The inclusion of an air conditioning system in a building can potentially increase the energy consumption of that building by 100% compared to purely natural ventilation. Additional electrical energy is required to lower the temperature of the air, in the first instance, and to circulate it – via pumps and fans – throughout the building. If the temperature in a building consistently rises above 28°C or so, however, and all other means of cooling have been exploited, it may be necessary to incorporate an air conditioning system regardless of capital and running costs and the effects on the environment.
Portable Air Conditioning Units
A portable air conditioning unit is one that is designed to cool a small area, can be mounted on a wall, or a window, and can be moved from room to room if necessary. Warm air from the interior of a room is passed over a coil which lowers its temperature and extracts moisture from it. The cool, dehumidified air is blown back into the room and the heat is discharged through a flexible hose which passes through an open window. Portable air conditioning units start at around £150 – although they can range up to £700 in the case of top-of-the-range models – and with running costs of roughly £0.10 or £0.20 per hour can provide a cost-effective alternative to fixed systems.
Fixed, Split Air Conditioning Units
Most fixed, or central, air conditioning systems are “split” in design. In other words they are composed of an evaporation coil which is located indoors and a condensing unit located outdoors. A compressor, blower, and fan – all of which obviously require electricity – are required to circulate cool air through ductwork within a building. Even in a home with ductwork already installed, a fixed air conditioning system is likely to cost at least £1,500 – considerably more in some cases – and during hot weather energy costs can be very high. There are, however, a large number of variables involved in the installation cost so it is advisable to obtain two or three quotes from reputable installers.
Air Conditioning Quotes
Whether you opt for a portable or a fixed air conditioning system, numerous websites offer the opportunity to obtain a quote – typically for supply only or supply and installation – for air conditioning systems. Quotes are available direct from individual manufacturers or suppliers or from a list of approved local installers depending on your precise geographical location. If you wish to obtain an air conditioning quote online you will typically need to provide the dimensions, or volume, of the space to be cooled, the number of heat sources – electrical equipment, people, etc. – in the room, and possibly the distance between proposed internal and external units. Quotes can obviously also be arranged over the telephone, and, in either case, a free, no obligation site visit should be part of the service.