Your top air conditioning questions – answered!

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Every day, we’re contacted by customers asking us a range of air conditioning questions. So we thought – why not gather a few of the most common and provide simple, clear, and helpful answers to our website visitors?

Whether you want to know about a particular system, are curious about how certain technology works, or want to better understand how Alpha Air can help, you might find your answer below!

What size unit do I need?

No doubt the most common question we are asked!

But the answer isn’t so simple. There’s no standard size, though there are some rough guidelines for homes of all shapes and sizes.

The long answer is that the size of the unit will depend on the size of the area you wish to heat or cool, and the type of unit you prefer.

The best way to know is to organise an on-site inspection at your home, office, or commercial property from the Alpha Air team.

We’ll assess unique factors including orientation, size, and windows to help you understand which system/s are most suitable to meet your needs, lifestyle, and budget.

What is a split system?

You most likely associated the words ‘split system’ with the traditional wall-mounted unit, however, the term actually applies to any sort of air conditioning system that consists of an outdoor and an indoor component. 

There are many types of split systems solutions including wall-mounted, floor-mounted, ducted, ceiling concealed, bulk-head, and ceiling cassette.

What does reverse cycle mean?

A reverse cycle system is any system that provides heating and cooling. Essentially, any air conditioning or heating system that offers reverse cycle technology will both heat and cool!

That means you benefit from a single reverse cycle system that offers year-round heating and cooling comfort.

How does reverse cycle technology work?

When a system runs on cooling, the compressor (outdoor unit) compresses the cool R410a 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.

This runs through the coils of the indoor unit, allowing the gas to absorb heat and cool down the home on the inside.

The reverse of this process is done to provide heating, with a “reversing valve” that sends the refrigerants in the opposite direction.

What is zoning?

Zoning is when you “zone off” one area of a home from another.

By restricting certain rooms when they are not in use, a zoned system will redirect air to the rooms that you’re in, whether that’s the kitchen, living area, or bedroom (or all 3!)

 It is recommended to zone off areas that are not commonly used as the system will then be more efficient to run.

Do you offer in-home site inspections?

Yes, we can offer a convenient service where we will come to your home, measure and quote on the correct system to suit your needs.

This way, you’ll get a customised solution suited to your home and family!

What is the difference between reverse cycle and evaporative cooling?

Alpha Air specialise in reverse cycle ducted air conditioning solutions to provide complete climate control of your home.

This means a single ducted system that offers both heating and cooling to deliver year-round comfort in your home. 

Alternatively, evaporative cooling is a process of cooling whereby a unit sits on the roof on a dropper box that goes into the ceiling cavity of your home.

This system uses chill-cell pads where water runs through these pads, soaking them wet. The fan of the unit then pulls in the external air through the pads and releases cool air down into your home.

The process 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 15ºC.

The temperature change depends on the level of outside air humidity – the more moisture in the outside air, the less change of state and therefore change of temperature.

Can you change the temperature or get a thermostat with evaporative cooling?

No, evaporative cooling does not recycle the air in a home and therefore is not replacing the air inside. Instead it introduces new fresh air into the home.

Because of this, there is no temperature sensing for evaporative cooling allowing you to change or maintain a temperature.

However you do have comfort levels which can adjust the strength of the fan of the unit.

If it is too cold inside, simply turn the comfort level down (lowers the fan velocity) or if you are too hot turn the comfort level up (increases the fan velocity).

Can I zone evaporative cooling?

No, with evaporative cooling the idea is to have windows and doors open to allow for air to flow into the home and flush out the warm air.

This creates a pressure barrier at exhaust areas so the warm air outside cannot get back inside.

Because such a high velocity of air is required, if you were to zone evaporative cooling there is a high chance you would strip the cogs on a zone motor due to the air forcing its way past.

Can I run gas ducted heating and evaporative cooling through the same ducts?

No, outlet locations for gas ducted heating are above windows (to stop the cold coming in from the heat load source) whereas evaporative cooling outlets are located opposite windows to flush the air out across a room through an exhaust area.

Also, the smallest outlet for a gas ducted heating system is 6” whereas the smallest for evaporative cooling is 12”. Evaporative cooling outlets are twice the size and require much more velocity than a gas ducted heating system.

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What is an inverter?

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 two degrees Celsius.

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 – 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.

Imagine this principle applied when driving 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.

Heating and cooling Melbourne

Enjoy whole-house comfort with an Alpha Air heating and cooling solution!

From Portsea to Port Melbourne, we’re helping keep homes and families comfortable year-round.

Discover the answers to your questions: get in touch with us today by calling 1300 854 525 or filling in this form.

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