No matter where you live in Australia, a quality HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is essential. But if you don’t take the time to choose the right system for your home and climate, you can end up with a host of problems. You can wind up paying much more for your energy bills than you need to or you might find yourself paying for more for air conditioner repairs and maintenance than you need to.
To help you avoid these issues, we’re going to take a look at different heating and cooling systems. We will discuss each of their benefits as well as a few tips to make the most out of your investment.
- Split air conditioner
There are two major components to a split system air conditioner. The condenser, which is what turns hot air into cool air (and vice versa), is installed outside of your home. The air handler, which is the unit that distributes the air, sits indoors. Because the condenser sits outside, split air conditioners don’t make a lot of noise in the interior. This makes them ideal not only in residential homes but also in various public settings like classrooms and libraries.
Because of this setup, split air conditioners don’t require ductwork and are relatively simple to install. The workers will only need to drill a small hole through your wall to connect both units via electrical and refrigerant lines. The simplicity of the process results in less labour and lower installation costs.
If you want multiple indoor units, you can simply connect them to the same condenser. This saves time during the initial installation and also makes your HVAC system highly efficient.
Fans are portable, simple to operate and require little maintenance. There are various types that you can choose from including desk fans, floor fans, tower fans and more. With the exception of ceiling and wall-mounted fans, most of these units can be brought into different rooms and positioned in many ways.
As an auxiliary cooling unit, fans can do wonders for your home. They can help circulate cool air in areas that your A/C unit can’t reach. This could be hallways and certain bedrooms. Additionally, they can help dehumidify a room by circulating drier air.
However, the use of fans is generally limited to occupied rooms. This is because it’s cooling effect relies on the moisture on our skin. The air from the fan evaporates this moisture and carries heat away from our skin via convection. Because of this, leaving a fan on in an unoccupied room will not have the same cooling effect as an air conditioner.
- Evaporative coolers
In an evaporative cooler, water is used to soak a cooling pad inside of the unit. It then sucks hot air through the back and carries it through the moist pad. Once the hot air makes contact, the pad absorbs the heat and the moisture evaporates as cool air. A fan then pushes this air into your home.
These units use a natural process to cool air. Because of this, they use significantly less energy compared to refrigerant-based coolers.
When using evaporative coolers, it’s important to open doors and windows to allow fresh air into your home. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up circulating sticky, humidified air around the house. Evaporative coolers that are best used in hot and dry climates.
Radiator heating has been around for a while. Radiators warm up a room by heating water and pumping it through a coil of copper pipes. Since copper has great thermal conductivity, the heat is able to radiate from the copper pipes, through the metal casing and into your home.
Though they are no longer the most popular form of heating, they still offer a few benefits. First, unlike systems that use fans, radiant heaters make little to no noise when in use. If you have children and need to keep the house warm and quiet, these heaters are perfect. Secondly, radiators can heat up a room pretty quickly and can retain the heat for a longer period of time even when it’s shut off. In the long run, this can help you save on energy bills.
- Gas heater
Compared to electric heaters, gas heaters are generally more cost-effective. To produce the desired amount of heat, electric heaters will need to use a significant amount of energy. To produce the same amount of heat, gas heaters will only need to use a small amount of gas. Additionally, since gas heaters don’t need to be attached to a power outlet, they can be used pretty much anywhere on your property.
That being said, gas heaters will need a gas cylinder to operate. When you run out of gas, you will need to go to a supplier to refill your tank. With electric heaters, you won’t have to worry about refills. Also, gas heaters typically have an open flame. If you have pets or children, this can become a safety hazard.
- Reverse-cycle heater
A reverse-cycle heater is the same thing as a split air conditioner. By installing this two-in-one unit, you can significantly lower the upfront costs of your HVAC system. Also, since it doesn’t use extra energy to create heat, reverse-cycle heaters are considered more energy efficient than traditional gas or electric-based heaters.
As its name suggests, a reverse-cycle heater reverses the cooling process of split air conditioning. Instead of the refrigerant absorbing heat from your home and pushing it outside, the reverse-cycle refrigerant absorbs the heat from the outside and distributes it through your home.
Hopefully, you’ve gotten a better idea of what types of HVAC systems are available to you. The right unit for your home will differ depending on your budget, your geographical location, the size of your home and of course your temperature preferences. If you need advice about your HVAC systems, make sure to consult an air conditioning specialist.