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Life in Adelaide without air conditioners can be unbearable. While the climate may be the driving force behind your impending purchase, there’s more to consider than just the heat when you’re looking for the right air conditioners to install in your home.
In this case, part of your pre-purchase research will involve familiarising yourself with the different aspects of air conditioners and how they work.
Air Conditioners & Energy Rating Labels
In essence, an energy rating label denotes energy consumption, and as a result, energy efficiency. The rating label is usually affixed to the surface of the appliance where prospective buyers can easily read it. The label itself reveals two critical pieces of information about the appliance. The first is a star rating, which indicates the item’s energy efficiency.
The second is a numerical notation below the star rating that discloses the item’s energy consumption rate. For air conditioners, this means a rate of power consumption noted in either kW or kW/hour. Clearly visible on the label should also be the brand name and model of the appliance, the input and output information for reverse cycle air conditioners, the unit’s capacity for cooling under average conditions and an indication of whether or not the unit contains an inverter for additional energy efficiency.
Energy Rating Labels are a Legal Requirement For Air Conditioners
In Australia, energy rating labels are required by law to be present and visible on certain appliances before they can be sold. These appliances include big ticket items like air conditioners, dishwashers, dryers, washers, televisions, deep freezers and refrigerators. Before an appliance can be given a rating, it must definitively meet the Australian standards for energy consumption under the appropriate star rating.
The Importance Air Conditioners Star Rating
After testing, a product is assigned a star rating out of a possible 10 stars. A higher number of stars indicates a more energy efficient product. As stated previously, there are official standards that an appliance must meet in order to earn its star rating.
These standards are mandated by the Australian government to ensure residents are offered the most energy efficient technology available. The rating also pushes manufacturers to build their products with energy efficiency as a priority.
Factoring in the Cost of an Air Conditioner
In general, an air conditioner unit with a higher star rating will cost more up front. In the long run, however, high energy efficiency in an appliance like an air conditioner (that must be powered for most of the day), will end up saving you a good deal of money on your utility bill.
Before selecting air conditioners, compare and contrast the energy rating labels between various brands and models. Each product has a unique rating, so restricting your research to only brand names will not give you an accurate picture of each individual product.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the star rating the better off you’ll be, but be sure to give your personal needs ample consideration before making your purchase since it might be a pricey one.
How Adelaide Air conditioners Work
Air conditioners are some of the most ubiquitous appliances seen in homes today, understanding how they work is important for any homeowner.
The air conditioner industry has done plenty to improve the air conditioner over the years, but the basic principle has not changed since Carrier invented the first modern air conditioner a century ago. With just a little basic knowledge, anyone can come to understand the inner workings of the modern cooling unit.
The Basics of Air Conditioners Cooling Cycle
An air conditioner’s cooling cycle depends on some of the basic properties of matter. When a substance evaporates to become a gas, it absorbs heat from the surrounding air in the process. Likewise, when a gaseous substance condenses and becomes a liquid, it releases that stored heat. Taken together, then, the processes of evaporation and condensation can be used to transfer heat from one location to another and heat or cool an area as desired. This is the principle that air conditioner units use to move heat out of your home and maintain a comfortable temperature.
At one end of a typical air conditioner lies the evaporator coil, usually located inside the home. Inside the evaporator coil, a special chemical called a refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air and becomes a gas. The air conditioner then pumps the gaseous refrigerant to the condenser coil outside the home, where it becomes liquid and releases that stored heat. Finally, the liquid refrigerant returns to the evaporator coil to begin the heat transfer cycle anew. By repeating this process over and over again, an air conditioner essentially pumps heat out of the home.
Using this cooling cycle has several advantages for the modern air conditioner. First, it is a fairly efficient process, which means the machine can transfer fairly large amounts of heat without expending large amounts of power. Second, the process does not actually consume any refrigerant; thus, the air conditioner requires only electricity to operate normally. As long as all of the air conditioner’s components are working in sync, cooling will continue quickly and efficiently. If properly maintained, modern air conditioner units have relatively low carbon footprints and even work to improve indoor air quality.
Heat pumps are air conditioners devices that use the same heat transfer cycle as traditional air conditioners in either direction. During the summer, the heat pump collects heat from inside the house and transfers it outside, just like an ordinary air conditioner. During the winter, the same cycle runs in reverse as the machine collects heat from the outdoor air and transfers it inside the home. Because of the energy efficiency of the cooling cycle, heat pumps are great for year-round use in areas with fairly mild climates.
What You Should Know About Your Air conditioners Components
- Evaporator coil: also known as the indoor coil, this component absorbs heat from the inside air;
- Condenser coil: often called the outdoor coil, this is where gaseous refrigerant becomes liquid under intense pressure, releasing stored heat in the process;
- Refrigerant lines: these insulated conduits physically carry refrigerant from the evaporator coil to the condenser coil and back;
- Compressor: located adjacent to the condenser coil, this pump puts gaseous refrigerant under pressure to force it to condense;
- Expansion valve: this component regulates the flow of refrigerant into the coils;
- Refrigerants: these chemicals have physical properties that allow them to change phase at relatively low temperatures, making them ideal for heat transfer;
- Thermostat: an essential part of any air conditioner, the thermostat monitors the indoor temperature and turns the unit on and off as needed;
- Air filter: This component removes dust and debris from the cold air as the air conditioner blows it into the home.
The Confusion About Air conditioners
One of the most common assumptions regarding air conditioner is that bigger is always better. In fact, as any air conditioner service and repair professional knows, air conditioner units need to be sized to exactly fit the cooling needs of individual homes. An air conditioner with too much power will run at reduced energy efficiency and constantly cycle on and off, leading to temperature swings. Instead of estimating your home’s cooling needs based on square footage alone, have an air conditioner service and repair professional carry out a full load calculation.
Upon arriving at home at the end of a long, hot day, many air conditioner owners think they can speed up the cooling process by turning the thermostat down below the desired temperature. In fact, if you want your air conditioner unit to cool your home to 25 degrees, setting the thermostat to 21 will not make the air reach 25 any faster. Instead, the air conditioner will keep cooling even after the home reaches 25, wasting power and leading to uncomfortable temperature swings.
Many people see air conditioners as replacements for ceiling fans and vice versa. In reality, their roles are complementary. A good ceiling fan allows an air conditioner to run more efficiently by circulating air around the home. It also makes the air feel cooler on residents’ skin, which means the thermostat can be set to a higher temperature without affecting comfort. To make the most of this partnership, invest in an Energy Star rated ceiling fan that is designed to maximise energy efficiency.
A final common misconception is that the placement of the air conditioner does not matter. In fact, a unit that is placed in a hot, sunny area will need to work harder to cool the home than an identical unit located in a shady spot. Furthermore, the outdoor unit needs to be clear of shrubs and other blockages to allow for proper ventilation. Finally, the thermostat should be kept well away from lamps and other appliances that produce heat.
Choose your Air conditioners Control Features
One of the best ways to make the most of a central air conditioner system is to invest in advanced control equipment. A programmable thermostat allows the homeowner to set up the air conditioner to turn off and on automatically. For instance, it may be advantageous to turn up the thermostat while the house is empty during the day and turn it back down just in time for the residents to come home in the evening.
Some advanced systems can also break the house down into climate control zones, enabling the homeowner to direct more cooling power to a room that is always too warm or shut off the air conditioner in an unused room. A few control systems even offer remote access for on-the-go homeowners.