Installing An Air-Con? Look Out For These 4 Things
In Malaysia's tropical weather, no home is ever complete these days without an air conditioner to beat the heat! Yet, for something that's almost a necessity, air-cons are pretty much a mystery to us. Yes, we may be able to tell the difference between System 2 and 3 split AC units, but installing and maintaining one? Best to leave it to the experts, eh?
Interior Designer: Code Red Studio
Here's the thing - installing an air-con often requires extensive structural works, and one wrong move can seriously affect how well an air-con works in the long run. So, if you are going to get it - do it right the first time around. These are 4 important details every homeowner should look out for when setting up an air-conditioning system at home.
1. Where You Are Setting Up Your Air-Con
Interior Designer: X Two Dimension
Sure, air-con units are bulky, (not so eye-catching) things, but don't just tuck your AC in a corner so as to not cramp your room's style. Especially so for split models, an air-con needs ample space for it to circulate air and cool down the machine's unit, so always try to place it at a location that’s free from obstructions.
Interior Designer: Gusto Design & Build
Avoid installing units by room corners or areas where there are walls or pillars blocking it. The lack of ventilation space will create 'hot spots' during operation and that'll reduce your air-con's cooling efficiency (or cause it to easily break down). Likewise, keep your air-conditioners away from electronic, signal-making devices like internet routers, security cameras or antennas. Why? Electrical feedback may disrupt the signals on your split air-con as well.
2. How High You Are Setting Up Your Air-Con
Interior Designer: Yong Studio
Besides your air-con's location, it's also important to think about how high you should install your AC unit. Regardless of how high your walls are, a height 2.2 to 3 meters from the underside of the air-con unit to the finished floor is the best for split air-conditioners.
Interior Designer: Nevermore Design
As cool air sinks and hot air rises, any space above 2 meters technically does not need to be cooled. The range of 2.2 - 3m is high enough to blast cool air out without blowing directly in people’s faces – and low enough to circulate cold air efficiently.
3. Checks and Tests After Installation
Interior Designer: X Dimension Design
They may seem complicated and a pain to do, but always make sure to run some post-installation checks on the air-con's components before you show your air-con installer the door.
As such, make it a point to check these 4 components during installation - which could lower your air-con's performance and lifespan in the long run:
1. The Refrigerant Pipe: It should be of the length specified by the manufacturer and not be too short that the refrigerant is unable to cool down or expand. A shortened pipe can result in a drop in cooling capacity, and damage the outdoor compressor. Also, check that joints are properly glazed and there are no cracks.
2. The Condensate Water Pipe: This pipe helps to drain away water caused by condensation. The pipe should have a sloped gradient for the water to flow and drain out smoothly. Likewise, check that joints are not loosed or cracked.
3. Insulation for Refrigerant and Condensate Pipe: Insulation tubes help to prevent leakages and minimize the loss of energy. So, make sure the correct thickness is used to insulate both pipes. The recommended thickness is usually 1/2" (Class 0), though 3/8" thickness (Class 1) also works just as well.
4. Location of Outdoor Condenser: For condos and apartments, there's usually an air-con ledge to support the outdoor condenser. Make sure there's always enough ventilation and space for future servicing. Likewise, for landed homes, don't place any obstructions by the outdoor unit area, and make sure there's ample space surrounding it to ventilate better.
4. Lastly, Don't Make These Design Mistakes!
Now, you've got your air-con all up and ready - but hold up! If you're thinking of (still) concealing your unsightly split AC behind a false ledge or a concealed compartment - don't. These features serve as ‘obstructions’ which block the cool air from properly circulating about the rest of the space - and can cause your air-conditioner to work harder than it should.
From the big picture to the small details.
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