save money air conditioner

Save Money With Your Air Conditioner

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How to Save Money with an Air Conditioner

We love Australian summers but things can get a little too hot sometimes. That’s when air conditioning is invaluable to keep you and your family cool and comfortable. However, it can be expensive to run if you’re not careful so here are a few tips to save you money without having to be too careful about when you do and don’t have it running.

1. Set the Right Temperature

Setting the thermostat one degree warmer can cut electricity costs for air conditioning by 10% so having the correct temperature can be crucial in saving you money.

You clearly want to be comfortable but that doesn’t mean having the temperature so cool you have to wear warm clothes to compensate.

One recommendation is to set the thermostat 8⁰C less than the outside temperature so the system isn’t overworked or to aim for a comfortable 22-24⁰C.

2. Only When Needed

There is a temptation to have the air conditioning on permanently and use the thermostat to determine how it runs. That can be a costly method and it’s estimated that 2.3 million Australians leave the system running when they’re out, costing $222 million annually.

Turn it off when you’re not at home and at night when you go to bed. You don’t need the same temperature when you’re asleep and the nights are cooler; so open some windows instead to take advantage of any breeze.

3. Cool the Property in other Ways

Although air conditioning may be indispensable when the weather’s really hot, there are cheaper ways to keep the temperature down. One of these is to use the natural shade provided by trees, which can keep the worst of the heat out of your living areas if planted correctly. If you have no trees around your property, awnings can do a comparable job.

Curtains and blinds will have a similar effect because they prevent the interior of rooms heating up too much if they’re closed to prevent the sun entering. Even better are external shutters since the sun is kept from heating the windows.

A fan will also help to cool the property at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. Although not as effective, a fan is more concentrated on a particular person or area.

4. Keep the Cool Air In

The natural reaction when the weather is hot is to open doors and windows to get air flowing through. If the air conditioning’s on, however, that’s the last thing you should do because the cooled air will escape and be replaced by hot air from outside.

Instead, keep doors and windows firmly closed so the cool air you’ve created will circulate within the property. Good insulation, such as draught-proofed doors and double-glazed windows will also help.

5. Power Off Heat Emitting Devices

We’ve all got gadgets these days and the tendency is to leave most running when not needed. They will continue to use power and to emit heat so it’s good practice to switch off anything you’re not using. This includes televisions, lights, computers and anything that’s not needed.

The biggest culprit is the oven so limit its use. Eat more salads in summer and barbecue outside so you generate less heat inside.

6. Regular Maintenance for Efficient Operation

Like any equipment, your air conditioning will work less well if it’s not properly maintained. At the very least, clean your filters every few weeks because, if they’re clogged with dirt, the system will have to work harder to achieve the right temperature and will use more electricity. Eventually, the system will stop working altogether and the cost of repairs will be much more than if you undertake regular maintenance.

7. Get the Right System

Although we left this point until last, this is probably the most important point of all. While getting a good system from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, it also needs to be the correct size. Too small and it won’t be able to cool the area and will work too hard trying, too big and you’re paying for capacity you don’t need.

At Project HVAC, we’ll ensure you get the perfect system and can maintain it regularly. That way, it will always operate at peak efficiency and keep your costs as low as possible.

How To Choose An Air Conditioner

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Choosing The Right A/C

While having an air conditioner is pretty essential in many parts of Australia, getting the right one is vital. That’s particularly true as you expect the one you buy to be in use for many years so you want to be happy with its performance.

Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

The Right Type of System

A split system comprises of an outdoor unit that brings in cooler air and an indoor unit that distributes it. This is the most popular type of system and is suitable for a single room, an open-plan area or a few rooms that are close together.

A variation on this type is a multi-split system that has one outdoor unit and several connected indoor units, which can handle a larger property with several rooms. The most expensive and complex type is a ducted system that connects a central unit to air outlets with sensors in various rooms.

All these systems can be cooling only or may be reverse cycle so they can provide heating as well. Clearly, if you have a separate heating system or live in a warm part of the country, you can save money by going for cooling only.

Wall/window and portable systems are also available but are not as popular or effective.

The Right Size of System

Getting the correct system size will save you money. If it’s too small, it won’t be able to cool the required area and will work too hard trying so may have to be replaced early after incurring excessive energy costs. If it’s too large, you’ll pay for capacity you don’t need and the system may be switching on and off too frequently, causing unnecessary wear.

To ensure you get the right size of system, measure carefully. Calculate the area of each room to be cooled and then choose the appropriate capacity of air conditioner.

A 2-2.5 kW model will handle an area of up to 20 square metres while one of 6-9 kW will cover over 80 square metres. It’s important you get the right size because a smaller model may cost as little as $300 a year to run while the largest will cost twice as much.

Other factors need to be taken into account, such as the:

  • Area of glass in a room and the extent of shading
  • Orientation of each room, since those facing the sun most of the day will need most cooling
  • Local climate and individual needs
  • Amount of insulation, such as double-glazed windows and draught-proofed doors

Choose a model that can at least handle the area you want to cover or a little more. And, if you’re planning to extend the size of your property, allow for that.

Functions Available

All systems will have a number of options, some of which you will not need and will only add to the cost. Look for:

  • The control method – whether via supplied remote that’s easy to use or a Wi-Fi function so you can use an app on your phone; the latter allows you, for example, to turn the system on before you arrive home.
  • Operating modes that may supply heating and cooling automatically depending on the temperature or include an economy mode to reduce energy use.
  • Variable fan settings that affect the speed of cooling as well as noise levels.
  • Sensors that switch the air conditioning on only when movement is detected.
  • Air filters to remove contaminants from the air.
  • Self-cleaning to prevent mould build-up.

Other Considerations

You also need to consider if the system is quiet enough, if it uses ozone-friendly refrigerant, where you will put the units and if a model is suitable for the local climate. It is a lot to think about and it’s easy to overlook something.

At Project HVAC, however, we take great care to ensure our customers get the best system for their individual needs.

We’ll measure and assess, consider every factor and recommend exactly the right system for you. We’ve been doing this a long time so you can be sure you’ll be happy with whatever we install.

The Leading ACs of 2019

Top 6 Air Conditioners of 2019

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2019’s Best Air Conditioners

For people living and working in most parts of Australia, air conditioning is a must to counter oppressive heat and humidity. It is often just accepted as a normal part of life that people can’t do without. Consequently, because they‘re so reliant on air conditioning to keep their lives comfortable, they want to get the best they can.

If you are looking to acquire a new air conditioning system and aren’t sure what to install, getting the views of existing users isn’t a bad start. So here are the top six systems rated by those users and details of their features.

1. Dakin FTXS20/25/35KVMA

The top-rated model range for 2019, all three split systems have air purifying filters approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice programme. Energy efficiency is helped by reducing power usage when no activity is detected, using minimum power when in standby mode and improved efficiency when below 100% load due to inverter DC motor efficiency. These provide Daikin’s best ever energy efficiency rating.

Comfort is provided by modes that ensure draught-free and even airflow, hot start and automatic defrost for optimum performance.

2. Mitsubishi MSZ-GL Series

The MSZ-GL series comes in a choice of seven models with capacities from 2.5 to 7.8 kW. All are split systems that feature easy cleaning to maintain their good looks and ensure performance levels don’t drop.

Advanced inverter technology enables fast cooling and heating and a 24-hour timer sets required on/off times. Energy efficiency is enabled through pre-setting of preferred temperatures and all models have a quiet mode setting — below 19 dBA for the smaller versions.

WiFi is provided for remote access from mobile devices while wide and long vane modes allow airflow to be controlled in terms of areas covered.

3. Mitsubishi SRK-ZMA Series

Another split system with capacities ranging from 2.0 to 9.2 kW across eight models, the equipment features a range of filters to keep the air pure and various modes to achieve the desired level of comfort quickly. Airflow can be pre-set and controlled in various ways for the best cooling or heating pattern.

There are various timer settings including for economy, sleep mode and silent operation of the outdoor unit. Efficient operation is maintained through easy cleaning of the filter, automatic defrosting and a self-diagnostic function.

4. Fujitsu Lifestyle ASTG09/12/18/22/24KMCA

Claiming to be ‘Australia’s Most Trusted Air Conditioning brand’, Fujitsu positions its Lifestyle range as its most energy efficient offering, some models having a 5 star energy rating. These split systems have capacities from 2.5 to 7.1 kW across five models and have a consistent, stylish design as well as power usage that can be up to 30% less than conventional fixed speed air conditioners.

A human sensor detects activity and switches into full or energy saving mode accordingly. An easy-to-use controller provides a range of operating modes and timers while WiFi allows control through any suitable mobile device.

5. Panasonic ECONAVI Reverse Cycle Inverter RKR Series

The range features seven models with capacities from 2.5 to 8 kW, although three are now discontinued so the effective maximum is 6 kW. It provides faster heating and cooling through a wide intake grille and high fan speed.

ECONAVI and INVERTER features ensure energy efficiency while the nanoe-G air purification system removes harmful organisms. Combined with high performance and low noise levels, the range provides reliable comfort consistently.

6. Mitsubishi MSZ-GE Series

These reverse cycle split systems have seven models ranging from 2.5 to 8 kW and feature quiet operation down to 19 dBA. They’re easy to clean to maintain efficient performance and have energy saving modes.

Control is provided through a 24-hour timer and WiFi for remote control via a mobile device. All models have an elegant design and an i-Save mode to recall pre-set temperatures and reduce power consumption.

Getting the Best System

Of course, the best air conditioning system for someone isn’t necessarily the ideal system for you. That depends on a whole host of factors such as the size and characteristics of your property, your lifestyle and your budget. At Project HVAC, we always aim to install the best and most appropriate system for every customer because we know that’s the only way they’ll be really satisfied.

brands of air conditioners

Top Five Air Conditioning Brands

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Five Best Air Conditioning Brands

Choosing air conditioning is not easy due to the wide variety of equipment available. However, if you at least choose a reliable brand, you can be certain your system will work well.

At Project HVAC, we only use manufacturers we know and trust for the quality of their products. Here we list the ones we use most and set out their main features and benefits.

  1. Fujitsu General

Fujitsu produces most types of air conditioning units, covering split and multi-split systems where the indoor units can be wall, ceiling or floor mounted, as well as ducted systems. Starting prices are under $1,000 and go up to over $4,000.

Products are available in three ranges — Classic, Lifestyle and Designer — with cooling options only or reverse cycle systems for each range that can also provide heating. The Classic range is the most basic and is intended to be easy to use and efficient while the Lifestyle range has stylish models that are energy-efficient, some with a five star energy rating. Top of the range Designer models have a modern finish and additional features.

Many models have sensor controls that save money by turning off the air conditioning when no movement is detected and turning on again when someone enters a room. Some have a wireless interface for remote control. Overall, the company is highly rated, generally scoring 4 out of 5 in most categories and 3 for ease of use.

  1. Toshiba

Most of Toshiba’s products are still manufactured in Japan and these include a wide range of split and multi-split systems with various mounting options plus ducted systems, many with reverse cycle. It also produces Variable Refrigerant Flow systems for large commercial use.

Toshiba’s systems are designed and manufactured with respect for the environment, using R410 refrigerant gas. They’re also very adaptable, being installable where there’s limited ceiling or wall space for fitting. Their VRF systems are designed to minimise pipework and to allow separate units to provide heating and cooling independently.

  1. Mitsubishi Electric

The company provides just about every kind of air conditioning and supplies both the domestic and commercial markets. The various models have features that include WiFi so they can be controlled from a mobile device such as a smartphone.

There are also ultra quiet models (some as low as 19 dBA) as well as those with filters to purify the air and prevent bacteria spreading, plus some that remove odours. Other features include horizontal vanes that move cooled air further into the room and over a wider area. There are premium inverter versions as well as standard single speed compressors. As an alternative to traditional white finishes, versions are available in black or silver.

The wide range of features means prices range from below $1,000 to around $4,500. The company has been rated 5 stars for reliability and 4 stars in all other categories including overall.

  1. Daikin

Daikin has been rated Australia’s most popular and trusted brand and often tops customer ratings. Its wide range of products include split, multi-split and ducted models that can be floor or wall mounted, with prices ranging from under $1,000 to almost $5,000.

Actual prices depend on size and range of features, the split systems alone having six models. These may be reverse cycle or cooling only and may have WiFi capability for easy control through a mobile device.

All Daikin split systems and air purifiers are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia. It’s also big on energy efficiency, its US7 model having a 7 star ‘super efficiency’ rating.

  1. Panasonic

Panasonic’s air conditioners have the same high quality as its other home electronic products. It has a wide range of products across all air conditioning types, its wall-mounted models alone numbering almost thirty.

Although its entry-level models have a slightly higher starting price than other manufacturers at just over $1,000, its top of the range models are somewhat lower at under $4,000.

Some models incorporate an ECONAVI feature that will reduce output if detected human activity is low but increase at times of greater activity or increased sunlight. Inverter models have variable rotation speeds that can cool or heat a room quickly and then maintain the required temperature while operating more slowly.

Optional air quality is achieved through various filtering, dehumidifying and deodorising options. All that has enabled Panasonic to achieve top ratings, with latest results being 4 stars in all categories except value for money and quietness, which achieved 3 stars.

Getting the Best

At Project HVAC, we have available all models and variations from the top manufacturers. We can help you choose the one that’s best for you and ensure you achieve maximum comfort at the most competitive price.

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Six Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

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Top Six Hints That Show You Need To Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

According to ENERGY STAR, which establishes international energy efficiency standards, the average useful life of an air conditioning system is around ten years. After that, it will increasingly develop problems, be less efficient in operation and cost you more to run.

By installing a high-quality system from a professional company and maintaining it regularly, you can extend its life and put off the day you need to replace it. Nevertheless, the system will eventually reach the point when replacement is inevitable.

Signs that Action is Needed

If you’ve had you’re current system for quite a while, there may be indications that it’s past its best.

  1. Inconsistent Air Flow

The aim of any air conditioner is to keep your home cool when it’s hot outside and possibly warm when the temperature drops in winter. Ideally, that means the temperature in each room should be reasonably consistent.

If the air doesn’t seem as cool as it used to be, even though the temperature is set the same, this may be a sign of problems. Although there will inevitably be differences in temperatures between rooms due to open doors, varying insulation levels and other factors, these shouldn’t be significant. If they are, this may be due to poor air flow caused by vents and ducts needing cleaning, faulty components or the system starting to fail.

  1. Increasing Electricity Bills

Barring real extremes of temperature, the cost of running your air conditioning should remain reasonably consistent. If, however, you find that your electricity usage is increasing, this could be due to the system using more power than previously.

You obviously need to look at other possible reasons, such as new equipment being installed or the house having been made bigger. The latter will require your air conditioning to work harder and may mean that the system at least needs to be updated.

The reason may simply be that the system is struggling to maintain the required temperature and has to work harder to do so. Again, this could be due to blockages, a need for cleaning or that the system has reached the end of its natural life.

  1. Rising Repair Costs

If the system is constantly breaking down, not only is this annoying and inconvenient but the cost of repairs will add significantly to running costs. Rather than continuing to spend money maintaining a failing system, it’s best to buy new and save in the long-term.

  1. Moisture Build Up

All air conditioning systems produce moisture, but this is usually limited and occurs at the outside unit. If it increases and also appears inside the house, it can indicate a leak. This can cause a build-up of mould, and that can have adverse health implications.

  1. Noisy and Smelly

When your air conditioner is operating properly, it will be virtually silent and have no odour. An increase in noise may indicate a loose component, a clogged mechanism or something more serious. Equally, smells coming from the system can be due to contaminated air caused by mould and need to be sorted out

  1. Old and Inefficient

Although your system may on the face of it be working reasonably well, once it reaches the ten-year mark or thereabouts, it definitely won’t be as efficient as modern systems. It will inevitably perform less well, have fewer functions, use more power and be more harmful to the environment.

What You Need to Do

If you’ve any doubts about your air conditioner, consult a professional. At Project HVAC, we will happily look at it and tell you what needs to be done.

If repairs are needed, we’ll do them quickly and properly for an agreed price. We can also arrange annual servicing to keep your system running at peak efficiency. But if your system does need replacing, we can provide top quality air conditioning that will keep you cool and save you money.