Split System Air Conditioners
Split systems are one of the most popular types of air conditioning systems in the world today. If you would like to have the flexibility to choose which room you would like to heat or cool at any given time, then a split system air conditioner may be just the right option for you. You will be able to section off the areas of the house where you would like the cooling or heating to run, therefore constantly saving on electricity by heating or cooling only the rooms that you are using.
Designed to allow for the maximum use of floor space for furniture and fittings, the indoor section of the hi-wall split air conditioner fits neatly onto the wall. The outdoor section can be mounted on a flat roof, a slightly sloping roof, on the ground or on a wall bracket. This outdoor unit, commonly referred to as the ‘condensing unit’ houses the compressor and condenser fan/s thus minimising the noise from inside the house. Your system (all ‘split’ type air conditioners are referred to by technicians as a ‘system’) will need to be sized accordingly to the area which needs to be cooled/heated thus ensuring the effectiveness of the air conditioner. Nearly all air conditioners sold and installed these days will incorporate inverter technology.
How Does A Split System Air Conditioner Work?
The name ‘split system’ comes from the way this system actually works, split system air conditioners are cooling systems that are physically split in two, that is the outdoor unit and the indoor unit. The two units are coupled together by two insulated copper pipes within which the refrigerant (gas) is circulated between the indoor and outdoor units.
The indoor and outdoor units are basically just heat exchangers (and I did say basically) by which the cooling is accomplished. Housed in the outdoor unit is the compressor (which is the main engine of the system) and its function is to pump the refrigerant gas around the system i.e. between the indoor and outdoor units. This gas is pretty fancy stuff (partly why it is so expensive) and has the unique ability to collect the excess heat from the indoor heat exchanger and expel it through the outdoor heat exchanger, thus cooling the room. Always remember that this gas is under immense pressure, whether the system is operational or not, and can be anywhere from 2 times to 5-6 times, or more, the pressure in your car tyres. While this fancy gas is doing its job, another of its functions is to remove the excess humidity from the air, thus creating the water which is commonly seen leaking from the indoor unit. The indoor unit is equipped with a drain hose to drain this excess water away, usually to a garden bed or downpipe.
Multi Split Systems
Multi split systems consist of one outdoor unit running multiple indoor units. They are ideal for situations where there is limited space outside for more than one outdoor unit, or if you just don’t like the look of too many air conditioners outside. The connecting pipes and electrical controls have to run back to one central outdoor unit, and this can sometimes make the installation more expensive. Multi split systems are a great way to heat or cool up to eight different rooms around the home or office.
Cassette Air Conditioners
Cassette technology works the same way as wall mounted split systems, but drawing air in and out at ceiling level instead (not to be confused with a ducted system). Being designed so they are installed almost flush with the ceiling, they give a clean outlook for those who do not like the idea of the wall mounted type.
How Often Should I Clean The Return Air Filter?
There really is no hard and fast rule; it all depends on the usage. Commercial properties (especially clubs and pubs) clean theirs weekly. If there was a rule it would be at least yearly, sometimes twice. You would know yourself what usage the air conditioner was subjected to, so this would be the basis to either clean them yourself or have a technician do it for you. It is especially important during the summer months when dust and allergens circulate, during this period you should clean air filters frequently. Just keep in mind that during the hot summer months (especially December/January) it may be difficult to book a simple service as most technicians will be busy with air conditioners that have actually broken down. So be smart, and book a service BEFORE summer.
How Often Should I Have My Split System Serviced?
Once a year is recommended to check for blockages, cleanliness, refrigerant levels etc.
‘Inverter’ in the air conditioning world means quietness, less energy and thus cheaper power bills.
On the technical side, this is how it works. An inverter is used to control the speed of the compressor, which you should already have read, is installed in the outdoor unit. The inverter is basically a piece of electronic circuitry, an IPM (Intelligent Power Module), which constantly monitors all the air conditioners parameters by use of numerous sensors, and with its built in software, decides how much power (DC voltage) and frequency (Hertz) to deliver to the compressor, thus varying its speed. Varying its speed thus varies its output capacity. So rather than having a compressor running at 100% capacity when cooling is called for (which the older conventional systems do), an inverter system will vary its capacity by slowing down or speeding up the compressor.
Some manufacturers claim that the energy consumption drops by 30% compared with a conventional type of air conditioning system.
In this day and age, any saving on our electricity bills has got to be a good thing.