7 Types of Air Conditioners for Homes
Choosing an air conditioner is one of the most critical decisions homeowners face. So is getting the right and responsible installer.
The right AC can save both money and energy and brings comfort throughout the home year-round. As well, the right installer can save you a headache or any shortcoming when it comes to air conditioner installation.
Acontech is an expert in this field!
Our breakdown of several common types of air-con systems should help anyone looking to buy a new AC for their home.
Let's dive right in!
1. Central Air Conditioning
By far is one of the most popular AC systems in Malaysia, central air-con comprises a compressor, which is mounted outside of the property, a refrigerant coil, a fan, and a network of supply and return ducts.
The system uses the existing ductwork in the walls and floors to bring warm air to the compressor. It then cools the air using the coil.
Finally, the fan blows the cooled air, which goes back into the rooms via the return ducts. Once the air warms up again, it reenters the supply ducts and travels back to the compressor.
Central air-con is one of the most effective and energy-efficient AC systems for large properties, which explains its popularity.
Many new homes now come with pre-installed central AC. While older houses may not feature the whole set-up, they normally have heating ducts that could also double up as a cooling system. That makes fitting a new central AC easier and cheaper.
Further selling points of central air-con include its dehumidifying action and low noise levels. As AC’s loudest unit is outdoors, it should not bother residents of the property.
On the negative side, due to their complexity, only experts can install central AC systems.
Moreover, this type of AC is massive, and one of the most expensive out there.
Therefore, it only works for large homes and is not a great match for one- or two-bedroom apartments or single rooms.
2. Window Air Conditioners
As their name implies, window air-cons are mounted against the lower half of a window and the sill, with a grille or encasement for support.
They feature an exhaust system that blows out hot air at the back and sides and a cooling system that propels cold air indoors.
Unlike central and other AC systems, window air-cons are standalone units with all their components in a single case.
That makes them very compact and simple to install, as well as cheap and easy to operate.
Window units are an excellent choice for small properties or single rooms. Homeowners can move them between rooms if necessary or remove them in colder seasons. Window units can also aid central AC systems and save energy and money by targeting difficult-to-cool rooms.
However, window air-cons are not powerful enough to serve larger spaces.
They also block natural light and prevent from opening the windows. Air-cons on ground-floor windows are also vulnerable to burglars and other forms of damage.
3. Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners
Through-the-wall air conditioners are very similar to window air-cons.
They are standalone systems that collect air, cool it down, and propel it back into the room. Warm air is sent outdoors.
In contrast to window air-cons, through-the-wall units are mounted on the wall itself.
As a result, homeowners do not lose the use of their windows. Furthermore, these systems do not feature side vents.
Instead, they are sealed into the wall, making them very energy-efficient and with a higher cooling capacity than window units.
However, as through-the-wall units do not use the window openings, they require a new hole in the wall. A sleeve is then installed onto the wall to support the extra weight of the air-con.
These operations must be carried out by an expert.
Through-the-wall air-cons are a good choice for anyone with hard-to-reach windows that still wants all the benefits of window AC units.
However, these systems require careful planning because, unlike window air-cons, they are permanent.
4. Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air-cons feature a condenser coil that collects and cools air from the room and then directs it back into the premises.
An exhaust hose expels any remaining warm air through a wall or window opening.
Much like window air-cons, portable AC systems are compact, standalone units designed to cool only one room.
As a result, they are cheap, energy-efficient, and easy to install. Unlike window air-cons and other AC systems, however, portable units are not permanent.
As they are rather lightweight and often have wheels, they can be moved from room to room and can be placed on the floor or sturdy countertops.
Portable air-cons are a great solution for smaller homes, rooms that get disproportionately hotter than the rest of the building, or whenever building rules ban window AC units.
On the other hand, portable units are rather weak and only work in areas of up to 500–600 square feet.
Calculate how much HP you need using our calculator.
They also tend to be noisier than other AC systems, as the condenser and fan stay indoors.
5. Ductless Split System Air Conditioners
To start off, this is the most common and popular air conditioner type for Malaysia!
As their name suggests, split systems are not standalone units. Much like central AC systems, they comprise an outdoor condenser/compressor that connects to blower units mounted on walls in various parts of the building.
Unlike central AC, however, split systems use refrigeration lines rather than ducts to circulate air.
Therefore, they are a great choice for homes without a comprehensive duct network.
Split air-cons are very energy-efficient and powerful enough to cool multiple zones within the house.
What’s more, as each blower unit comes with a thermostat, split air systems can maintain different temperatures in different rooms. They are also very quiet and only need a small hole in the wall.
Split air-cons also tend to require more maintenance or general/normal service than most other systems.
Check out how Acontech conducted a chemical cleaning on the split air conditioner here.
6. Evaporative or “Swamp” Coolers
Swamp coolers are an eco-friendly option that eschews Freon, a refrigerant used by most AC systems.
Instead, they use air and water in a simple yet highly effective method dating as far back as Ancient Egypt.
They rely on basic physics: whenever air passes above or through water, it cools. Swamp coolers use moist pads to pull warm air and cool it down. A fan then sends the cold air back into the building.
Swamp coolers only use electricity to run the fan and need a lot less energy than regular AC systems.
They also double up as great humidifiers.
However, as they rely on natural evaporation, they are only effective in hot and dry climates.
7. Geothermal Cooling
Another eco-friendly option, geothermal cooling takes advantage of the insulating properties of the earth.
We haven't really seen any of those systems in Malaysia though.
It is low-maintenance, sustainable, and energy-efficient.
Geothermal units use a piping system to circulate water between the property, a heat pump, and the ground.
Indoors heat goes through the pump, which removes the excess heat and directs it into the ground.
The resulting cool air then goes back into the building.
Thorough research of the functions and design of the different types of air cons is crucial for making an informed choice as a consumer.
Other key factors to consider include capacity, energy ratings, and, of course, price ranges.
Choices with the difference between R410A and R32 which hope to reduce the worsening of climate change.
Above all, prospective buyers need to be aware of their needs and what AC system would best suit their home type.