The Ultimate Air Conditioner Buying Guide
So, you’re thinking of getting an air conditioner for your home? Well, that’s a great idea. They’re a great investment. Not only will they provide comfort to your home year after year, but they’ll also add to the resale value. So, where do you start when considering a new air con? There are many different air conditioners on the market today. They vary in price, power, design, and functionality. It’s important that you get the right one for your home to optimise its use. Well, there are a number of things to consider – like space, brand, type, and installation. Not all air conditioners are the same! To help you sort through all of these elements, Air Rite provides a guide to selecting your perfect system.
Still undecided on whether it’s even worth it? While you may be fine coping with the heat and cold now, weather patterns in Australia are getting more extreme – especially in Queensland. Heatwaves are one of the most dangerous and deadly natural occurrences that affect Australians, and getting into the shade is not a sufficient way to handle the heat anymore. Air conditioners are becoming more and more necessary. They cool homes to the perfect temperature so that you don’t have to sweat it out in the crippling humidity, and you can warm your home during the harsh cold of winter. Currently, stats show that 4.6 million Australians have at least one air conditioning unit and 49% of households use reverse cycle air conditioners as their primary cooling system, according to Blue NRG. Jump on the trend and make your home more comfortable sooner rather than later by getting the right air conditioning system.
So, which system is best for you? Let’s have a look at some of the key considerations you should make when choosing a new air-con.
How Much Space Are You Working With?
When it comes to buying a new air conditioner, space is critical. Overestimating your space and buying an air con that’s too powerful means you’ve probably spent more money than necessary; on the other hand, underestimating your space and buying too small of a system means you will not feel the effects of your air con within that particular space. That’s why it’s important to measure your area precisely to gauge the power output you’ll need for your air conditioner.
As a general rule, you’ll need around 125 watts (W) of power per metre squared. To calculate the squared metres of your area, multiply the width and length of your area together. So, for example, a room that’s 4 metres by 5 metres is going to be 20 squared metres. Then, to get an estimated ideal output, you multiply 20 metres by 125 W – which gives us 2500 W, or 2.5 kilowatts (kW). That’s the output you should look out for when searching for a new air con unit.
There are some factors that may influence this figure, however, and that should be taken into consideration in the evaluation of your space. These factors can influence the potential heating or cooling of your home and may call for a slightly more powerful system or varied installation.
- How are the rooms affected by the weather? For example, does the area get a lot of sun?
- Are the rooms sealed properly, so as not to suck out cool air out or let hot air in? Don’t forget to check for cracks around doors and windows. Also, consider how well your curtains block out sunlight.
- Which direction is the building facing or what side of the house will the system be in place? This can affect the effectiveness of the unit and installation. Placing the unit on the south side of the complex if possible is the most effective in keeping it out of the sun.
- You should also know the number and size of the rooms which you are deciding to cool. Is it one large space or a number of rooms? Should you perhaps go ducted if you need to cool multiple rooms?
- Is your house insulated and where is this insulation placed? This knowledge will save time and money and ensure the safety of your electricians. If you are aware before consulting a professional.
- What is the climate like where you live? Will you be needing a reversed system that allows heating as well or is your climate warm enough all year round for cooling only?
- Taking into account your lifestyle and the time you physically spend at home can also determine features you might need. For example, a timing system that operates in the afternoons and mornings before you arrive home and when you wake up could be a decision making factor for you.
Further, choosing the right air conditioner for the space you wish to operate it in is crucial for efficiency. Installing a system too small for the space can increase your electricity usage significantly, as well as deteriorate the system more quickly due to it having to over-work to cool the space. On the other extreme, according to Fujitsu air, if a “unit is too big it will be running shorter cycles and not creating the perfectly comfortable indoor environment you wanted.” So, when it comes to air conditioners, size matters.
What Types of Air Conditioners Are There?
Just as air conditioners contain different power outputs, they also come in different types of systems that function uniquely. To get the most out of your air conditioner and investment, it’s important to select one that’ll suit your needs and lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown of the different air conditioner types.
- Split system: This is a low cost isolated system that only cools where it is located. It is installed on a wall with the cooling section faced inside the space and the back mounted outside that dispels the exhaust heat outside. This is not suitable for all rooms of the house as it must have a wall facing outside. The external part should also be positioned in the shade so not to overheat it. There are two parts to this system, hence the ‘split’.
- Reverse cycle system: This is a multi-system that allows heating and cooling. It is great for areas where the climate has more extreme seasons.
- Inverter system: Most systems run by stopping and starting cold blasts to regulate the room temperature. This system is able to regulate the temperature of the air it produces and continues to run. Although it is cheaper and more efficient to run, it is more expensive to purchase.
- Multi-system: This connects all cooling parts with one outdoor vent for exhaust fumes. It requires less duct work but is not able to be isolated to cool one room at once. When it is running, all rooms are cooling. This is not ideal if people within your household have different cooling or heating preferences.
- Ducted: These have a central unit usually hidden in the roof of your house connecting air ducts to sensors in each room. Rooms are able to be isolated and regulated individually. It is one of the more expensive options but also the more efficient and discreet and great for different cooling or heating preferences.
Is it a Trusted Brand?
There are many different brands of air conditioner these days, some more trusted than others. Always be cautious when purchasing from an unknown brand. To check that it’s legitimate, look out for customer stamps of approval, testimonials, and research brand reputation for the brand and its products. There are also multiple industry and legal standards you should ensure the air conditioning unit you are purchasing complies with. For one, you should ensure that the air conditioner you are considering for purchase has an energy efficiency rating.
Ensure it is Installed by a Professional
Don’t try to handle the installation yourself unless you are qualified, especially when it comes to dealing with insulation. Technicians specific to air conditioning and refrigeration should be hired to install your system. These types of technicians are trained in the area and will be much less likely to create problems with the installation. Piping is the most important factor, with the risk of leaks if not installed correctly. This could cause more damage to your home in the long run. Therefore, always seek a professional to install your air conditioning system.
Ensure You Receive a Demonstration
This is to ensure everything is running smoothly after your installation. It might take a few minutes initially for your air conditioner to run properly – this is normal. Let the system draw air in and out for a few minutes to get going. Further, post installation, your professional should run you through the operation of the system and teach you how to use it. You should also be provided with a manual that you can consult should anything go wrong or for further explanation on the features of your unit.
Final Tips on Running Your New Air Conditioner
Consider these final tips to help you run your air conditioner as economically as possible.
- Majority of Aussie air con owners run their system at 22 degrees. However, the most eco friendly temperature that is recommended by the experts is actually 24 degrees. This will help you minimise your electricity bill as well as any effects on the environment.
- Block the sun out of the rooms which you are cooling. Also consider turning the cooler off once the sun has gone down and the temperature drops. The use of fans can be helpful here. Placing a fan at an open window to circulate the fresh air, as well as opening windows or doors on opposite sides of the house creates airflow to minimise the dependency on our air con.
- Clean the filters of your air conditioner every so often (at least two or three times a year) so that you’re not circulating dust or dirty air.
- Modern air conditioners come with an eco mode – utilise this mode to save on energy.
- Don’t forget to get your air conditioner serviced every couple of years! This will keep everything in check and ensure there are no technical problems that can cause damage to your property or health.
To save you the trouble of sorting through various brands and systems, Air Rite only stocks the best brands in air conditioning. For a comprehensive product listing, check out our products page where we display top units for residential and commercial properties. When you buy with Air Rite, we continue working with you to service your air conditioning system and keep it running in perfect condition for as long as possible. Let us help match you with your ideal air conditioning system today. Contact us to have a chat about our products and services.