What type of air conditioner do you need?
Types of air conditioner
In the UK, the majority of us don’t have the luxury of whole-home, or whole-office air conditioning systems. These systems keep the temperature of an entire building regulated - whatever the season. They are also expensive to run and maintain.
Instead, a room-based air conditioning system can make a real difference to our comfort and productivity. Room-based and portable air conditioning is a flexible solution that allows you to simply cool the rooms you occupy most when the weather is at its hottest.
They can be extremely cost-effective and most portable and room-based air conditioning will also offer additional benefits - such as a dehumidifying action, heating in winter months, or the addition of HEPA filters to keep your air hygienic and reduce pollutants.
Portable Air Conditioners
These are designed to cool one room, or space at a time. The include castors and handles so you can move them from room-to-room if necessary - for example, from a sitting room to a bedroom at night time.
The air conditioners work by taking warm air, removing heat and moisture, then distributing cool air back in to the space. They use a refrigerant gas, just like your home refrigerator and the warm air needs to be vented out of the space - usually through a window-kit.
The best air conditioners expel moisture along with the warm air - otherwise you’ll also need to empty reservoirs of water from the unit at regular intervals.
The advantage of portable air conditioners is that they are affordable and quick to set up - providing instant, welcome relief in hot weather.
However, we often find that premium portable air conditioners are used much more than our clients anticipate. Rising average temperatures and the ability of these units to also work as a dehumidifier mean that portable air conditioning is becoming a must-have appliance to enhance the comfort of your home.
Portable Air Conditioners - heat pump technology
Portable air conditioners with heat pump technology have all the characteristics of a portable air conditioner - but they provide heating as well as cooling.
Put simply, heat pumps are an energy-efficient way of transforming hot air to cool air or vice versa. They contain an inverter and also contain a refrigerant gas. Most portable air conditioners also include a dehumidifying function, plus HEPA filters to make healthy, clean air.
Spilt units are a halfway-house between portable air conditioning and a full building air climate control system. There are two parts to the system: an outside condenser unit and an internal wall-mounted unit that fans the cool air. The two units are connected by copper pipe and - often - multiple internal units can be connected to one condenser.
The systems need to be installed by a qualified tradesperson - but there is no ducting, so these are relatively quick to install. Further advantages of split units is that the internal console is sleek and unobtrusive and they are cost-effective to run.
Split units also use the principles of heat pump technology, so they can run as heaters in winter and cool in summer. This makes them ideal for conservatories and small commercial premises.
Evaporative coolers are simple cooling systems that can work well in specific applications - such as marquees, market gardening greenhouses, warehouses and even outside spaces such as queues for theme parks.
The evaporative cooler works by cooling air on moist pads and then fanning out the cool air. The resultant air is moist, so if used in a single room, the room must be vented to prevent the build up of damp. The feeling is akin to that of cooling-off rapidly after a dip in the sea. An advantage of evaporative coolers is that they are quiet and cost-effective to operate.
Choosing the correct evaporative cooler is different from an air conditioner - instead of looking for cooling capacity (BTU or kWh) it’s important to understand how far the fan of evaporative cooler will distribute the cool air.