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the good the bad the ugly..


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#1 mpoppins92

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:22 PM

Dp and I are building our first house and although we are at the earliest stages of construction, we are thinking about air con (so we can save for it), and have discussed with some friends, only to find their advice completely useless and sometimes just plain odd. (We were told to get a pool instead... in our tiny courtyard.. with our oodles of money?  rolleyes.gif )

So I turn to EB where I am assuming many a member has advice to offer me on the air con issue.

Here is some information which you may or may not need..

-The area we are building in is pretty hot, although we are under 2kms from the beach so the sea breeze is nice.

-The house is smallish.. 3x2 with a theatre

-I was thinking of wall units in the master (front of house) family/kitchen area, and 2 smaller bedrooms

-People have told us not to worry about the smaller bedrooms as we wont sleep in them. However, this house will eventually be a rental and I think tenants would prefer aircon in those rooms, especially if they are kids bedrooms, which is highly likely in the area as it's very much families with young kids friendly

-DP thinks evap is useless without ceiling fans, I hate ceiling fans because they're ugly (to me)

-I'd like to be able to only operate air con in the room we are in, there's only two of us and if we're both asleep it seems silly for the rest of the house to be cooled aswell..

So sell me your air cons! And if you rent, how high do you rate air cons? In which parts of the house are they most important?

Also renters feel free to tell me other things you do or don't appreciate

biggrin.gif TIA

#2 GoBack2Bed

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

I personally have rented places with refrigerated air cons and these give me chest infections every time so we prefer evaporative. The downside is really humid days it's practically useless but our climate is generally fine. We love it as it cools the house without the noise or full on fans blowing.

#3 -Belinda-

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:24 PM


We have evaporative with no ceiling fans and it works just fine. In Melbourne though, so not many humid days. Is cheap to run and quiet, so able to leave on low all night when needed - great for the kids. Gets the house down to about 25 degrees, which is enough.

#4 sandy_1985

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

We’re renters; DH won’t consider a house without one! Must have one in the living areas. Portable fans are good for night time sleeping and can be picked up from electrical places cheaply.
Are you in a humid location, I recall someone telling me that Evaps don’t work when it is humid?

#5 *LucyE*

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

I'd get a zoned ducted system.

It may seem like over kill but it is fabulous. I'm in QLD where the humidity makes evaporative air con next to useless on the hot days where you really want it.

Ours is zoned so we only turn on the rooms we want. Also the rooms can be individually adjusted for temp. It can't be too great a difference, eg heating one room but cooling another, but it can be altered so one room is warmer and another not so warm but still with it on for airflow.

We have found it is cheaper to heat/cool our whole house with the inverter ducted than previously with our split systems that was only on in the living rooms.

#6 mpoppins92

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:41 PM

Sorry should have said, in WA so yes it is humid

#7 Lagom

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

I have a few friends and family with evap cooling and TBH I really dislike it.  I much prefer aircon.  We rarely use it but when it's really hot I just find evap too humid and therefore sticky.

#8 Lyra

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

If you are building could you look at making the cooling passive? ie verandahs, lots of insulation, windows facing in the right direction to take advantage of the sun in in winter but not in summer

My mind is going blank at the moment but I know there are lots of things that you can do as you build to minimise the need to have aircon later

#9 Shellby

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:21 PM

If I was building I would go for ducted as well with zones - really the price difference of that to putting in units in different rooms isn't really that different. I guess the downside is when ducted dies you have no A/C until repaired whereas different units means you still have a room cold.

Either way I would be putting A/C in all the rooms - I feel for my boys in summer as we have A/C and they don't and get really hot. I'm trying really hard to save for A/Cs for their rooms before next summer.

Evap cooling is no good with humid weather - that's why it does well in southern areas of Australia but not the rest of Australia. I find when I go somewhere with it I'm just as hot unless I sit right in front of the vent to get that tiny bit of cool air before it disappears into the heat of the room.


#10 Julie3Girls

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:27 PM

I'd go zoned ducted, and make sure the house was designed so you can close off areas.
I'd also make sure I did all the right things with insulation etc to minimise the NEED for the air con. And most of those sorts of things make the air con more efficient anyway, for both heating and cooling.i

#11 Lyn86

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:30 PM

I wouldn't bother putting in individual sitcoms in the minor bedrooms. Can you position the living room ones so that if the doors are open it will flow through, then just put ceiling fans in the minor rooms for airflow?

#12 cinderellainsydney

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:40 PM

Another vote for ducted. I can select areas - which is great, because I love the heat, DD finds it unbearable, and the rooms can be at different temperatures!

In the design stage passive heating and cooling are so important, and so is insulation. Get the suppliers involved at the early stages to help with the design so that you get the most out of it. Otherwise, they can recommend crucial changes but it may be too late...

Ultimately, it doesn't matter even if you have a top of the range system, if all the cold air is leaking out through cracks in your walls, floors, windows and roof you are effectively cooling your neighborhood instead of your home - this is a waste of energy and money. It is more important to ensure the home is well built and insulated, because even a cheap crappy air con can make a huge difference in a well insulated home.

#13 mpoppins92

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

Thanks for all your replies ladies!

As for naturally cooling the home, we've been very involved in that process, it's part of the requirement of building where we are and a relative is in the building industry and has given us lots of help on that side of things. The house is designed to make the sea breeze flow through from the alfresco, we had to flip the house so this could be possible, but it means the living area will be coolest.

As we are first home owners I wanted to have to use A/C as little as possible but the heat is pretty unbearable during the Dec - Feb periods. We currently live close to our block and we're finding we need it on to be able to sleep comfortably.

I love the idea of zones.. Just hope it doesn't cost the earth

Lyn 86, the bedrooms are off a hallway so not sure if the air would flow, the hall way needs to be there, or the dining room table would look into the bathroom/toilet.

#14 ~*Amethyst*~

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

One of our best investments was our ducted, zoned system - it's a Daikin.

XxxAmethyst

#15 Propaganda

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:40 PM

We have a zoned ducted.

The main "zone," is our bedroom and the living areas (so kitchen, dining and living rooms, there are no doors between these rooms). The other 2 bedrooms can be turned on and off at will.

I love our ducted, and would not consider another house without one.

I do like having ceiling fans too though, for when it's a little bit hot, but not enough to require the air con unit to be one. Ceiling fans are always nicer than pedestal.

#16 roses99

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:55 PM

Definitely zoned ducted.

It might seem more expensive, but as soon as you're considering four split system units, it really does start to become pretty even cost-wise. And, since you've got the benefit of being able to install it as you build, I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being the cheaper option.

#17 *LucyE*

Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:36 PM

QUOTE
If you are building could you look at making the cooling passive?

We have a lot of those features which is great for most of the year, but when it gets stinking hot, it is soooooo good to be able to turn on the refrigerated air con for some relief.

If you can afford it, put it in and you won't regret it. Ours is a Fujitsu and has been great.

#18 belindarama

Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:46 PM

We have zoned ducted as well. Personally I hate sleeping with the aircon on. I agree that ceiling fans are not the prettiest thins in the world but I would reconsider them. We mostly sleep with the ceiling fans on. They make a huge difference and are incredibly cheap to run in comparison.

They are much nicer than pedestal fans, they give an even breeze and are quiet.  If you work out bed placement and put them over the bed they are fantastic. We also have one over the main sitting area in the family room.

The last hot day here (43 degrees) I couldn't justify turning on the aircon as I was home by myself. Between the design features we used for passive cooling and the ceiling fans I was fine without the aircon on.

#19 unicycle

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:02 AM

we live in a hot, humid area and the  5 split system units are brilliant and cheap to run because: they are inverters ( whatever that means) and the outside parts of the units are in a shaded area that gets a breeze, making the system not have to work nearly so hard.

#20 Copper and May

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:38 AM

I have just come home to Victoria from Canberra and my daughter's house has evaporative cooling, and I thought it was absolutely useless. Give me refrigerated air con any day. I just didn't feel cool in that house and I cannot see why everyone in Canberra seems to install these useless conditioners. Perhaps it would have worked if they had fans, but I don't know. I was glad to get home to my cooler house.

#21 MrsLexiK

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

QUOTE (mpoppins92 @ 03/02/2013, 10:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for all your replies ladies!

As for naturally cooling the home, we've been very involved in that process, it's part of the requirement of building where we are and a relative is in the building industry and has given us lots of help on that side of things. The house is designed to make the sea breeze flow through from the alfresco, we had to flip the house so this could be possible, but it means the living area will be coolest.

As we are first home owners I wanted to have to use A/C as little as possible but the heat is pretty unbearable during the Dec - Feb periods. We currently live close to our block and we're finding we need it on to be able to sleep comfortably.


I am so greatful to the people that built our house doing this, it has meant that even though they are not the prettiest things in the world the ceiling fans have gotten us through the summers perfectly fine.  There is one room which is not designed fantastic and we have chosen that by next year we will have an air con but that is only due to having a baby and most probably spending the most time in that room.  (I believe the other people had the set up a little different to us) At present we just go to the other living area which is fine with the sea breeze and the fan.

I wouldn't bother putting AC in every room, I would only put it in the main living area and maybe your room.  Honestly if it is that hot the kids could bunk out in the living room.  When renting the only thing we worried about was the AC being available in at least one area, be that our bedroom or the living room.  But I don't feel the hot (well this is the first summer I have felt the heat) and don't mind being warmer then a lot of people.

#22 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:21 AM

QUOTE (mpoppins92 @ 03/02/2013, 08:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry should have said, in WA so yes it is humid

if it's humid, evaporative cooling would not be a good choice.

Like other PP have said
- think about passive cooling strategies when building (orientation, window placement and size, insulation, eaves, cross-ventilation, etc)
- they might not be ideal, but ceiling fans are good value.  At least consider them for the bedrooms
- ducted zoned AC sounds like the way to go.  

In our build, we will be having 2 systems - one for the bedrooms, and one for the main living/communal areas.  Reason being is that it need to be one powerful system to do the whole lot.  In the long term for us, we have decided it is better to have 2 smaller systems.  Plus, we can put the ducting in for the bedrooms while we are building (cheaper do it it then) and connect up the AC unit at a later date, IF we decide it's needed.

#23 Soontobegran

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

QUOTE (Winterdanceparty @ 04/02/2013, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have just come home to Victoria from Canberra and my daughter's house has evaporative cooling, and I thought it was absolutely useless. Give me refrigerated air con any day. I just didn't feel cool in that house and I cannot see why everyone in Canberra seems to install these useless conditioners. Perhaps it would have worked if they had fans, but I don't know. I was glad to get home to my cooler house.


My brother lives in Canberra and has ducted Evapourative and it is super good because it is not a terribly humid climate...in fact he says it's rare for it to be humid.
The trouble is that people get evapourative and never service them. The pads get dirty and won't let the water flow through thus creating a useless cooling system. Evap should be serviced and cleaned in the very least every 2 years and it will work very efficiently unless in a tropical environment.

You do not need fans with evapourative, it has it's own fan. Get your DD to check the condition of her Evap WDP.

#24 Kafkaesque

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

WA isn't really all that humid. There are periods where it is but it is usually only a few days.  You talk about the cost and I think if that's an issues for you then refrigerated be it ducted or small splits will
be an ongoing issue. I know a number of people who sit in hot houses because it turns out they can't afford the running costs.

#25 sophiasmum

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

If you want it in so many rooms, I would consider ducted instead of all those units.

Or get air con for the living area & ceiling fans for the bedrooms. That's what we have & those ceiling fans are awesome to sleep with, a lovely breeze above you.




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