Welcome to our guide on choosing a home air conditioning system.

With so many options, selecting the right air conditioning system for your home can be difficult. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll outline the different types of air conditioning systems available, highlight critical factors to consider when selecting, and provide tips for efficient operation.

Understanding the Different Types of Air Conditioning Systems Available

Several types of air conditioning systems are available, each with its own set of benefits and limitations.

The four main categories are split systems, multi-split systems, ducted systems, and portable units. Let’s have a look at each in more detail:

Split Systems:

A split-system air conditioner, as the name suggests, is characterised by its two distinct components: an internal unit and an external unit.

These two units are interconnected by utilising pipework and electrical cables, which facilitate the circulation of the cooling agent, commonly found in refrigeration products, between them. The external unit, being the more substantial and noisy of the two, is typically situated outdoors, while the lighter and more discreet internal unit can be positioned virtually anywhere within the building.

This configuration allows for a more aesthetically pleasing and unobtrusive installation. Modern split-system air conditioning designs offer the convenience of remote management, and many are now equipped with a heat pump feature.

This enables the system to function for both cooling and heating purposes throughout the year, ensuring maximum comfort and optimal room temperatures at all times. In addition, these advanced systems now incorporate integrated timers and an array of controls, allowing users to customise their experience with each use.

Split-system air conditioners are available in two main configurations: single-split systems and multi-split systems. A single-split system comprises one internal unit, while a multi-split air conditioning system features multiple internal units installed in separate rooms.

Multi-split systems are particularly well-suited for properties requiring air conditioning in multiple rooms or areas or residences across multiple storeys. This versatility and adaptability make split-system air conditioners an attractive option for various property types and sizes, providing efficient and effective climate control solutions for various needs.

Ducted Systems:

Ducted air conditioning systems are widely regarded as the most discreet and versatile cooling and heating solutions available.

With their ability to blend seamlessly into the background, these systems are ideally suited for various environments, including residential properties, open-plan offices, retail establishments, educational institutions, and eateries. They excel at providing consistent air distribution in large spaces where wall-mounted units might struggle to achieve even temperature control.

Installing ducted air conditioning systems is often the most efficient during the construction or refurbishment of a building. This allows for close collaboration between the air conditioning specialists and the architect or builder, ensuring that the ducted unit is expertly concealed within the ceiling void or above a suspended ceiling.

While retrofitting is possible, it is generally preferable to incorporate the system at the planning stage to avoid potential complications. It is crucial to note that ducted air conditioning systems typically operate in a binary on or off mode, which precludes individual control of each grille.

Consequently, these systems may not be the best option for environments with multiple rooms where occupants might require different temperature settings. To maintain the aesthetic appeal of ducted systems while accommodating individual temperature preferences, it is advisable to install multiple ducted units in the ceiling.

This solution allows each user to adjust the temperature settings in their respective rooms, thus avoiding any potential disputes over the ideal climate. Overall, ducted air conditioning systems offer an efficient, discreet, and aesthetically pleasing solution for maintaining a comfortable environment in larger spaces.

Portable Units:

Portable air conditioning systems, also known as free-standing air conditioners, offer a highly convenient cooling solution for various indoor spaces.

Equipped with castors at the base, these self-contained units can be easily manoeuvred and positioned according to one’s requirements, provided there is a nearby window and electrical socket. Their operation is similar to that of traditional air conditioners, with the primary objective being to cool the room’s air to a desired temperature by extracting heat and reintroducing the cooled air back into the space.

The fundamental components of a portable air conditioner include the evaporator coil and refrigerant, which are responsible for cooling the air; the condenser coil, which cools down the heated refrigerant; the compressor, which raises the refrigerant temperature for the condensation process; and the fan, which circulates the air as needed. In this process, the refrigerant plays a crucial role as a heat exchange medium, cooling the room air as it absorbs heat from the indoor environment.

Portable air conditioning units are designed to exhaust excess heat and moisture generated during the cooling process. The heat is typically expelled through an exhaust hose connected to a window or vent, ensuring that the warm air is directed outside the room.

In terms of moisture removal, portable air conditioners employ one of three methods: self-evaporation, gravity drain, or an internal receptacle. Most contemporary models utilise the self-evaporation method, which eliminates moisture along with warm air via the exhaust vent.

A distinguishing feature of portable air conditioning systems is their compact and stand-alone design, consolidating all processing units into a single apparatus. This design approach enables the most compact portable air conditioners to efficiently deliver cooling performance by clustering the refrigeration cycle components as closely as possible.

As a result, portable air conditioning units provide a versatile and adaptable cooling solution for various indoor settings, combining ease of use, mobility, and effective temperature regulation. When selecting an air conditioning system, consider factors such as your home’s size, layout, and insulation to make an informed decision.

Determine the Size of the Air Conditioning System You Need

To ensure optimal efficiency and comfort, it is essential to choose an air conditioning system of the appropriate size.

Undersized units will struggle to maintain the desired temperature, while oversized units can lead to short cycling and increased energy consumption. Consider factors such as room dimensions, insulation, and the local climate to determine the correct size.

Room/Area Size

Determining the correct size of the air conditioning system is crucial for ensuring efficient performance and optimal comfort.

The size of the system will depend on the total area that requires cooling or heating. Measure the length, width, and height of each room to calculate the total volume of space.

As a general rule, larger spaces require larger capacity air conditioners, and smaller spaces require lower capacity units. Consulting with an HVAC professional can help you identify the ideal system size for your specific needs.

Insulation and Window Quality

The quality of insulation and windows in your home can significantly impact the size of the required air conditioning system.

Well-insulated homes with energy-efficient windows typically require smaller capacity units, as they retain conditioned air more effectively. Conversely, poorly insulated homes with less efficient windows may need larger units to maintain the desired temperature.

Before choosing an air conditioning system, evaluate your home’s insulation and window quality to ensure optimal energy efficiency and performance.


The climate in which your home is located will also influence the size of the air-conditioning system needed.

Homes in hotter climates may require larger capacity units to combat high temperatures effectively, while homes in cooler climates may need smaller units due to lower cooling demands. Consider your local climate when selecting an air conditioning system to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

In the UK, air conditioner capacity is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. As a rough guide, you will need approximately 20 BTUs per square foot of living space.

However, consulting a professional HVAC technician for a load calculation is highly recommended to accurately determine your specific needs.

Consider Your Energy Efficiency Needs

Energy efficiency should be a key consideration when selecting an air conditioning system.

Efficient systems reduce your carbon footprint and save you money on energy bills. Look for units with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating, as these will consume less power while providing the same level of cooling.

In the UK, air conditioners are also graded on an energy efficiency scale from A+++ (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). Opt for a system with a high grade to ensure lower running costs and a smaller environmental impact.

You should also consider the following factors:

Star Ratings

Energy efficiency should be a top priority when choosing an air conditioning system.

Look for systems with high energy star ratings, indicating a higher energy efficiency level. The more stars a system has, the more energy-efficient it is, resulting in lower running costs and a reduced environmental impact.

Inverter Technology

Inverter technology can significantly improve the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems.

Unlike conventional systems that operate at a fixed speed, inverter systems can adjust their output according to the current cooling or heating demand. This adaptive capability allows inverter air conditioners to consume less power while maintaining consistent room temperatures, translating to lower energy bills and enhanced comfort.

Zoning Capabilities

Zoning capabilities can further enhance the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system.

By dividing your home into different zones, you can selectively cool or heat only the areas that require it, reducing unnecessary energy consumption. When choosing an air conditioning system, consider one with zoning capabilities to maximise energy efficiency and tailor the system to your unique needs.

Invest in Quality Components and Installations

Investing in quality components and professional installations is crucial to the longevity and performance of your air conditioning system.

High-quality components often come with longer warranties, greater energy efficiency, and better durability.

Professional Installation

Opting for professional installation is crucial to ensuring your air conditioning system’s long-term performance and reliability.

Skilled technicians will correctly size, position, and install your system, helping you avoid common installation errors that can compromise efficiency and lifespan.

Quality Materials

Investing in quality components and materials for your air conditioning system is essential to ensuring optimal performance and durability.

High-quality materials are more resistant to wear and tear, reducing the likelihood of breakdowns and extending the system’s life.


When selecting an air conditioning system, look for one that offers a comprehensive warranty.

A robust warranty protects your investment and indicates the manufacturer’s confidence in the system’s quality and reliability. When selecting an installer, choose a reputable company with experience installing your specific type of system.

Proper installation will ensure optimal performance and reduce the risk of future issues and maintenance requirements. Remember that cutting corners on quality and installation may lead to higher costs in the long run due to increased repairs and energy consumption.

Choose a System That Suits Your Home’s Décor

While the primary function of an air conditioning system is to maintain a comfortable temperature, aesthetic considerations should not be overlooked.

Many modern systems are designed with sleek, unobtrusive designs that can seamlessly blend with your home’s décor. For example

Wall-mounted vs. In-ceiling

When selecting an air conditioning system, consider how it will complement your home’s décor.

Wall-mounted units can be more noticeable, but they are available in various designs to blend in with your interior style. On the other hand, in-ceiling units, such as ducted systems, are discreet and virtually invisible, making them ideal for minimalist or contemporary spaces.

Traditional vs. Sleek Designs

Air conditioning systems are available in various designs, from traditional and classic to sleek and modern.

Choose a design that harmonises with your home’s aesthetic, whether you prefer a system that stands out as a design feature or one that subtly blends into the background. Take time to consider your home’s interior design and choose a system that complements your existing aesthetic.

Factor in Maintenance and Operating Costs

It is essential to consider the ongoing maintenance and operating costs of your air conditioning system. You should consider the following factors:

Regular Maintenance

To maintain optimal performance and prolong the lifespan of your air conditioning system, regular maintenance is essential.

This includes cleaning or replacing filters, checking refrigerant levels, and ensuring all components are functioning correctly. When choosing a system, factor in the cost of routine maintenance and opt for one that is easy to maintain and service.

Running Costs

The running costs of an air conditioning system can vary depending on factors such as energy efficiency, usage patterns, and local electricity prices.

To minimise your long-term expenses, choose a system with high energy efficiency, inverter technology, and zoning capabilities. Also, consider the potential savings from reduced heating or cooling requirements due to better insulation and window quality.

By selecting a system with low maintenance requirements and high energy efficiency, you can minimise the long-term costs associated with your air conditioning system.

Look for Value Features

When shopping for a product or service, it’s crucial to consider the value-added features offered by different providers.

These features can significantly enhance the overall value of your purchase, providing additional benefits and functionality. In today’s competitive marketplace, companies often differentiate themselves by offering unique extras that cater to the specific needs of their customers.

From extended warranties and complimentary accessories to innovative designs and exceptional customer support, value-added features can greatly improve your overall experience. Some features might include but are not limited to:

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Some air conditioning systems offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to control your system remotely using a smartphone or tablet.

This feature provides added convenience and flexibility, enabling you to adjust settings or turn the system on or off from anywhere.

Smart Home Integration

Air conditioning systems with smart home integration capabilities can communicate with other smart devices in your home, such as thermostats, lights, or security systems.

This integration enables a more seamless and intelligent home environment, allowing for enhanced comfort and energy savings.

Self-cleaning Filters

Air conditioning systems with self-cleaning filters can help reduce maintenance requirements and improve indoor air quality.

These filters automatically clean themselves at regular intervals, removing dust and debris to maintain efficient airflow and a healthy living environment. When comparing options, be sure to thoroughly evaluate the additional benefits provided by each company.

Keep in mind that the cheapest option might not always be the best choice, as these offers may lack important features that could enhance your satisfaction with the product or service. By taking the time to research and compare the value-added features available, you can ensure that you make an informed decision that will maximise your investment and satisfaction with your purchase.

Choose a Brand You Trust

In a world where countless brands are vying for our attention, selecting a trustworthy brand can be a challenging task.

When making a purchase, it’s essential to choose a brand that has a proven track record of delivering high-quality products and excellent customer service. A reputable brand can offer you the peace of mind that you are investing in a reliable product or service, backed by a company that values your satisfaction.

To determine a brand’s credibility, consider factors such as:

Brand Reputation

Opt for an air conditioning system from a reputable brand known for quality, performance, and reliability.

A well-established brand is more likely to offer a comprehensive warranty, after-sales support, and a reliable network of service technicians.

Customer Reviews

Before making your final decision, read customer reviews and testimonials to gain insights into the experiences of other users with the system you are considering.

This information can help you identify potential issues or confirm the system’s suitability for your needs.

After-sales Support

A reputable brand should provide excellent after-sales support, including prompt customer service, technical assistance, and access to a network of qualified service technicians.

Prioritise brands that offer comprehensive support to ensure your air conditioning system operates efficiently and reliably throughout its lifespan. These indicators can provide valuable insights into the brand’s commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

Additionally, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues can be a powerful testament to a brand’s reliability. By selecting a trusted brand, you not only invest in a superior product or service and gain access to the support and resources necessary to ensure a positive experience.


Choosing the right home air conditioning system is an investment that requires careful consideration.

By understanding the different types of systems available, sizing requirements, energy efficiency needs, and other essential factors, you can make an informed selection that suits your home and budget. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further advice and guidance on selecting your home’s best air conditioning system.