The ubiquitous air-conditioner is God’s gift to humid countries like Singapore. We check out the four most common types sold in Singapore.
With our temperatures soaring above 30°c most days, Singaporeans depend heavily on air- conditioners. Most of us opt to put at least a unit in every bedroom, though it is becoming increasingly common to air-condition the living and dining rooms too. depending on the brand and model, prices can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
The first thing you should check is the british thermal unit (btu) rating. A small room of 150sq ft or below (usually the size of a regular hdb bedroom) needs about 6,000 btus for sufficient cooling. big rooms of up to 350sq ft, like living rooms, will require a unit with 9,000 btus. very big rooms of 500sq ft and above need between 10,000 to 15,000 btus. the higher the btu, the more expensive the air con will be. thus, think about the room size and the usage before you buy. do your homework first by checking the various types of air con systems out there in the market.
Window air cons are compact and only cool one room. You may remember growing up with the old box units that fit into a hole in the wall; those were the most common air con units back in the 1980s and 1990s.
Window units can also be installed in rooms without that all-essential hole. They fit nicely in the standard window of any room and installation is pretty quick and easy. However, they are not that powerful and suit smaller spaces; they won’t cool a big room efficiently. Also, they take up one whole window which blocks the natural light and breeze. In addition, they can be noisier than multi-split units.
These are very commonly seen in Singapore homes, and are sold by leading brands such as Daikin, Mitsubishi and Carrier. You can choose anything from one to five multi-split units, which are connected to an outdoor compressor.
It is cheaper and more efficient to use multi- splits if you need to cool multiple rooms. You can also customize the power required in different rooms – higher BTU in bigger rooms, lower BTU in smaller rooms – and you also get to control the temperature you prefer in every room. Installation is relatively easy and does not need ductwork. However, having bulky compressors outside your house can look unsightly, though new flats and condos now try to hide them better using aesthetically pleasing air con ledges.
Central Air Conditioner
This is preferred for larger homes as it cools efficiently, circulating cool air through the supply and return ducts hidden in the wall or floors. How it works is these ducts and registers will carry cooled air into the home. Warmer air will circulate back into the supply ducts and registers, which are then transported back to the air conditioner. On the minus side, you need to carefully plan and prepare the position of your central air conditioning because the right size affects how well it functions. Pick the wrong one and you will waste more money on utility bills, trying to cool your home.
Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air cons are an option for those who want something that can move around easily. For example, if you are renting a home and it does not come with air conditioning, your landlord may not be willing to spend on installing an air con system. By using a portable air con, you can take it with you when you move out. How it works is it takes in air from the room, cools it and directs it back to your bedroom. An exhaust hose installed in a window will vent the warm air outside. Similar to window air con units, portable ones are only powerful enough to cool one room. However, these can be a bit chunky and take up precious floor space.
If you live in a HDB flat, don’t forget to adhere to HDB’s technical guidelines on installing air-conditioners. Get more info on http://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/aircon_safety.