Air Conditioning 2

The 5 questions to ask yourself when buying an air conditioning

Our well-being during the hot months depends largely on our air conditioning system. Most people fail to answer the essential questions to ask yourself before buying.

Summer tests your tolerance for heat, but tuning your air conditioning is easy. The challenge comes if you still don’t have air conditioning or if you want to replace the one you have.

What are you going to look at to choose?  How will you decide on one or the other model? It is at this point that the following 5 questions become crucial. If you know the answer, you will pass it with a note.

1. What system to choose?

Here the answer is simple because you have to choose between these three alternatives:

  • Air conditioning in two units:  the most widespread and common, with an indoor unit or split (the one you turn on with the remote control and expels cold air) and another outdoor unit or split (the one outside the home). Among the advantages that have made them dominate the scene are their power and efficiency, both to provide cold and heat. Its disadvantage is that the installation process, without being complex, is more complicated than the other options.
  • Compact or window air conditioner:  incorporates the two units in a single structure, usually cubic in shape (similar to a giant microwave). Decades ago they were the most common air conditioner (especially in office buildings). Their installation is extremely simple, but they are less efficient than those with two separate units.
  • Portable air conditioner:  small towers with wheels that you can move around the house according to your needs. They are not very efficient and only make sense as a quick solution for cooling small rooms (preferably 20 square meters or less).

You will have to decide based on your ambitions for air conditioning, from the most basic (portable) to the most advanced (in two units), with the compact version as a middle way.

2. What power do you need?

We must start by clarifying that in the answer to this question the degree of energy efficiency of your home plays an important role.

In general terms,  a power of 100 frigories per square meter is usually estimated . We have to convert the frigories to kW, which is the measure we use for electrical power. We do this by multiplying the frigories by 0.86 and dividing the result by a thousand.

With which,  for 30 square meters we get 3,000 frigories or 2.58 kW . This would be the power required for an air conditioner designed to cool a large room.

The power of the device will end up fattening our bill: the  higher the power, the more we will pay . That is why it is important to bear in mind that choosing a device with more power than we need will not mean better air conditioning, but simply a higher cost (both when buying the device and later, regularly, on the electricity bill).

The opposite option to waste would be to settle for a pleasant environment, lower the estimate to 50 frigories per square meter and choose an inverter system, which is capable of maintaining a stable temperature while operating at 40% of maximum performance. This way we would be able to pay less on the bill and, at the same time, be very efficient. 

3. What energy label to choose?

It’s easy to get misled by energy efficiency labels that are simpler than they appear.

The energy efficiency classification of air conditioners establishes a scale by letters ranging from A, the most efficient, to G, the least energy efficient.

In turn,  the label of each appliance provides us with information on its performance by climatic zones, its seasonal energy efficiency in the cold (SEER), or its correspondence in heat (SCOP).

4. What else to look for when choosing air conditioning?

There are a number of factors unrelated to the air conditioner itself but which will decisively influence its operation. It is about the characteristics of our house:

  • The energy rating of the property:  among many other things, the insulation of the walls and floors will cause us to lose more or less cold in more or less time, affecting the effort that the air conditioning must make (logically, the more effort the more expense).
  • The climate in which we live: an August in Seville is not the same as an August in Santander.
  • The orientation of the house and its degree of direct sun exposure.
  • The square meters of windows and doors to the outside.
  • The length of walls to the facade.
  • The number of people who will usually coincide in the same room.

In general terms, the worse the energy rating of the property, the more severe the climate, the more exposed the house is and the more people live in it … we will need a higher power air conditioning.

5. At what temperature to put the air conditioning?

According to data from IDAE, the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, the optimal temperature in our homes during the summer is between 23 and 25 degrees. In no case should the air conditioning be regulated below these temperatures.

It is not just because of the impact on your bill or energy efficiency. You should also bear in mind that  putting the air too strong has harmful consequences for your health .

However, the feeling of thermal well –  being can vary greatly from one person to another. It is influenced by aspects such as the metabolism of each individual to the thermal insulation provided by each one’s clothing.

In this way, the concept of comfort in spaces that are shared, such as homes and offices, tends to be uneven. Suffice it to point out that the differences in metabolism between men, women, and children can move in margins of more than 25%.