Air Conditioning – A Quick Introduction
Every home needs a comfortable climate. Whether it’s a new home building project, or a home improvement project, air conditioners are essential for the comfort and well being of a family.
It is often not easy to choose an ideal cooling and heating system for a home. Depending on the objectives and intent of the home owner, an ideal option may vary greatly, and there are a myriad of different options to consider.
To help with the selection process, this article will explain the different types of air conditioner systems, their benefits and downsides, and which situations or environments they are best suited for.
This article aims to provide factual information, best air conditioners that will help a reader decide which system is more suitable for their needs.
Types of Systems
There are generally 3 main categories of air conditioner systems for homes. Variations apply but generally, one would need to decide on one of these categories before proceeding to decide on the brand and model to install.
Wall Split Systems
Wall split systems are the most common type seen in many homes. This comprises of an outdoor compressor that cools the air – and multiple fan coils or wall units that are installed in each room. Larger rooms may require multiple wall units for sufficient cooling capacity.
Split Systems are easily installed (requiring only minimal cabling work) and can be quite economical to run. Since each unit is operated separately using a remote controller, each unit can be turned on and off individually. This allows a user to conserve power – and only switch on the units in the rooms that require cooling.
A possible downside to split systems is that each wall unit takes up space noticeably in a room and some home owners may not like this and may find it obtrusive.
The latest models of split systems come with high energy star ratings – and the models have improved in energy efficiency significantly over the years.
Ducted systems are becoming increasingly popular. This system comprises also of an outdoor main cooling compressor, that takes air in, cools it, and distributes through the home – via Ducts. This is the key difference between ducted and split systems.
The ducting requires significantly more time and effort to install. And is ideally done during the home construction process. Otherwise, one would need to hack and embed the ducts into the walls or roof excess – and close up the openings manually.
Ducted air conditioners typically are reverse cycle – which means they can produce cold and warm air. This means that you can keep your home cool during summers, and warm during winters. Some Split Systems also feature reverse cycle functionality.
A key benefit of Ducted systems is that it is almost unnoticeable. Since air is distributed via ducts that are embedded “flush” to the ceiling or walls, you only see the air vents. This makes it the most unobstrusive system type. Some home owners would find this desirable – as opposed to large wall units in each room.
Another key benefit is maintenance. For a Split System, one would need to have each wall unit cleaned and maintained by professionals (in addition to the outdoor compressor unit). For Ducted systems, you only need to maintain the outdoor unit and have ducted cleaned routinely. Troubleshooting is also much simpler as you have far less electronic components than a Split System
Evaporative systems are in a class of its own – literally. These are more like air coolers. They do not produce the crisp cold air that traditional air cons produce. Instead, they take in air, pass the air through wet cooling pads, and produces cooled air. This cooled air is then distributed throughout a home via ducts – similar to the ducted reverse cycle systems.
A key benefit of evaporative systems is that you can operate it with your windows and doors open! Since it does not utilize refrigerative methods, but instead evaporative, you could leave your home open and enjoy a cooling breeze throughout your home.
While the air is not as cold as a refrigerative system, it still suffices to cool a home efficiently, even in Summer.
Another key benefit is Wellness. Many home owners may have family members that suffer from sinusitis, or other respiratory related ailments. For such, an evaporative system (being non-refrigerative and using natural air) is a better option. For this reason, many households with new-born babies or generally a need for a more natural atmosphere, would choose the evaporative system.
Finally, in terms of energy efficiency, an evaporative system also offers the lowest power consumption.
A downside to this system is that it only cools air. It does not produce warm air. Hence you would need to install a separate gas heating system to complement this.
The Sum Of It All
I hope this article has helped your understanding of the types of home cooling you can install for your home. In summary, different systems have different benefits and downsides. You will need to evaluate your own set of home heating and cooling requirements, to decide which system suits you best.