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How to Choose the Best Home Air Conditioning System

Air Conditioning System
Air Conditioning System

How to Choose the Best Home Air Conditioning System

Heating and Air Conditioning systemsHow to Choose the Best Home Air Conditioning System

Avoid choosing an air conditioner solely based on style. There are so many other factors to consider, such as energy efficiency, power rating, noise level, etc. Here’s everything you should take into account to make the right decision and purchase a reliable model.  

Choosing the Best Air Conditioning System: What to Base Your Decision On 

Air Conditioning System

Assess Your Air Conditioning Needs

Before you’re lured by an air conditioning unit’s particular aesthetic, you first have to assess your needs: 

  • Which room do you need it for?

  • Should the air conditioner be ultra-quiet?

  • How much square footage is there to cover? 

  • Are you looking for reversible air conditioning?

By answering the questions listed above, you can steer your choice toward certain air conditioning units over others, thereby knocking style out of the primary decision-making position.

Is the air conditioner’s output an essential factor?

The unit’s capacity or output is a paramount factor, yet it doesn’t make all, end all. Small air conditioning units can be more effective than powerful indoor ones. How is that even possible? By running at a constant cooling mode instead of shutting off and turning on intermittently.

This fact is even more pertinent when it comes to the humidity level inside individual areas around the house: the longer the cycle, the lower the humidity level.

In other words, a less efficient air conditioner coupled with a longer cycle, can be more effective and provide more comfort. 

Indeed, provided that your air conditioner is proportionally sized for the rooms in your home where it’s needed to maintain the right temperature, the relative humidity level will consistently fall within the 30% and 50% range.  

Quiet Air Conditioning: An Additional Comfort That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Air conditioning units all make noise, but the level of noise—measured in decibels (dB)—varies greatly from one model to the next: 

  • Monoblock: 50 to 55 dB 

  • Multi-split: 35 to 40 dB 

  • Split: less than 30 dB 

To better understand what these numbers represent, note that a washing machine completing a spin cycle emits between 75 and 79 dB. The noise from a refrigerator ranges between 34 and 42 decibels.

To prevent discomfort, indoor air conditioning units should never emit more than 50 dB. What about outdoor units?

Every year, hundreds of complaints are reported in cities like Québec. The culprit? The noise behind functioning air conditioners, heat pumps, and pool filters.

Given such nuisance, every municipality sets, via regulations, limits that cannot be overridden, whether indoors or outdoors. For example, Québec City mandates that all citizens abide by the following standards: 

Location Type
7 am - 7 pm
7 pm - 11 pm
11 pm - 7 am
45 dB
40 dB
38 dB
Living room 
45 dB
40 dB
40 dB
Other areas
45 dB
45 dB
45 dB
Undeveloped land
60 dB
55 dB
50 dB

For peace of mind, inquire with your city authorities prior to purchasing your cooling system. 

6 Criteria to Consider for Decent Value for Money

  1. Energy efficiency

  2. Air conditioning output

  3. Noise level

  4. Humidity level

  5. Warranty

  6. Technology option 

We covered, in detail, these 6 factors in our article all about the different air conditioner brands

Different Types of Air Conditioners

Air Conditioning System

Fixed Air Conditioner

This unit is anchored into the room’s wall. Amongst all air conditioning units, the wall-mounted cooling unit is a classic. It’s also the best-performing system. 

This device is quiet and built-in, takes up little space and can blend into all interior design styles.   

Portable Air Conditioner 

Portable air conditioners are especially appreciated as they can be used as space cooling units. Rather than installing a full air conditioning unit, you can use a portable air conditioner in bedrooms to lower the temperature throughout the warmest summer days.

To use it effectively, you have to snake an exhaust duct through a wall or window to release warm air outside. 

Window Air Conditioner

Window units are cheaper and more effective than portable air conditioners, and can be used coupled with the following window types: 

  • Hung windows

  • Sliding windows 

They’re equally effective, yet smaller and quieter than portable air conditioners. On top of their numerous advantages, they occupy zero floor space.

However, as a cautionary warning, read over your building’s regulations carefully if you live in an apartment building. It may be that management prohibits the installation of window air conditioners. 

Reversible Air Conditioner

This model is an air-to-air heat pump capable of producing both cold and warm air based on the pre-programmed setting. It's thus suited for both winter and summer use. In a cooling mode, a reversible air conditioner uses heat energy found inside the room to then cool it down. 

However, such a device can also draw in hot air from outside to heat inside of the home.   

Wall-Mounted Air Conditioner Installation and Maintenance

Air Conditioning System

Hire a Qualified and Experienced Installer

In Quebec, a professional and qualified installer holds a Class 1 Certificate of Qualification for Refrigeration Systems (certificat de qualification en système frigorifique de classe 1). Said qualification is mandatory for all professionals installing air conditioning units with over 200 Watts of power.

To find a competent refrigeration system or heating specialist in Quebec, and at the best rate, you have to not only scour the Internet for their professional reputation but also compare quotes. 

Don’t forget to ask them if a maintenance contract is included, as air conditioning systems require upkeep. 

The Importance of Proper Air Conditioner Maintenance

Air conditioner maintenance is paramount to ensure: 

  • Efficiency is maintained

  • Quality indoor air

  • Unit has greater lifespan  

No matter the quality of the product, devoid of maintenance, you run the risk of experiencing the following problems: 

  • Decreased thermal comfort

  • Build-up of dirt in filters

  • Deteriorating ambient air quality

  • Mould and bacteria problems

  • Declining energy efficiency 

In other words, by wanting to maybe save in terms of your unit’s maintenance, not only will it negatively affect your electricity bill, but you’ll have to eventually change your filtration system, if not your entire cooling unit.

But there’s worse. Coupled with bacteria and mould growth, you risk endangering the health of your household members. We already touched on the diseases brought about by the presence of mould in homes in our article all about decontamination (French only).

As a result, if you want to preserve your health while saving energy, hire a professional to carry out your air conditioner maintenance. 

FAQ About the Best Air Conditioning Systems

Air Conditioning System

Which air conditioner is best suited for apartments?

  1. Room air conditioners (wall or window): They're easy to set up and affordable, but can be noisy. 

  2. Portable air conditioners: They provide versatility in terms of portability, but aren’t as efficient and can generate a lot of noise.

  3. Central air conditioners: They’re effective, but pricey to install and often require authorization prior to installation (from landlord).

  4. Ductless air conditioners (mini-split): These units are a good compromise between efficiency and subtlety, allowing for individual temperature control.

  5. Reversible air conditioners: They can heat and cool for an all-in-one solution to bask in optimal temperatures whether wintertime or summertime.

Before choosing, consult a professional to assess your needs and consider the long-term costs to make a well-informed decision.

What is the most reliable air conditioner brand in 2024?

Daikin is often cited as one of the best air conditioner brands out there. However, it all depends on the type of cooling unit. While Daikin has been established as a solid wall-mounted air conditioner brand, Mitsubishi Electric outshines the lot in terms of reversible air conditioners.

The fact that Daikin and Mitsubishi are both Japanese companies isn’t at all a coincidence, as the best air conditioner brands are almost all from the rising sun country, hence why you can also add the following to the list: 

  • Toshiba

  • Fujitsu 

As such, in 2024, if you’re looking for a value-for-money air conditioning system, Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric are the two brands to prioritize. 

What air conditioner brands have low power consumption?

  • Daikin 

  • Mitsubishi Electric 

  • LG 

  • Toshiba 

  • Fujitsu 

Once again, the top four Japanese brands are featured as low-power consumption units. If you want to know if your air conditioner is efficient, head straight to Hydro-Québec’s website. The latter features a calculator allowing to determine the air conditioner’s electricity usage based on the following: 

  • Capacity

  • Rating 

  • Daily use

  • Electricity rate 

What is the most budget-friendly air conditioner to buy?

Window air conditioners have the cheapest retail price. In Quebec, you can find window cooling units at Réno Dépôt, starting at $199 apiece.

What is the best brand of reversible air conditioners?

Mitsubishi Electric is the best reversible air conditioner brand, neck to neck with its competitor, Daikin. 

What are the quietest cooling systems?

Indoor wall-mounted and central units are both quiet air conditioners. In this area, brands like Daikin and Samsung can manufacture products emitting less than 20 dB when it comes to their indoor units.

As far as outdoor units are concerned, noise levels only reach 46 dB.  

Optimal Thermal Comfort

Air conditioning is much more than a straightforward cooling system. It’s a paramount factor for maintaining comfort, productivity, and health in numerous settings, whether at home, work, or in commercial spaces.

With constant technological breakthroughs, air conditioning now offers advanced features, such as accurate temperature setting, air purification, and optimized energy efficiency. However, you have to choose the right cooling system, install it correctly, and regularly maintain it. 

Get 3 quotes for your heating or air conditioning system project can help you get quotes for your air forced-air heating system project. When you submit your project, we’ll then put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and get estimates from trusted professionals. 

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Last modified 2024-04-12

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