Types of Air Conditioning 101: Which Home Air Conditioner is Best?

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Getting To Know The Types of AC Units

Knowing the several types of air conditioning units can be overwhelming for anyone. The ever-changing features, technical terms, and even your own requirements are easily confusing, but we, at Walt Electrical, are here to guide you through choosing the best air conditioning on the Sunshine Coast.

Let’s talk about your requirements.

There are several factors to consider before choosing a home air conditioner or a cooling system for your work space, some are standard and others are more preferential. Standard factors include the most obvious ones such as:

  • Budget
  • Local climate
  • Size of rooms or areas for air conditioning.

As for preferential requirements, these mostly center on features such as:

  • Various controls and settings
  • Running cost and energy efficiency
  • Warranties
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Year round comfort
  • Noise level

Air conditioning, over time, has become a basic feature of a comfortable environment at home or at work, especially for areas of humid subtropical climate like the Sunshine Coast. So which type of air conditioner should you choose?

We recommend reading through the specifications per AC model and brand that you are considering to make sure you are getting the most efficient unit best suited for your needs. Alternatively, contact our Sunshine Coast electrician for immediate expert opinion.

So what are the types of air conditioners &
what is the most efficient ONE for your space?

Types of Home AC Units

Technology has transformed AC types through the years and we now have a basic classification based on air conditioners’ main components. This gives us a standalone unit, a split-system, and a multi-split-system air conditioner.

Standalone means a one-piece air conditioning unit, while a split system AC has an indoor unit and a related outdoor component. Finally, a multi-split system comprises one outdoor unit linked to two or more internal components.

Common Types Of Home Air Conditioners
& Some Heavier Duty Cooling Systems

Portable Air Conditioners

(Price starts around $300)

Portable ACs are the most basic standalone air conditioners. These air-con types work simply by taking in the warm air within a single room, cooling it down and blowing off the cool air into the same room.

Whynter Portable Air Conditioner

Pros:
These cooling units are usually used as home air conditioning systems and are among the most affordable ones.  Portable air conditioners are free standing and movable from one place to another, with only an outlet required to power the unit.

Cons:
It has the lowest cooling capacity and comes with the least features.

Brands:
Popular portable air-cons come from Whynter, Black and Decker, and LG.

Window Air Conditioning Units

(Price starts around $400)

Window air conditioner is one of the most common types of AC systems and is also contained in a single box-type unit. This air-con goes through the wall or a window, with the outer part acting as vents and the indoor area releasing the cold air.

Window-type AC as a home air conditioner

Pros:
A window-type aircon is a small air conditioning unit that has a low upfront cost and relatively easy installation, widely used for smaller, single rooms. Apart from being cheaper, standalone window units can be easily moved and are simply fitted in a wall or a window.

Cons:
Being a basic unit, most window air conditioning systems can only chill the air for single rooms of limited sizes and are not ideal for multiple rooms and larger spaces. It is also the home AC model known to make the most noise while in operation.

Brands:
Known window-type AC brands are LG, Kelvinator, and Kogan.

Split System Air Conditioner

(Price starts around $600)
Split-Type-AC-in-Living-Room

Split system units are becoming more common in Australian households for its efficiency and flexibility. The noisy component of the system is the outdoor unit, which contains the compressor, while the indoor and lighter machine is usually wall-mounted near the ceiling.

Pros
These air-con types normally come with remote controls for easy navigation and some with a heat pump for warmer settings during winter. More and more of these models come with several control modes and settings, allowing users to program the cooling system in detail.
Split system air conditioners’ outdoor units
Cons:
This model is more expensive than standalone units and costs more to install. Installation also takes more work and planning because of the outdoor component.

Brands:
Check out these common names in split-type air conditioning: Daikin, Fujitsu, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Multi-Split Air Conditioning System

(Price depends on the number of heads in a system)

Much like the split-type air conditioner, a multi-split system AC unit has an outdoor unit and two or more components or “heads” kept indoors. This means the system can be used to cool several rooms or a larger space compared with the other home air conditioners mentioned earlier. 

The indoor units can vary in size and build, depending on your requirement per room, each with a remote control for separate settings per unit.

LG Multi Split System - Multi Piping Type
Multi split ACs consist of several indoor devices linked to the outdoor unit. (Image Taken From LG)
Pros: 
Basically, multi-heads have similar systems and features as the split-types. The network of indoor cooling components could be cheaper in the long run and makes for a great way to heat and cool specific rooms or areas.It is also one of the best choices when it comes to aesthetics as you will only need a single outside unit for your property.

Cons:
This type of air conditioner could be heavy on the budget especially in terms of both purchase price and installation costs. Despite being a ductless air conditioning network, installation can be complicated and could require modifications to your property involving more complex pipelines to connect to all units.

Brands:
Actron, Haier, LG, and Panasonic are among the most popular multi-head split system ACs.

Central Air Conditioners or Ducted Air Conditioning Systems

(Price starts around $5,000)

Central air conditioning system comprises a large compressor placed outside of the property, an internal evaporative unit and ducts that serve as passageway for conditioned air that will be released through vents. They are commonly used for multiple rooms, entire homes, or large office spaces.

Residential Ducted Air Conditioning

Pros:

A ducted AC system can be the most efficient air conditioning type for bigger properties under one centralized control for the entire network. It can also be the most aesthetically pleasing, with limited visible components – just the vents and controls.

Central ACs can be cheaper as home air conditioners versus installing several split-system air conditioners or multi-heads in one property.



Cons:

This type of air conditioner requires the most work, for installation and potential property modification, and will also cost more than other cooling systems. Another drawback is the centralized control unit, which means limited personalisation of cooling or heating settings.



Brands:

Some of the most trusted names in ducted systems or central air conditioners are Actron, Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric, and Fujitsu General.

Hybrid AC & Geothermal Heating and Cooling

(Cost varies per system and provider)

A hybrid air conditioning system alternates from solar power to using electricity to heat and cool spaces. Geothermal units, meanwhile, are rooted in the ground. They cool indoor space as it extracts heat from the room and funnels it to the ground, where it also gets heat for heating purposes.

Geothermal Heat Pump systems inforgraphic by Sarah Cheney
Image source: Sarah Cheney, Courtesy of EggGeothermal
Pros:
These cooling systems are the more energy efficient options for indoor climate control. Although relatively new compared with the other kinds of air conditioning units, these are designed to save money and energy over continued use.

Cons:
While these types of air conditioning are more sustainable and lasting, they have the most immobility and costs relatively more. 

Brands:
Australia’s very own Rinnai and AusGeothermal are making names in geothermal cooling systems, and Infinity Sav is worth a check for hybrid air conditioning.

what size of home air con should you get?

By rule, bigger spaces require heavier duty AC systems to maintain efficiency and the lifespan of your air conditioners. The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) offers basic estimation for size, energy and noise output of AC units here.

Knowing the kind of AC that will fit your space will help you estimate a budget, which largely depends on the type of air-con unit you will purchase, the brand and the installation.

What is the best air conditioner brand?

At Walt Electrical, we highly recommend and use Mitsubishi Heavy Industries AC units for our Sunshine Coast clients, a reliable brand in Australia’s aircon industry since 1968. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has adapted its design to the harsh conditions of Australia and has excellent warranty terms.

Other AC brands also offer varying distinct features for each model. There are companies that focus on energy efficiency, some on value-added features, and others on overall design. Australian consumer advocacy group Choice offers reviews for various brands and kinds of ACs here.

Riley Hurlock - Walt Electrical Sunshine Coast

Need To Install An Air Con In The Sunshine Coast?

Still unsure which brand or type is the best home air conditioning system for you? Walt Electrical can definitely help you find out!

Talk to our electrical expert about your specifications, further information on the types of air conditioning units, or simply call us for a free quote on air conditioning installation service today. 

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Riley was an excellent tradesman and great pleasure to deal with. Friendly, professional and an expert on his trade. I... have used his services many times over the years. Had him recently install an air conditioner in my home. Prompt, realiable.hardworking. The installation went really well. He works fast and is tidy. Left my home like no one had been there working. Price wise is rather reasonable. Saved me money. Will be getting him back to. Install another system in the back of home soon. Highly recommended. Thank you riley, my family feel more comfortable now in this heat.read more
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