Top 4 questions to ask yourself before you buy an air conditioner
The mornings are brighter; the days are longer; the warm spring weather brings glimpses of hot summer conditions to come.
This is the time of year when many of us start thinking about air conditioning. We know the extreme Australian summer weather conditions can make small, stuffy apartments and even big, breezy homes uncomfortable – even unbearable. Whether it’s time to invest in a new, more efficient air conditioning system or just to finally get a system, memories of hot sleepless summer nights past often haunt us into rushing out and buying the first system we find.
But wait! You want to make an informed decision about a product as critical and long lasting as an air conditioner. So before you rush out to buy the first or the cheapest air conditioner you can find, make sure you answer these 5 questions for yourself:
Do you really need an air conditioner?
In some parts of Australia there are only a handful of unbearably hot summer days and nights, and the investment in an air conditioner is not really essential. If you want to keep your costs down – both upfront and in long run energy consumption – you can try some other options before you decide to buy. Plant shady trees to filter out the direct sunlight on your home; use ceiling fans to circulate the air; make sure your home is well insulated; try sunblock window coverings or awnings.
What parts of your home do you want cooled?
Some air conditioning types – like portable units and wall or window units, are developed to cool down single rooms. So if you really only need to cool down your lounge room or your bedroom, these could be good options for you.
Ducted air conditioning is designed to cool down large areas of your home, and some split systems can be designed to cool down a number of rooms (Multi Splits). If you have a few living areas and bedrooms that need to be comfortable, these systems would be more appropriate options.
WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Home air conditioning units and systems range from a few hundred dollars up to many thousands of dollars depending on what type of system you choose. A basic guideline for costs is:
Portable air conditioning units
$400 - $1500
Fixed room air conditioning units
$550 - $3,000 (installed)
Ducted air conditioning units
$6,000 - $12,000+ (installed)
You should also keep in mind long term energy consumption costs. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the least expensive option is the way to go. Usually, the cheaper versions are less energy efficient and can cost much more in the long run. Check the energy rating to decide which unit will cost less over time – the higher the energy rating, the less energy it will use.
Do you want to be able to heat your home in the cooler months, too?
Most air conditioners can heat as well as cool. These are known as reverse cycle air conditioners. They are generally slightly more expensive than air conditioners that cool only, but if you know you’ll want to warm up your room or your home in the winter, these systems are very economical. In fact, reverse cycle air conditioning is up to 3 times more efficient than other electrical heaters; it’s even better than that in comparison to kerosene, oil and gas heaters.
Once you’ve decided that you really do need an air conditioner, there’s still more to learn. Design Air, Queensland’s top value ducted air conditioning specialists, provides a library of FREE resource material to help you learn all you need to know about air conditioners in order to make an informed decision and a smart purchase.