If you’re investing in an air conditioner, whether it’s for your home or your business, it’s important to start by deciding which type of system will best suit your needs.
Gladstone Refrigeration and Air Conditioning services the residential, commercial, and industrial markets, and understands how matching the right system with the right environment is crucial in getting the best outcome.
This buying guide outlines the benefits of each of the six main types of AC.
Split System Air Conditioning
This consists of an external unit that draws the air from outside and into the home. It’s connected to an internal unit that adapts the temperature and pushes the air around the room.
This is the less expensive installation method and is ideal when it’s just one room being cooled or heated. Additional units can be placed in other rooms, however, your home may have limitations as to where the units can be placed.
Not only do split systems have a relatively low installation cost, but they are also efficient in terms of their running costs over time. This is especially important because, in some instances, high running costs may offset a cheap installation, but that isn’t the case with a split model. These systems are also cheaper to repair. However, the unit can be noisy even when working perfectly fine, which might make things difficult for light sleepers.
Multi-Head Air Conditioning System
The major benefit of this system is that it only requires one external unit for up to six internal units in different rooms.
This works well when the rooms are of varying sizes and require different-sized internal units. Temperatures can be set individually for each of those spaces.
With this being an extension of the split system model, it carries a lot of the same benefits with an extra level of flexibility. Multi-head devices are still cost-effective and energy-efficient – the fact that they only require one external unit increases this same efficiency, while also saving on the need to install multiple outer units. Even in buildings with low ceilings, it is easy to implement a multi-head system because they only require space on the walls (inside or outside) to work.
Ducted Air Conditioning
This system has a central unit housed in a roof space, connected to a series of ducts that direct the cool or heated air to various spaces in a building. Popular for large commercial areas, such as shopping centres and office buildings, as well as large homes that have enough space to accommodate it.
Ducted AC is quiet and is hidden from view, which is visually more pleasing and does not take up internal space. The temperature is controlled by a thermostat with zone control and while it takes longer and is more costly to install, its benefit is that it proves economical in the long run.
The costly installation is due to the system needing vents in each room to work at its best, meaning it requires more labour – but this can be more than worthwhile for consistent and subtle cooling. There are many ducted systems that also allow you to reverse their function and keep the home warm during winter; this can be very useful depending on where you live. Ducted systems aren’t compatible with every home type and they require a lot of roof space to cleanly contain the system and its ducts.
Cassette Air Conditioning
A cassette AC is also installed in the roof, saving wall and floor space. It’s most effective in a confined commercial setting such as an open-plan office, meeting room, classroom, gym, or retail shop.
The air is directed downward through a grille and dispersed in up to four directions for a 360-degree effect. These units are easy to install and maintain and are energy efficient.
Cassette conditioners provide an impressive distribution and circulation of air in wider areas – they use strong fans in the ceiling to achieve this. The roof and ceiling based installation also helps to create a more appealing space, with the fan component usually flat and not too noticeable, while also being near-silent. This creates a highly effective cooling solution, but one that can be expensive if you have to employ it on a large scale across a big office or storage facility.
Under Ceiling Air Conditioning
For a commercial space with limited roof space, which can’t accommodate a cassette system, an under ceiling AC provides another option.
The unit is mounted to the underneath of the ceiling so that wall and floor space is still kept free. They are also easy to install, economical, and effective in regulating the temperature in an office or small building environment.
Forming an effective alternative to cassette models, under ceiling systems also have a lot of the same benefits. For example, the condenser is often outside the building, and this guarantees the under ceiling air conditioner will be as quiet as it needs to be. It might generate some visual clutter on account of being below the ceiling and on the wall, but this also allows it to be more powerful and not take up roof space – letting it fit into the narrow architecture.
Package Unit Air Conditioners
This is a self-contained unit, housing all the components in one cabinet, suited to large commercial areas with limited roof space. They can be installed either on the roof or at an internal or exterior ground location.
Even in residential spaces, these units can be very helpful, and their external installation saves a lot of space in the basement, while also making maintenance far easier. As this unit deals with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning all at once (being an HVAC system), it is more energy-efficient and can provide savings every month. However, as you can imagine, the actual ease of installation may depend upon the type of roof you have, and it can bear the brunt of poor weather conditions.
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A combination of factors will determine the system that best suits you—the size of your home or business, the number of rooms, your budget, the aesthetics, the cost-effectiveness, and the energy efficiency of the system all playing a part.