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Beating The Summer Heat Wave

The heat is on, literally. It's sticky, uncomfortable and downright dangerous. Heatwaves are nothing new in Australia, but they're becoming longer, hotter and more common.
So Prepare yourself and get your cooling sorted before this years summer heat wave heats!

BEAT THE HEAT THIS SUMMER – Cooling your home

The first question to ask yourself is “Are we wanting to cool one (maybe multiple) rooms or do we want the whole house cooled?

Here is a brief outline of different systems on the market today.

Split System Air-conditioning:

A split system is any unit that has an indoor and an outdoor component. There are many types; wall mounted, floor mounted, ducted, ceiling concealed, bulk-head, ceiling cassette and low profile ducted. The size of the unit will depend on the size of the area you wish to heat/cool. The size of the area you need to cover depends on the size and type of the system that you need.

You may have heard of a reverse cycle system and are unsure of what it actually means? A reverse cycle system is any system that provides heating and cooling. When a system runs on cooling the refrigeration cycle is that the compressor (outdoor unit) compresses the cool refrigerants making them hot and then dissipates the heat from the compressed gases through a set of coils. This coil cools the refrigerant and condenses these gases into a liquid which is sent through pipe-work to the indoor unit. Through this process the refrigerant then goes through an expansion valve which evaporates the liquid to become cold which runs through the coils of the indoor unit that allows the gas to absorb heat and cool down the internal home. The reverse of this process is done to provide heating with a “reversing valve” that sends the refrigerants in the opposite direction.

To understand how an inverter works we first need to look at how a non-inverter works. A non-inverter uses electricity to turn on (starting current) and then uses a running current to keep the appliance running. Once a non-inverter reaches the desired or set temperature it switches off. It then uses the starting current (which costs more than the running current) to turn on when there is a drop of 2 degree’s celcius. With a non-inverter you continually get a spike in the electricity consumption which makes these units inefficient. An inverter works much the same way in using a starting current and running current but an inverter will only use the starting current once. After it then reaches the set temperature the unit doesn’t switch off, it modulates its condenser speed. An inverter is reactive to one degree of the set temperature and by modulating itself to one degree instead of two this also means there is a smaller temperature difference. To explain an inverter to a customer a great metaphor to use is the operation of a car. If you slam on acceleration and then slam on the brakes this is going to use more fuel than if you slowly increased deceleration and then slowly decreased.

Refrigerative Air-conditioning:

This works by recycling the air and extracting the moisture. With this system you must keep doors and windows closed to maintain a cooler temperature. This can be either a single room system or a whole house ducted system. This system can also be zoned, Zoning is when you “Zone off” one area of a home from another. It is recommended to zone off areas that are not commonly used as the system will then be more efficient to run. It is always recommended to have a common or “constant” zone which is always on in living areas as these areas are not always able to be predictable in their usage. It also uses a return air filter, which is a filtered grill which takes the air from inside a home back to the indoor fan coil for the air to be conditioned back into the home. The return air should be located in any “common” space (hallways, entry’s, living areas, etc). These should also be installed in any area that will always be getting heating/cooling. It is important to always have a common outlet near a return air and for two story homes a low level return air should always be implemented in the design.

Evaporative Air Conditioning:

Evaporative cooling, is based on a natural process of air cooled by water. This means it won’t dry out the air, irritate your skin, throat or eyes, or affect the environment. Evaporative cooling is cheaper to run than most other cooling systems. It has been described as the healthiest way to cool your home because it replaces stale old air with clean fresh air many times an hour – remember, you keep your doors and windows open. The air inside your home is never re-circulated which means smells and airborne germs are expelled. Evaporative cooling is a process of cooling where a unit sits on the roof of your home that sits on a dropper box that goes into the ceiling cavity of your home and we duct off the dropper box to each outlet. Evaporative cooling uses chill cell pads where water runs through these pads soaking them wet and the fan of the unit pulls in the external air through these chill cell pads and down into your home. Evaporative cooling turns air into a vapour (a change of state is required for any change of temperature) which can cool the outside air temperature by an average of 15C. This depends on the level of outside air humidity as the more moisture there is in the outside air the less change of state (and therefore change of temperature) there is.

No, evaporative cooling does not recycle the air in a home and therefore is not replacing the air inside but instead introduces new fresh air into the home. Because of this there is no temperature sensing for evaporative cooling to be able to change or maintain a temperature. You do have comfort levels which can adjust the strength of the fan of the unit. If it is too cold inside, turn the comfort level down (which will lower the velocity of the fan) or if you are too hot turn the comfort level up (this increases the velocity of the fan).

You can benefit from evaporative cooling all year round by simply turning on your fan so you can remove all stale air from your home. This system is only available as a whole house ducted system through your ceiling.

Factors to consider when choosing the right system for you:

  • Types of Floor Coverings
  • Ceiling Heights
  • Number and/or sizes of windows
  • Type of glazing used
  • Which way the room(s) face
  • Degree of wall, roof and floor insulation, if any

Armed with all that information your Air-conditioning professional will be able to size up a system for you. Only a Air-conditioning professional will be able to correctly advise you on an appropriate system that will not only be effective and efficient but save you money on running costs. Installing an incorrect system can lead to costly installations and inefficient cooling. If you are still unsure get a professional to visit or show him building plans.

So if you want to cool the home this summer, make sure these steps are followed and you’ll have a healthy cool home this summer. But if you want to have a cool Xmas, you’d better hurry because delays in installation are already being experienced throughout the industry.

Should you want information on any aspect of cooling, speak to one of our professionals at Woodpecker Heating, Cooling, Fireplace & Weber BBQ Specialists. We stock only quality products proven for Australian conditions. We are professional, yet talk a language we can all understand without getting bogged down with technical jargon!

If you prefer, visit us at our Woodpecker showrooms in Mornington or Oakleigh.