Indoor unit buying guide
You are afraid of the heat coming for summer and you plan to install an indoor unit at your home? Cooling, heating, power, noise, energy efficiency: what you need to know before buying.
1°. Cooling, heating or both?
In Quebec, the heating period is shorter than the cooling one. Even though you are not thinking yet about the long and cold day of winter, you should think about saving money on your heat bill with a heat pump instead of an air-conditionner.
According to Canada natural ressources, a heat pump will help you save money on your electricity bill compare to a traditional heating system. (A heat pump will use 3 time less electricity). The evolution of technologies during the past years and the competition between manufacturers helped lower the price of heat pumps. Right know it is useless to buy an air conditionner instead of a heat pump.
Monosplit, minisplit, bibloc, ductless … Shopping for an indoor unit you will come across various names and features. But most of the terms refer to the same system, an air conditionner or a heat pump made of two different parts, an outdoor and a indoor unit.
Seems complicated? We will help you go through all those barbaric names before you buy your indoor unit. The differences between units on the market is quite important. Those differences come from the material used in the construction process of the units and the availability of parts. Avoid at all cost the cheap alternatives you can find at supermarkets. If you have a problem with this kind of products you wont be able to get spare parts.
2°. How much power do you need?
The output that a unit can offer is measured in BTU/h, this is the amount of cooling or heating that a unit can offer in one hour. You will find indoor unit with BTU/h ranging from 9000 up to 18000 and more. The 12000 BTU/H are the more common in Quebec. To know how much BTU/h you need, you will have to answer those questions: one or more floor? have you an open room? How good is the insulation? How big is the surface you want to cool/heat?
3°. SEER, HSPF, Ultraheat et Energy star?
If two machines are used in the same conditions and one is using more electricity, it will have a lower rating.
SEER is the unit used to measure the energy efficiency of cooling.
HSPF is the unit used to measure the energy efficiency of heating.
The Canadian regulation ask that every new product come with a SEER rating of 11 or more. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the unit will be. The governmental subsidies like Rencoclimat asks for a SEER rating of 14,5 minimum.
The Ultra Heat label means that this unit have a high energy efficiency in low exterior temperatures (100% at -4°F and 80% at -22°F).
It is important to check that the unit is rated Energy Star (that logo means that the unit is among the most economic in term of electricity consumption).
4°. The noise (dBA).
In most of the case, the manufacturer have lowered the noise that their units are creating. According to specialists, it is possible to compare the units by checking the number of dBA on the box or specification sheet. If you have to choose between two units with the same specifications, always choose the one that emits the least dBA.
Some machines comes with the wifi enabled or as an option using a wifi dongle. This option will give you the opportunity to control your unit from your smartphone or tablet to set the right temperature even if you are not at home.