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Thread: Evaporative vs Refrigerated Air Con

  1. #1
    GT ARRRRRR WhO's Avatar
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    Evaporative vs Refrigerated Air Con

    Hey guys and gals,

    Time has come for me to break the trend of cooking at home in summer. Thus i've decided its time to get some cool air happening. Now this is where i meet a problem, i am having trouble deciding between Evaporative and Refrigerated.

    In general i know reasonably well the pro's and con's of each unit. I understand that running costs and purchase costs are greatly different but then performance (as put by a good mate that works as an air conditioning salesperson / consultant / sometimes installer) is like chalk and cheese. Living in S.A. its generally fairly dry but not uncommon to have some humid days, thus i'd expect a reduction in the efficiency of an evaporative unit. As my mate put it a refrigerated unit will ensure 100% comfort all year round whilst evaporative will make it more comfortable, noticably more than being in the heat.

    What im wondering is what are your experiences with the two systems. Preferably people that have lived with both systems thus can give a comparison. Originally i was looking soley at evaporative due to running costs and reduced installation and purchase costs, however my mate that's in the business has convinced me to give refrigerated a look both from a performance perspective and an investment perspective noting that evaporative does very little in the form of value adding to a property. Obviously cost is a factor but i'd prefer to get it right once rather than have to do it again, again as pointed out if i were to extend / rebuild the system can always be adapted or removed and put into the new property (i will most likely get whichever system slightly oversized to cater for any future plans)

    Some other details that may be of use are that the house has main windows facing east and west but do have internal and external blinds, is im guessing about 100-130sqm, double brick and insulated with 2.6m ceilings

    Cheers,
    Rob
    Last edited by WhO; 15th November 2008 at 12:43 AM.
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  2. #2
    Member shred's Avatar
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    Easy answer:

    Refrigerated works

    Evaporative doesn't work.

    Have evaporative air conditioner things in a couple of rooms at work. All they do is make it really humid, plus you have to keep filling them up with water all the time (PITA).

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    Loud noises llama_au's Avatar
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    I don't think he's referring to the type you fill with water, rather the type that's roof mounted and connected to the mains.

    I do like evaporative, it's obviously a lot less drying than a regular air conditioner. On a really hot day it'll bring the temperature down but not as well.
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  4. #4
    Need Input CoZZm0's Avatar
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    Refrigerated for sure. The point of it being a selling feature for the house is an important one (esp if you're looking at keeping the place for a while) which may well be worthwhile in the long run.

    Obviously cost is a factor (which i'm not sure how they compare) but my sister HAD an evap unit, and has since switched to a refrigerated setup in their double brick house for 2 reasons, 1 the evap was gay, 2 the refrigerated unit is reverse cycle so it can be used for heating and in summer, esp in sydney (which matters less for you) the refrigerated units remove the humidity rather well and can cope with running in humid weather. I believe the dry heat is more comfortable so the days that would be really uncomfortable with high humidity, are the ones you want to be cooled, but an evap unit won't work anywhere near as well.

  5. #5
    i love torque Matty's Avatar
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    refrigerated FTW!

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    bite me 5 spd n15's Avatar
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    are you going for a ducted or split system refrigerated unit?
    wishing to heat aswell?
    do you need to condition the bedrooms aswell as the living areas?

    these are some questions that you need to answer to safe you money or to have a multi purpose unit!
    give you a run down...


    i am a refrigeration tec and installed both set ups. call be a bit one sided on the fridge units but when a evap works to its full potential they are not a bad unit, they require maintenance, pads need to be changed more often atm due to the dry weather we have been having and the dust the pads collect and the basin of the unit to be cleaned! these can be expencive! but will work well with maintenance up to scratch

    refrigeration units are comfortable mainly because they are doing about a 10 or so temp deference, and dehumidify the air. and with new inverter tec are alot more cheaper to run now days.

    a large split system that is installed in such away that can throw air down a room and into another living area are just as good as a ducted unit unless you are looking at conditioning bedrooms, you can do this by zoning the duct work, which is another expence but works well!

    its all up to personal opinion and what you want to do and the climate you live in!

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    LoVeUnLiMiTeD psychosquirrel's Avatar
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    hey rob

    5 spd N15s advice above is good

    i do some air services work with my company (maintenance planning, error rectification, and i administrate the computer system that controls it - INET 7).

    in any case it would be a good idea to get zoning if you get ducted - so you can turn off the service to certain areas that are not in use.

    personally i don't have an issue with evap where i live. if it's humid i just turn off the cooling function and operate the fan only. of course, ducted refrig would be nice, but i don't see it as essential. i would go ducted evap over split refrig tho, if your house is much bigger than an apartment
    Last edited by psychosquirrel; 5th November 2008 at 10:04 AM.
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    Admínistrator Blitz's Avatar
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    of course refrigerated is better for those who can't stand any heat and must live in 100% comfort. As rob knows im looking into this for my place too.

    I don't need the house to be ultra cool in summer, i just want the extreme heat taken down to a more comfortable level - doesn't mean freezing.

    been in many evap cooled houses and they are more than comfortable IMO.


    however what about the following ?

    price of installation/initially costs? (7 outlets) and with evap other considerations such as insulation e.t.c

    running costs?

    maintenance costs?

    Q's for those who install air conditioning.
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    Custom User Title 2slow4u's Avatar
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    I have refridgy in my house and IMO I find it is far more comfortable and cooler.

    My gf has evap in her house, and it is really good on the drier days and days that arent high 30's, but I find that it gets too stuffy too quick if there is even the slightest bit of humidity outside.

    If I were to install either into my house I would personally choose the Refridg, primarily because I know there will never be the likelihood that it will be a hot summer night and there will be more moisture in the air than in my butt crack

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    POOSAR 02LOUD's Avatar
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    ive got a refrigerated and it uses some of the water it takes from the air to cool the motor or refridgeration unit or whatever and make it even colder.

    evaporative used to make my clothes feel damp in my bedroom.

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    Longest Conversion Ever Ruddigger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5 spd n15 View Post
    are you going for a ducted or split system refrigerated unit?
    wishing to heat aswell?
    do you need to condition the bedrooms aswell as the living areas?

    these are some questions that you need to answer to safe you money or to have a multi purpose unit!
    give you a run down...


    i am a refrigeration tec and installed both set ups. call be a bit one sided on the fridge units but when a evap works to its full potential they are not a bad unit, they require maintenance, pads need to be changed more often atm due to the dry weather we have been having and the dust the pads collect and the basin of the unit to be cleaned! these can be expencive! but will work well with maintenance up to scratch

    refrigeration units are comfortable mainly because they are doing about a 10 or so temp deference, and dehumidify the air. and with new inverter tec are alot more cheaper to run now days.

    a large split system that is installed in such away that can throw air down a room and into another living area are just as good as a ducted unit unless you are looking at conditioning bedrooms, you can do this by zoning the duct work, which is another expence but works well!

    its all up to personal opinion and what you want to do and the climate you live in!
    This guy he knows

    ive been in A/C for 8 years now and have never installed a Evap type in Sydney

    Yet there all the rage in dry hot areas and do work well to a point in that weather but if you have the money

    Go a refrigeration setup
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  12. #12
    GT ARRRRRR WhO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llama_au View Post
    I don't think he's referring to the type you fill with water, rather the type that's roof mounted and connected to the mains.
    Spot on, ducted system all the way!

    Quote Originally Posted by CoZZm0 View Post
    Refrigerated for sure. The point of it being a selling feature for the house is an important one (esp if you're looking at keeping the place for a while) which may well be worthwhile in the long run.
    This is definitely a consideration for me, i dont plan on selling anytime soon but wonder if from a buyers perspective refrigerated is a big plus. I always thought that for a buyer either would be fine, as long as there is air-con but maybe im a bit mistaken there. More relevant in the near future for me however would be from a renters perspective as i may rent the property out in 2010 as i'll likely be overseas for 1+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by 5 spd n15 View Post
    are you going for a ducted or split system refrigerated unit?
    wishing to heat aswell?
    do you need to condition the bedrooms aswell as the living areas?
    Heating isn't a great concern for me as usually its just myself or myself and my partner at home and were happy to use space heaters, that and my house doesnt get bitterly cold in winter.

    Like paul im keen on hearing about maintenance costs aswell, any idea of the expected lifespan of the different units?

    Cheers,
    Rob
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  13. #13
    Need Input CoZZm0's Avatar
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    We've had Refrigerated A/C for 10 years now here, we've had probably 4 service calls on it in that time (should be more but meh, if it aint broke....). Its 'broken down' once last winter (i.e wouldn't work) which was due to low gas pressure causing compressor shutdown. Other times have been "maintenance" visits. Low figures around the 200 mark for a checkup, the repair with gas refill/check & fault find was around 500 bucks because they did a few other things like cleaning filters, moving duct piping around in the roof to check other things. The big cost was with installation (but the previous owner made it easier, had 3 phase run and breakers installed, vents installed etc) but other than that the service costs are low. I'm sure it would chew the juice, but i haven't actually monitored it in that sense (which is probably most important!)

    When i went to perth a few years ago, it seemed that pretty much everywhere was fitted with the evap units (had no idea what they were at the time), anyone from perth care to comment on them?

  14. #14
    Year of the Dragon :) Stooge007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruddigger View Post
    This guy he knows

    ive been in A/C for 8 years now and have never installed a Evap type in Sydney

    Yet there all the rage in dry hot areas and do work well to a point in that weather but if you have the money

    Go a refrigeration setup
    want to help a fellow PGA'er out with an air con install?

    pay cash bro

  15. #15
    100.8fwkw N15 SSS :( BLU555's Avatar
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    I bought a top of the line Breezair evaporative ducted air conditioner, and I can't praise it highly enough. bugger all running costs, very comfortable even during 40+ degree days. Obviously becuase SA is much drier than NSW QLD, evaps work much better here then there.

    Get's down to $$$ ultimately. Our AC fully installed was around the $3k mark.
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