Air Conditioners for All-Electric Homes
Air conditioners are a cost effective option for air-to-air electric cooling and heating. There are many types on the market today. Therefore, weigh up the pros and cons to find the type that best suits your house design and budget.
Consider combining reverse cycle air conditioners (RCACs) with air-to-water hydronic heat pumps. This makes a lot of sense for two storey homes because RCACs are best at cooling whilst hydronic heat pumps are best at heating. This is because air-to-water heating gives radiant heat whereas air-to-air heating is blown.
RCACs & Hydronic Heat Pumps
Air conditioners provide electric cooling or heating by blowing conditioned air through ducting or from room based indoor units. This is a perfect method for cooling but not the best method for heating.
Air movement alone can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler. However for heating, it is better radiated without air movement. Hydronic air-to-water heat pumps work this way. They use water to transfer heat from an outdoor heat pump to wall mounted radiator panels or though underfloor pipes. These systems then gently radiate heat into your room.
For a two storey house, consider radiant hydronic heat pumps on the ground floor because heat rises and RCACs on the first floor because cool air falls.
For a single storey house, consider RCACs for your bedrooms with hydronic heat pumps for your kitchen and living rooms.
Also, consider the space required to run air conditioning ducting. For RCACs, split systems need a lot less space for refrigeration lines and heat pumps similarly only need water pipes to be placed.
Types of Air Conditioners
Reverse cycle air conditioners are often ducted systems. This is because they are cost effective and provide excellent control. Feel the evenness of air distribution in all of your rooms when you system is properly balanced. Zone rooms for individual control with separate temperature settings.
The key benefits of ducted air conditioning are:
- Control: central temperature setting with minor room zone controls
- Even air distribution: every room has even heating and cooling
- Value: for multiple rooms, it is cheaper to install ducted air conditioning than wall hung split systems
- Aesthetics: the only intrusion to the room is a flush mounted vent that blends with the ceiling
The main downsides are:
- Space, although a roof attic or subfloor may address this issue
- Heat loss or gain through the ducting is greater than with insulated refrigeration or water lines
Explore the other types of RCACs available on the market. There are also a range of indoor units that deliver the conditioned air to your rooms. Some are wall mounted, some are concealed above ceilings. Cassette types are mounted in your ceilings and can blow air from 1 to 4 directions.
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