Air conditioners FAQ

Everything you've ever wanted to know about air conditioners

A typical wall-mounted air conditioner.

A typical wall-mounted air conditioner.

When you're looking at buying an air conditioner, lots of little questions pop up. We've answered a few of the main puzzles with buying an air conditioner here:

What size unit should I purchase?

Air conditioners are rated in Kilowatts (kW). This is a measure of two factors: an air conditioner's output capacity (the amount of heat that will be removed (cooling) or added (heating) to the room/s in your house by the air conditioner); and its energy consumption (the energy the air conditioner uses per hour at rated capacity). Both these measurements are shown on the Energy Efficiency Rating label found on all air conditioners as Capacity Output kW and Power Input kW.

The amount of kW you will need depends on the size of the room you want to heat/cool and its heat load, which is determined by environmental factors such as the amount of windows and sunlight in the room, weather conditions and what type of insulation you have. Generally, the bigger the area you have, the more kW you will need to service it. Many air conditioners list a suggested room size to match the kW rating. You should be prepared to discuss room size as well as insulation, windows and so on with the sales member. You may also wish to consider getting an air conditioner installer to measure your room's heat load and the required kWs needed to heat/cool it.

What is an inverter system?

An inverter system lets your air conditioner alter the speed of its motors (compressors) in response to cooling demand. The result is a controllable and energy efficient system that is not only cheaper to run, but also uses a smaller power supply.

What is the difference between a split system and a package unit?

A split system has an indoor and outdoor part that is connected together. They provide quieter and more efficient air conditioning than a single package unit. They work by placing the cooling parts of the air conditioner in the outside unit and then having one or two inside components that contain the fans. Generally, one outdoor unit can power two indoor units at the same time. A package unit requires no external components but has to be installed through a window or wall. These units are good for small rooms, but some people find them bulky and unattractive.

What is the difference between a split system and a multi split system?

A split system has an indoor and outdoor part that is connected together. Meanwhile a multi split system has just the one outdoor part that is connected throughout the house through multiple indoor parts installed in each room. So while a split system powers up the one room, a multi split system powers up the whole house from one outdoor part.

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