A large portion of your electricity bill goes towards heating and cooling. In fact, quite more than you think. Australia is after all one of the hottest places to live. With long, sweltering summers you’d be quick to look at something to cool you down. Air conditioners have become a regular sight in many places, from schools and hospitals to commercial buildings, and of course, at home. They not only regulate temperature and make our short winters even milder, but also contribute to purifying the air and controlling humidity.
With little in the way of insulation, Australian homes do get hot. In particular, older houses. And though developers are starting to pick up their game bolstered by home buyers needs and government regulations, not much thought has been put into addressing rising temperatures. Sure, you can have a ceiling fan in every room as a temporary solution, but a dedicated air-conditioning system is definitely comfier on the skin.
Types of Air Conditioners
Air conditioning is either ducted or ductless. You’ll find large industrial and commercial premises with complicated ducted systems. Hospitals and offices are typical examples, where constant temperatures are necessary for a comfortable and healthy working environment. Ducted aircon is also more frequent in newer homes. Ducted air-conditioning consists of one or more outside units and an indoor unit tucked away in the ceiling or under the floor.
A network of ducts sends cooled or heated air to every room in the house, maintaining a constant temperature throughout. This is possibly the biggest advantage ducted systems have over ductless air conditioning. A well-installed ducted unit is also more pleasing to the eye and fits well with the overall interior look. They do however have their cons. The initial cost of installation, with more parts involved, and the loss of cooling or heating efficiency is another. And then there’s ceiling height. Overall, ducted air conditioning units are better suited for larger homes with more rooms.
Ductless or split system air conditioners are units suited to cooling or heating individual rooms. Wall-mounted reverse cycle air conditioners have one outdoor unit, and up to two indoor units. If you want different temperatures in different rooms or need cooling and heating in one room only, then this is the more efficient option. You’ll find reverse cycle aircons appropriate for smaller or larger rooms, with differing output. Newer technology, especially inverter systems, mean air is cooled or heated at a faster rate without excess use of electricity. Indoor units might be more noticeable than a ductless system, but newer designs should fit seamlessly in most settings.
Window mounted air conditioners are small, relatively cheaper units installed in window panes or holes. They’re best suited for cooling smaller rooms with lower output than most wall mounted air conditioners. They’re not the best of lookers and require careful mounting, with windows able to support the weight. The remaining gaps need to be sealed for optimal cooling. In addition, they block the window and are cumbersome to relocate to another location. Window mounted air conditioners also leave your home at a security risk and are best suited for rooms on higher floors.
Portable air conditioners are the best option where wall mounting is inappropriate. They’re easy to move around from room to room, don’t need installation and can be moved out of the way when not in use. However, they’re a little noisier than other air conditioners, are generally less powerful, and best for smaller rooms.
Newer models are self-evaporative, meaning there’s no need for hoses or trays to remove condensed water. Most newer models will feature air purifiers, self-cleaning filters, de-humidifiers, and can be WIFI compatible, meaning convenient operation from your phone. This feature is ideal when you want to come home to a cool house after a hot day.
Which Air Conditioner is Right for You?
Depending on the type of house or flat, the number of rooms, whether you’re renting on not, and your budget, there are different options. For larger homes, where there is a need for a constant temperature, a ducted system works best, though it comes at a higher cost. The installation will also take longer, and be more expensive. Maintenance might also be an issue. If you want different rooms cooled or heated at different temperatures, your safest bet is reverse cycle wall mounted air conditioners. They require wall brackets for outside units, so check with your landlord if you’re renting. They’re the most efficient models though, and most come with inverter motors, need little in the way of maintenance and cleaning and come competitively priced. Larger units are also good for open-floor living/dining rooms. Portable air conditioners are good for kids’ or guest rooms, come in cheap, and are hassle-free. No installation is needed. Window units are cheap options but may have too many compromises for you to consider as a long-term solution.
Consider the power output and consult with salespersons if it’s adequate for your intended room. Smaller units in larger rooms will be less efficient, while also working at full load, meaning higher electricity consumption. Also, think about the features you may want and factor in any installation costs. You can find a range of air conditioners from reputed brands in most large chain stores and small stores selling home appliances.