When it comes to installing air conditioning, there are more things to consider than you might imagine. You need to think about the size and layout of the area you want to heat or cool, and then research the most efficient style of air conditioner for the space. After this, you’ll be making decisions about where to install outdoor units, or indoor outlets. If you’re going around in circles trying to plan an air conditioning installation , try these helpful hints!
Split systems versus ducted air conditioning
There are two main options when it comes to domestic air conditioning – split systems or ducted .
Split systems are ideal if you want to cool a smaller area of the house. People choose split systems because:
• they are more affordable to purchase and operate; and
• repair, replacement and running costs are lower as split systems are only used when and where needed and demand less energy.
The disadvantages include:
• Their appearance. The compressor is large and needs to be located outside. They can be unsightly and noisy.
• Their limitations. Each room or separate area of the house may require its own unit for maximum effect.
If you’re looking at heating or cooling the whole house, it’s best to look at ducted air conditioning. People prefer this option because:
• you can heat or cool an entire home through a network of hidden ducts;
• wall panels are discreet; and
• the thermostat need only be set at the desired temperature once for the house to remain at this temperature.
The main disadvantage is a higher up front expense, although this is offset over time.
Ducted air conditioning also comes with option of a ‘zone system’, which allows you to control air conditioning around the home where it’s needed most.
Shopping for an air conditioner
Things to check when comparing air conditioners include the sound power level, found on a label on the unit or in literature specifications. The quietest air conditioners have a lower number of dB(A). Compare units of the same capacity for a guide.
Here are some of the other terms you might come across on your search:
• Reverse cycle units offer heating and cooling, and benefit regions with cooler winters as their heating option is very efficient.
• Inverter or digital scroll type units are generally more efficient in regions where the system will be used more frequently year round.
• Split systems are more energy efficient in general.
• Load control systems have the ability to be placed on a cycle to turn on and off during peak periods.
• Automatic timers provide the capability to turn the unit off or on at a predetermined time.
Where to locate the outdoor unit
It is really important to ensure noise is not going to be intrusive for neighbours, so the siting of the outdoor unit will be strategic. Obviously you don’t want the unit in a prominent location in your yard, however you should still have a chat with your neighbours about any noise concerns they might have.
Areas to avoid include:
• Adjacent to your neighbours’ bedroom windows, or outdoor living areas.
• Adjacent to any hard surfaces like overhangs or walls, which may cause noise reverberation or amplification.
The best location for the condensing unit should be where there is shade, where there is unobstructed airflow and where it will not be more than 15 metres away from the indoor units’ location. It’s preferable to install the unit facing the backyard, or on a front or side wall facing the street, which will reduce any noise from reaching neighbours. In QLD, noise provisions are handled by local governments so it’s best to check with yours about the sound power rating and any suggestions they may have for location of the condensing unit.