In Singapore, we commonly found the following types of aircon in residential apartment or house:
Window Aircon is an aircon which encloses all components (including compressor, condenser, expansion valve or coil, evaporator and cooling coil) in a single box. As the name implies, it is designed for installation on a window. This type of aircon is popular in the older batches of Singapore’s HDB flats (built during the late 1970s and early 1980s) where there is an opening on the wall (intentionally created) for such installation.
Similar to window aircon, Portable Aircon is an aircon which comprises of compressor, condenser, expansion valve or coil, evaporator and cooling coil enclosed in a single box. However, it is not fixed to the window. Instead, it is portable and you can move from one room to another. The Portable Aircon has an air hose which has to be connected to the window to blow out the hot air generated during the cooling process. Though it is portable and convenient to move from one place to another, it is usually noisier than the Window Aircon (as the Window Aircon has part of its noisy component placed outside the window and is therefore able to direct some of its noise outside the room).
Split Aircon is currently most commonly used in Singapore and it consists of one indoor or internal unit – fixed in the room which takes in warm air and blow out cold air – and another outdoor or external unit – which blows out hot air. The external unit is also known as the compressor. The 2 units are connected via pipes and cables and interact with each other to cool the room. Split Aircon takes up less indoor space, is quieter and more presentable as compare to the portable or window aircon.
Cassette Aircon is similar to split aircon except that it is visually more stylish and perhaps save more space as it is fixed on the ceiling (that means wall space is freed up for shelves and other fixtures).
Which types of aircon is more effective in cooling the room – Window & Portable Aircon vs Split & Cassette aircon?
Split/Cassette aircon is more effective than Window/Portable aircon because of the design of having the external unit (for heat expulsion) completely separated from the internal unit (for blowing in cool air and extracting hot air) and therefore totally insulating the heat of external unit from the internal unit and the room.
For a Window/Portable aircon, the heat expulsion unit is contained within a box as mentioned above. Despite having an insulation compartment to contain the heat and direct it out of the room, some heat from the heat expulsion unit would still inevitably be transferred to the room.
VRV or VRF Aircon System
Variable Refrigerant Volume System or VRV is the system used for commercial buildings and nowadays it is getting more popular in huge houses. Read more about VRV aircon system here.