What Air Conditioning Installers Do – The Role of an Air Conditioning Installer.
Air conditioning is the process of altering the condition of air through either heating or cooling, and can be expensive without the right system. Having the right size air conditioner for your needs is crucial to its economical running costs. A professional air conditioning installer is best placed to help you choose the right air conditioner for your needs and accurately size the unit to your requirements; preventing an under or oversized system being purchased. A licensed air conditioning installer will have the correct training to handle refrigerants if required and ensure your system is installed and serviced correctly and safely. Manufacturers’ warranties also require that systems are installed by a licensed air conditioning installer and/or refrigeration mechanic.
Choosing The Right Air Conditioner
There are some key considerations when selecting an air conditioning system. Factors include where the system will be placed, what you want the system to do for you and size of the area you are trying to heat or cool. Suitability of existing wiring should be considered and an electrician will be able to assist you with this. Energy ratings may also be important and the majority of window/wall and split systems contain an ‘Energy Rating’ label.
The overall cost of the system, its installation, and running and maintenance costs, will also be factors when making your choice. There is a substantial price difference, with units costing anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The capacity of a system, which is stated in kilowatts, will also dictate its price.
Common Types Of Air Conditioners
The three most common types of air conditioners installed across New Zealand suburbs include:
Split System Air Conditioners
A split system air conditioner comprises an inside section and outside section, connected by refrigerant piping. Air conditioning options include reverse cycle or cooling only. The capacity of units ranges from 2kw to 8kw. Up to 5kw is suitable for small to medium sized areas and 5kw to 8kw will be required for a large area. Usually the indoor section will be mounted on a wall, although it can be floor mounted.
Split systems can also be portable and the piping can connect the indoor and outdoor sections through a window, rather than a wall cavity, allowing them to be moved from room to room. Multi split systems use one outdoor unit and can air condition up to seven rooms. They are suitable when there is limited outdoor space or ceiling space and allow for control over air conditioning in each room.
Fixed System Air Conditioners
Typically mounted in a window or a wall, fixed units are small and usually only powerful enough to air condition one room. They are usually the cheapest option and some models can be connected to standard power points.
Ducted Air Conditioners
Ducted systems can heat and cool a large number of rooms and are suited to open plan homes or when multiple areas need air conditioning simultaneously. Although they are easiest to install during construction, if there is sufficient ceiling space they can be installed into existing buildings. They comprise a heat pump in either the roof space or outside, ducting in the ceiling space, vents attached to the ceiling or walls, and a return air vent.
Ducted systems can be zoned, allowing separate areas to be heated or cooled, providing greater efficiency and saving costs. A single ducted unit can heat areas up to 200m2. The cost of ducting for a home range from $5,000 to $12,000. A professional refrigeration mechanic and electrician should be engaged. Vents should be centrally located in a room, or between the centre and external walls, and your installer should advise on the correct level of insulation to increase performance of a system.
Repairs and Maintenance
Maintenance of your system will help to prevent breakdowns. A professional can service your unit and will check how well it is operating, check refrigerant levels and gas pressure, clean coils and burners, check and repair leaks in piping or insulation, replace air filters, reset the thermostat and ensure fans are operating correctly. Filters must be cleaned regularly and this task can be done using a vacuum cleaner and without the assistance of a professional.