Up to 40% of your electricity bills might be because of your air conditioner (especially during the hot summer months). That’s why you have to choose the most energy efficient and cost-effective air conditioner for your home or business. Here’s the complete AC buying guide to help you with that task:
Better efficiency equals thousands of dollars of savings
First, we build the foundations. Which technologies are more energy efficient? What are the reasons for each one? Also, how does an air conditioner work in the first place? How does it effectively “condition” the air for better comfort?
In Sydney, temperature can reach as high as 26 degrees Celsius. Both families and business owners prioritise energy efficiency of their AC units. With those high temperatures, the electricity bill is sure to increase if the unit is far from efficient.
This can make a huge difference. For instance, daily operation of your AC during hot summer months can spell a plus or minus $100 on your electricity bill (whether at home or business). Add all the savings (or extra costs) through the 10-15 years of the unit’s useful lifespan. In other words, the total will amount up to thousands of dollars in the long run.
So here’s the main question: How to choose an energy-efficient air conditioner? Energy efficiency is about getting the result you want using minimal resources. This depends on several factors such as:
- Technology behind the AC’s operation
- Size and insulation of your home or room
- Using power only when it’s truly needed
- Positioning of the unit
- The specific type of AC you’ve installed
Technology behind efficient ACs
Let’s first discuss the technologies. Due to increasing consumer awareness (especially people from Sydney and Australia), competition and market demand, manufacturers and product engineers continuously develop more efficient AC models.
As a result, newer models are often more efficient than the old ones. That’s one of the main reasons people replace their old AC units (especially if the unit has been operating for 10-15 years). Aside from the usual wear and tear, old AC models are just less efficient.
For example, many modern AC models now (especially split type systems) have an inverter technology. This technology makes it possible to control the compressor motor’s speed, which leads to the continuous regulation of temperature. As a result, faster and more efficient cooling will occur because of increased speed. It will slow down once the desired temperature is achieved (or when it’s just about maintaining the comfortable temperature).
In other words, inverter type air conditioners adjust the temperature without turning ON and OFF the motor. On the other hand, non-inverter types have to turn ON and OFF the motor. The continual ON and OFF of the motor will lead to higher energy consumption. In most motors and machines, the ON requires a lot of initial energy.
As a result, inverter types can help you save up to 30%. You use less energy while helping the environment. Although these inverter ACs are more expensive upfront, you can get the payback within just 1 or 2 years. Whether you’re replacing your old unit or it’s your first AC, inverter ACs are highly recommended.
What specific features to look for
Aside from the inverter technology (and given your home is properly insulated), you should also look for other features that contribute to energy efficiency. When you go to the store or browse online, it’s hard to differentiate among the features. That’s why in this section we’ll help you gain the basic (but most essential) information you need.
Let’s begin with energy saving mode. We mentioned earlier about one of the factors affecting energy efficiency (using power only when it’s truly needed). After all, using power even if it’s unnecessary is a waste.
One way to prevent this is by having an energy saving mode. This means the unit will be using less energy when there’s less demand for cooling. For instance, when people inside the room are inactive (minimal movements), the AC should automatically switch to energy saving mode. This is possible through a human sensor technology which automatically detects human movements.
It’s similar to having an on-demand cooling service. The AC will only expend much energy when it’s only needed. For example, right when you go to bed the AC might be running at peak. But when you’re asleep already for a few hours (you’re physically inactive already), the unit’s energy saving mode will kick in. It will keep working (just the minimal needed) to keep you comfortable all through the night.
This is much more convenient (and probably more practical) than setting a timer. When the timer’s up, sometimes after a few minutes many people turn the AC back on. This wastes a lot of energy because the ON requires a sudden surge of energy. In contrast, the energy-saving mode will prevent that energy surge. Everyone will remain comfortable while saving electricity.
Other features (design, noise)
The key features to look for are inverter technology and energy saving mode. Most modern ACs already have those features especially in split type systems. The differences lie on the small (but still important) features each model has to offer.
For example, many savvy Sydney customers also consider the noise level produced by ACs. This is often overlooked by many other customers (especially first-time buyers). However, it’s one of the most important things that affect user experience (secondary to “coolness” being felt). Perhaps it’s even one of the main reasons people replace their ACs (noisy operation).
Imagine a bedroom with a noisy air conditioner. It will be hard to fall asleep. You will get bothered by the noise and possibly feel the vibration. In the case of offices, it will be hard to focus on the tasks at hand. Instead of having your full attention on the strategy you’re formulating, some of your attention will be taken by the AC’s noise.
Thankfully, modern ACs now operate with minimal noise. There are fewer mechanical parts that cause the noise. Their designs now are also more efficient which makes quiet operation possible. But to be sure you’ll have a quite AC, ask the distributor about the decibels and the vibration.
Choosing an authorised distributor
This step could actually be as important as choosing an AC. After all, you’re just not looking into the AC’s features. You’re also looking at the quality of installation and service.
Aside from properly installing the unit, experienced technicians can also help you determine the optimal position where the AC will be installed. They can also take care of the electricals so your system won’t experience overloading (and ensure your AC receives enough and stable energy supply).
Experienced technicians from authorised distributors have worked on different models already. As a result, they can work quickly and efficiently. There will be minimal hassles and inconveniences to your family or business.
When purchasing an AC from an authorised distributor, it’s advisable to pick a known brand. It might be more costly upfront. But you’ll actually save money in the long term. You’ll also find it easier to find a repair or maintenance service for your air conditioner. The replacement parts will be readily available.
Upfront and long-term costs
Aside from AC features and choice of authorised distributor, Sydney families and businesses also strongly consider the cost. After all, the upfront costs of a split type aircon can be high. The payment will seem intimidating (an AC unit can cost up to $2,500).
Besides upfront costs, you should also consider the long-term costs (e.g. maintenance, parts replacement). That’s why it’s important to look at the warranty coverage. Aim for at least 5 years warranty in both parts and labour. If the warranty is that long, the manufacturer and distributor are confident about the unit’s reliability and performance.
Aside from the purchase and long-term costs, you should also think about the installation. There will be labour and parts needed for that. Although split type aircons are easy to install (some ductwork and positioning), this still requires time and effort from technicians.
Before pulling out your cash or credit card, it’s recommended to ask about the installation. Does it come for free? Do you have to pay for the materials and ductwork? This is important because you think you might be getting a great deal because the unit’s cheap. However, there might be unexpected additional expenses during the installation.
Reinstallation in case you relocate
What happens if you or your business relocates? Will there be free reinstallation?
Perhaps it’s career change or your office needs to move to a better location. Whichever is the case, most of your stuff will come with you including the air conditioner.
Good news is, you can get the reinstallation for free. For instance, here at Conduct Air Conditioning, we reinstall the unit for free (including pipings and fittings at no extra cost). We can advise you on how to best disconnect your unit and then we’ll take care of the reinstallation.
That’s why it’s good to check the after-sales service of a distributor. This will help you save money and hassles in the near future. Remember, an AC is expensive upfront. It’s recommended to get the most out of it and get free service (new install, reinstall, parts & labour) as much as possible.
Complete AC buying guide Sydney
In summary, here are the most important things you should consider when buying a new air conditioner:
- Inverter technology (adjusts compressor motor speed for better efficiency)
- Energy saving mode
- Quiet operation
- Choice of an authorised distributor
- Parts & labour warranty, free installation
- Excellent after-sales service (e.g. free reinstall in case you relocate)
Many Sydney families and business owners now choose split type ACs. The modern models now are energy efficient. They’re also sleek and compact which complement any home or office interior.
Although they cost more upfront (especially the inverter types) than conventional units, split type air conditioners are a lot more energy efficient. In one or two years, you can get the payback because of the resulting cost savings on your electricity bill.
It’s also recommended to consider both the upfront and long-term costs. The upfront cost includes the price of the unit and the installation service. The long-term costs should be somehow taken care of by the warranty on parts and labour.
This is quite a long read (~ 8 minutes) just for selecting an AC. However, this could (hopefully) help you save thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you need more information about air conditioning for your home or office, contact us here today at Conduct Air Conditioning. You can enquire about our package deals and free services for our new customers.