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Investing in an air conditioner should be on your list of things to do before it gets too hot. Leave it too late and you'll struggle to find one in stock, but buy now and you'll be laughing when other people are sweltering at home.
Here's what you need to know about buying an air conditioning unit.
Depending on the size of your home and how much you have to spend, there are a few different air conditioning options. Ducted air con is usually installed in your roof and then connected to air ducts in each room. These can cost upwards of $5000, and aren't just bought at the shops. Everything else can be bought at a retailer.
Split-system air conditioners
These are the most common type of air con units in Australia. They come in two parts - an indoor and outdoor unit, that are connected by pipes containing refrigerant gas. They're great for open plan rooms, and cost between $600–$5500. You can also get multi-split air conditioners which work in the same way as split-systems, but have two or more indoor units. This means they can sit in different rooms to cool more areas of the home.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rates as the best air conditioner brand on a Canstar Blue review, and is the only brand that received five stars for overall satisfaction. Their C2.5kW H3.2kW Reverse Cycle Split System, $884, has a 5 star cooling and heating energy rating, and an inverter so you can use it as a heater during winter. It's ideal for small to medium sized spaces, and has advanced fan blade technology that delivers quiet, evenly distributed airflow. It looks neat on the wall, and is a great reasonably priced option.
Panasonic rates well on Canstar Blue's air conditioner review, with five stars for reliability, noise and ease of use.
The Panasonic C3.5kW H4.3kW Reverse Cycle Split System & Air Purifier, $1199, can be controlled from your smartphone, even when you're not at home. It also has a built-in 24 hour air purifier, approved by the National Asthma Council of Australia, that removes dust, bacteria, viruses, allergens and pollen from the air.
Wall or window air conditioners
These are small box units, installed in a window or through an external wall, and plugged into a normal power point. They're good for rooms and small open plan areas. They're not as energy efficient as a split system, but good for renters if you need something less permanent. They can cost between $400 and $1100.
Dimplex is known for having air con units that are particularly quiet. This Dimplex C4.1kW H3.6kW Reverse Window Box Air Con, $669, gets all-round good reviews, even though it can be expensive to run with a 2 star cooling energy rating and a 1 star heating energy rating. It's not too big, and is a good, budget friendly option.
Portable air conditioners
These are ideal if you want something you can move from room to room - although the units can still be heavy and reasonably bulky. They have a flexible duct that needs to be vented through a window so the heat escapes outside. They're a good budget option or if you need something to work quickly. Their prices range from $300–$1300.
The Dimplex 2.56kW Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier, $339, is an excellent choice if you want something that can move around your home. It's suitable for rooms up to 20m², has an electronic LED display controls, and a remote control. It's a freestanding unit that includes a window kit suitable for sash and sliding windows.
If you're after a unit to cool bigger spaces, the Kogan SmarterHome™ 4.7kW Portable Air Conditioner, $519, is suitable for rooms up to 45m². It has four modes; air conditioner, heater, fan and dehumidifier, and is compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa's voice control. It has easy glide wheels and includes a window exhaust kit.
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