Window Unit

Understanding Different Types of Air-Conditioners

Air-conditioning Solutions Noosa
Air-conditioning Solutions Noosa

Air-Conditioners come in many shapes and sizes. If you’re considering an air-conditioner for your home or business, it can be helpful to understand the options to help make a decision about what kind of air-conditioner is best for you. There are a wide range of important considerations to take into account, which we cover in this article. If you’re on the Sunshine Coast, please don’t hesitate to contact our team to access our expertise in all things AC, including sales, installation, servicing, repairs, maintenance & cleaning.

Understanding Air-Conditioner Costs

While the upfront cost of an appliance is always a primary consideration, with air-conditioners, there are also ongoing costs that should be taken into account. By being aware of these at the time of purchase, you can make a better-informed decision about the type of air-conditioner that may be best for your premises.

Here are the major cost considerations to be aware of:

Purchase Cost: The cost of the air-conditioner
Installation Cost: When an installation requires an electrician (for example, a split system or ducted system) there will be an installation fee that will depend on the time and complexity of the installation.
Running Costs: The more you use your air-conditioner, the more electricity it will use. The cost of running your AC will depend on extent of use, and the efficiency of the unit.
Service Costs: Like any mechanical appliance, air-conditioners work best with regular servicing and cleaning.

The goal when purchasing an air-conditioner for your premises is to acquire a unit that is well-suited to the task, adequately powerful, as efficient as possible, and of a good brand and model that will reduce problems and costs in the long run.

Reviewing Your Internal Layout

It is essential to review, and understand, the layout of your premises to select an air-conditioner that will suit your goals. For example, the kW capacity of your air-conditioner will need to be optimised to the space you want to cool (there’s more on this topic below). Also, the number of rooms you wish to heat or cool will also affect your decision. Here are the main points to take into account when assessing your layout:

  1. How many rooms do I want to cool?
  2. How big are these rooms?
  3. Are they joined, or separate rooms?
  4. How many levels are there in the premises?
  5. Is it for residential or commercial purposes?

There are some handy resources available related to this topic at: lookforthetick.com.au. Don’t worry – when you discuss an air-conditioner sale or installation with our team, we’ll help you solve all of these problems, as we are experts in this field.


Understanding Capacity

Air-conditioners have many features. One of the most important ones to understand is capacity. The capacity of an air-conditioner means how much space they are capable of cooling. Capacity is represented in KiloWatts (Kw) and more Kw means more capacity. It also means that the air-conditioner will cost more to purchase. Therefore, you want to get an air-conditioner unit which has a suitable capacity for its intended purpose. You can get some great insight on this aspect at this article by choice.com.au. Alternatively, talk to our team, and we will help you to connect with a model suitable for your purposes.


Types of Air-Conditioners

Following are popular, common styles of air-conditioning solutions. At Noosa Electric Co, our sales and installations include either split systems or ducted systems, but our AC technicians perform repairs, servicing and maintenance on most common air-conditioner modalities.

Portable & Window Air Conditioners

Portable air-conditioners are a single, standalone unit that you plug in to use, like any other appliance. They can be moved from room to room. Window air-conditioners are similar, except that they are mounted in a window frame. Both of these options are relatively cheap and involve little or no installation. However, their energy-efficiency, running costs, cooling-efficiency and appearance may not make them practical for a long-term air-conditioning solution.

Split System Air Conditioners

Split systems are one of the most popular air-conditioning options for homes and businesses on the Sunshine Coast. They are called ‘split’ systems because they are made up of 2 separate components, an indoor and an outdoor unit (see below). These type of air-conditioners come in a variety of different models, which are suitable for cooling single rooms (split system, mini-split system) to multiple rooms (multi-split, multi-head split).

Indoor Unit

The indoor unit is mounted inside on the wall, and emits cool air into the room. This is the unit that you control (for example with a remote control) to manage the internal temperature. This unit is connected to the outdoor unit.

Indoor air-conditioning unit
Indoor air-conditioning unit

Outdoor Unit

Also known as the condenser or heat exchanger, the outdoor unit sits outside and works together with the indoor unit to produce your air-conditioning.

This image displays the external unit in a split system configuration. You can see the external unit, which is connected to the internal unit by the vertical piping.

Split System Air Conditioner
Split System Air Conditioner

Single Room Split System Air Conditioning

Single split system air-conditioners, or mini splits, are designed for cooling a single room. By separating the components in this way, the design is more efficient and capable than integrated units such as the portable or window air-conditioners mentioned above. They also have a more streamlined appearance, taking into account the capability of the unit, since half of the system resides outside. Split system air-conditioners require installation by a professional electrician.

There are quite a few choices to make when evaluating a split system for your home or business. Our team is here to help. We can guide you to a suitable brand and model for your purposes, and our electricians will install the unit for you.

A key advantage of split systems is that they can be easily retro-fitted to established homes or businesses. This isn’t always possible with a ducted air-conditioner (see below), which are integrated into the actual building, usually at the time of construction.

Split System FAQ

What is the difference between a Split System and and Air-Conditioner?

A Split System is a type of air-conditioner.

Can split systems heat as well as cool?

This capability depends on the model. A reverse cycle air-conditioner can heat as well as cool. If you want this capability in your air-conditioner, make sure the model you’re looking at features reverse-cycle.

Learn more

Multi-Head Split System Air Conditioners

A multi-head, or multi-split system air-conditioner is a type of split system for situations where more than one room requires air-conditioning.

With a multi-head split system, a single outdoor unit is linked to multiple indoor units (rather than just the standard single unit). This enables cooling, or heating of multiple, separate rooms.

Another popular option for air-conditioning multiple rooms is ducted air-conditioning. However, ducted air (see below) needs more space to install and is integrated into the building design, whereas split systems, including multi-splits, can be installed more easily because of their agile disposition.

Multi-Split FAQ

Can you heat some rooms and cool others simultaneously?

According to Daikin, this isn’t possible. While individual rooms can be set to different temperatures, they must all be either heating, cooling, or turned off.

Learn more

Floor Standing Air Conditioners

Floor-standing units are like a split system in all regards except that they are mounted on the floor (split systems are mounted on the wall). Otherwise, they’re the same – there is an indoor unit, an outdoor unit, and they can be retro-fitted to a home or business by a licensed electrician.

Learn more

Ducted Air-Conditioners

Ducted air-conditioners are an integrated air-conditioning system that is built into the actual structure, usually at the time of construction. They can be used to cool an entire building, and perform large-scale cooling more efficiently than other types of air-conditioners. Ducted systems involve an outdoor unit, an indoor unit (unlike the split system, this indoor unit is tucked away out of sight), and the ducts, which run from the central unit through to other rooms, and which give the system its name.

Ducted systems have a very low internal profile – all of the works are hidden from sight, and the air flows from discreet vents.

Ducted air-conditioning systems are optimal for larger homes or commercial premises with single or multiple rooms. However, because ducted systems are built into the structure, it may be difficult or impossible to retro-fit them.

Ducted AC FAQ

Is Ducted AC better than a split system?

Ducted and split systems serve different purposes. While the purpose of a split system is to cool a single room, or in the case of a multi-split up to 5 rooms, Ducted air-conditioning can cool an entire home. Ducted may be a better option if you’re looking to air-condition a larger space, but because it is integrated into the building, usually needs to be included at the time the home is constructed.

Bulkhead Air-Conditioning Systems

Learn more

Bulkhead air-conditioning systems have similarities to both split systems and ducted systems. They’re for apartments or single-room cooling, and involve an outdoor unit, and an internal unit. Unlike split systems, whose internal unit is visible, the internal bulkhead unit is tucked away off to the side of the ceiling space, emitting cool air into the room via a low-profile grille. This makes for a low-profile air-conditioning solution. Like ducted systems, bulkhead systems are integrated into the structure and their installation generally need to be done as part of a construction or renovation process.

Learn more

Cassette Air Conditioners

Cassette air conditioners are also based in the ceiling. However, unlike bulkhead systems, which are discretely tucked away, cassette systems are built into the ceiling, usually in the centre of the room, and although they’re inline with the ceiling the unit is visible. This type of system is extremely effective as its central location enables the immediate 360 degree distribution of cool air around the room. Cassette air conditioners are better suited to light-commercial or commercial applications.

Fujitsu Cassette Air Conditioner
Fujitsu Cassette Air Conditioner

Learn more


Further Reading