How to Buy the Best Air Conditioner

If you’re in the market to buy air conditioning for your home or business, there’s a lot to consider. For example, what size do I need? Where should I position it? How much will it cost to run? The most popular kind of AC system in Australia is called a split-system (more later). So, this brief guide covers these systems, not portable or ducted systems. Feel free to look at these popular guides too – ducted air conditioner buying guide, and portable air conditioner buying guide.

What Does Reverse-Cycle Split-System Mean?

These systems are suitable for most homes and businesses. Firstly, reverse-cycle means they can deliver heat as well as cold. Secondly, split-system means they have an outdoor and indoor unit. Essentially, the indoor unit is the sleek-looking white box that delivers the air conditioning, and the outdoor unit is the bigger metal box with the fans. These units are connected by tubes that contain the all-important refrigerant. Finally, a multi-split system utilises one outdoor unit which runs multiple indoor units. For more on how an AC system works, go here.

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Buying the right size air conditioning system is important. In short, if it’s too big, it may waste energy providing too much heat or cold before levelling out. And, if it’s too small and underpowered, it could spend too long operating flat out and maybe never getting to the desired temperature. Many factors determine the optimal AC size, but the most obvious is the volume of the space or rooms it’s intended for. Here’s a basic guide:

Room sizeCapacity
Up to 20 m22–2.5kW
20–40 m22.5–5kW
40–60 m24–6kW
60–80 m25–9kW
80+ m26–9kW

NOTE: The total size of the windows also makes a big difference to the heat load in the room. Your installer should take this into account when specifying your new system.

These figures will give you an idea of the size of the unit you want but be sure to get a proper calculation done before you commit. Also, once your installer has made an accurate calculation, a pro tip is to buy air conditioning equal to or slightly over-powered for the room.

What’s the Annual Cost to Run Air Conditioning?

On average, you should allow between $400 to $600 per year. This can vary depending on your amount of use, location, total kW capacity, and the number of units you own. Generally, inverter-based systems are more efficient. Conversely, older AC units are less efficient and therefore more expensive to operate.

Buy Air Conditioning – Features to Consider

Beyond the usual features such as Cool, Heat, Dry, Fan Only and Economy, some modern units have some pretty advanced features. These include Human Presence Sensor. Simply put, this allows the unit to sense movement in the room, and so it knows to keep working. So, if you leave the room, after a while, it’ll go onto standby until you return. Furthermore, some units offer Wi-Fi connectivity. This means you can control your AC remotely via a phone App – handy for turning it on when you’re on your way home on a hot day.

If you’d like to discuss the best air conditioner for your home or office, contact our friendly team at Sowter Electrical & Air Conditioning today. We’ll pop over and provide a proper calculation and an obligation-free quote.