A split unit air conditioner is a type of air conditioning system that consists of two separate units: an indoor unit that contains the fan coil and an outdoor unit that contains the compressor and condenser.
The two units are connected by insulated copper pipes filled with refrigerant that transfer the heat from the indoor to the outdoor unit. A split unit air conditioner can provide cooling and heating to a room, depending on the model and settings.
A split unit air conditioner works by using a refrigerant gas to transfer heat from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit. The refrigerant gas is pumped by a compressor from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit through a copper connection pipe.
The indoor unit has a fan that blows air over an evaporator coil that contains the refrigerant gas. The evaporator coil absorbs the heat and humidity from the room air and cools it down. The refrigerant gas then flows back to the outdoor unit through another copper connection pipe.
The outdoor unit has a condenser coil that releases the heat to the outside air and a fan that helps to dissipate it. The refrigerant gas then passes through an expansion valve that lowers its pressure and temperature and returns to the indoor unit to repeat the cycle.
It is generally safe to use a split unit air conditioner in your home, as long as you follow some basic precautions and guidelines.
Choose the right size and location for the split unit air conditioner, to avoid overloading the circuit, overheating the unit, or blocking the airflow. Isolate the electricity supply before cleaning or servicing the indoor or outdoor unit, to avoid electric shock or fire hazards.
Clean the filters, coils, and drains regularly, to prevent dust, mould, and bacteria build-up that can affect the air quality and cause health problems. Hire a professional to install, repair, or relocate the split unit air conditioner, to ensure proper wiring, piping, and sealing.
While it may be expensive to install air conditioning in your home, it is usually worthwhile – especially in the hot northern provinces of South Africa.
Some of the benefits are:
· They are compact and easy to install on the wall, without the need for ductwork.
· They are quiet and efficient, because the noisy compressor and fan are located outside, and they do not lose cool air through the window.
· They can provide individual temperature control for different rooms, with separate thermostats and remote controls.
· They can also provide heating in winter, if they have a reverse cycle feature.
However, split unit air conditioners also have some disadvantages, such as:
· They are more expensive to buy and install than window or portable units.
· They require regular maintenance and cleaning of the filters, coils, and drains to prevent mould and bacteria growth.
· They consume more electricity than other cooling systems, especially if they are not sized or used properly.
There are different types or styles of split unit air conditioners, depending on the design and location of the indoor unit. Some of the common types are:
· Floor-mounted split systems: These are similar to wall-mounted split systems, but the indoor unit is placed on the floor, usually near a window or a door.
· Wall-mounted split systems: These are the most popular type of split unit air conditioners, where the indoor unit is mounted on the wall, usually high up near the ceiling.
· Duct-mounted split systems: These are also known as ducted split systems, where the indoor unit is hidden in the ceiling or under the floor and connected to multiple vents or outlets in different rooms or zones.
Cleaning and caring for your split unit air conditioner is essential to prolong its life and ensure that it performs optimally.
Some of the necessary steps you should follow are:
· You should hire a professional technician to inspect, clean, and repair your split unit air conditioner at least once a year, preferably before the summer season. This will help prevent any major issues, improve the efficiency, and extend the lifespan of your unit.
· You should check your outdoor unit regularly for any dirt, debris, or damage that may affect its operation. You should also clear any obstructions around it, such as plants, furniture, or objects, to ensure adequate airflow and ventilation.
· You should clean the exterior and the air filters of your indoor unit every two weeks, or more often if you use it frequently. You can use a wet cloth to wipe the exterior, and a jet pump or running water to wash the filters. Let the filters dry completely before reinstalling them.
· Note that some split unit air conditioners have a self-cleaning feature that can automatically remove dust and moisture from the indoor unit. You can activate this feature after using the unit for cooling or heating, to prevent mould and bacteria growth.
Choosing a split unit air conditioner can be a challenging task, as there are many factors to consider. Some of the tips that can help you make the right decision are:
· You should first measure the area of your room and calculate the cooling or heating capacity you need, based on the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating of the unit. A unit that is too small or too large for your room will not work efficiently and may increase your energy bills.
· You should also consider the location of your windows, doors, and electrical outlets, to determine where to place the indoor and outdoor units.
· You should look for a unit that has a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which indicates how much energy it consumes per unit of cooling or heating. A higher SEER rating means lower operating costs and less environmental impact.
· You should also compare the features of different models, such as noise level, fan speed, remote control, timer, dehumidifier, air purifier, and self-cleaning function.
To determine the BTU size of the unit, the size of the area to be treated must be calculated:
Length of room x width = m²
If the height of the ceiling is over 3m, then add on the increased percentage of the area.
Please use the table below to help calculate the size of your room by multiplying the length of your room by the width.
|For a room of approximately:||Air conditioner size required:|
|10 to 15 m²||9 000 BTU|
|16 to 20 m²||12 000 BTU|
|21 to 30 m²||18 000 BTU|
|31 to 40 m²||24 000 BTU|
|41 to 50 m²||30 000 BTU|