When it comes to choosing an air conditioner for your home, there can almost seem like too many options. There are a multitude of manufacturers, sizes, types, and functions to choose from. Then there are questions to be answered about whether you want a reverse cycle air conditioner that can handle both your heating and cooling needs, or whether you want a reasonably priced split system or a more expensive ducted system. Further still, which options are the most energy efficient, which type of system will work best in the space are you trying to heat and/or cool…?
If you’re a little confounded by the choices on the market, and need a little help wading through your options, you’re not alone. At Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, customers often ask us for advice on which type of air conditioner to choose for their home, so we’ve put together a short guide to help you decide on the right type of air conditioner for you.
It’s time to put your thinking cap on!
Before you dive into the sea of air conditioners on the market, there are a few things you need to consider, as these will help to guide your decision:
Do you want heating as well as cooling?
If you live in a part of Australia where heating isn’t an issue, or you have a beautiful fireplace or wood heater that you’re not willing to part with, or a fancy gas heater that you love to roast yourself in front of on a chilly winter’s night, then you may not need an air conditioner that can be used for both heating and cooling. If you do decide that you want a system that both heats and cools, you need a reverse cycle system.
How big is the space you want to heat or cool?
The size of the space you want to air condition will play a role in both the type and size of the system that will suit your needs. If you want to cool a single room or area then you don’t need a ducted system and, conversely, if you want the ability to cool every room in a two storey home then split system air conditioning is not the most cost effective, or quietest, option.
The size of the space you want to air condition will also influence the size and power output of the system you choose, and it’s very important to select the right size. A unit that is unnecessarily large will use more energy and therefore cost more to run, while a unit that is too small won’t be able to provide optimal heating or cooling.
There are generic guides for selecting the right size unit for certain sized spaces, however it’s best to discuss your needs with an air conditioning expert. The team at Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning are subject matter experts and we’re more than happy to provide advice to customers on the type and size of system that will best suit their needs.
What is your budget?
You need to work out exactly what your budget is, as this will have a significant impact on the size, type, and even the brand, of air conditioner you are able to purchase. A ducted system requires a more significant initial outlay than a single split system but, if you want to cool multiple areas or the entire home, then you will need more than one split system, which will end up being more expensive and, potentially, less cost effective. The only benefit is that you could choose to install one split system at a time, as your budget allows, rather than paying the more substantial sum required for a ducted system all at once.
You may also want to consider whether you are going to prioritise getting the right air conditioner over sticking to a pre-determined budget. If you are prepared to take out finance to purchase a better, or more appropriate, system then this will increase the range of air conditioners you have to choose from.
Running and maintenance costs
Other considerations, from a budget perspective, are ongoing running and maintenance costs. Choosing the most energy efficient option for your space will minimise the running costs over the lifetime of your air conditioner. Likewise, regular maintenance will ensure your air conditioning system is functioning optimally, which will maximise your savings and the life of your air conditioner.
While it can be tempting to perform DIY maintenance on your air conditioning system, it’s recommended you have a professional perform routine servicing. A qualified technician can give your air conditioning system a more thorough service and tune up, including reviewing your thermostat settings, refrigerant level, electrical components, and more. They will also be able to easily identify any potential issues with your system, saving you money in the long run. Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning provide air conditioning maintenance services and offer customers the option of investing in a routine maintenance plan.
What kind of climate do you live in?
Believe it or not, Australia has 8 different climate zones – from very humid to very dry, from tropical to alpine, along with three different “temperate” zones. Split system air conditioners can effectively cool a house in either a humid or dry climate zone, where other system types are more effective in one or the other, and a reverse cycle system may be the best option for those homes located in a temperate zone or a zone that experiences warm to hot summers and cool winters.
Are you installing the air conditioner into new build, or an existing home?
This will determine the ease with which your chosen air conditioning system can be installed and can impact the cost involved in installation. While a split system can be installed with relative ease in either a new build or an existing dwelling, it can be more difficult to install a ducted system in an existing dwelling – particularly if the home has two or more storeys, or has limited space in the roof cavity to accommodate the ducting and the indoor unit.
How important is energy efficiency?
This may seem a little redundant, as most will people probably say they want the most energy efficient system. However, the most energy efficient option may not match with your other requirements, for example, a split system air conditioner is generally the most energy efficient option – but not if you want to cool the entire home and avoid installing multiple units. If you’re looking to heat or cool your entire home, then a ducted system is the more energy efficient option.
While research has shown that heating and cooling your home can use up to 40% of your household energy, choosing the right air conditioner can reduce your energy consumption by up to 46%. The air conditioning professionals at Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning supply and install some of the most energy efficient air conditioning systems on the market and we’re happy to advise you on the best choice for your needs.
Talk to Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning for professional advice on the air conditioner that’s right for you
For more information on our products and services, contact Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning in Newcastle. Get your no-obligation quote by calling (02) 4957 0221 or contacting us online by clicking here.