There’s no denying the fact that Australia is a big country. Placed as it is, in between the tropics and Antarctica, it’s also a continent that is home to a number of different climate zones – eight, in fact! Because of this, different parts of our beautiful country can simultaneously experience vastly different weather. There are even parts of Australia where it’s possible to experience all four seasons in one day!
With such a varied and changeable climate, it can pay to have the ability to control the climate within our home. The best, and perhaps the most cost-effective, way to heat and cool your home is with an air conditioner. However, with so many different types of air conditioners on the market, it can be difficult to know which kind is right for you and your home.
Which type of air conditioner is the best?
Being air conditioning specialists, customers often ask the team at Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning for advice about which kind of air conditioner would be best for them. However, there are several factors that go into deciding which air conditioner is best suited to each individual customer’s needs, so there is no single right answer.
Instead, we’ve put together the following list of the various types of air conditioning systems available, so you can weigh up their benefits and match them with your individual needs.
What are the different types of air conditioners?
There are several different types of air conditioning options available:
- Reverse cycle
- Inverter systems
- Wall- or window-mounted
- Split system
- Multi split system
REVERSE CYCLE AIR CONDITIONERS
Reverse cycle air conditioners give you the ability to both heat and cool your home using one system, which can provide far better energy efficiency and may therefore be a more cost-effective climate control option. However, whether or not you choose a reverse-cycle system really depends on the climate zone you live in, and your personal preferences.
Most Newcastle residents want the ability to cool their home during the warmer months, heat it during winter. However, Newcastle has a relatively mild climate, so you may not feel that it’s necessary or worthwhile to pay the additional sum required for a reverse-cycle system over a ‘cooling only’ unit.
If your home insulation is effective, and your home and windows are optimally positioned for energy efficiency, a cooling-only air conditioner coupled with a gas space heater (or wood fire, if you prefer) to keep out the chill on the occasional cold night, may be your preferred heating and cooling solution.
INVERTER SYSTEM AIR CONDITIONING
Air conditioners that have inverters have the ability to change the temperature of the air they produce without constant stopping and starting, so they are typically able to achieve the set room temperature more quickly than other systems. This means that they are typically cheaper and quieter to run. The drawback? They are generally more expensive to purchase.
WALL OR WINDOW MOUNTED AIR CONDITIONERS
Window or wall mounted air conditioners are self-contained units that can be installed in an external wall or window and are capable of cooling single rooms and open plan areas up to 50sq/m. They are typically the least expensive kind of air conditioner to purchase as they do not require any plumbing. Smaller units can be plugged into an existing power outlet however larger units may have additional wiring needs and therefore require installation by a licensed electrician.
Most units can be quite easily installed in a window, particularly those that open vertically. Wider windows and those that open by sliding horizontally need to have a fixed panel installed around the air conditioning unit, to seal the window. Windows that open via other methods are generally unsuitable or unable to accommodate an air conditioning unit.
More effort is required to install these units in a wall, as a hole needs to be cut in the wall so the unit can be properly fitted.
SPLIT SYSTEM AIR CONDITIONING
Split systems are the most common type of air conditioner installed in Australia these days, and Newcastle is no exception. Split systems are fantastic for heating or cooling one or two rooms or open plan areas up to around 60sq/m. These kinds of air conditioners consist of an internal unit that is mounted on a wall and circulates air, and an outdoor compressor unit.
Split systems are generally very energy efficient, and individual units are significantly cheaper than a ducted system. However, should you need to heat or cool more than one room or area, you will need to install several split systems, which affects the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness when compared with ducted systems for controlling the climate of multiple areas or an entire home.
MULTI SPLIT SYSTEM AIR CONDITIONERS
Multi split system air conditioners are great for heating and cooling several rooms individually and perfect if you don’t have the room for a fully ducted system. They consist of several indoor units (one for each room you want to temperature control – anywhere from two to nine indoor units) linked to a single outdoor compressor unit, making them convenient and economical.
However, if you have problems with the outdoor unit, all indoor units will stop working. Another possible drawback is that, while each unit can be set to a different temperature, so each room or area can be set to the perfect temperature for its individual inhabitant, all indoor units must be set to the same cycle of heating or cooling – that is, you can’t have some rooms set to cool and others set to heat.
DUCTED AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS
Ducted air conditioning is a centrally controlled system best suited to controlling the climate of an entire home. Temperature controlled air, from a central air conditioning unit located in the roof space or below the floor is circulated throughout the home via flexible ducting in the roof or under-floor space that distribute the climate-controlled air to vents located throughout the house, in the rooms you wish to heat or cool. They offer a more discreet option than wall-mounted or floor standing indoor units.
Ducted systems are easier to install in a new build, rather than an existing home, as ducts are typically installed in the ceiling, and this is not always readily achieved in an already-constructed home – particularly a two-storey home.
To conceal ducting when retrofitting a ducted system into an existing home, the ducts are generally concealed within cupboards, but this means that vents need to be installed directly below the cupboard in which ducting has been concealed, which does not always allow for optimal placements of vents on the lower floor. It is also necessary to consider whether there is sufficient room in the roof or underfloor space of an existing home to accommodate the internal air conditioning unit.
Ducted systems are fantastic options for larger homes, as they are available in a range of sizes and configurations. They also offer a far more cost effective and energy efficient solution compared to installing individual split systems in all rooms or areas that you want to heat or cool.
However, the initial installation cost can be expensive. If you’re considering a ducted air conditioning system, the residential air conditioning specialists at Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning are happy to discuss your needs and options, and help you find the best ducted system for your home.
EVAPORATIVE AIR CONDITIONING UNITS
Evaporative air conditioners use evaporation, rather than refrigeration, to cool the air. These systems use a fan to draw hot air from the outdoor environment through a series of wet filter pads. The hot air evaporates the water, which in turn humidifies and cools the air; the fan then blows the cooled air into the house. They are only truly effective in hot, dry climates, as humidity hinders the evaporation process within the unit – this means that evaporative air conditioners are not particularly well-suited to the often-humid, coastal climate of Newcastle and its surrounds.
Need more help? Talk to Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning for professional advice on choosing the right air conditioner for your needs
For more information on our air conditioning products and services, contact Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning in Newcastle. For a no-obligation quote call us on (02) 4957 0221 or contact us online, any time.