We’ve come a long way since the early 1900s when cooling the home required blowing a fan across a container of ice. This was considered top technology for the time, but most households couldn’t afford the expense. Nowadays, keeping your home comfortable is so much easier, and it’s estimated that two out of three Australian dwellings make use of some form of air conditioning.
But with so many technologies and options available, how does one choose what’s right for your home? The objective is to find a solution that is efficient, effective, and convenient. Follow these tips to find the best heating and cooling solution for your home. Ask yourself the following questions:
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- How much can I afford to spend?
Step one is naturally about setting your budget. This will determine either the type or model you opt for. Ducted systems are popular for those building new homes, but installing them in houses that already exist can be costly because of the extra installation costs required.
For those looking for an affordable solution, wall-mounted units are an alternative. They are designed to cool one area. This means they can initially be added to a single bedroom or the hottest rooms in the home. You can also be added to more rooms as you save money in the future.
- What size aircon do I need?
Get the measuring tape out and get to know your house better. To assess the size aircon you need to cool a space efficiently (in other words, the kilowatt output your home requires), you need to get details of the rooms’ sizes and consider the windows and existing insulation.
The implications of choosing a too-small system can end up costing you in the long term. An undersized system will have to operate at its maximum all the time. If an aircon is too big for space, it will repeatedly cycle on and off. The result in both situations? Unnecessary system wear, high energy consumption, and inconsistent room temperatures.
This legwork is a crucial part of the process of choosing the right aircon for your home, so don’t be tempted to estimate numbers.
- What features do I want?
If you’re out of touch with the latest aircon technology advancements, you’ll be surprised how many innovations are making them more efficient and convenient to use. Some can communicate with you via an app downloaded to your smartphone, so you can make adjustments or turn then on and off even when you’re not home. Others come with sensors that detect when everyone has left a room and then automatically shift to a mode that saves power. Timers have the advantage of being able to set the system to turn on or off at critical times, such as before you return home from work or after you have fallen asleep.
- How could I zone my home?
A ducted system has the advantage that it can be split into multiple zones. This gives you the flexibility to heat or cool only the areas you’re using. For an average-sized home, you could consider ‘splitting’ it into two zones to be cooled. For example, the living area and bedrooms. Then there are the habits of your family to consider. We’re all different, and while some enjoy sleeping with the aircon on, others don’t. By setting up your home with an HVAC system that allows for individually zoned rooms, everyone will be happy.
- What sort of efficiency do I want?
All homeowners will be looking for airconditioning solutions that are energy efficient and kind to the environment. With heating and cooling appliances accounting for a third of energy usage in homes, it’s an important question to consider before you choose a new HVAC system. Inverter technology used in most new units is superbly energy-efficient, cutting down on energy use. They regulate the energy going into the compressor, and instead of operating at full capacity all the time, they only use the power needed to maintain a constant temperature.
Energy star ratings allocated to models will give you evidence of the efficiency of it. The ratings are based on output compared to energy consumption. Going for a cheaper model won’t always save you money in the long term. More energy efficient units will save you money on energy bills every month. This can add up to considerable amounts over time.
- Choose an expert
Reading reviews online may be an excellent start to the investigation into a new HVAC system, and it will educate you on how aircon works, so you know the right questions to ask. However, it’s advisable to get a couple of air conditioner installers to quote you on the best possible solution for your home too before you make a decision. They will be able to assess the property and offer you the best options based on your needs.