Click here to download the ARC Air Conditioning Checklist
The most common residential split-system air conditioner is an air conditioning unit made up of two units — an outside unit, the compressor, and an inside air outlet unit, usually referred to as the “wall hung head unit”. The two units are connected by pipes that carry refrigerant. An alternative to the standard unit is the multi-split system, which has multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. A split-system air conditioner can be used for cooling and heating.
The answer depends on a couple of things, including whether or not the unit is well suited to the room it’s installed in.
Other things being equal, buy a unit with the highest star rating for the power output you need. The more stars it has, the more energy efficient your air conditioner is, the less it will cost you in power bills and the less damage you are doing to our environment.
Compare the energy efficiency of units you are considering at www.energyrating.gov.au or look at the Energy Rating Label on the product.
No matter how good your system is, or how well it has been sized to suit the room, it won’t operate efficiently if it is poorly installed. This will reduce the system’s cooling and heating capacity, increase your electricity costs and shorten the life of your system.
To answer this question, you will need specialist advice. Getting that advice is important because, if you buy a unit that’s too big, you’ve wasted money and it may operate inefficiently. If you buy a unit that’s too small, you won’t be as comfortable and you will probably spend a lot more on electricity bills than you need to because the unit is being overworked.
Think about the space you want to heat or cool and then consult with a specialist, or visit www.choice.com.au to get an idea of what type of unit will best suit your needs.
At a minimum, measure the room or rooms that you want to cool and take those measurements with you to your retailer. Their staff should be properly qualified to advise you on the size of unit that you need.
All servicing and repairs must be completed by a technician that holds a full refrigeration and air conditioning licence. They have the correct qualifications to undertake the work required, including work involving handling of refrigerant. The reason that your unit may need servicing or repair could be due to an issue with the components that hold and/or transport the refrigerant within the unit, causing the refrigerant to leak out of the system. If a leak exists, all affected parts must be repaired or replaced before the unit can be refilled with refrigerant.
You can find an appropriately authorised business here to service and/or repair your split-system air conditioner.
The refrigerant in modern split-system air conditioners is a potent greenhouse gas. One kilogram of the most common gas, R410a, has the same global warming impact as two tonnes of carbon dioxide – which is like driving a four-cylinder car for six months. Therefore, the first priority is to ensure that this refrigerant does not escape into the atmosphere. Licensed technicians and authorised businesses have the skills and must operate to mandated standards to ensure that the emissions of these gases are minimised.
In older units or units using older designs that still use R22, the refrigerant is both a synthetic greenhouse gas and an ozone depleting substance, which means that the environment is harmed in two ways through the release of these substances.
If refrigerant is allowed to leak from your air conditioner during installation and maintenance, not only is the refrigerant doing direct environmental damage but the system will use more electricity as it works harder to deliver the same amount of heating or cooling with less refrigerant. This increases your electricity bill, shortens the life of your equipment and does unnecessary damage to the environment.
If you decide to throw out an air conditioner that is no longer working, there may still be refrigerant inside the unit. If the unit is not disposed of properly, then the refrigerant may escape into the atmosphere, which will contribute to global warming. Before you place the air conditioner in your hard rubbish collection or take it to the tip, you’ll need to have the refrigerant ‘recovered’ from the unit by a licensed technician. The recovered refrigerant is forwarded by the licensed technician to Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA) which is the sole facility in Australia approved to destroy refrigerants in an environmentally friendly manner.
Air conditioning, in your home or in your car, can cost you more than it needs to and potentially harm the environment.
Find out more about how you can save money, and the environment, in our free guides.
The tick identifies a business or individual as being authorised to install, service and repair fridges, freezers and air conditioners.
Without it they may be operating illegally, so always ask to see their licence before they begin their work.