Finding the Right AC System
When you’re preparing to weather-proof your home, it’s hard to go past the most popular air conditioner on the market – a split system air conditioner. If that’s your plan, the next step is to choose the right type of system for your home.
There are a number of different factors to consider when choosing a split system. Among these elements to contemplate are the type of split system, the make and model, the placement of the unit and, of course, your budget. Then there’s the first question you should ask yourself – is a split system air conditioner the right choice?
Let’s take a look at five tips for choosing the suitable HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system for your home, starting with a brief overview of split system air conditioners.
Types of Split Systems
The reason split systems are so popular is due to the ease of installation, reasonable cost and reliability. As the name suggests, a split system air conditioner has two parts to it – the indoor unit and the outdoor unit, which is usually known as the condenser. The two parts are joined by pipes containing refrigerant gas.
There are two main types of split-system air conditioners:
- Single split-system air conditioner – Designed to heat or cool one room.
- Multi-head split system air conditioner – Multiple indoor units can be connected to one outdoor unit, which enables you to heat or cool two or more rooms.
There are many other choices available in heating and cooling – such as in-ceiling cassette, evaporative, hydronic and ducted air conditioning systems – but let’s put the focus on choosing a split system.
1. What is Your Budget?
This is possibly the most important aspect of the choice you make. It will determine the brand and model you choose.
It might also influence how many rooms you choose to heat and cool. Many people opt for a single split system air conditioner, which means you’ll have climate control in one central location. That’s fine if you only need cool air (or warm air) in one particular room or area.
With a bigger budget you might choose to have units in more than one room (a multi-head split system). You can also select a model with a higher star rating for energy efficiency.
If you’re working on a really tight budget – or perhaps you’re currently renting – you might consider a portable air conditioner for the time being.
2. Do You Have the Right Space?
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the location of your air conditioner. Remember to take into account the placement of both indoor and outdoor units. This can play an important role in choosing the right air conditioner for your space.
You need to choose a spot where the air can flow freely. Indoors, don’t jam the unit between cupboards, wall shelves or any other fixtures.
Make sure the unit is at least 2.5m from the main door. You will also want the indoor unit to be reachable in height, keeping in mind you will need to clean it as well as change filters.
The outdoor condenser should be in a shady area – keep it out of direct sunlight so it can do its job properly. Make sure it isn’t blocking any paths and that it’s not too close to your neighbour’s place.
3. Check Wall Strength
It might seem obvious to suggest this as a factor, but many people don’t consider wall strength when choosing a reverse cycle air conditioner.
Be sure to consult with an air conditioning specialist before deciding on the wall you wish to locate your split system. Most walls should be strong enough.
However, an air conditioner installation can cause a collapse if the wall is already cracked, has been poorly constructed or has been weakened by other factors (such as dampness).
4. Air Quality of Your Area
Split-system air conditioners are designed for a certain level of air quality. If you’re near a high volume of traffic and you’re concerned about the level of pollution in your area, you’ll need to discuss it with an air conditioning professional.
Your HVAC expert might recommend a unit that has particular strengths in air purification, which is one of the purposes of a quality air conditioning system. This way you’ll not only benefit from climate control in your main living area(s), but you might also enjoy long-term health benefits.
5. Choosing the Right Power Level
This is one of the most important aspects in choosing the right split system for your home.
Air conditioner power is measured in kilowatts (kW). If you choose an air conditioner that isn’t powerful enough, the system will be forced to run at maximum level for too long and it will take a toll on the AC unit. It will also fail to dehumidify the area.
A system that is too powerful for a small area will end up making the room too cold or too hot, which also leads to too much dehumidification.
The following is a rough guide from the Choice website but be sure to consult with an air conditioning expert when selecting the power level for the area you wish to heat and cool.
- Small rooms (up to 20m²) – 2-2.5kW
- Medium rooms (20-40m²) – 2.5-5kW
- Large rooms (40-60m²) – 4-6kW
- Extra-large rooms (60+m²) – 5-9kW
Average air conditioning requirements are influenced by climate, so they will depend on where you live. Based on AC capacity in a 30m² room, the following applies:
- Adelaide – 2.6kW
- Brisbane – 2.2kW
- Darwin – 2.6kW
- Hobart – 1.1kW
- Melbourne – 2.4kW
- Perth – 2.8kW
- Sydney – 2.2kW
Using this as a rough guide, you might get an idea of the kind of capacity you’ll need for your home. Remember to always look for the Zoned Energy Rating Label on air conditioning units. It may also depend on which air conditioner brand you choose (e.g. ActronAir, AquaMAX, Braemar, Breezair, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries etc).
A split-system air conditioner is adaptable to all types and sizes of homes and different climates. It’s really just a matter of your budget restrictions that will determine what brand and model of split system you choose. With more extreme weather conditions around the corner, there’s no time like the present to make a decision.
If a reverse cycle split system is the right air conditioner for your home and you need more advice, contact the heating and cooling experts at Mr Emergency.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.