5th Star Airconditioning
Important Points to Consider
Before purchasing & installing a new air conditioner there is a number of important factors you should take into consideration. Here is our list of 12 split system features you should carefully consider before handing over any $$$. We suggest you print this list off and have it with you throughout your research.
This can be perhaps the most important consideration. It is important to research the warranty information to ensure that if there is any fault or problem during this period then the unit will be replaced or serviced free of charge. As a bare minimum we would recommend a 1 year warranty period that covers both parts & associated labour costs. The more reputable brands normally have a domestic warranty of 4 – 5 years.
Size it up
Size is one of your most important considerations. You need to decide whether you are cooling a single room, a selection of rooms or the entire house. A unit that is too big for the space you want to cool will create an excess of refrigerated air and a damp, humid feeling surround. On the other side of the coin, an air conditioning system too small for the living space will be running constantly – wasting energy and adding $$$ to your power bill.
> Click here for an online calculation
Consider the area & climate in which you live. Will the AC’s temperature range suit this climate? Will it ensure you have comfortable temperatures in the middle of summer and winter (for reverse cycle systems). Be very thorough in investigating an air conditioner that will be adequate for your particular needs.
Ensure that the temperature can be changed in increments of 1 degree or 2 degrees at the very most. This is important in 2 respects. Firstly it allows you a greater level of command and precision over controlling your living space comfort. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, it has an enormous bearing on energy consumption and your power bills.
Fan speed settings
The more choices you have in fan settings, the better. Again, it ensures you have a greater level of control over your living environment and ultimate comfort levels. There is also the added benefit of the energy efficiency – the more fan speed settings you have available, the more energy savings you will realise.
Energy Saver Switch
Some of the more reputable brands may have a “ Sleep Setting” switch. This in essence, is an “Energy Saver” because whilst in this mode the air conditioner slows the cooling process to a minimum. So when you are sleeping, the unit is saving energy and thus improving your power bill.
Easy Access Filter
One of the advantages of a split system air conditioner is that they also purify the air through a filtration system. Every split system will have a filter that should be cleaned at regular intervals. It’s always good practice to ensure that your air conditioning unit has a slide out or cassette style filter rather than a frame enclosed type. This will save a lot of future maintenance headaches as you can do it yourself. The slide type filters are quick and easy to remove, clean and then reinstall.
An inverter is basically a variable speed device on the compressor drive motor. It allows the system to ramp up & down depending on the output requirements at the time. An inverter system tends to be very efficient at part load operation, which is a more common mode in the typical household environment. As such, if you are planning on using your air conditioner for long periods in a hot climate, it may be worth considering paying a little extra for an inverter system. NB: These systems may have a lower star rating than a standard AC due to the capacity rating being calculated at full load. Don’t be fooled, an inverter AC will spend most of its working life at part load where it will be greatly more efficient than your conventional unit.
Look for the stars! The more stars, the more energy efficient the unit is and the less they cost to operate. Unfortunately, they’re also more expensive, so you have to find a balance. In Australia, particularly here in Queensland, there are 2 types of Energy Rating Labels:
- Cooling Only Models – you will find a blue band of stars and a blue box containing an energy consumption figure.
- Reverse Cycle Models – you will find a blue band of stars & a blue box containing an energy consumption figure. In addition you will find a red band of stars & a red box containing an energy consumption figure. So there are 2 energy consumptions ratings – blue = cooling and red = heating.
- Energy saving tips and calculator
Look into the specifications of the air conditioner and establish the throw of the system – that being how far the internal part of the split system will expel cool air into the living space (normally indicated in meters) some units can throw air up to 17 meters.
Value for your money
Take into consideration the initial outlay for the system vs. the ongoing power bills you can expect from the star rating (Energy Efficiency). You will normally pay more for a higher star rating but this will often be offset (and more) by reduced power bills over the longer term.
How quiet is the system that you’re looking at? The last thing you want is a loud, audibly intrusive unit that affects your living comfort. Beware unnecessary noise from an air conditioner – it will make your life hell. Check the decibel specifications of the unit –the reputable brands seem to have the lowest decibel levels.