What makes a Refrigerated Ducted RC system a Great System?
There are a few things you should insist on in your system to ensure it will meet your expectations.
Make sure your chosen machine can keep up with demand. Generally Ducted RC machines aren’t designed to cool your whole home at once, only a portion of it. This is why we use “zones”. Make sure that the machine you choose is large enough to be able to run all the rooms that you may need to use during a hot day. If you run more rooms than the machines is designed to run, your machine won’t be able to reach that comfortable temperature! Also, a larger machine running at 70% capacity, will use less electricity than a smaller machine running at 100% capacity.
Zones are a handy innovation that allow us to choose which rooms we condition in our homes and which we don’t need. Zones don’t directly affect the running costs on a machine (i.e. turning off a zone doesn’t immediately tell the machine to slow down), however, when we turn off the rooms were not using, the air is redirected to the rooms we are using, increasing airflow through those rooms and cooling them faster. This means the machine can reduce its output sooner and save on energy consumption.
Zones also allow individuals to choose whether they want the AC on or off in their particular space, saving on a lot of arguments! Don’t however fall into the trap of installing a smaller machine just because your system has zones installed. There’s nothing worse than finding you can’t turn on the kids bedrooms until you turn off the living room, simply because your machine is too small to run both.
While a constant zone may seem a little out of place in a modern system, it serves a very important task. Firstly, modern machines generally have their room temperature sensors located in the wall controller, measuring the temperature in your home where you can actually feel it, instead of some arbitrary figure obtained from a return air sensor in the ceiling, where it’s 5-10 degrees warmer.
Having a constant zone provides somewhere consistent for the machine to measure the temperature in your home, allowing your installer to correctly balance your machine and also allowing the machine to get accurate information on what you’re feeling in your home, ultimately reducing running costs.
Secondly, even though we have all these zones to turn on and off, there is still the same amount of air circulating around in your system, and it’s got to go somewhere! As you turn off the zones in your home, the excess air is forced out of the remaining outlets that are still open, eventually this creates excessive pressures inside your AC system and can cause damage to your machine. Having a couple of outlets that can’t be accidently switched off means that you’ll never need to worry about how many outlets you have running.
Consider your constant zone a bit of safety valve.
There are a baffling number of control systems available for individual machines, some are made by the manufacturers themselves (OEM equipment), and some are made by aftermarket manufacturers.
Generally speaking we like to recommend that where possible you use manufacturers OEM equipment to achieve the functionality in your system you want. If you’re looking for a zoned system, choose a brand that actually provides controls for their zones in their machines, instead of fitting aftermarket controllers. If you’re looking for remote Wi-Fi control of your system, choose a brand that provides that feature as part of their machine. Aside from the fact that OEM equipment is guaranteed to work correctly, it’s often a lot tidier, and much simpler to use.
Ducting, comes from many places in many styles. Essentially there is a couple of things you need, to ensure your system is going to work at its best. Make sure your ducting has at least an R1.0 rating, regardless of how thick the insulation is. Also make sure that all the ducting used has an AS fire rating, we don’t want that burnt toast starting a fire in your home via your AC system moving to other parts of the house.
Lastly make sure the fittings between the ducts in your house are insulated, this helps prevent heat ingress into the duct, and also prevents condensation forming on the ducts/fittings in your roof.
Lastly, but most importantly, make sure the design of your system suits your family and your needs. Families and homes are not off-the-shelf one-size-fits-all, so neither should your AC system be. Make sure your AC Consultant understands what you expect from your system, and that they tailor that system to suit your needs. It takes a little more time, but it’s time well spent. Remember, it’s your home, so you define what the end result will be, it’s our job to figure out how to give you that.