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Canstar Blue research finalised in January 2015, published in June 2015.
Fujitsu General are the hot prospect in our 2015 air conditioner awards
According to The Climate Council, 2014 was Australia’s third hottest year ever – with temperatures unlikely to abate thanks to a tropical el-Niño cycle. In these situations, keeping cool is of paramount importance, and what better way to do it than in the comfort of your own home with top tier air conditioning!
Close to one quarter of Australians who responded to our survey told us that they use their air conditioner every day during the summer months, while only 8% did so in winter. Regardless of when you plan to use yours, it’s important to find the right model in the first place.
Every year, we compare all the big brand air conditioners, and now’s as good a time as any for you to get a new model installed – before the summer rush. In a comparison of seven big brands, Fujitsu General has achieved our Most Satisfied Customers Award – Air Conditioners, 2015.
This brand received five stars in many areas, such as:
- Value for money
- After sale service
- Functionality, and
- Noise while operating.
Many of the air conditioners Fujitsu General produce come with great features, such as a sensor that switches the machine to low power mode if it cannot detect anyone in the room. Other models come complete with high tech condensers and ‘power diffusers’, to help cut down on energy usage.
These features are crucial; given that close to half our survey respondents deem energy efficiency as the deciding factor in choosing an air conditioner. To add further compelling evidence, air conditioning costs equate to roughly 24% of surveyed consumers’ total electricity spend – making the search for an efficient model even more important.
While Fujitsu General excelled in several areas, many of the other rated brands shared five star ratings with our award-winner. For example, Mitsubishi achieved three top ratings for value for money, after sale service, and reliability. Similarly, Daikin received three top scores for ease of use, functionality, and noise while operating.
Finally, Panasonic – last year’s award winner – did exceptionally well with dual five star ratings for value for money and ease of use, while Kelvinator tallied a top rating for its after sale service.
Also rated in these results were LG and Samsung. Find out how each brand performed by inspecting the air conditioners results table above.
Air conditioners (often referred to as air con or AC) facilitate the temperature of a room. They operate using a refrigeration cycle which alters the properties of the air, primarily the temperature and humidity. On a hot and sticky day where even the pool’s temperature is like a warm bath, air conditioners can provide you the thermal comfort you’re looking for. Although their common use is to lower the air temperature, air conditioners can be used during the cooler months to increase the temperature of the room.
Did you know an Australian conceptualised a unit similar to the air conditioner, long before it got commercially introduced by Willis Carrier in 1902? In 1854, James Harrison of Geelong Australia requested a patent for his creation of the First Mechanical Ice-Machine.
Harrison’s invention contributed to the modern air conditioner’s mechanical cooling system. His work involved liquefied gas and evenly distributing the cold, with the use of coils surrounding an enclosed space. After complex developments, this appliance eventually became widely available during the 1920’s. It wasn’t until the 1960s when Australia embraced this technology in automobiles.
There are a few things you should consider before you fork out thousands of dollars for a new air conditioner – including whether you can afford to run an air conditioner. By simply understanding the size of air conditioner you need could end up saving you not only a big upfront cost but on-going costs to run the appliance. And there are some easy ways to get the most out of your air conditioner.
Consider the size of the room you’re cooling
Your air con’s cooling capacity will depend on the size of space it needs to fill out. Here’s a quick reference on room sizes and their cooling capacities:
o Small areas at 9 square metres – 2.5 kilowatts
o Regular sized rooms at 40 square metres – 5 kilowatts
o Larger areas at 55 square metres – 7 to 8 kilowatts
Aside from floor space, your home’s materials will be another factor to achieving your ideal temperature. Are you using wood or concrete as your flooring? Are bricks or weatherboards used for your external walls? These items contribute to how much capacity would be needed for your home to have a pleasant atmosphere.
Choice of air con unit
These following types of air conditioners are worth considering:
The sleekest among the four types, split air conditioners are made up of two parts. One is attached to the internal wall of your room while the other sits outside to exhaust heat out. Split air conditioners are installed in separate rooms which means you have more control and flexibility over the running costs. They’re also the quietest units so they’re ideal for home offices and study rooms.
o Usually quieter than window air cons
o Can be installed in room with no windows
o Easy maintenance with washable filters
o Heating capability
o Attractive design
These types of air conditioners are designed to fit in window sills. Unlike the split system, a window aircon unit encompasses all the necessary components in a single box. They can be fitted on every type of window and are portable if you need to move it to another room.
o Easy to install which cuts installation cost down
If you’d like to save on the costs of installing air conditioning units, portable units are your next best option. As self-contained, freestanding units you are able to wheel them into any room that you need to cool. However, they do come with a flexible hose which needs to be attached to a window to let the hot air out.
o Can be moved from one room to another
o You can cut down running costs by only spot cooling the areas you are in at the time
o Beneficial for those who are renting a place with no air con
Multi-split air conditioners work by connecting multiple indoor units to a single outdoor condenser. They are suitable for those who like the simultaneous, cooling or heating comfort of air conditioners in various parts of their homes.
o They require less ductwork to install
o Energy efficient
o Quiet operation
o Great for larger areas of the home
Like many other appliances in your home, they are rated on their energy efficiency. For air conditioners, they are rated using a ten-star scale with more stars meaning higher efficiency. If the unit has a cooling and heating function, the energy rating will have separate ratings for each.
Installation and warranty
Your installation costs will depend on the complexity of your air conditioning system. Ducted types naturally need more labour and advanced skills. In Australia, you will need a licensed professional to install your air conditioning unit. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s warranties so you know you are covered under warranty if something goes wrong.
Before you get started with your air con shopping, be sure to check out our air conditioner brand reviews for more information on how each brand rated in terms of value for money, reliability, after sale service, ease of use, functionality and quietness. And our air conditioners buying guide is here.
Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton to regularly survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased an air conditioner in the last two years – in this case, 587 Australians.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.