Home air conditioners are a lifesaver for many on hot summer days, but if they are not installed or maintained properly, they can cause damage and become additional costs. Andžej Gabrunas, Technical Director at “Civinity Solutions”, shares tips on how to avoid this and introduces the main air conditioning systems. With the right choice, your home can stay cool and warm for years.
A reliable contractor is important
For those who decide to install air conditioning in their home, A. Gabrunas recommends avoiding the cheapest options, as these units are assembled with cheap parts that can lead to a variety of failures. According to the expert, it is important to take into account the type of installation, the manufacturer, the warranty period and the quality of installation offered. When choosing a contractor, it is worth considering whether the person or company has the necessary certificates to carry out the installation and maintenance of air conditioners.
“The technician must be familiar with the design and operation of the air conditioner and be trained and certified to work with fluorinated greenhouse gases. It is also important to have an electrical safety certificate, as the air conditioner is an electrical appliance, so it is essential to know the General Regulations for the Installation of Electrical Equipment. It is best to choose installation partners certified by the equipment vendors,” recommends A. Gabrunas.
Tailored to your needs
In old apartment buildings, where there is no predefined space for an air conditioning system, wall-mounted air conditioners are the most common choice in the home, according to the expert. These and other types of air conditioners usually consist of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, installed inside and outside the building.
“The advantages of these devices are their low noise level and that their price is affordable for many. However, it is not always easy for apartment dwellers to install an air conditioner in their homes, as it requires a project and the agreement of most of their neighbours. If a wall-mounted air conditioner is not available, a mobile free-standing air conditioner is an alternative”, says A. Gabrunas.
Ducted air conditioners are available for cooling several rooms with one unit, but their installation has to be designed at the time of building construction, so they cannot be installed in old apartment houses. This type of appliance is invisible in the room except for the decorative grilles, so it blends in subtly with the interior design, is noiseless and can perform not only cooling but also ventilation functions.
For cooling complex shaped rooms, an under-ceiling (multi-purpose) air conditioner is an excellent choice, it is mounted either under the ceiling or on the wall near the floor. The design of these units allows the air to be distributed evenly and avoid direct air flow.
For even more convenience, there are smart air conditioners with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi control, which can be set to run at the time you want, for example to cool the room before you get home and automatically switch off.
“Such air conditioners can be set to run when electricity is cheaper. This is especially true for those who have solar power plants and electricity during the day is practically free. My advice as an energy engineer to all residents with a solar power plant is to get rid of the belief that electricity is cheaper at night. In fact, it is cheaper during the day, when most people go out to work and less of it is consumed. Meanwhile, electricity is most expensive when demand is high – in the morning and evening”, says A. Gabrunas.
Service life is determined by (non-)maintenance
Quality air conditioners can last for many years, but it is important to take good care of them.
“People often forget that the outdoor unit is actually placed outdoors, and that it accumulates dust, pollen and other environmental things that make the cooling process more difficult and therefore consume more electricity. In addition, contamination of the unit creates a favourable environment for the growth of various micro-organisms and fungi, as well as a reduction in cooling capacity and a specific odour. To avoid all this, you need to have your air conditioner flushed and filters changed regularly. This extends the lifetime of the unit, reduces electricity consumption and disinfects the air discharged into the room”, says A. Gabrunas and adds that air conditioner servicing is normally carried out before the start of the cooling and heating season.
Invite for consultation
Today, apartment houses are designed to allow installation of ducts needed for the mounting of the air conditioner or they are installed from the start. However, the Old Town residents face a challenge – the buildings here are part of the cultural heritage, so any changes, even to improve the condition of the building, require permits and projects to prove that the façade, the overall aesthetics and the authenticity of the building will not be damaged.
“Fixing air conditioners to the façade or pitched roof of an apartment house is classified as a simple repair work that changes the appearance of the building. In addition, even if the external unit is installed on the roof, but the residents who intend to use it are living on the ground floor, the capacity and material costs of connecting the external unit to the internal unit are high. The longer the path between these units, the more expensive it is. Therefore, installing an air conditioner in an old-built apartment house in the Old Town area will cost a lot more money and take more time to obtain permits. For the average person without help, all these processes are really complicated, but we deal with it every day and are ready to provide assistance,” says A. Gabrunas.