Temperature rises and it's time to think about cooling solutions that suit your home. But the question on most people's lips is "Which air conditioner is right for me?". Our guide and tips below will help you narrow down just the right A/C for you.
First and foremost, we have to understand that each home is unique. Living circumstances, room size, ceiling height, insulation and location, ALL play a big part when choosing the right air conditioner. There are 3 important questions you should answer that will give you a better idea of your home's particular air conditioning requirements:
What size is the room you wish to cool?
Room size will determine the size and power of the air conditioner required. As a rough guide, 80 watts of power per square metre for bedrooms, and 125 watts of power per square metre for living rooms are ideal. So for example, you would need at least a 1.25kW cooling capacity for effective results if your TV room is 10m2.
TIP - remember reverse cycle units often have different cooling & heating capacities, so make sure you check both!
What kind of room are you wanting to cool?
An open living room will have different air conditioning requirements than a closed off bedroom. Think about the room you're planning on installing your A/C unit (or where a portable will stay most of the time) - Are the doors constantly being open, constantly letting heat in? How much traffic does that area of your home usually get throughout the day? More open rooms will need higher power.
How much do you want to spend?
With rising power costs, we should be mindful of how much energy we are using at home. Cheaper, less efficient models aren't always better in the long run. Check the energy efficiency (or wattage) of the unit, it might be worth it spending a bit more upfront - to save money long term. Purchasing from a reliable brand with a decent warranty will also give you peace of mind that the unit will last.
TIP - Sometimes it is better to buy an air conditioning unit that exceeds the requirements of your home. It is usually more cost effective to have a more powerful unit on for less time, instead of an "adequate" one running for long periods. Plus, look for units that can automatically switch on/off, to maintain the temperature without using too much energy.
So, what solution is right for me?
- Portable Air Conditioners are a great cooling solution for renters and big homeowners because of their mobility. They are great to cool rooms between 10 to 35m2, and work better with rooms that are more closed off. Closing all doors, windows and curtains to block any drafts will also dramatically improve the cooling efficiency.
- Evaporative Coolers are a more natural method for cooling than air conditioners. They use only water and air, ideal for big, open areas. They generally require a window to be slightly open, so a portable unit will let you move it from room to room. These products work best in hot, dry conditions; but they are not suitable for humid areas - like the northern parts of Australia.
- Split System Air Conditioners are a great installed cooling (and heating if reverse cycle) solution for homeowners. They come in different wattages, so they work for many room sizes. Make sure you choose an inverter model, as they are more energy-efficient. Since they are installed, these are not suitable for renters.
- Window Box Air Conditioners are designed to cool or heat the room in which they are installed in. They fit into a window frame, so they do not disrupt your home's design; and they're easily removed, so they could be useful even for renters.
Hot Cooling Tips
- Shade north- & west-facing windows. Either with curtains, foliage or glass tinting.
- Shut windows & curtains early on hot days. And do not forget to open up the whole house when it cools down in the evening.
- Try a fan first. Milder weather days are better to switch your fans on and save some energy. If it gets too hot for a fan, then it's time to switch the air conditioner on!
- Set the temperature to 26°C to save money. This temperature will keep your home (and your wallet) comfortable.
- Only cool down rooms you are in. And then close windows, curtains and doors to keep the cool air in.
- Look after your coolers. Clean fan blades and air conditioners regularly in order to keep them working at their most efficient.