Choosing the right air conditioner

Air conditioning can be considered a luxury, but in certain areas of the world, it has become a crucial element of daily life. Some air conditioning units can even be reversed to act as heat pumps. This guide will help you to choose an air conditioner for your project by explaining the main types and specifications to consider when making your purchase.

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  • How to choose the right air conditioner?

    HEYLO Mobile Air Conditioner

    HEYLO Mobile Air Conditioner

    Choosing the right type of air conditioner for professional or home use can have a big impact on comfort, cost and energy efficiency. Calculating the cooling (or heating) needs of a zone or room will be the first order of business, while identifying which type of air conditioner best matches the specifications of your project. The main criteria that will influence your choice of air conditioning system include:

    • The size and power required for the space
    • Types of air conditioners
    • Technical characteristics
    • The local climate
    • Current options and trends
  • How do I calculate what size air conditioner I need for a space?

    HI-REF Rooftop Unit

    HI-REF Rooftop Unit

    Buying an air conditioner the right size with a suitable cooling output can save energy, reduce noise and optimize comfort. Keep in mind that bigger is not always better; an air conditioning unit that is too powerful for your requirements might not work optimally. This can lead it to wear out more quickly, cost more to run or even cool your space unevenly.

    To estimate the cooling capacity required for your air conditioner in British Thermal Units (BTU/hr) or Watts (W), you will need to know the size of the room that needs to be cooled. It is also important to consider how well-insulated the building is as well as other things that could affect the temperature such as the number of people using the space, electrical appliances and windows and doors. Some air conditioning manufacturers provide general guidelines or online calculators to estimate the power required per square foot or square meter.

    While estimations can help as a starting point for choosing an air conditioner, for large commercial or industrial projects it is very important to work with HVAC and MEP professionals to ensure that the whole system is correctly planned and installed to function optimally. Some systems could require equipment such as packaged rooftop units, air handling units and chillers.

  • What are the types of air conditioners I should consider?

    The type of air conditioner you choose will depend on the size and layout of your space, how many areas or rooms need cooling, and whether you are looking for a permanent or temporary installation. Below we have compiled a summary of the main types of air conditioners.

    FRIEDRICH Window Air Conditioner

    FRIEDRICH Window Air Conditioner

    A monobloc air conditioner is an all-in-one single unit compressing and extracting the heat directly outside, usually through a duct or opening to the exterior.

    A window air conditioner is a type of all-in-one unit that is usually retrofitted into an existing window opening, extracting heat directly outside. While it tends to be more efficient than a mobile monobloc air conditioner, it needs to be correctly fitted to avoid air leaks and security risks (such as falling out of the window).

    A split air conditioning system is made up of an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor unit connected with pipes containing the refrigerant. The main advantage of the split air conditioning system is that it is easier to install and maintain than ducted systems and quieter than indoor all-in-one systems. Another advantage is that some split systems can also be expanded for one or more rooms. The outdoor unit can be connected to one indoor unit (mono-split) or multiple indoor units (multi-split) making it a good solution for small to medium residential and commercial projects. Although most split indoor units are often wall or ceiling mounted, some systems also have options for recessed installations.

    TROTEC Mobile Split Air Conditioner

    TROTEC Mobile Split Air Conditioner

    A mobile air conditioner can be monobloc or split. The most common mobile type is the monobloc with a duct that evacuates hot air from one room to the exterior. Although it is easy to install and more adapted for portable use, it is generally less efficient and noisier than the mobile split air conditioners. Mobile split air conditioners could be a good solution for rented buildings where fixed installations might not be permitted.

    With a ducted air conditioning system, the cooled air is transmitted using ducts and diffusers. Although ducted systems might require more maintenance and space than non-ducted systems, they can be recessed into drop ceilings so that they integrate better into the architectural design.

     

  • What technical characteristics should I consider when choosing an air conditioner?

    SAMSUNG Ceiling Air Conditioner

    SAMSUNG Ceiling Air Conditioner

    It is important to make sure that your air conditioner is adapted to building use as well as local regulations. Here are some of the key points to consider:

    • Noise level (in dB): Think about the noise level of interior and exterior units as this can have a big impact on the level of comfort for people occupying the space.
    • For the cooling efficiency check the energy efficiency ratio (EER) which is the cooling capacity (in BTU/h) / power input (W) measured at certain temperature conditions. The higher the rating the better.
    • For the heating efficiency check the coefficient of performance (COP) which is the power output (W) / the power input (W) under certain temperature conditions. The closer to 1 the better the performance.
    • Check the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SCOP) for heating and the seasonal coefficient of performance (SEER) for cooling, which take into account performance at different temperatures over a season and the energy consumed in watt-hours.
    • Energy certifications: Consider whether the appliance has a performance certification such as an Energy star rating (used in the US) or an EU energy label. These provide a classification based on energy efficiency, making it easier to compare units.
  • How will the local climate affect my choice of air conditioner?

    It is important to make sure that your air conditioner is adapted to your climate. Consider whether it’s better to buy a reversible air conditioner (which also works in reverse to heat a space) or a cooling-only air conditioner. In cold climates, it might be more energy efficient or economical to have a separate heating system rather than use a reversible air conditioner. You can also look into whether a heat pump might be a better choice. Make sure the maximum and minimum operating temperature is suitable for your space and climate. Some air conditioners may not work well in extreme cold or heat, which can make them expensive to run and more difficult to maintain.

  • What are the current air conditioner options and trends?

    AIRWELL WiFi Air Conditioner

    If you are buying an air conditioner, you might want to consider a few extra options that can make controlling the temperature easier or improve air quality. Smart air conditioners with wifi control can allow you to program your air conditioners before you get home or to the office so that you arrive in an optimally cooled space. Inverter air conditioners help regulate room temperature by varying the speed of the compressor motor, adjusting the cooling output to the required level rather than stopping and starting, which consumes more energy. Some air conditioners may come equipped with special filters to improve indoor air quality. With the maintenance of IT equipment becoming critical for a growing number of businesses, there has been a rise in the popularity of precision air conditioning systems specially designed for servers and data centers.

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