Most of us would hire an aircon professional to perform an aircon installation as it is not an easy task. It would be good to understand some aircon technical terms so that you can have a meaningful discussion with the aircon professional prior to the installation.
4 main technical terms you should know when selecting an aircon system for installation and they are:
British Thermal Units or BTU
BTU represents the cooling capacity. A higher BTU value indicates higher cooling capacity. Though BTU is the most common unit, the cooling capacity can sometimes be expressed as Kilowatt (KW) or Horsepower (HP). 1 kW is about 3412BTU. 1HP is about 9000BTU. Why is BTU important to the selection of aircon for installation?
BTU is associated with Fan Coil (shown in the picture above). A bigger room needs a higher cooling capacity Fan Coil and conversely a smaller room needs a smaller cooling capacity Fan Coil. So what is the right cooling capacity or BTU for one HDB room?
The cooling capacity of Fan Coil usually comes in 9,000BTU (2.5 kW or 1HP), 12,000BTU (3.5kW or 1.5 HP), 18,000BTU (5kW or 2HP) and 24,000BTU (7kW or 2.5 HP). A typical HDB room only requires a Fan Coil with cooling capacity of 9,000BTU. If it is a larger room like the master bedroom, a 12,000BTU Fan Coil should be sufficient. 18,000BTU and 24,000BTU Fan Coil are usually used for larger area like living room or area where rapid cooling is required (e.g kitchen where cooking heat is generated).
In a split aircon system, the Compressor-Condenser Unit (shown below) is located externally for better insulation of heat. There is usually a table showing the number of Fan Coil and/or BTU a particular Compressor-Condenser Unit can support. The correct matching is important so that the Compressor-Condenser Unit is sufficiently powered.
Inverter vs Non-inverter
Another common issue you would face is whether you should buy an inverter aircon. Learn more about inverter aircon here.
Refrigerant is a substance used in the cooling mechanism of aircon and fridge. It changes from gas to liquid and back to gas in the heat removal process of the cooling mechanism.
An aircon technician would usually carry a cylinder containing the refrigerant (shown as pink cylinder here) and top up the refrigerant in your aircon system if there is insufficient. It is commonly known as “Pump Gas” in Singapore.
Why must you know about refrigerant?
There are typically 2 kinds of refrigerant – R22 and R410A. Most new aircon should be running on R410A refrigerant now and you should buy the aircon which uses R410A refrigerant because of the following reasons:
1) Aircon running on R22 refrigerant will be phasing out over time and therefore its supplies and parts will become limited and more expensive in the future;
2) R410A is an Ozone Friendly refrigerant while R22 is not (R22 is Ozone Depleting).
3) R410A cools faster and uses less energy as compared to R22 refrigerant.
4) The mechanism of aircon with R410A refrigerant is more heavy duty and quieter as compared to R22 refrigerant.
In additional to selecting the aircon system, the aircon professional who is installing your aircon system must also be reliable. Just like a good car needs a good driver, a good aircon system needs a good installer to achieve the best result. This leads us to the next section of this page.
How should select an Aircon Professional/Service Provider for your aircon installation
Certified and Experienced Aircon Professional
For quality aircon installation, it is important that the Aircon Professional is properly trained and certified for aircon installation. Checking his qualification and certification ensures that he has the necessary knowledge and expertise to carry out the installation. In addition, experience counts. On the job training is as important as theoretical knowledge. Aircon Professional who is on the job for a long time can easily troubleshoot issues surfaced during installation.
Quality and timely services
It would be good if the aircon professional is recommended by friend who has first-hand experience of his installation. With this, you will know whether the quality of aircon installation is good and timely as well as the after sales service.
As accident may occur during aircon installation, it is necessary for the Aircon Professional/Installer to be insured for such accident and compensation in the event of damages caused during the aircon installation.
It is always a good practice to get a few fee quotations. This is because aircon installation service is competitive and the fee should not be over and above what most aircon service provider would quote.