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What exactly is air conditioning?
As the name suggests, air-conditioning is the process of conditioning (altering) the air within a chosen environment. The term ‘conditioning’ can refer to the control of the temperature, humidity or cleanliness of the air, in order to achieve desired conditions.
Certain commercial processes require some very specific conditions to be maintained, however in the home we simply need to achieve a general level of comfort for the occupants. How will I benefit from installing air conditioning at home?
Here in Spain the temperature during the summer months can become too much, and sleep can become very uncomfortable. When outside air temperatures reach uncomfortable levels, the coolest temperature we can hope to maintain within our homes is the same, despite any amount of ventilation through the use of conventional fans. In reality, our homes become even warmer than the outside air temperature, through solar gains and additional heat-loads from within.
With air-conditioning equipment installed, we can quickly reduce the temperature within any of the rooms within the home to a comfortable level, whilst at the same time reducing the humidity to eliminate the ‘stickiness’ associated with Spain
Doors and windows can be kept closed improving the security of your home, whilst at the same time keeping out nuisance insects and any external noise pollution.
The air within the room is recirculated through filters to trap dust and pollens, in turn benefiting people suffering from allergies and respiratory problems.
What equipment is typically required?
As with most things in life, the ‘you get what you pay for’ rule applies.
The split type system is the most commonly used form of air-conditioning system. As the name suggests, the refrigeration circuit is split into two halves, with each half being contained within separate indoor and outdoor units. The indoor units are attractive in appearance and available in varying styles to suit the surroundings. They contain a heat-exchanger and low-noise fan, and are generally wall-mounted or floor-standing.
The outdoor units are responsible for rejecting the unwanted heat to outside. They are again compact in design and operate with extremely low noise ratings. They can be sited anywhere outside, either floor-standing on patio areas or flat roofs, or wall-mounted on suitable brackets.
The indoor and outdoor units are connected via insulated refrigeration pipework and the necessary cabling to restore the complete refrigeration circuit. The separation between the indoor and outdoor unit can be anything up to 30 metres.
How do I know what size of system I require?
This task is more accurately carried out by one of our qualified engineers, however, there are ‘rule of thumb’ guides to calculating heat-loads in residential applications.
If no excessive solar gain into the room exists, and there is no heat output from electrical equipment, take the floor area of the room in square metres and multiply it by 100 watts. i.e. (4m x 5m) = 20 sq m x 100 watts = 2000 watts or 2 kilowatts.
Can the equipment heat as well as cool?
It certainly can, and very efficiently too. The systems that heat as well as cool are referred to as ‘heat-pump’ systems. These systems are fitted with additional valves within the outdoor unit that can reverse the flow of the refrigerant cycle. In effect, the system then tries to cool the outside air, and rejects the heat which is collected (and amplified) to inside.
The rated heating capacity of a ‘heat-pump’ system is generally slightly higher than its rated cooling capacity, and provides a huge saving in electrical consumption over any other form of electric heating.
An electric fire, heater or underfloor heating system that has a rated heating capacity of 3 kW, consumes a directly proportional 3 kW of electrical power. Some of the latest energy-efficient ‘inverter’ heat-pump systems can produce more than
5 kW of heat from 1 kW of electrical power, in turn providing an electrical saving of more than 80%.
Can I air condition more than one room in my home from 1 external machine?
Yes. Most of the leading equipment manufacturers produce ‘multi-split’ systems. These systems remain within the residential equipment range and comprise of a single outdoor unit that is capable of serving two, three, four or five indoor units. The selected indoor units can be of varying styles, and can all operate independently of each other.
Is it expensive to run?
The indoor section of a split-type system contains a low-noise fan and some electronic controls, and consequently has a low power consumption, comparable to that of a light bulb. The compressor within the outdoor section consumes the greater amount of electrical power, which is required to run during cooling (or heating) operation. Once the room has reached the desired temperature, the outdoor unit cycles off until the temperature within the room has deviated by two degrees, where it will then start again. With a correctly sized system, we would expect pretty equal on and off periods, and in turn have based the following calculation on a diversity factor of 50%.
This calculation has been based upon a small Toshiba split-type system having maximum power consumption of 1.12 kW, and a rated cooling capacity of 3.6 kW. Example:
Running cost = Maximum power consumption x Diversity factor x Current tariff
Running cost = 1.12 kW x 50% x 8 cents per kW hour
Running cost =4.48 cents per hour
Is the equipment noisy in operation?
No. One of the most important design criteria for the equipment manufacturers, is a low operating noise level. Many systems incorporate ‘quiet’ or ‘silent’ modes, which provide sound levels as low as 20 dB(A) from the indoor unit and 43 dB(A) from the outdoor unit. In basic terms, you have to be within 2 metres of these units in the quietest of environments, to hear any indication that they are running.
How long does it take to install?
This is dependent on the type of equipment selected and the complexity of the installation. A rough ‘rule of thumb’ would be, for a residential setting, with one lounge machine and two bedrooms, the installation would be complete in one day.
What kind of warranty is provided?
We provide a four year guarantee on all the work involved in our installations and up to five year parts warranty. Problematic machines It has been noted by us over the years that there are installations carried out by either illegal companies or inept engineers, and as such the machines either do not function, or are at least inefficient.
Should you be unfortunate to have had an experience where your installation is not up to your expectations, or the machine simply isn’t working, then please feel free to call on us, and we will try to correct any errors.
As stated earlier, we are fully legal, registered, and trained, and as such we are called upon to repair all makes, models, and sizes of machines. Should you require our help, then we will tell you of any expected costs before we work on your equipment, so that you don’t have any more nasty surprises.