CHOICE membership

Air conditioner review - your feedback needed!


#22

Fantastic post syncretic.

Great to hear someone who so actively involved.

I think our weather forecasters should be reporting each day what the thermostats should be set too. Humans are adaptable, so indoors temperatures in each capital can be gradually lowered in winter and raised in summer. This should apply to offices and shopping centres as well. I think it crazy that I have to take my suit jacket off during winter, as buildings are so dam hot, and put it on during summer because they are so cold! Parliament should be leading the way with this so in summer Question Time should be in short sleeved shirts (men), and in winter with warm clothing.

Air Con should be secondary to wearing appropriate clothing as the seasons change.


#23

A few decades ago the US government mandated raising the thermostat during the summer to save energy in all government buildings. They did not appreciate the special needs of computer facilities. As the thermostats rose so did the A/C loads, and the power consumption rose as did their electricity bills.

‘One size’ does not fit all.


#24

Type: Reverse cycle x 3 (study, dining room, master bedroom)

Brands: Carrier, Daikin, Mitsubishi. (Had another Carrier, but it died and was replaced by the Daikin.)

Features we wanted: Dining room - good enough to cool living area (dining/kitchen). Master bedroom - good enough to cool and warm bedroom and lounge room (sorta). Good thermostat controls and control unit. Price. Ability to place outside unit in appropriate location.

Cost concerns: My spouse and I are hip, and want to stay cool. If it’s needed, it’s needed. Likewise with heating.

Other question: when are we going to get Mr Fusion-powered climate control systems?

Other concerns:

  1. I can never figure out the remotes; I rely upon my spouse to figure it out. There needs to be some standard iconography/remote control layout, to stop me breaking the setup!
  2. We will probably need to figure something out for the spare bedroom this summer. This is likely to be some form of portable air conditioning, and so I need to figure out the best/most secure/coolest option. That is, I do not want a window to be wide open, holding some outlet for an air conditioner and providing any local dog-burglar to climb in and steal away with my furry friends.

#25

I worked in IT, your comments about essentially mainframe computers of the 80/90s was certainly applicable, the computer suite, needed dedicated a/c, often with air filtering as well as the equipment was far less robust. Today server areas are highly controlled areas.

Office space and shopping centres a/c is designed for the humans, and unlike their robotic friends are far more adaptable.


#26

Good one, grahroll,
i use “Whirly Bird” roof vents and insulated roof space in Summer - but I close them up in Winter, open the ceiling space (mine is not a low ceiling) to the house and bring the heat down - as you are going to.


#27

The flexibility with individual units is VERY useful/cost effective. In an older house with fully ducted, there are not sufficient alternatives for really efficient use.


#28

We use a a Chunlan and ATD brands at either end of our 18 square 80’s design house that has that era’s styling with oversize single pane windows so summer heat load is their real workout.
Not are only around 3-4kw output each so they are undersized for the task. This means they never stop and cycle out in the extreme weather.
We don’t use them for heating because we run a wood fire 24/7 in the cooler months but sometimes if we have been away travelling and get home late we may use them as heaters rather than wait for the wood fire to get going.
Like most reverse cycle units they are better heaters than coolers and they do a reasonable heating job except they make a drafty warmth whereas the wood fire makes a nicer draftless warmth. As coolers they will just keep the house around 24-25 in the extreme 40 degree days as long as you start them in the morning and keep the heavy drapes closed. I find that even if the internal temp climbs to 27 degrees after many days of extreme heat as long as it is refrigerated aircond and the air is dry the house is comfortable. Just basic remotes with temp setting, mode setting, swing door setting, boost/super mode and that’s about it which is all we want. Although they default to no swinging doors on the outlet when restarted but we like the swing doors in the hot weather so you always have to reselect it. They are both at least 12 years old and have been trouble free, although those little mud wasp like to sometime hibernate in and block the condensate drain occasionally causing water to sometimes drip from the front, but a bit of wire is all that is needed to clear the drain pipe.


#29

Hello,

Thank you for your reply… it sounds like we have similar houses!

Quick question - when you talk about ‘most efficient’ - was that based on energy star ratings?

Cheers

Antonia


#30

Good advice. It does always seem ridiculous to have to wear a jacket inside in summer!


#31

Hello,

Thank you for your reply.

When we do have Mr Fusion powered climate control systems I’m sure CHOICE will test them.

Cheers

Antonia


#32

In 2012, I had installed:
1 x Fujitsu ASTG24LFCB 6.8Kw reverse cycle inverter air conditioner - to service upstairs
1 x Mitsubishi DXK24Z4-S 7.1Kw reverse cycle inverter air conditioner - to service the kitchen, dining and lounge room downstairs
1 x Fujitsu ASTG09LVCC 2.5Kw reverse cycle inverter air conditioner - to service a downstairs office

Important features when making the purchase decision:

  • Getting good reach, particularly with the 7.1Kw system being required to service a large area. The Mitsubishi seems to do a better job of air mixing - but maybe that’s just because it’s a 7.1Kw system.
  • Very, VERY effective cooling to handle the very hot summers - particularly where we get multiple consecutive days with very high temperatures. Actually the downstairs office air con is hardly used, because it receives enough drift from the 7.1Kw system.
  • Reverse cycle - the air conditioners aren’t used for heating very often, but on extremely chilly days, I find it useful to switch on the upstairs unit in heating mode for a 30-minute burst to take the edge off the chill.
  • Trusted brands - brands which will operate efficiently and reliably and provide years of problem-free service. Once I’ve spent my hard-earned dime, I expect the thing to last!
  • Minimising damage to interior walls downstairs. I was contemplating a system which used a central unit under the house and multiple lower wall outlets throughout the house. I discarded that because there would be too many large outlet grills required. The downstairs interiors are lined with rimu, a now-rare timber and I don’t want to cut holes into the timber for transient devices because the timber is irreplaceable.
  • Quiet mode
  • High-mounted outlets. My brother has floor-ducted air con and he hates it - he says only the lower portion of the room just above floor level gets cool. Above that - at torso level - my brother’s system doesn’t cool effectively.

Concerned re running the cost of air con:

  • I am concerned about the cost.
  • To keep costs down, I:
    a) replaced curtains with thermal curtains (downstairs - an area which tends to stay naturally cool for longer - uses thermally-lined curtains; upstairs has heavy triple-layer curtains for maximum thermal protection. Upstairs windows also have timber pelmets).
    b) had tinting applied to North-facing downstairs windows for thermal protection. I didn’t go with the maximum tint because I still want the benefit of natural warming through north-facing windows in winter. In fact, the sun through the northern windows provides excellent natural warming for living spaces, particularly upstairs which requires little artificial heating in winter.
    c) applied foam weather strips on external door-frames
    d) wear warm clothing in the house on cold days rather than crank up the heating. I even have a pair of cut-finger gloves that I wear at the computer keyboard on those uber-chilly mornings
    e) switched to a flexible-pricing electricity account (i.e. one which has shoulder and off-peak rates). On hot days, the downstairs living areas remain relatively cool naturally during the day; at night, there is no problem running the air con all night if necessary because off peak electricity rates are attractive

Other comments:
Air con really does make a big difference to comfort levels and - although I grew up without any air con - now I would not want to be without it. When the units run in quiet mode, one is not aware of any operating noise. They’re brilliant and provide incredibly effective cooling on the hottest of days and nights.

Now all I need is a Tesla roof and Tesla storage and I might just be able to operate air cons on solar!


#33

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries SRK63ZM-S reverse-cycle split system. Installed in the lounge room of a 2 bedroom unit.

Important features: 7 day timer function, so that it takes the chill off the room in winter before I get up in the morning (I start work early).
Quiet outdoor unit as I don’t want to disturb the neighbours. They have never noticed it!

I’m not too concerned about the cost of running the system. I only need to heat the lounge room with it, which filters through to the other rooms. I also have insulation in the ceiling which makes a big difference.

One of the best things in the height of summer is the fact that it very quickly sucks the humidity from the air, which makes those hot summers days far more bearable!


#34

Have reverse cycle split systems. Also same for previous 2 properties. Prior to that have relied on box reverse cycle or cooling only. Since 1987 have lived in inland NSW, QLD and northern tropics complete with aircons in 6 different houses.

Number one feature assuming correctly sized units is low noise level. Most box units are noisy. Many spits are also noisy. Quality brand named split system inverter units are quiet and more efficient. After that key needs are easy to clean (none yet that make cleaning the barrel fans easy to access) and remotes that are easy to understand ( none to date meet that expectation). IE With modern LCD displays put the word cool for cool, heat for heat, dry to dry. Cryptic star symbols are hard to read without glasses and open to interpretation. Timer functions need a PHD?

Running cost is a function of selected electricity supplier first, desired usage second and house insulation quality. Last three properties with aircons we have spent up on quality ceiling insulation. It made a significant difference in reducing cooling loads on aircons and reduced power by 30%. Pay back is achieved in several years plus improved comfort levels. Down side is in winter in QLD heat loading on rooms from roof is blocked - hence greater need to run in heating mode in winter.Tend to run in winter only as a backup to hydronic heating or to knock chill out of rooms in early morning.

For the most recent installation of 2 MHI branded splits in an easy to access house the cost to install nearly equaled the cost to purchase. Suggest that the greatest cost of ownership is the cost of electricity, Technically it is possible to store capacity from daytime (solar) in an enlarged working gas storage vessel. Yet to see this as an option.

Noted that even big brand name units suffer from plastic housing aging with whites yellowing long before units need servicing or expire. Outdoor unit grills in powder coasted metal or cheep plastic fail under Aussie sun after 5 years. Fins on outdoor units (splits or box) readily corrode in tropics.


#35

Recommendation from Ergon in North Qld is for a summer setting of 25C or even 26C. Have heard of set points as low as 18C for southern states. No wonder there are power shortages in summer? No need to use aicon in spring or autumn. In winter 18c is plenty warm enough - from experience in the snow and just not the tropics where 18C is close to record lows. Have never run an aircon 24hr x 7 days. It’s just too expensive in power.


#36

Firstly I totally agree with The BBG and comments on evaporative systems. We have owned two the first for only 12 years then we built again and the second one for 28 years.

We performed annual maintenance and the only cost we had were pad replacements twice. I admit when Perth has several high humidity days it doesn’t work but that is usually only about 10 days per summer so is bearable.

When we built again we planned our home so that it has wide eaves; we have no west facing windows and only one small one on the east. Our north windows are protected by a veranda, our south windows have wide eaves and we have double glazing. Also insulation in the ceilings and its double brick but with a metal roof.

As we are both retired we decided that our 40+ years of loving our slow combustion wood stove was enough and we opted for Fujitsu reverse cycle inverter systems. Only two, one does our combined lounge/dining the second one is in a smaller music / TV room.

The house we demolished had a reasonably new cool only AUS split system which we rescued and have installed in the bedroom; it works really well only needs to be on for approx an hour before bed on 33 + days.

We have ceiling fans which do a great job as inside does not get too hot, in winter we use on reverse. We use the BOM app to check on daily temperatures and if its going to be above 34 we turn on early so stop the house heating up. In winter we use once it gets below 20. We find them efficient rarely having to use above the low fan setting and in winter costs less to run than our pool filter in summer.

We do not use much at night as we’re north of Perth so we usually have that lovely cool sea breeze in the afternoons, we can have 26-28 whilst Perth’s still sweltering at 34-36. So its simple to open up the house to cool it down, whilst closing it up again by approx 8am.

We have had no problems with the Fujitsu and they are 7 years old, the AUS is approx now 11 years also no problems and yes we regularly clean the filters in summer at least bi-monthly due to the high winds we experience and the dirt that blows everywhere.


#37

Hello Margot,

Thank you for your reply.

Quick question, how did you determine efficiency? Star rating or advice from installer etc?

Thanks again

Antonia


#38

Hello Barbara,

Thank you for your reply.

Have a lovely weekend.

Cheers

Antonia


#39

Panasoinc. 5KW inverter. The best.


#40

Antonia
Pre-retirement, my mother designed air conditioning fitouts for large buildings, so she has relevant knowledge and experience, though it is somewhat dated. She checked the installers calculations for what the optimal capacity unit was for each location. With that information I looked at the Choice reviews before finally selecting one brand that best met our needs across a range of capacities.


#41

(Laugh)
I have a mother to advise on all of that. She used to design air con layouts and requirements for the government many years ago.