If you’re interested in upgrading your current air conditioner or are considering installing one in your home but you’re still not too sure as to which one is the right for, well, Caloosa Cooling is here to help. This guide has been created to give you a firm understanding of air conditioners, the different types that exist, and the many ways in which they help make your home as comfortable as possible.
In this guide you’ll learn about:
- How an air conditioner works
- What types of air conditioners are available
- Their size and power
- Features to look out for
- Operating modes
- How to decide which air conditioner is right for you
How do air conditioners work?
- The basic function of an air conditioner system is to suck in the warm air from the room it is in, absorbing the heat and moisture from it, which it then expels outside so that the air being pumped back into the room is cooler and more comfortable.
- To cool the air, the heat is transferred to the outside unit via a liquid called refrigerant which is contained inside coils. This refrigerant is able to transform from liquid to gas, absorbing the heat from your home and transporting it outside.
- As the refrigerant transports the heat outside, the air conditioner blows the newly cooled air back into the room via a fan.
- Once the hot refrigerant gas reaches the outside unit, the outside air removes its heat, and the compressor turns it back into a liquid state to repeat the process all over again.
What Types of Air Conditioner are Available?
These have two parts: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, connected by pipes containing refrigerant gas. They are good for a room or open-plan area up to about 60m2.
Similar to a split system, but with one outdoor unit connected to two or more indoor units. Good for two or three rooms that are reasonably close together, especially when separate split systems or a ducted system aren’t suitable.
These have a discreet central unit, usually located out of sight in your roof, connected by air ducts to air outlets and sensors in each room. Good for cooling and heating a whole house.
A single box unit, installed in a window or through an external wall. Good for rooms and open-plan areas of up to 50m2. Smaller units can be plugged into a normal power point; larger ones may need additional wiring. Not quite as efficient or effective as split systems but a reasonable budget option if a split system isn’t an option (for example if you’re renting).
A single unit that can be moved from room to room as needed (but generally not easily). Most have a flexible duct that must be attached to a window to vent the heat outside. Good for rooms in households when a built-in option isn’t feasible (such as if you’re renting). Not as efficient as split systems.
Tip: You don't need to pay top dollar to get the best air conditioner.
Size and Power
- If the air conditioner is underpowered, it will work too hard trying to maintain temperatures and will quickly burn out.
- If the air conditioner is overpowered, it will use a lot more power than necessary, costing you a lot in the long run.
Buying an energy-efficient air conditioner can save you a considerable amount of money on your electricity bill in the long run. But these units tend to be more expensive to purchase. You can find more information here on whether or not an energy-efficient air conditioner is the best choice for you.
Features to Consider
- Presence sensor: Some air conditioners have built-in sensors which can detect when someone is in the room and when the room is empty, so the unit can adjust accordingly to save energy. Some air cons are even able to direct air towards detected presences so it doesn’t have to work hard to keep you cool.
- Sleep mode: Sleep mode is a setting many air conditioners have. The unit will gently adjust the room temperature to a comfortable level while you sleep.
- Adjustable louvers: Louvres are the blade-like attachments on the air outlet of the unit. Many models of air conditioners are capable of rotating these louvers to better spread the air through the room, or to focus it in a particular direction.
- Air filter: A common and often misinformed gripe some have with certain air conditioning systems is that they recycle old air, potentially making you sick. However, most air conditioners these days have air filters installed that remove odors, smoke, and germs from the air. These air conditioner filters will require occasional cleaning.
- Dehumidifier mode: Almost all air conditioners have the basic functions: auto, cool, heat, and fan. But only some have a dehumidifier option. Dehumidifiers remove the moisture out of the air, helping to reduce humidity in an energy-efficient manner.
- Auto: Automatically chooses the mode required to keep the room at the chosen temperature.
- Cool: Pumps heat from the inside to the outside, cooling the room.
- Heat: Pumps heat from the outside to the inside, warming the room.
- Dry: Dehumidifies the air. Provides some cooling, but not as much as cooling mode.
- Fan only: Blows air without heating, cooling, or drying, which is useful when all you want is a cooling breeze.
- Economy: Also called Eco mode, this reduces power consumption. It may simply reduce the cooling or heating output by adjusting the thermostat a degree or two, or it may use sensors to detect if no one is in the room and then reduce the cooling/heating.
- Work out how powerful you need your air conditioner to be: There are a number of web tools devoted to determining how powerful an air conditioner you need based on where you live, and the size of the area to be cooled.
- Consider your budget: now and in the future. While upfront purchase costs can vary, it is worthwhile considering the ongoing running costs for the machine you choose. More energy-efficient models can reduce the amount you will have to pay every time you receive an electricity bill. More energy-efficient models are also better for the environment.
- Determine your likely usage: Reverse cycle air conditioners are well-suited for both heating and cooling homes and are especially useful in climates that fluctuate between the extremes. If you’re unlikely to use your air conditioner year-round, this may be a feature you can live without.
Southwest Florida's The Most Trusted HVAC Contractor
Caloosa Cooling is a leading expert in the delivery of residential and commercial air conditioning services in Fort Myers, FL. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, our team of highly skilled and professional HVAC technicians offers world-class expertise, quality, and results. We’re approachable and easy to work with, pride ourselves on exceptional customer service, and strive to innovate and constantly improve.