In comparison to 15 years ago there is more to consider when buying an air conditioning unit. The average Australian cares not only about how much a unit will cost to buy, but also how much it will cost to run, what impact their unit will have on household energy consumption as well as the effect on the environment. So a well informed decision is essential.
Below we outline the types of air conditioning units available on the market with their advantages and disadvantages.
1. Ducted air conditioning
A ducted air conditioning system is one that provides cooling to multiple rooms through a series of ducts which are usually installed in the roof of your home but also in under floor spaces. This is a complex and probably the most expensive option in air control units. The system is more complex than it's competitors and requires installation by a professional. Ducted air systems are common place in areas of extreme temperatures.
A split air conditioning system provides cooling comfort using an indoor and outdoor system. The split type is preferred to ducted air conditioners because it is relatively easier to install. Depending on the size of the room you intend to cool, the split type unit can also be more energy efficient than a window type air conditioner.
3. Evaporative cooling system
An evaporative cooling system works by drawing hot air from outside and turning it into cool air inside your home. This system is less expensive and more energy efficient than say a ducted air conditioning system and does not require the service of a specialist. A qualified electrician can install these units. and the evaporative units work best in locations with low humidity.
4. Reverse cycle
Reverse cycle is a 2-in-1 heating and cooling system that works well in homes that experience seasonal hot and cold temperatures such as Medium Temperate. The reverse cycle unit can be used as a heating unit or a cooling system depending on your needs.
5. Refrigerated air conditioner
A refrigerated air conditioner uses the evaporation of a refrigerant liquid to provide cooling. It is the common choice of many households because it functions well in very hot weather and lowers the humidity of air inside the home.
Costs - Mobile evaporative coolers are the least expensive, followed by window installed types. Split type units may cost more than window and wall types but not as much as the complex ducted air conditioning system which entails a separate expense for professional installation.
Energy costs - In Australia, manufacturers are required to display the Energy Rating Label containing a star rating for greenhouse gas emissions and useful information about the energy consumption of an air conditioner. Total energy consumption is expressed in kilowatts per hour (KWH) while a high star rating means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. To save on energy bills, look for a unit that shows a low KWH consumption.
Size - The cooling capacity which is expressed in kilowatts should be proportionate to the size of your room. Know your room’s measurement to arrive at the appropriate cooling capacity for your air conditioner.
Acoustics - Noise levels can affect your choice of air conditioning units especially if you have difficult neighbours. Consider noise levels and find out the DB rating of your unit.