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Installing air conditioners in apartments and townhouses

Installing air conditioners in apartments and townhouses


Air conditioning can sometimes be a bit tricky to install in apartments and townhouses as they often present a number of obstacles for a technician to overcome.

Every layout is different and brings its own unique challenges, such as finding a viable way to mount the external unit or meeting body corporate guidelines.

If you own or live in a townhouse or apartment, you may have been told by an air con technician or your landlord that it’s all too hard and that you simply can’t have air conditioning or additional units installed.

So what can you do? Well, it always pays to get a second opinion. In our experience here at Acer Services, there’s really no obstacle that can’t be overcome with a little ingenuity.

In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the common challenges to be aware of when installing an air conditioning system in an apartment or townhouse as well as potential solutions that can make it work.


Access for Installation

Probably the number 1 challenge when installing air con in an apartment or townhouse is finding the right access for the external unit, the internal unit as well as all the necessary drains and pipes.

There are usually one or more walls made mostly of glass in your average apartment or townhouse. This is done to let in as much natural light as possible. However, it can limit your options for where you can install the internal unit of a split system air con.

Body corporate will also have strict rules about where and how you can affix the external unit.

Ducted air conditioning can be an alternative option to a split wall system in a townhouse, but unfortunately it’s not always doable in an apartment. It’s very rare in a multi-level unit complex for there to be enough ceiling space between each unit to install a ducted system. 

Plus, getting ducted air con approved by body corporate can be a bit of a pain.

The good news is that you don’t have to go with a standard wall split or a ducted system. A floor mounted unit or a multi-head split system are often viable alternatives.


Floor Mounted Air Conditioner Units

Unlike the name would suggest, a floor mounted air conditioner isn’t actually mounted to the floor. It’s simply a compact air con unit that can be installed low on a wall, sitting just above the floor. They can also be mounted in a recessed or semi-recessed space and even directly under a window frame.

Cold air is distributed from vents on either the top or the bottom of the unit, or a combination of both. In situations where there is not enough wall space, some models can even be installed right up on the ceiling.

They are perfect for when it’s not possible for the exterior unit to be placed back to back with the interior unit, or in rooms where there are a lot of glass walls, such as is often the case in an apartment or townhouse. 

Floor mounted air conditioners have many of the same features and benefits as standard split systems and efficiently distribute cool air right across the whole room or area.


Multi-Head Air Conditioning Systems 

There are often strict limits in place as to where you can place the external unit with a townhouse or unit. Any fixed air conditioner is going to require a compressor and pipes to be fitted to the exterior of your building, which means you will need permission from the body corporate before you go ahead.

Some will allow the external unit to be installed on the balcony, some may not. You may have to go to the expense of fitting the external unit on the roof of the building, or have it attached at height to the rear wall.

Chances are you’ll also need to use common property or other people’s property to access the installation site for the outdoor unit, and you will need to notify those unit holders.

This can all get particularly expensive and complicated when you want to install multiple air conditioners for different rooms.

With a multi-head air conditioning system, this issue is a bit easier to overcome. They work by having the one single outdoor unit running to multiple indoor units instead of having an outdoor unit for every single indoor unit.

So if you’d like to have several split system indoor units for different rooms, you only need to find space to install the one single outdoor unit. This makes things a whole lost easier with your body corporate and your neighbours.

Some brands, such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, have multi-head split systems which can accommodate up to 6 internal units to the 1 outdoor unit.

You can also mix and match different types of air cons using a multi-head system. For example, you could have the outdoor unit connected to 3 standard wall mounted units and 2 floor mounted units.

A multi-head system requires less ceiling space to install than a ducted system which makes them a great option for both apartments and townhouses.


At Acer Services, we love a challenge. In fact, we’re renown for completing tricky installations that other air con companies have put in the “too hard” basket.

If you’d like more information or a second opinion, talk to our expert team.

We’d be happy to answer any questions you have. We can also arrange for a technician to visit your apartment or townhouse, measure out your available space, discuss your options, and provide a no-obligation quote.

Simply click here to get in touch with us today.