When it comes to installing an air conditioner in your living room, it's not a simple plug and play situation. Novice designers often underestimate the importance of all the different factors that affect a heating and cooling system.
Poor installation decisions will leave you out of pocket and at risk of damaging your home or hurting your loved ones. We've spoken with some experts in the air conditioning industry to find out what factors designers need to consider to ace the heating and cooling in a house.
Don’t Be Drowned Out by Air Conditioning System Noise
No one likes being talked over the top of, much less from a noisy air conditioner! Most manufacturers list the noise level of their air conditioners in decibels (dB) so you can easily compare between brands and models.
You might even find that your state has noise restrictions in place! For example, New York's noise code guide specifies that a single air conditioner can't make noise that exceeds 42dB, three feet away from the unit. A group of aircons can't exceed 45dB!
Most air conditioners aren't this noisy when they're first installed, thankfully. As they age and components wear down, however, noise levels can increase, potentially exceeding your state's limits.
Picking the Best Type of Air Conditioner
One of the biggest and most important decisions when it comes to installing a new air conditioner is what type you want. You'll need to consider a few things before choosing the right type of air conditioner for your home:
size of the area to heated/cooled
separate heating and cooling units or combined.
For simplicity, we'll stick to the major two types of air conditioners for modern homes - split systems and ducted air conditioning.
Split System Air Conditioner
If you're looking to heat or cool just your lounge room or bedroom, then a split system is likely your best choice. These systems are wall-mounted and come in just cooling types, or heating and cooling combined.
Compared to other types of air conditioners, split systems are more cost-effective upfront. Installation is simple, with only an outdoor and indoor unit needing to be installed.
If you want to heat and cool a few rooms, you could install multi-split systems which are multiple indoor units powered by just one external unit.
Ducted Air Conditioning
If you're looking for one system to heat and cool your whole home, then ducted air conditioning is the way to go. While more difficult to install, the discreet ceiling vents of a ducted aircon won't get in the way of your home's style.
You can increase the energy efficiency of a ducted air conditioner by adding zones that limit the areas that are heated and cooled.
One of the more common problems people face when installing this type of air conditioner is not having enough roof space for the ducts! A good designer will account for this when picking out an air conditioner.
Finding the Best Position for an Air Conditioner in Living Room
For maximum efficiency, it's important you effectively position your air conditioner within the room. If you've got a ducted air conditioner, the vent should be positioned away from any doors. This helps push old air out and circulate the new warm/cold air from the unit around.
Split system air conditioners can technically be placed on any wall, but for the sake of a simple and less costly installation, should be placed on an external wall. Experts from Metropolitan Air Conditioning recommend that the indoor unit should also be positioned so that the conditioned air blows directly on wherever you'll be sitting most often, such as over the couch.
You'll also need to consider the placement of the external unit. Ideally, it should be in a shaded spot and protected from the elements as much as possible. Keep it away from sources of dust and pollen, or you might end up bringing that into your home even more than it was before.
A Note on Safety
One of the most important reasons to consult a heating and cooling expert for your aircon installation is a matter of safety. If installed incorrectly, an air conditioner puts your home and family at risk of:
compromised structural integrity
compromised fire resistance
degraded air quality.
A skilled designer will recognise the risk of using unlicensed and inexperienced aircon installers. While they might be cheaper, you'll be paying for it in the long run when you need major repairs or have damage done to your home.