solution.

Can split systems heat as well as cool?

This capability depends on the model. A reverse cycle air-conditioner can heat as well as cool. If you want this capability in your air-conditioner, make sure the model you’re looking at includes the reverse-cycle feature.

Learn more

Multi-Head Split System Air Conditioners

A multi-head, or multi-split system air-conditioner is a type of split system for situations where more than one room requires air-conditioning.

With a multi-head split system, a single outdoor unit is linked to multiple indoor units (rather than just the standard single unit). This enables cooling, or heating of multiple, separate rooms.

Another popular option for air-conditioning multiple rooms is ducted air-conditioning. However, ducted air (see below) needs more space to install and is integrated into the building design, whereas split systems, including multi-splits, can be installed more easily because of their agile disposition.

Multi-Split FAQ

Can you heat some rooms and cool others simultaneously?

According to Daikin, this isn’t possible. While individual rooms can be set to different temperatures, they must all be either heating, cooling, or turned off. However, you can apply different degrees of heating OR cooling to all the rooms. Features like this may depend on the model.

Split System Advantages

  • Energy efficiency: Split systems are generally more energy efficient that smaller portable AC units
  • Quiet operation: the design allows for noiser components to be located outside the home
  • Air Quality: split systems generally include filters which help to improve internal air quality
  • Installation flexibility: within available placements, there is a variety of different ways to install split systems
  • No ductwork: split systems include an indoor and an outdoor component – no ductwork
  • Retrofittable: Split systems can be retrofitted
  • Quick installation: Split systems can be quickly installed by a professional

Split System Disadvantages

  • Requires wall space
  • Limited placement options (the indoor and outdoor units work together, so both must be considered in placement)
  • Inflexible: once installed, a split system can not be easily relocated
  • Complex installation: split systems must be installed by professionals
  • Price point: split systems are not the cheapest air-conditioning option available.

Learn more

Floor Standing Air Conditioners

Floor-standing units are like a split system in all regards except that they are mounted on the floor (split systems are mounted on the wall). Otherwise, they’re the same – there is an indoor unit, an outdoor unit, and they can be fitted or retro-fitted to a home or business by a licensed electrician.

Learn more

Ducted Air-Conditioners

Ducted air-conditioners are an integrated air-conditioning system that is built into the actual structure, usually at the time of construction. They can be used to cool an entire building, and perform large-scale cooling more efficiently than other types of air-conditioners. Ducted systems involve an outdoor unit, an indoor unit (unlike the split system, this indoor unit is tucked away out of sight), and the ducts, which run from the central unit through to other rooms, and which give the system its name.

Ducted systems have a very low internal profile – all of the works are hidden from sight, and the air flows from discreet vents.

Ducted air-conditioning systems are optimal for larger homes or commercial premises with single or multiple rooms. However, because ducted systems are built into the structure, it may be difficult or impossible to retro-fit them.

Noosa Electric Co Mounting an AC Unit in Noosaville

Ducted AC FAQ

Is Ducted AC better than a split system?

Ducted and split systems serve different purposes. While the purpose of a split system is to cool a single room, or in the case of a multi-split up to 5 rooms, Ducted air-conditioning can cool an entire home. Ducted may be a better option if you’re looking to air-condition a larger space, but because it is integrated into the building, usually needs to be included at the time the home is constructed.

Ducted AC Advantages

  • Whole-building capability: Ducted systems can heat your entire home.
  • Neat and tidy: ducted systems are tucked away internally, so they are very discrete
  • Quiet: like split systems, the compressor and fan are outside, keeping it quiet inside
  • Zoning: Ducted systems can create different environments within the home
  • Even distribution: Ducted systems can achieve an even distribution of air through rooms, since air comes from multiple sources

Ducted AC Disadvantages

  • High installation cost
  • Complex installation
  • More difficult to retrofit
  • Inefficient if used incorrectly (i.e. heating / cooling unused rooms)
  • Require regular maintenance
  • Take up more internal space (in wall / roof cavities)
  • Limited flexibility: Ducted systems are a permanent installation and can not be easily modified post-installation.

Bulkhead Air-Conditioning Systems

Learn more

Bulkhead air-conditioning systems are a type of air-conditioner that is installed in a wall or bulkhead. Unlike split systems, where the internal unit is visible, the internal bulkhead unit is tucked away out of sight, emitting cool air into the room via a low-profile grille. Like ducted systems, bulkhead systems are integrated into the structure and their installation generally need to be done as part of a construction or renovation process.

Learn more

Cassette Air Conditioners

Cassette air conditioners are another unobtrusive type of AC solution, distinguished by the fact that they are located in the ceiling.

This fact enables conditioned air to be generated from a central distribution point (unlike split systems, for example, which are mounted on one wall), achieving immediate 360 degree distribution of cool air around the room. Cassette air conditioners are better suited to light-commercial or commercial applications for this reason.

Fujitsu Cassette Air Conditioner
Fujitsu Cassette Air Conditioner

Learn more

Air Conditioner Services Noosa

We are experienced in working with all aspects of air-conditioning. Talk to our team for a new air-conditioner, AC servicing, maintenance and repairs. We service Noosa and surrounding suburbs.

Air-Conditioner Features

Air-Conditioning Features
Air-Conditioning Features

Air-Conditioners come in a variety of styles and capabilities. In this brief article, we look at important features that you should be aware of when reviewing a new air-conditioner for your home or business. This will help you make an informed decision and select an air-conditioner that is suitable for your needs. For all air-conditioning sales, installation, repair and servicing on the northern Sunshine Coast, please contact our team. We provide a complete air-conditioner service, in addition to being approved warranty-repairers for major brands.

Energy Efficiency

Choosing efficient appliances is important for the environment and the back pocket. Depending on the climate zone, heating and/or cooling can account for 20% to 50% of energy used in Australian homes. [] That’s quite a lot when you think about tit. The best way to understand the energy-efficiency of an air-conditioner is to evaluate the mandatory energy rating label on the box:

Energy Rating Labels

These labels give immediate insight into the energy-rating of the appliance, and can help you to evaluate the running costs of your air-conditioner in conjunction with the other features it offers.

More Stars on the Label Means:

  1. More Energy Efficiency
  2. Lower Power Bills
  3. Less Damage to the Environment
Air-Conditioning Features

Refrigerant Type: R-32

The type of refrigerant used by an air-conditioner has an impact on both operational efficiency and environmental impact. Air-conditioners heat or cool the room by transferring heat via refrigerant. R-32 is a refrigerant used increasingly as the best commercially available option. It can reduce electricity consumption by approximately 10%, and has a lower environmental impact. []

Learn More:

Cooling & Reverse Cycle

An important choice to make up front is whether your air-conditioner will be cooling, or reverse-cycle. Here is the difference:

Cooling: This means that the air-conditioner only cools the air.

Reverse Cycle: The air-conditioner can cool and heat the air.

If you’re on the Sunshine Coast and thinking, “I only need to keep cool in summer!”, then please don’t forget that our winters can be pretty chilly. A reverse-cycle air-conditioner is a great way to combat the winter cold, as well as keep you warm in summer.

What’s the Difference Between a Split System & a Reverse-Cycle Air-Conditioner?

These are 2 totally different things. A split system is a type of air-conditioner configuration, and gets its name from the fact that it is made up of two separate components, one inside and one outside. You can read more about split systems here. Reverse-cycle, on the other hand, refers to an air-conditioner mode where the internal air is heated, not cooled. In other words, you can have a split system air-conditioner with a reverse cycle feature.

Air Quality

Air quality is an important, but often overlooked issue, which can be addressed by the right type of air-conditioner. Most known for their abilities to cool or heat rooms, some air-conditioners can also help address air quality, and lessen the impact of related issues including respiratory conditions, allergic episodes, headaches, skin issues, strange smells, and mould growth. To best understand the air-quality capabilities of your prospective air-conditioner, check for options such as filtration, mould-proof operation, auto-cleaning, odour decomposition and bacteria deactivation. Air-conditioners can do much more than simply heat and cool your rooms!

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Appliances are getting smarter and air-conditioners are no exception. While the standard has always been operation via remote control, some AC units can now be operated by app on your phone or via smart home devices such as Google Home. In addition to this type of capability for new units, some brands also sell retro-fitting kits which enables this type of technology to be applied to older units. An example of this is the Fujitsu anywAIR technology Wi-Fi device.

Noise Reduction

Coming to terms with the noise levels associated with air-conditioners is important. Features such as Quiet Operation (Daikin) or Low Noise Mode (Fujitsu) can produce whisper-quiet AC under certain operational parameters. It’s important to understand that air-conditioner noise may be internal or external, depending on the type of air-conditioning unit you’re running and how it is being used. You need to consider both – you may not be able to hear your outdoor unit, but your neighbours may!

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Humidity Reduction: Dry Mode

If you lived on the Sunshine Coast during the first 4 months of 2022, you may be familiar with the problems associated with mould. Following a particularly rainy period during this time, mould growth was abundant as a result of humidity and a lack of sunshine. Dry mode is one option which is useful for battling mould, and comes as standard on many modern air-conditioners. This mode de-humidifies the room, and makes conditions less favourable for mould growth. In addition, it can be used as a more economical cooling method on days when high humidity is causing discomfort.

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Rust Prevention

Rust prevention is an important consideration on the Sunshine Coast due to proximity to the ocean. For outdoor electrical units such as air-conditioning condensers, the elements can take a toll. Corrosion-resistance treatments are included in some air-conditioner models. We can also apply a rust-prevention application which will help protect your air-conditioner from the elements. Talk to our team to find out more information.

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