When it comes to staying comfortable throughout the year, an air conditioning (AC) unit is essential for every Aussie homeowner. With scorching Summers and frigid Winters, having an AC unit is more than just a luxury; it’s an essential component of an enjoyable and cosy living environment. However, selecting the right AC unit for your home can be a daunting task, considering the variety of options available in the market. Luckily, we’re here to make the decision making process that much simpler for you.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing the perfect AC unit that suits your specific needs and preferences, so read on to find out more.
1. Determine Your Cooling (or Heating) Needs
When choosing the ideal cooling units for your home, the first step is determining your cooling (or heating) needs. Consider factors such as the size of your space, the number of rooms you need to cool, and the climate in your area. This evaluation will help determine the cooling capacity (measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs) required for your AC unit. Generally, you will need somewhere between 20 to 30 BTUs per square foot of cooling power. For example, 250 to 300 square feet would need 7,000 BTUs to cool, while a room or home that’s 1,400 to 1,500 square feet would need 24,000 BTUs. An AC unit with insufficient cooling capacity may struggle to cool your home adequately, while an oversized unit may cycle on and off frequently, wasting precious energy. When in doubt, consult with HV
AC professionals or use online calculators to determine the appropriate BTU rating for your space.
2. Decide White Type Of AC Unit You Need
When choosing the type of AC unit you need for your home, you will be faced with several different options, each with its own advantages and considerations:
- Split-Systems: Split system air conditioners consist of two main components—an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is installed inside the room and blows cool air, while the outdoor unit houses the compressor and other components. Split systems are versatile, energy-efficient, and can provide cooling to individual rooms or specific zones. They also can provide both heating and cooling options, allowing for a HVAC solution that can keep you comfortable year-round. Multi-split systems are also a great option if you are looking to install multiple AC units around the home.
- Ducted Systems: Ducted systems are designed to cool an entire home or multiple rooms. They consist of a central cooling unit that is typically installed in the roof space or outside the house. Cool air is distributed through a network of ducts and vents installed in the ceiling or walls, providing uniform cooling throughout the home. However, they require professional installation and are typically more expensive.
- Window Air Conditioners: Window air conditioners are self-contained units that are installed in a window or a hole in an exterior wall. These units are suitable for cooling individual rooms or small spaces. They are relatively affordable and easy to install, making them a popular choice for apartments or smaller houses.
- Portable AC Units: Portable AC units are mobile and easy to install. They typically require a vent to release hot air, such as a window or sliding door. Portable units offer flexibility and are a great option if you are renting, but may have lower cooling capacity compared to other types of AC units.
When choosing the ideal set up for your home, be sure to consider the advantages, limitations, and compatibility of each type of AC unit with your home’s layout and cooling needs.
3. Energy Efficiency Is Key
With ever-rising electricity costs, the energy efficiency of an air conditioning unit is an important factor to consider when selecting the right option for your home. Not to mention, selecting an energy-efficient AC unit will not only save you money but also contribute to a greener environment. For starters, look for models with high energy star ratings. In Australia, the Energy Rating Label provides information on the unit’s energy efficiency, allowing you to compare different models easily. Remember that while more energy-efficient models may have a higher upfront cost, they often provide long-term savings through reduced energy expenses.
Interested in finding out how much you can shave off your utility bills? Learn more about how much money you can save with this handy energy rating calculator.
4. Prioritise Longevity & Durability
While it may be tempting to choose an inexpensive AC unit, spending a little extra can help to guarantee longevity and durability. This is because high-quality units with proper installation and regular maintenance are less likely to experience breakdowns and require costly repairs, compared to cheaper options on the market. Unsurprisingly, AC units that are built with quality components and designed for durability tend to have longer lifespans. This means you can enjoy consistent and reliable cooling/heating for a more extended period without the need for a complete replacement. You can trust that your unit will perform well and maintain a comfortable indoor environment, even during extended periods of hot weather — something that is particularly important in regions with high temperatures or climates that demand consistent cooling. The last thing you want is for your AC unit to break down on a scorcher of a day, so be sure to make a smart investment by prioritising longevity and durability when choosing the most suitable option for your home.
5. Consider Installation & Maintenance Costs
Last but not least, be sure to consider the installation requirements and ongoing maintenance for each type of AC unit on the market. The installation cost of an AC unit can vary depending on the type and complexity of the system. Some units, such as ductless mini-split systems or central air conditioning, may require professional installation, which can add to the initial investment. In contrast, window units are often cheaper and easier to install. By considering installation costs, you can plan your budget accordingly and ensure that you select a system that aligns with your financial resources.
Additionally, regular maintenance is crucial for the optimal performance and longevity of your AC unit, and different systems may have varying maintenance requirements and associated costs. For example, some units may require professional servicing, while others can be maintained with simple tasks such as cleaning filters or inspecting coils. Understanding the maintenance requirements and associated costs will help you plan for ongoing upkeep and ensure that you can properly care for your AC unit in the long-term.
And there you have it — everything you need to know about selecting the right AC unit for your home. Investing in the right AC unit is an investment in your comfort and well-being. So, take the time to research, and choose wisely. When in doubt, be sure to consult with a professional HVAC technician. They can assess your specific needs, evaluate your home’s layout, and recommend the most appropriate AC unit based on your requirements. All the best!