There is little doubt when you walk into someone’s home across the hot Australian summer and they have air conditioning, a wash of relief washes over you and you can go about your day in relative comfort. However, when it comes to the choice of an air conditioner, the decision can sometimes be overwhelming from fully ducted systems, split systems, portable, wall or window mounted not to mention reverse cycle or evaporative.
What is evaporative cooling and how does it work?
Evaporating air conditioning works through pulling in hot air from the outside of your home, pushing it through cooling pages which are soaked with water, which is absorbed into the air, cooling it. A fan then circulates the air throughout your ducting system to every corner of your home. Unlike standard air conditioning units, the evaporative processes used by the coolers use 100% fresh, clean air – not recycled and stale air. The process relies on airflow, with a window or door being left open for the hot air to be expelled from your home and the ducts circulating the cooled air.
What types of evaporative air conditioning units are available?
Similar to the refrigerated modes, there is a range of evaporative cooling systems available for your home, office or retail use. These include portable units, which can be rolled around your property to where it is needed. These can be purchased from around $119 for an 8L system and vary in size and capacity. These units are especially handy for those people renting homes. They are portable, can be taken in and out of homes and rooms as required and when you move out, simply take it with you.
Second is the window or wall mounted system which requires either a hole in the wall to accommodate the system or a window large enough – including some brackets to mount the system – to support the unit being placed ½ inside and ½ outside your home. These systems start from around $400 – $500 in cost.
Although the wall units require some permanent renovations to your home – please speak with your landlord first – the window units require only an open window and a few bolts in the wall, so in theory, if you are renting your home, you may be able to install one of these units and take it with you when you leave. Fully ducted systems are the final option for evaporative cooling and are connected via a range of tubes around your home. These systems cost around $3000 to $6000 compared with $10,000 – $15,000 for the fully ducted refrigerated air conditioning systems.
As the name suggests, these units require a few days installation as they are ‘fully ducted’, these systems are only appropriate to install if you are the home owner, as you can install them, but you can’t take it with you when you leave. All of these systems require access to electricity and water to effectively run, in some units this will need to be done manually to ensure the cooling is effective.
What are the running costs of the evaporative cooling units?
One of the most important features of the evaporative cooling system is the cost of operations. Not only is the overall purchase price of the evaporative cooler far less than it refrigerated air conditioning cousin, but the running costs could save your hundreds and in some cases thousands per year! For a portable unit, the costs are 2-3 cents per hour, window and wall mounted units 6 to 7 cents per hour and ducted systems are between 12 to 28 cents per hour for the evaporative cooling systems.
In contrast, portable air conditioning runs at around 27cents per hour and ducted is around 52 cents and upwards from there! As can be seen, for the most effective and efficient running costs and cooling solutions you simply can’t beat the evaporative cooling systems.
What are the key benefits of evaporative cooling?
As we have already mentioned, the efficient running costs and the lesser purchase price are key benefits of these systems to keep your family cool during the summer months. They are extremely eco-friendly, being based on a natural process, unlike conventional refrigerated air conditioning, most of which is based on using refrigerants which are extremely bad for our environment. With low CO2 emissions, the systems ensure you are doing your bit for the environment.
In terms or installation costs and ongoing maintenance, the evaporative cooling systems are the winner’s hands down. Based on a relatively simple design, the coolers are far simpler to install and maintain than the refrigerated models, and when something goes wrong, the cost to have them checked and repaired should also be a lesser amount than the alternative. The systems allow for cool, fresh airflow and require open doors & windows to ensure that your home is not recirculating the stale, dry air such as is done with a refrigerated air conditioning unit. Keeping your family safe in the freshest way possible.
What are the drawbacks of the evaporative cooling systems?
There is one major drawback too if you live anywhere around Australia that experiences humidity then the evaporative systems, simply won’t do the job. The cooling method is based on running the dry, hot air through water, which then cools the air and circulates it. However, it there is moisture already in the air- which is the case with humidity – then the process is null and void.
The systems are one way, in that they don’t heat, they only cool. Reverse cycle air conditioning units not only keep your family cool in summer but will ensure you are also warm in winter providing an all year round solution for your home. Being a country of extremes – both in summer and winter – having a reverse cycle option is defiantly a big plus – especially if you are installing a ducted system.
When installing a ducted system, you can’t ‘retrofit’ it to also have ducted heating for a cost that is below that of a ducted air conditioning unit, so you will be forced to have multiple heating solutions running around your home, which at 22 cents per hour for a radiator heater, plus the risks associated with running heaters around your home – from a fire and child safety perspective – it is not the ‘ideal solution’. The evaporative cooling air conditioning systems themselves are best placed on the roof of your home and look like a big square fridge placed on your roof. The visual appeal of these units not only by themselves but also to the overall aesthetics of your home, leave something certainly to be desired.
Unlike refrigerated air conditioning units, which can be hidden at the back of your home, these units are on the top and out for everyone to see.
So what is the best system for you?
The key is not to take the decision lightly, what air conditioning – and heating – solution can affect how comfortable, safe and the general wellbeing of you and your family, so it is key that you speak with the experts. Rather than simply purchasing and ‘off the shelf’ solution from an electrical retailer that may – or may not – suit your needs, your next stop should be an air conditioning specialist. These expert salespeople and installers will understand not only evaporative cooling systems, by every heating and cooling option that is available to your and your family.
These should provide you with a range of solutions and either meet you on-site at your home or review your new build plans with you in their showroom. Anyone who sells you an air conditioner without looking first at your home or plans is not doing you any favours. You don’t want a system that is too big, too small or simply just wrong for your home – it will end up costing you time and money in the long run.
If you need evaporative cooling, speak with Rite Price
Rite Price Heating and Cooling have been providing air conditioning solutions to South Australians for decades. They understand the conditions and how the homes in the region perform with each air conditioning, evaporative or heating solution installed. With all the leading brands available, the team are well poised to provide you with the perfect solution to keep you and your family cool during the summer months and warm during winter.
Don’t leave your evaporative air conditioning solution to a ‘Google search’ or a retail salesperson that is simply looking to maximise their commission from the suppliers for air conditioners – and they maybe a TV as well! Get the experts to look at your specific situation and provide your home with a tailored solution. Your evaporative air conditioning solution is not a small purchase, it is something that should not be done lightly and you need to think about the ongoing comfort and running costs as well as the initial purchase price, saving a few bucks in the short term may cost you in the long run, so speak with the experts today.
If you’re looking to invest in an evaporative cooling system and want advice on the best system for your needs, speak with the experts from Rite Price to find out all the features and benefits.