Air conditioning: Tips for purchasing
On hot days, air conditioners provide a pleasant temperature. In order to make the purchase worthwhile, a few points must be observed.
Although spring is just around the corner, this year, too, you will have to reckon with a few tropical days and nights. And so air-conditioning systems for living rooms are also very popular in our latitudes. The possibilities range from floor units to multi-part systems. But before you decide on a particular one, the necessary cooling capacity should be determined. Specialist companies like hvac contractors in Escondido calculate the demand individually (depending on room volume, heat storage capacity, degree of thermal insulation, proportion of glass surface, number of persons). “The rule of thumb is an average of 70 watts per square meter,” says air conditioning distributor Tomasz Skrzatek of Artklima.
The type of system also depends on personal requirements
If you opt for a firmly anchored system, you can choose between two main categories. The split air conditioners consist of an outer and inner part. The room unit (the cooling section) can be designed as a wall, ceiling or chest unit. The condenser is installed outdoors. However, there are also compact air conditioners for wall or window installation that save space (see below).
The acquisition costs are between 350 and 2000 euros. The final price depends mainly on the manufacturer and the type of model. “Built-in units are available from 1200 Euro. For assembly, 200 to 300 euros still have to be planned in,” says Christian Merker from Speedtech. Mobile devices that can be set up in the living room without additional effort are cheaper. These are available from 350 euros upwards.
In addition, there are the operating costs, which depend on several factors: the energy efficiency class (it indicates the electricity required for the cooling capacity; classes A to A+++ are particularly efficient), the electricity provider, the outside temperatures and the type of device. “Owners of a split system with energy efficiency class A – only classes A and B have been permitted throughout the EU since 2014 – must expect operating costs averaging 80 cents per day for cooling a 35 square metre room,” says Skrzatek.
In order to avoid hygienic defects, the proper functioning of the device should be ensured. As microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi often multiply unnoticed in the filters and pipes, professional maintenance of the unit is essential. “This should be carried out once a year,” says Merker. In addition to checking the condensate pump, the coolant must also be checked. Average costs of around 100 to 120 euros are to be expected. “Ultimately, however, the final price also depends on the maintenance company,” says Merker.
In addition, the system’s filter must be cleaned every two weeks. “This is done by the owner himself, who cleans it with a vacuum cleaner.” A dirty filter not only deteriorates the air quality in the room, but also reduces the efficiency of the unit. Allergy sufferers should also ensure that their system is equipped with a pollen filter. Skrzatek is sure that “This is already standard for most branded air conditioners today”. But even if the air conditioning system is optimally maintained, it can in some cases lead to health problems. In order not to put additional strain on the cardiovascular system on hot days, the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor areas should not exceed six degrees Celsius.
Legal requirements for air conditioning systems with outdoor units must be observed before installation. Because depending on the location (different regulations in the federal states) and size, approval is required from the building authorities (in Vienna, for example, from the MA 37). “In the federal capital, the plants are not subject to a permit if they have no impact on the cityscape and the noise emission does not affect the neighbour,” says Guido Markouschek, Technical Director of MA 37.
In practice, this means that the outdoor unit must be installed in such a way that it cannot be seen from the street and is at least four metres away from the nearest neighbour’s window. Courtyards or flat roofs are well suited for this. If the house is also located in a protection zone (for inspection see www.wien.gv.at) or if it is a listed building, the installation must always be approved.
“In addition to the construction plans, photos of the desired installation location and a technical description of the device must also be submitted,” says Markouschek. In addition, the cover grille of the intake must be painted in the same colour as the façade and must not alter architectural decorative elements.