The new technologies powering air conditioners in 2020
The features and technologies powering air conditioners in 2020 - what you need to look for.
Air-conditioning has moved from being a luxury to a necessity. Gone are the days of large, loud units that were energy hungry and leaked greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Today's air-conditioners are quieter, more power efficient and boast a range of smart features that enable integration with home automation systems.
There are always new technologies emerging in the air conditioning space and the terminology can get quite overwhelming. This article will provide a breakdown of new and innovative AC features that improve cooling, noise levels, energy efficiency and hygiene.
Apps, remotes and connectivity
The days of searching the house for your remote control are almost gone. Today's air-conditioning systems can be connected to the wireless network at home and managed through intelligent apps that make it easy to set on/off timers, create rules so the air-conditioning, smart lighting and even your blinds and shutters can all be synchronised with when you come and go from home.
Not all air-conditioning units support this so look for a unit that either has this integrated or allows it to be easily added with a small Wi-Fi module.
Connectivity and smart home integration
Those apps and connectivity also allow you to use voice control to manage your climate control. You can simply tell the unit to "switch on and set the temperature at 22 degrees, instead of tapping or swiping on a screen.
You don't even have to be home to do this. Those smart systems can be used while you're away over the internet.
If that's a critical feature for - and if it's not today it may well be in the near future - look for Wi-Fi control that easily integrates with your smartphone's smart assistant. That will allow you to use Siri for iOS devices, Google Assistant for Android devices as well as Google Home and Amazon smart home devices.
Home automation is not as hard as it used to be. Platforms such as IFTTT (If this then that) make it easy to connect systems from different manufacturers so you can integrate different home automation platforms with your air-conditioning unit.
Air filtering and cleaning
Your air-conditioner can do more than cool the air in your home on a hot day. It can also remove allergens, fine particulates and harmful microbes.
An integrated approach, such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Clean Air Technology ticks all the boxes when it comes to ensuring the air you breath is as clean as possible.
That includes the use of an allergen filter to capture pollen and dust. Then, a photocatalytic filter can capture fine smoke particulates and other odour-causing molecules. The fans are treated with an anti-microbial coating to ensure moulds and other potential nasties don't stick to the blades and it's all backed with self-cleaning operation to ensure everything keeps working at its cleanest and best.
Improved Fan Design
Once your air conditioner has cooled and cleaned the air, its next job is to distribute this back into your room. This is done via your system's internal fan. To keep up with our changing lifestyle, fan design has changed over the years.
Improved fan design has allowed split system air conditioners to deliver a longer airflow while using less electricity and remaining quiet. This obviously improves energy efficiency while also ensuring everyone in the room stays comfortable, no matter where they're sitting.
Leading the pack here is Mitsubishi Heavy's Industries' with its 'Jet Air Technology'. By utilising CFD (computational fluid dynamics), used by jet engine manufacturers, their engineers have been able to optimise the design the internal fan blades, allowing the Bronte split system to deliver an industry leading, 18m long reach airflow – making it perfect for larger spaces.
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Energy efficiency and labels
The Australian government has replaced the old Energy Star rating system for air conditioners. This is recognition that energy consumption for air conditioners is highly dependent on the ambient temperature. The new Zoned Energy Rating Label gives energy ratings based on the area the unit will be used.
This is because the energy used by an air-conditioner will be different in a hot and humid environment such as Brisbane in the summer compared to Adelaide at the same time, where the humidity is typically lower.
This is important as different units will offer different performance. So, if you live in Hobart, choosing the same unit as a friend in Brisbane, because they are happy with it, may not be the best choice. Different units will work better in different climates.