Whether you live in steamy Far North Queensland or chilly Tasmania, you’ll be no stranger to the humble air conditioner. At home, work and in our communities, these clever devices keep millions of us comfortable when the climate outside is less-than-pleasant!
Given Australia’s incredibly variable climate, each individual’s air conditioning requirements will vary across the country. However, if you’re shopping for an air conditioner today or in the next few months, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Here are the top questions worth asking yourself before you start shopping!
- Where do I live?
Let’s start with the biggest thing that will have inspired you to think about air conditioning: climate. Here in Australia, we have a temperate climate that can range from very hot and tropical at the top end of our country, to subzero, depending on what part of the country you’re living in. So, the first question to ask yourself is what the weather is like where you live… now and all year around.
With average temperatures consistently on the rise, cooling is a serious requirement for many Australians. However, our southern states do still experience cold temperatures in the winter – and if you feel the chill as well as the heat, you may want to consider an air conditioner that addresses both. This is where a reverse cycle air conditioner comes in handy. Not only does it have dual powers, it means you’ll only have to install and maintain one unit (which is simpler and more cost effective!).
- How do I live?
The other thing to consider is the size and set-up of your home. If you’re in a small studio apartment, a single neat unit should suffice – but if you’re in a sprawling family home, you may want to look at more comprehensive systems. It’s also good to consider which parts of your home you use the most. For example, if you and your family are usually in the living room, that will be a space to prioritise – but if you’re most concerned about a comfortable sleep, your bedrooms will be more important.
- Do I need permission?
Your next (rather important) consideration: do you own or rent? Even if you’re a homeowner, you might need approval from your strata committee or owner’s corporation before you go ahead and install air conditioning (especially if you’re in a unit). The upside: installing air conditioning will almost certainly add to the re-sale value of your home, providing you buy a good quality unit and stay on top of maintenance.
Of course, if you’re renting, you’ll need to seek permission to make any kind of alteration to your home – start by asking your property manager or landlord (reminding them it’s a good investment!). If you plan to live there for a while, you might even want to suggest pitching in for the cost of the installation.
- What are my options?
It may have been a while since you looked at the air conditioners available, or maybe you’ve never shopped for one before. In any case, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of models out there and all the tech involved. To help you narrow down the playing field, you can sort air conditioners into four main types:
- Split. Known as ‘split’ systems because the system is ‘split’ into two units: one inside and one outside. These are very popular in Australia as they’re relatively cost-effective to install and run.
- Multi-Split. These are split systems that have more than one indoor unit, all of which are connected to a single outdoor unit. The beauty of this system is that you can use it to heat or cool individual rooms or a different area of the house independently. *
- Ducted. Also known as central air conditioning systems, these are made up of an outdoor unit situated outside of the home, an indoor unit located in the roof cavity, and ductwork connecting the indoor unit to outlets in different rooms. They can be very economical, especially for larger homes.
You can find reverse cycle models for all the systems above, too. These are often not much more expensive, and they can make your home comfortable in warm and cold weather.
- How much do I have to spend?
There are two main things to keep in mind here: first, the upfront cost of the unit and installation, and secondly, the ongoing cost of running it. Better quality units tend to be more cost efficient to run, but it really comes down to selecting what’s right for your home and the space you’re looking to heat/cool.
When weighing up different models, you can assess how efficient they are. Split systems are graded using Energy Star ratings, the more stars, the better – and the lower your power bills could potentially be. Ducted systems are rated using energy efficiency ratings (E.E.R) and co-efficients of performance (C.O.P) – which refer to cooling and heating respectively. Similarly, the higher the EER/COP the more efficient the system would be to operate.
As for the upfront cost – well, that comes down to what fits comfortably within your personal budget.
- What will installation involve?
Putting in any air conditioning unit will involve a degree of work on your home – and it’s a good idea to be prepared for the realities of installation. For instance, a simple split system can often be installed in a few hours, while a complex ducted system may take more than one day of work as it will require people to crawl around in your roof. If you’re concerned about how your home may be altered during the installation process, it’s best to talk to your installer. They can walk you through what needs to happen and explain any cutting or drilling that may happen along the way.
- Where can I go for advice?
The world of air conditioning can be confusing, but we can’t stress the value of expertise enough. Daikin Specialist Dealers have an enormous amount of knowledge to share, and with their guidance, you can pick the right unit – and make sure that installation is a breeze. To get the ball rolling, get in contact with your local Daikin Specialist Dealer here.
* These systems can only operate in either cool/heat mode at any one time.