CHOICE membership

Air conditioner review - your feedback needed!


#42

Energy efficiency wasn’t a major factor in my choice; if it was, I would have gone for an evaporative system. This factor only guided my technology choice: i.e. split system inverter. I only had a passing interest in the star rating and I knew refrigerated air conditioning would be expensive to run.

The greater requirement was that they do an excellent job of cooling. I have lived in houses which had older-style reverse-cycle wall-mounted air conditioners, and I have also owned a portable refrigerated air conditioner, and none of them did a remotely acceptable job of cooling a room.

On their lowest temperature settings, the new air conditioners are capable of cooling an area to the point of making it too cold, even on the very hottest day. Therefore, they are more than capable of handling the worst conditions we experience.

In the course of a year, we don’t get many days which warrant switching on an air conditioner. Downstairs areas remain quite comfortable for most of the day during summer. However, the air conditioners mean the house remains extremely comfortable on sweltering summer evenings and nights.


#43

I have ducted air conditioning
I think it is important to have enough zones as that is the best way to reduce power as you only heat or cool the rooms you are in.
Controls should be intuitive

It is also important that the unit pushes out enough air to do the business in a quick fashion and often it can be turned off after that.
Unit should be quiet inside and outside


#44

We have two air conditioners, both the same brand and both chosen following Choice reviews.

One of the advantages of being a Choice member is having access to these reviews, and it saves me having to do the legwork - particularly as I wouldn’t necessarily know the questions to ask.

I have two air cons because ours is a zoned home. Mostly we live at one end, so there is no point heating or cooling both ends unless we we plan on being there for a while.

My main concerns were running costs and noise levels. I replaced an older unit which was noisy and costly. Ducting was not an option for various reasons, and I like having control and not cooling areas I’m not in.


#45

I wrote a comment about full house ducted in This Post

For me now, the ‘swampy’ is great. We have an average annual rainfall of 282 mm, less than 30 days a year where rainfall is over 1 mm, and essentially no humidity except for the rare day. Swampy is mounted next to the house at knee height, so servicing is easy, which is important given our water has a TDS of around 450 mg/L - everything gets encrusted fairly quickly.

I do have a split system for the bedroom. I’ve used it once in two years … to see if it worked.

It would be interesting to see a comparison of running costs between the various system types, including cut-off’s where certain types become ineffective (swampy’s in high humidity for example) …


#46

We have two evaporative systems and two reverse cycle splits.

Being on a farm, the evaporatives are plumbed using high mineral bore water, forcing us to disconnect the automatic water dumping systems which detect high conductivity to decide when to dump and refill the water. These systems continually dumped this water which was incredibly wasteful but unplugging the sensors left the standard water bleed off to work nicely. The pads have lasted many years using this water with annual servicing. These units work well for most of the summer.

Installation of the latest evap unit in the extension, an efficient inverter motor type by Braemar, produced so much electromagnetic interference it swamped out all radio reception, AM and FM. This was not fixable and forced the installation company to replace it with an older tech triac controlled Breezair unit. This has not been a problem with radio noise.

The reverse cycle units are Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, 7.1kW and 6.1kW for each end of the house which provide relief in high humidity and heating in winter. They are both quiet units and intuitive to operate. My only gripe would be the selectable temperature range of 18C to 30C. 15C would be a better minimum temp for heating the extension in winter just to keep the chill out considering we have recorded it as low as 3C in there. 18C feels too warm in contrast.

We did consider ducted reverse cycle but felt the redundancy of multiple splits in case of failure and the ability to operate a smaller unit from generator back up power was of more benefit to us.


#47

Our’s is a Daikin reverse cycle - it was installed by the previous owner of the house so I don’t know many details - I do know it requires three phase power so it’s pretty bit (actually the heat pump has two units, one above the other).

Very concerned about the running cost: we adjust the temperature to cycle on at a higher temperature in summer than in winter and use it only for short periods (the house is well insulated so this works well). We also do the “elderly person” thing in winter and use a blanket and warm puppy in the evening.

I’m convinced that the key to managing the running cost is good insulation and common sense about how warm or cold we need to be.


#48

Reverse cycle split system mounted on an external wall. Kelvinator KSV70HRC 7000 watts heating and cooling with five year replacement warranty. Carbon, HEPA, biofresh and plasma filters to prevent stale smells on recirculation. Has mobile control panel with a follow me feature so that it will zone the climate control.
Needed to cover a two storey home so bought top of the power range 3 HP nominal.
Concerned about power costs so chose the inverter model. Energy rating is 2.5 heating and cooling.
We use this as backup to a solid fuel wood heater and evaporative cooling system in between climate extremes and for quick response climate control. Better at cooling than heating.


#49

Ducted, reverse cycle.
Reliability and effectiveness.
Not concerned about the costs as we only use it when really necessary.
Very unhappy with the LG unit we have which is no longer working.


#50

We have a ducted reverse cycle Fujitsu system. My husband is an engineer so he was capable of working out the appropriate size for our house. We just have the 2 zones, bedrooms and living. Many companies will undersize the compressor and fan motor to make their quotes more attractive. We have had ours for 17 years and it hasn’t missed a beat. Running cost is a concern, but our comfort comes before cost. We live in Sydney. Winter mornings it goes on early for a few hours and then again in the late afternoon until we go to bed. Hot summer days it can be on most of the day. We have ceiling fans which are just wonderful, if we didn’t have them we would use the air con much more than we do in summer. It’s very rare that we leave it on all night, the ceiling fans are usually sufficient to keep us comfortable. The newer ones are much more energy efficient than our older one.


#51

I was awfully confused when I first bought this house. Its brick and tile, and I didnt think it would need a/c but it transpired that the west facing glass doors generate a ton of heat so I have a window unit (skinny style that you cant buy anymore) which is reverse cycle. I switch it off at night because I am not in tht room, and I don’t use it at all in winter. Its not an inverter type and its very noisy but not as noisy as the mobile portable style of a/c.

My house is tiny, and its design, ceiling heights, window locations etc dont lend themselves to a split system. I also had a skinny unit in my bedroom. That died over a year ago, and last summer I found that I only needed a fan. Its a good fan, very quiet, gentle breeze, and does the job much better than I expected. I’ve had ceiling fans in other houses I have owned in the past and did not find them very useful except to move air around. Never felt cool with them. I imagine today’s fan designs are an improvement on the old ones I had.

As others have mentioned, having a whirlybird on the roof to extract roof space heat would be a good idea and thats on my list of to-gets.

Cost of running the Window unit is quite high, but only for that period in summer where the temp is regularly over 40ºC and the a/c struggles to keep the temp at around 30-32º. My personal ideal temp is about 22º so that is what I have the unit set at, most of the time. Cost of running the window unit is far less than running a portable (I’ve done both). Will i replace the current unit with a split when it finally gives up the ghost? maybe. I’ll br trialling a summer with just a fan and see how it goes.

This post has been a real ramble… well, Sunday morning and I’ve been awake since 2am… thats my excuse.


#52

Daikin Reverse cycle


#53

We us it to heat during the winter, and cool in the summer. It covers the ground floor of the house only, is very efficient and sufficient for our needs.


#54

We have reverse cycle which was here when we bought the house. However we rarely use the A/C and have fans in most rooms. Also we chose the house as it was elevated so have access to prevailing winds and created windows in most rooms to allow for cooling. Our aspect is facing north so sun is available all year round especially in winter as heating.whilst have balconies as shade in summer.


#55

What air conditioning system do you have (i.e. reverse cycle, ducted etc)?
Answer:
Fujitsu reverse cycle (one stand alone large for lounge/dining/kitchen area and several small for bedrooms run from multi head external unit)

What features were important to you when choosing which air conditioner to buy?
Answer:
Energy efficiency, cost, availability of multi head external unit, reliability, guarantee.

Are you concerned about the cost of running your air conditioner and if so, what do you do to keep costs down?
Answer: Yes therefore we:

  • Use ceiling fans and the A/C in fan-only mode as much as possible.
  • Create and use cross breezes.
  • Reduce heat entry by closing external windows and using blinds.
  • Only air condition rooms that are in use and keep them closed off from other areas.
  • Set the large air con temp at 25-26 deg C and the small ones at 23 deg C.

Finally… feel free to comment or ask anything else about air conditioners!
Answer:
Choice should obtain and publicise information about the influence on actual power consumption and estimated annual costs of using air conditioners in eco mode (when available), setting the target temperature at various levels, etc.


#56

We have 2 Fujitsu split systems- 5kw in the lounge room and 2kw in the bedroom. We can close all internal doors and the one in the lounge will cool the main areas of the house, at night we open the bedroom doors to allow the cool air to circulate and then turn the air conditioner off. It was important to have a reverse cycle for the odd cold days but we probably only use heat for approx 30 minutes maybe once or twice during winter. Our son has a genetic condition where he has reduced sweating (ectodermal dysphasia) so a good air conditioner is vital. As it runs every day in summer we also have the roof insulated, roller shutters on the front of the house that gets the full force of the afternoon sun, blockout blinds and we have also installed solar to help with electricity costs. The air conditioner would be our prime cost for electricity. We have ceiling fans in every room and they run all night during summer. An important factor was a sleep cycle on the air conditioner as it cools the room on those extra hot nights for 30 mins and then shuts off. This is enough to enable our son to get to sleep and the fan then covers the temperature during the night without wasting the cost of the air conditioner running. When buying we looked for the best options in running costs.


#57

We decided to bite the bullet and get a ducted system with five adjustable ceiling outlets so we could close it off in rooms not being used (guest bedrooms/study). It does double our power bill but we are retired and no longer benefit from employer’s air con and being not too hot in summer and comfortably warm in winter is fantastic and worth the cost. We do try to turn it off at 2pm during our TOU peak period to save a bit of money but in summer when it gets up into the 40s turning it off isn’t seriously considered.


#58

We have a ducted, reverse cycle, three zone, 11kW system.
It was already there when we bought our house.
Whilst it is an efficient way to heat in winter, we’re still concerned about the cost. We ensure that we keep the thermostat no higher (or lower in Summer) than necessary, and have thick curtains with box pelmets on almost all windows. We switch off zones that aren’t being used. We also have a flued gas heater in the loungeroom, and this sometimes get used instead of the AC in winter. If it’s not very cold, we will sometimes use the gas heater, and just have one zone on FAN ONLY mode to circulate the heated air.
In summer, we make sure that the house stays “blacked out” whilst we’re at work during the day. That works pretty well at preventing indoor temperatures rising by much, unless we have a prolonged stretch of very warm nights that don’t allow the brickwork to cool down.
Our ceilings are insulated, and we have a couple of “whirlybirds”.


#59

We have installed a Daikin ducted reverse cycle air conditioner. It is an inverter model RZQ140LAV1A. We have had it for 4 yrs now and the only problem we have had is with zone motors. It is by far the quietest one I have seen. Our neighbour has a Samsung and it is noisy by comparison. In our previous house we also had a ducted Daikin Unit and this was quitter than the neighbours Panasonic. My friend does commercial as well as domestic air conditioners and will only install Daikin. He says they are the quietist and most reliable and with the inverter model it saves money. From my experience I would fully endorse the brand (I am not being paid to say this) and would not buy any other
Bob


#60

Take care where the air conditioner condensation pipe is vented to! Ours had been placed into a convenient roof downpipe at a point near the gound level which looked good, but on several occasions, storm water runoff from the roof filled the downpipe and then backed up the condensation pipe through the air conditioner and into the house making a mess of the carpets and furniture.

Particularly an issue if not home at the time.


#61

Hello Boblorel,

Thank you for your reply, and we certainly love hearing CHOICE saves you legwork.

Cheers

Antonia