Deciding how to cool your home is an important decision. Even an individual split-system is a substantial investment, and choosing incorrectly could cost you more in additional electricity costs. So whether you’re planning for a new home or working out how to stay cool this summer, here are some important factors to consider.
Number of rooms
How many rooms you want to cool will dictate what sort of air conditioning solution works best for you home. A simple split-system is ideal for keeping one large room cool, such as the living room. You might be tempted to use a portable air conditioning system, but these are really only suitable for small rooms. As you increase the number of rooms it’s possible to keep adding split-systems, but remember each system requires its own outside condenser. With air conditioning now a necessity rather than a luxury, to cool an entire home the logical choice is now ducted air conditioning.
Heating and cooling takes up about 40 percent of the average Australian home’s energy consumption. The good news is that the least efficient systems today are more efficient than the best ones in 2001. If you have an old system, it’s worth considering upgrading as technology and efficiency demands increase.
Size matters. The cooling potential of an air conditioning system is measured in kilowatts (kW). Often people estimate the air conditioner size based off the area of the room. But if you have tall ceilings that will increase the demand of the system. Other important considerations include the external wall materials and insulation. For these reasons, it pays to have an experienced installer to guide the decision. A system too small, or even too big, could end up costing you more in electricity than you expect.
It’s quite possible to install a window-mounted box air conditioner yourself, as long as you can safely secure it and seal the window. A split system and ducted system requires ducted pipe and refrigerant and should only ever be installed by a licenced installer. As part of the planning process, either for a new build or an existing home, is the placement of the outside compressor unit. It should be somewhere the noise won’t bother you (or your neighbours). Large systems may also require a three-phase power supply.
Like with many products, you get what you pay for. The reason for investing in a more expensive brand is they should be quieter, have better air distribution and tend to be more economical. Thankfully, these days most products are reasonable quality, and virtually all systems include a 5 year warranty. Check the warranty terms though – some of the cheaper brands require you to prove regular servicing.
Most units have a set of standard features – timers, tilting louvers, reverse-cycle. Many come with humidifying and dehumidifiers for extra comfort. You can even get WiFi enabled air conditioning so you can program it remotely, perfect for climate controlling your home before you arrive. And additions like the MyAir Series 5 now use smart tablets and motion sensors to set the room temperature individually for each zone in your home.