Your investment in new air conditioning is an important decision. It’s an expensive purchase that will have a lasting effect on both the comfort of your home and its valuation. Additionally, your choice of air conditioner will drastically affect the long-term cost of keeping your house cool – and over time this ongoing cost may outstrip your initial investment.
Choosing From All Types of Air Conditioning
The type of air conditioner you choose will affect how your air is cooled, how efficient your system is, and how powerful it is. Some options are powerful enough to cool whole buildings, while others are suitable for single-room use only:
Ducted Air Conditioners
Ducted air conditioning solutions are the most efficient choice for cooling entire homes and businesses. Vents carry cool air from one central air conditioner (typically located outside the building or on the roof) to multiple rooms. Zoning allows users to fine-tune the temperature in different areas or turn off cooling in unused parts of the building. This is a popular solution for offices, hotels, and homes because it is more cost-effective for large areas than other solutions.
- Most efficient method for delivering cooling to larger commercial and residential buildings
- Adjust cooling between different zones
- Adds to the value of your building
- Ducted reverse cycle air conditioning provide heating as well as cooling
- Ducting may be hard to fit in some smaller homes
- If not maintained, ducting can ‘leak’, lowering the efficiency of the cooling
Split-System Air Conditioners
Split-system air conditioners are a popular and efficient solution for cooling 1 or 2 rooms. This type of air conditioner has two parts that are ‘split’ to increase efficiency. An outside unit contains all the parts that get hot, ensuring heat stays outside the building, and an inside unit holds the cooler parts. Some split-system installations involve multiple indoor units for one outside unit, enabling users to target different areas for cooling.
- The ‘split’ increases efficiency by preventing heat from escaping back into your rooms
- A larger compressor means split-systems are far more powerful than portable and window air conditioners
- Multiple indoor units allow users to cool multiple rooms and set different temperatures in different areas
- Adds to the value of your home
- Impossible to retrofit in some rooms – dependent on outside wall space
- Split-systems are less cost-efficient for larger buildings (ducted is superior)
Evaporative Air Conditioners
Evaporative air conditioners remove energy from warm air by using it to evaporate water, cooling the air and increasing humidity in the process. These air conditioners tend to be smaller and less powerful, and effectiveness varies according to the level of humidity in the local environment.
- Efficient and cost-effective under the right conditions – most evaporative air conditioners can achieve 80% lower cost-per-hour than a ducted or split system
- Cheaper to purchase than other forms of air conditioning
- Less powerful than ducted or split systems – multiple units will be required to cool large spaces or more than one room
- Evaporative air conditioners become less efficient as the air in your home becomes more humid – this makes them unsuitable for some parts of Australia
- Air gets more humid when running – can be uncomfortable for some people
- Work best when outside doors or windows are left open
Portable Air Conditioners
A portable air conditioner is an easy-to-move freestanding unit that can be moved from room to room to provide cooling as required. These units vent warm air through a window (using a window kit) or through a wall hole.
- Can be moved into different rooms as needed
- No permanent installation or changes to the building required
- Lower cost than other types of air conditioning
- Some unit doubler as heaters, making them useful all-year round
- Each unit can cool just one room only
- Use up valuable floor space
- Less powerful and efficient than other cooling options
- Can be noisy
Window Air Conditioners
These are small air conditioners that have been designed to fit perfectly within a partially-open window frame. These units take in air from the room, venting hot air outside the window and returning cool air inside. Normally these units are installed semi-permanently within a window frame, although they can also be installed into a wall opening.
- Efficient and powerful air conditioning
- No permanent changes to the building required for installation (unless installed in a wall opening)
- Takes up a significant part of a window, blocking views
Which Type of Air Conditioning Should You Choose?
Looking through the types of air conditioning above you might struggle to choose the right option for your home. Ducted, split-system and evaporative air conditioners are all common solutions, while window and portable air conditioners are used less. Of these choices, most Perth homeowners (and businesses) prefer either ducted or split-system, as these deliver the most effective cooling in the Australian climate.
Whether you’ve made your choice or need more advice, your next step should be to contact an experienced local company who supply and install your air conditioning. Expert knowledge can be invaluable in not only choosing the type of air conditioning but also in selecting the brand and model that will deliver your desired cooling solution.