Air Conditioners

Image Credit: stocker on stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/310455)

Image Credit: stocker on stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/310455)

Shopping checklist: Air Conditioners

  • The size of the unit Take into account how many rooms and the size of each room you want to air condition. Some rooms with carpet may take longer to cool down, but not as long to heat up when compared to a room with wooden floors. Mind you a bigger air conditioner doesn't necessarily mean it's better.

  • The type of unit Whether you want the air conditioner to be a permanent fixture in your house, there are different types of units that could fulfil your needs. Portable to lug around from room to room, or fixed that will be installed in the one room.

  • Cooling only or reverse cycle If you want an air conditioner that will only cool a room you should only think about looking into cooling only air conditioners. But if you want one that both cools and heats a room then a reverse cycle air conditioner will do the job.

  • Location of the air conditioner Take into consideration where you will install the air conditioner both indoors and outdoors. Also think about how close it might be to the neighbours and any noise the air conditioner will make. Make sure there is plenty of room around the outdoor unit so air can freely flow in and out of it. Without room for air circulation, the unit can overheat and damage itself. It's also a good idea to trim shrubbery and limbs back because they can cause damage if leaves or twigs are sucked into the outdoor unit.

  • Installation Ask the retailer if they'll install the air conditioner and if the cost of installation is included in the price or if you'll have to hire someone to do the job for you.

  • Filters and parts Check with the retailer if they sell filters and parts or where you can get them from for the air conditioner as some brands are based overseas and may be difficult to find spare parts or even for repair.

  • Running Costs Choose a system with the lowest running costs as electricity prices are always on the rise. While an expensive air conditioner unit may be pricey the running costs will be lower and more economic for you in the years to come.

  • Energy efficiency When installing an air conditioner, energy efficiency is an important aspect that should be thought through to save on money and energy being wasted. Things such as good insulation under roofs, in ceilings and walls will contain the cool and hot air from the air conditioner. Also the direction of the window in a room will affect the temperature as it may be getting the sun in the afternoons when it's the hottest time of day. Also air conditioners with inverters and "auto" settings are economical in power consumption because they automatically adapt and maintain the temperature you want.

  • Filters There are two types of filters; to save on cost you may want one that is permanent as opposed to disposable. Most air conditioners have disposable filters and these should be replaced with the same size filter as originally supplied. Permanent filters should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Life expectancy and long term costs After around 10 years the air conditioner starts having more problems that are not cost-effective to fix, it may be time to replace it. Generally it is a good idea to replace the entire system (not just the indoor or outdoor unit) when a major component of the system fails to operate correctly and cannot be repaired. That's because air conditioning and heating units are designed to operate as a complete, matched system.

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