THE PATHFINDER TO YOUR AIR CONDITIONER
The most important things to know
to choose meaningfully.
Air conditioners process the warm air in your room and cool it down to control the overall temperature, humidity, and ventilation. While there are many different types of air conditioners, the way they all work is pretty much based on the same principle. An Air Conditioner capitalizes on the idea that when a liquid turns into a gas or evaporates, it absorbs heat. On the other hand, when it turns into a liquid from a gas or condenses, it emanates heat energy. The hot air in your room is used by the AC evaporator to convert the coolant or refrigerant running through its coils into gas. The converted gas then travels to the outdoor unit where the condenser turns the vapours into liquid once more, expelling the absorbed heat and cooling the air.
Smart air conditioners, being connected to the internet, can also be controlled using your digital assistant or your smartphone (even when away). It can also interact with other systems and appliances in your home (being, therefore, part of the scenes and rules), and provide you with further insights of usage patterns and energy consumption.
Since you can readjust the temperature whenever needed, it helps you to save up on electricity expenditure and overuse of the AC.
Time saved thanks to autonomous regulation of the air conditioner.
Quality of life improved thanks to self-regulated ambience temperature.
Peace of mind increased thanks to direct access to temperature and energy consumption reports.
Savings increased by optimizing consumption based on home occupancy and avoiding overuse.
There are different kinds of air conditioners, depending on how they interact with the room environment. Below you can find the most common types of air conditioners in the market:
Central air conditioners are usually used to cool down large spaces and houses as they are incredibly efficient. They operate through ducts and vents that receive warm air and supply fresh air, effectively regulating the internal environment of the space. These ducts and vents need to be installed in the walls or the floors so that they can circulate the air.
These ACs consist of two parts, with one being mounted on a wall in your room to cool it down, and the other placed somewhere outside so that it can release the heat out into the environment.
These air conditioning units are split into two components, the inner cooling part and the outer heat releasing part, which is connected by wiring and tubing to allow the transfer of the absorbed heat. These systems are usually preferred because of their simplicity and silence. They can be used to cool down various zones of the house, mounted on walls relevant to that particular section of your home.
As suggested by the name, portable air conditioners are single-unit AC systems that can be moved around where needed. These are perfect for when you do not have enough space to mount a window system on a wall or are limited by specific regulations. Ideally, they can be used to cool down rooms no larger than 45 m2.
These are also single-unit AC systems that are installed within the wall permanently considering that a hole must be made in the exterior wall. A hefty sleeve is used to handle the weight of the AC unit as it is put through the wall. Through-the-wall ACs tend to be more energy-efficient than their counterparts as they are installed through an airtight seal.
PTACs are heavyweight air conditioning systems that are usually installed below the window, a little way above the ground. They do not need ducts and can be used as heaters as well. You will most commonly find these kinds of units in hotels, hospitals, and other commercial buildings.
This innovative means of refrigeration leverages that, regardless of the weather and climate above Earth, the temperature between 1 and 2 metres below the ground is constant at 13ºC. An earth loop is created using pipes through which circulates water. During the summer, it takes heat from your house and expels it under the ground. In the winters, it can double up as a heater as it takes heat from the ground to increase the temperature in your home.
Before you set out to purchase the perfect air conditioner for your home, there are several aspects that you need to take into consideration. Here are some of the main variables to consider:
The kind of air conditioner you need to get mostly depends on how large it is the area you need to cool down. BTU/h (Britsh Thermal Units per hour) are the units of measurement that are used to measure how much heat a system can potentially remove from a given area in an hour. The higher the BTU, the higher the cooling capacity. To calculate the needed BTU for your room, you need to consider some things. To begin with, measure the length, the width and height of your room. Also, consider the number and size of the windows and doors in your room. If the room is exposed to a lot of sunlight, you will need an extra 10% capacity. A shadier, cooler room will have the capacity cut down by 10%. Additionally, each person who occupies the room above a couple will account for 600 extra BTUs. As a general rule it is advised a minimum capacity of 7000BTUs for a room of 18 m2, 10000BTUs for a room of 24 m2, and 15000BTUs for a room of 36 m2.
Certain types of AC units tend to make a lot of noise when their compressor is running. Portable ACs compromise on silence for mobility since their evaporator and condenser compartments are not separated. Split ductless AC systems tend to be noiseless, making them a good choice for quiet rooms.
The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating, with values that vary between 1 and 20, is used to determine the effectiveness of an AC filter. A higher score indicates that the filter does better at removing particles from the passing air. Fibreglass filters can stop around 10% of pollutants (MERV 1-4). Pleated Polyester filters collect 45% of passing particles, whereas High-efficiency filters catch 85% of them. HEPA filters are best at 97% and only work with certain types of AC units. You can also get washable AC filters that do not need to be replaced, though they have a MERV rating of 1-4.
You can either get an AC with a compressor with an inverter, or one without an inverter. The job of the compressor is to basically 'compress' the refrigerant or coolant until it is converted into liquid form. Then, it turns off to let the coolant absorb heat energy and be converted into a gas. A non-inverter AC works on all or none principle, meaning it runs at a fixed speed, dependent on the constant energy provided by the compressor motor. As such, the turning on and off as it reaches and falls from a set temperature produces a bit of noise, although it costs much less. An inverter AC, on the other hand, enables you to regulate and manipulate the temperature at which it runs by not running at full power at all times. This characteristic makes it much more energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run, even though the upfront payment is significantly higher.
If you are interested in leveraging your air conditioning system not only for cooling but also for heating, you should look for a reverse cycle air conditioner, usually referred to as a heat pump. While a typical air conditioner can only cool (unless paired with a furnace), a reverse cycle air conditioner can also absorb heat from the outside and transfer it inside the home, releasing it in the form of air.
You will want to buy an AC that uses a refrigerant that is not banned or in phase-out. R-410A, a mixture of R-125 and R-32, is most frequently used in modern AC systems since it has a more significant cooling property and capacity in addition to the fact that it is harmless to the ozone layer. The use of HCFCs is discontinued mainly in an active effort to terminate the depletion of the ozone layer which these refrigerants tend to cause. Freon gas, or R-22, is, therefore, being phased out.
Energy Efficiency Ratings, or EERs, measure the quantity of energy needed to reach a specific cooling degree in a given space. Units with higher EER values have a higher purchase cost as they are more energy-efficient, decreasing their operational costs. Units that are ENERGY STAR certified have been verified to meet the energy efficiency guidelines put forth by the energy efficiency authorities in the US.