- July 23, 2020
- Posted by: Gareth Whalley
- Category: Latest News & Blog
Air conditioning can make a huge difference to a workspace, both in terms of temperature control and overall air quality.
The air we breathe can also have an impact on productivity and overall wellbeing in the workplace.
It makes sense then, to explore your options carefully when choosing air conditioning for business premises.
Here are 11 factors to consider before installing air conditioning for your business premises.
1. Right Size
If you’re going to buy an air conditioner you should be treating it as a long-term investment in the future comfort of your workspace.
This means it needs to be the right size of conditioner, with a suitable output, to cool your workspace and regulate its temperature effectively.
Remember: an air conditioner does more than just cool a room. It removes humidity and heat from your indoor air.
Performance is critical.
If your air conditioner is too big for the room you’re heating, then it will go straight to cooling, leaving you with unsatisfactory air quality over time.
On the other hand, if your air conditioning is insufficient for your space, then you won’t experience the benefits it should be bringing.
You measure the cooling capacity of air conditioners in BTUs per hour. A BTU is a British thermal unit.
Here are some examples:
100 to 150 square feet or 9 to 14 square metres — 5,000 BTUs per hour
150 to 250 square feet or 14 to 23 square metres — 6,000 BTUs per hour
250 to 350 square feet or 23 to 23 square metres — 7,000 BTUs per hour
350 to 450 square feet or 33 to 42 square metres — 8,000 BTUs per hour.
You will have to consider adding BTU capacity for additional people occupying a room.
Your air conditioning installer will be able to advise you.
2. What Type of Air Conditioning System Will Work Best for You?
There are two main types of commercial air conditioning:
Split air conditioning, and
VRF (variable refrigerant flow) air conditioning.
Split air conditioning includes an interior unit and an outdoor unit.
This system is good for cooling individual rooms and can be a cost-effective answer to cooling a workspace.
However, for larger, open-plan business spaces, VRF air conditioning can be a preferable solution.
This is because it is centralised and offers long-term efficiencies for larger buildings.
3. Do You Have Good Ventilation?
Ventilation is an important factor in air conditioning. Air conditioners require good air circulation. They remove heat and humidity by blowing cool air into a room in an operating cycle.
Essentially the refrigerant in an air conditioner absorbs and releases heat, going from liquid to gas and back.
The compressor in the air conditioner transforms liquid refrigerant into a high pressure, high-temperature gas.
By moving to the air conditioner’s coil, this gas cools down, evaporating as it meets the air. The refrigerant returns to a liquid state, ready to repeat the cycle.
Proper air circulation is critical to how this system works and without good ventilation, the air conditioner will release more contaminants than cool air. This can have health implications.
Having proper ventilation is a key precondition for installing air conditioning.
4. How Noisy Will Your Air Con System Be?
Air conditioners have motors and fans, so there will always be an element of noise with even the most advanced air conditioning system.
The question is how much noise will there be with your chosen location and system, and how well will you and your employees be able to work with it?
The good news is, the specifications for air conditioners will include how loud they are. This is measured in decibels or dB.
The higher the cooling capacity of your air conditioner, the higher its noise level will be.
A typical wall-mounted unit with an 8,000 BTU cooling capacity can emit around 55 dB of noise.
For comparison, the normal noise level in an office can reach around 70dB, with a normal speech at 60dB.
Other factors influencing noise levels include the size of the room and the number of walls acting as barriers to the air conditioner.
Also, if you set air conditioning at lower speeds, this can sometimes actually increase noise levels.
5. Is Your Air Conditioner Energy-Efficient?
Most businesses use between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy a year, depending on the nature and size of the enterprise.
You can help to cut your energy costs if you run energy efficient appliances, and this applies to your air conditioning.
Air conditioners need to maintain a healthy balance between the demands of heating and cooling. To do this while reducing the amount of power they use, they should provide a high rate of ventilation and level of insulation.
The EER is the appliance’s energy efficiency ratio. This is a ratio of its cooling capacity (in BTU) to its power input (in watts).
You should be looking for an air conditioner with a high EER if you want to keep your energy costs controllable.
6. How Will You Maintain Your Air Conditioner?
All air conditioning systems need some degree of ongoing cleaning and maintenance.
When selecting an air conditioner or air conditioning system for your business, you should consider how you will maintain it.
This maintenance includes cleaning the air filters. You need to familiarise yourself with the location of these filters. Generally, you will find them along the vent duct. In split air conditioners, the filters are along the air vents facing into the room.
Over time, the filters can collect debris and dust, so regular cleaning is essential.
Cleaning these filters on a regular basis can help prevent allergens and other contaminants coming indoors.
The most effective maintenance of an air conditioner is proactive rather than reactive. Routine maintenance can help prevent faults developing, and ensure your system continues to perform efficiently.
It is therefore worth considering selecting planned maintenance support for your business air conditioning.
7. How Easily Can You Control the Temperature?
Air conditioning that is easy to control makes regulating the temperature in your workplace that much more straightforward.
When selecting your commercial air conditioning system, check what sort of controls it has, and how accessible these are.
Leading edge, modern air conditioners have controls that include sensors and digital read-outs, giving you easy control of temperature settings.
Access to other features such as fan speeds, timers and keep-warm settings is also useful.
The more versatile the operating modes are, the better you can adjust the temperature and performance of the unit to suit your specific work environment.
8. Can You Control the Temperature Remotely?
Having remote control of your air conditioning system makes it easy for you to optimise its performance.
You can make adjustments wherever you are, without having to access the controls on the unit itself.
Typically, a remote control will enable you to switch the unit on and off, alter fan speed, adjust the automatic cooling mode and may also include a timer facility.
9. Does it Have Any Extra Features?
Check what extra features your air conditioner has.
These can include:
Multiple fan speeds
Sensors – to detect when people are in a room and direct cool air towards them
Adjustable air-flow vents
Clean filter notification – to let you know when the filters need cleaning.
10. How Visible is Your Air Conditioning?
For reasons of space, and for the overall impression you want to make, you may wish to opt for a system that is concealed.
There are several systems to choose from, which can provide discreet but highly effective air conditioning.
11. Do You Have Bespoke Air Conditioning Requirements?
To get the best air conditioning solution for your business needs, you want to make sure the system you choose will tick all the right boxes.
Getting the most out of your business air conditioning will ensure you create a comfortable and productive workplace; and that you can maximise your temperature control while controlling your costs.
The best way to approach this is to seek expert advice about installing an air conditioning system that will work for you.