Guide to buying a new Air Conditioner
Buying an Air Conditioner is a long term investment. You need to ensure you purchase one that not only suits your home or office but also your lifestyle. Some of the factors you should take into consideration before purchasing an Air Conditioner are unit size, unit quality, features, and system type.
We’ve put together this handy guide which outlines 7 common mistakes purchasers make when buying an Air Conditioner. Avoid these costly mistakes, thanks to Air Conditioner Wizards.
1. Buying a unit that is too big for your room
The most obvious details which purchasers ignore when choosing a new air conditioner is the size of the space they will be cooling. Part of the reason we give free assessments of homes and businesses is so that we can personally determine how much power your unit will need to optimally cool your home. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing the right size unit, as you will learn further on.
Too powerful, and you will be wasting a lot of money both in the initial purchase and for ongoing utility costs. It will shut off when the right temperature is quickly reached, and turn back on when it rises again, wasting a lot of energy in the process. It will also affect the overall humidity of the room, making the air unpleasant for everyone.
As a general guideline, you will need between 1 and 1.5 kilowatts power capacity per 10 sq. meters of space. This means that a 60 square meter space will probably require a conditioner with 6-9 kw of power. This figure doesn’t take into account things like how tall your ceiling is, the effect of windows and doors, and the general insulation of the building. It is, however, a useful way to tell if you are on the right track, or totally off the mark. A full professional assessment can tell you how the specifics of your space will affect your optimal buying decision.
2. Buying a unit that is too small for your room
Some people make the opposite mistake as above, and think that a smaller unit can still work well for a large room if they just choose a colder setting and let it run a little longer. Not only does this become incredibly frustrating as you wait for an inadequately sized machine to do a very large job, but it means the cool air dispersal around the room will be chronically inconsistent. The area of the room closest to the unit will be noticeably colder than anywhere else, and other areas will be oddly warm with less circulated air.
As your air conditioner struggles to bring the temperature of the whole room down, you will use a lot of power and quickly run down the many moving parts it depends on. Smaller units may be initially cheaper when you buy them, but they are a poor long term decision for cooling large rooms. When you factor in the high power costs, heightened need for repairs and shortened lifespan, you will be paying a lot more money in the long run.
The only smart way to go about it is to figure out what the ideal size/power unit you need for the specific room you want, and then assess each room with the same scrutiny.
3. Buying a low quality or used system
Air conditioners, even the simplest ones, are highly complex pieces of engineering. There are many things which can go wrong and prevent one from working as well as it should or from running at all. The condenser, the fan, the filters and several other important pieces can become stuck, distorted or non-functioning over periods of over-activity or inactivity.
When you purchase a used air conditioner from someone else, you have no way to verify the history of the machine, or the condition of any of its important parts. It could be in need of expensive maintenance. Also, changes to regulations means it is illegal to install some air conditioners that don’t meet current EER (energy efficiency ratings).
A machine which has not been well-maintained will run inefficiently, making your energy bill shoot up immensely. You will also run up enormous repair bills every time a specialist has to come out just to see what is wrong with it. Air conditioning should be seen as an upgrade to your home and not merely as a quick fix to a hot room. You owe it to your home or business and your family or workforce to invest the time and the money to get a premium machine that is in pristine condition. Cheap solutions often end up being the most expensive in the long run, if you don’t plan ahead or are unwilling to make the better purchase to start with.
4. Skimping on necessary/convenient features
Beyond the basics of your air conditioner’s ability to cool a room, there are several additional features worth considering when you make your purchase. Which ones you want will depend upon your specific preferences and circumstances. You may regret it if you forego a special feature you didn’t realize would be important. You also don’t want to overpay for something you will never use, so discretion and accurate information are vital.
Air purification is the most important component to consider. A quality unit should have state-of-the-art air filtration system. The benefits of cleaner air are enormous and over the course of time can greatly improve your quality of life at home and at work.
You should always enquire about a unit’s air filtering system before buying. Other highly desirable features to consider are things like custom fan speed control, handheld remote control and the ability to place the unit on a timer. These may seem like unnecessary luxuries, but they can greatly enhance your ability to use, adjust, and enjoy your unit. They can also prevent the common problem of forgetting to turn the air conditioner off when you have left the room. This will greatly prolong the unit’s lifespan, and cut down on your energy bill.
Your air conditioning unit should be treated like any other major, long-term addition to your living space. It’s usually worth it to pay a little more for the right accessories that greatly enhance its functionality. The ability to choose exactly when, how, and where your air conditioner works will go a long way toward helping you enjoy having it and getting the most for your money. Since installing air conditioning in your home is a pretty major process, it’s far better to get the right machine the first time than to try to upgrade and change everything just a few years down the road when you are ready to get something better.
5. Split System vs Ducted Systems
Split systems have an indoor unit and an outdoor unit with pipework and electrical connecting the two. With advancement in technology, split systems have become far quieter and the indoor units are less intrusive than their predecessors.
With split a/c systems, you have the flexibility of choosing to cool just one room at a time. This is great if you only have a few small key rooms in the house to cool. This option is far more cost effective than installing a ducted unit where most of the system would be wasted. Split systems are cheaper to buy and install therefore often the most convenient option.When choosing this option, be sure to close the doors on the rooms not being cooled to stop the cool air flowing into the warm rooms.
You might think that it would be wise to save a little money by having one split system to cool multiple rooms in a home. This misconception almost always proves to be an enormous waste of expensive energy and gives you far less control of how your home is cooled. It’s a short-sighted attempt to save money on hardware and installation, resulting in a very poorly cooled home.
The smartest thing to do in most cases is to have a separate indoor unit for every distinct room you want cooled in your home.
This allows you to use the a/c only where you plan to be or to set different temperatures for each room should different people have their own preferences. It’s a far more efficient way of making sure nothing is wasted and your air conditioning system is not being overworked. In fact, this is the primary reason why split air conditioning is often preferred over a central a/c system.
Ducted Units have one large outdoor unit which blows the cooled air through large flexible ducts in the ceiling to outlets in the individual rooms. A return outlet brings the air back through a unit in the ceiling, recycling, filtering, cooling an returning the air back into the rooms. A control box allows you to set different zones through the house giving you the flexibility to set different temperatures in the individual rooms or zones or completely shut down the zones not in use. While being more expensive it is a far better option if you have several key rooms you want to cool or heat at the same time.
A ducted unit is more discreet with only the outlets in the ceiling being visible within the room. Most modern outlets blend in with the ceiling due to the array of choices on today’s market.
When considering your needs and the two main options available it is also worth remembering that, with split systems, for every room you want to cool there is an indoor unit on the wall as well as an outdoor unit, so make sure you have the space to accommodate this.
If you install multiple split systems the cost does multiply as well as the space for the individual units so it is worth considering whether a ducted would be a better option after all. A ducted system is much quieter than a split system making it a better option for anyone who may have trouble sleeping with noise disturbance. This quieter option will help maintain peace and tranquility in your home.
6. Being unprepared
Air conditioning is just one major element to keeping your home cool and your air fresh, any time of the year. It’s effectiveness will be magnified if you take a few basic steps to improve the rest of your home in conjunction with having your air conditioner installed.
Creating a more insulated space means that your a/c unit will not have to work very hard to bring the inside air temperature down, or to keep it there. Even if you don’t want to make major improvements to the walls of your home, little things like plugging the spaces under doors or in windows as well as window coverings where there is direct sunlight can help keep the system working more efficiently and reducing energy usage.
Prior preparation also means knowing the intricacies of your home design. A number of factors, for instance, where sunlight hits to the pitch of the roof, will affect whether a split or ducted system is better for you.
The power you will need is another consideration. Some electrical boards need to be upgraded to allow space for an a/c to be installed. One room may absorb nearly all the sunlight during the day or have an enormous window which will require a lot more attention from the a/c than the rest of the house. Maybe you don’t even need cooling in every single room. If you don’t take these things into account before you begin, you will probably have to make expensive changes later on down the road.
7. Not getting a custom assessment
Despite all the information that is available about picking the right air conditioner system for your home, there is only one way to really know you are making the ideal choice. If you value “your home as your castle” and essential to your quality of life, it just makes sense that you would be diligent about installing air conditioning that is optimised for the unique layout of your home and the way you intend to use it. Going for generic solutions is never a good idea: it’s the biggest and most common mistake people make when shopping for an air conditioner.
If you are considering purchasing an air conditioner for your home and don’t want to fall for any of the major mistakes that are so common to buyers, we urge you to give us a call on (07) 3202 5764 or send us a message to set up your free inspection.