Wall mounted air conditioner buying guide
(Updated 2020) Wall air conditioner buying guide – Everything you need to know before buying an air conditioner system !
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2023 wall-mounted air conditioner buying guide (updated)
The manufacturing quality of the devices and the supplier’s service
The product Today, all of the major manufacturers of wall-mounted air conditioners are making entry-level and higher-quality products. The manufacturers who are established in our province and who have been selling their air conditioners for a long time know very well the climate of Quebec. Many new products sold on a large scale internationally hit a wall when they arrive in Quebec, because they are not the same weather conditions. The parts are not designed to withstand our climate and this creates major operating problems. Some brands have a very good world reputation, but they have no experience with our winter temperature. Here are the brands of wall mounted air conditioner and heat pump that have been established in Quebec for more than 15 years (wall mounted air conditioner only): Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, LG, Haier, Keeprite and Carrier
The distribution network Here is how the air conditioner arrives in your home (no wall air conditioner is manufactured in America they are all Asian manufacturers such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and China, etc …):
- The manufacturer (Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, LG, etc.) manufactures the product and sells it to the distributor / supplier (approximately 2 months by boat).
- The distributor / supplier (Wolseley, Master, etc.) sells the product to the entrepreneur (in this case MPH companies).
- The entrepreneur sells the product to the consumer.
It is also very important to prioritize a supplier / distributor as well as an entrepreneur with quick after-sales service and numerous distribution points who will be able to provide you with parts in the event of a breakage. Some devices have 10 year warranties, however if the supplier does not have the part in stock during a heat wave, needless to say that your 10 year warranty will air condition your home if your device fails. Distributors specializing in air conditioning have a lot of spare parts in stock in order to provide replacement parts in the event of breakage, and this within 24 hours. Some products have a very good reputation, but the inventory is poorly managed and poorly distributed by the supplier. The 2 largest distributors / suppliers in Quebec are:
Wolseley: with more than 25 branches, specialize in air conditioning, heating and ventilation across Quebec (LG brand distributor and Keeprite)
Master: with more than 19 branches, specialize in air conditioning, heating and ventilation across Quebec (distributor of the brand Fujitsu, Haier and Gree)
The power of your wall-mounted air conditioner
A too powerful wall air conditioner will carry out cooling cycles too fast, this will prevent a good evacuation of humidity. The principle of cooling a house is not only to lower the temperature to the desired set point, it is also necessary to lower the humidity between 40% and 50% to obtain optimal comfort. It is important to understand that a temperature of 20 ° C with a humidity rate of 70% is not at all comfortable. If your air conditioning unit is too powerful for your home configuration, you will find yourself in this situation. It is even more important to take into account the general configuration of your house than the habitable square foot. Many people get bad advice from salespeople who just don’t know the basics of the cooling process. The best example is the 2 storey cottage type house (basement, ground floor and 2nd floor). Generally, these houses will have between 700 and 800 square feet per floor (if we add up, that makes between 1400 and 1600 total square feet). Too often, the units sold in these homes will be air conditioners of 15,000 Btu / h or 18,000 Btu / h, but this is a serious mistake. Your device is installed at the top of the stairwell and the area of the 2nd floor is 800 square feet, the 15,000 Btu device will be far too powerful and it will make cooling cycles too fast by lowering the temperature too quickly, this will cause poor dehumidification. An air conditioning unit of 12,000 Btu / h will be too small if we add the 2 stages it is true, but it will work much better than an appliance too large, because it will lower the temperature and the humidity rate at the same time ( the 2 important variables). The best option in this type of house would be to install 2 devices of 9,000 Btu / h or 12,000 Btu / h. However, this option can sometimes exceed the budget that you set at the start. Generally in 90% of cases for 2-storey houses, a 12,000 Btu / h device well positioned in your stairwell with a sufficient number of CFM “Cubic feet per minute” (fan power) will give you excellent comfort with more or less 2-3 ° C difference with the 2nd stage (which is very acceptable). We must not forget that we still have the following parameters to respect: the windows, the level of sunshine and the insulation of the house.
The following table will guide you in evaluating the power you need, according to the area to be air conditioned:
Here is a quick selection table used by our company for already more than 15 years based on thermal load calculations for a standard open air house 1 floor (bungalow):
|Power||Area to be conditioned|
|9,000 BTU/h||550 to 850 square feet|
|12,000 BTU/h||850 to 1150 square feet|
|15,000 BTU/h||1150 to 1450 square feet|
|18,000 BTU/h||1450 to 1750 square feet|
|24,000 BTU/h||1750 to 2050 square feet|
The famous energy efficiency ratings (SEER, EER and HSPF)
What is SEER and how is it calculated?
The term SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (English version). In French, you will find the abbreviation TRÈS which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rate. The SEER is actually an energy efficiency ratio as each device is rated based on their performance. In other words, the higher the SEER, the less energy the device will consume. Now it is important to understand that SEER is only a means of measurement for “air conditioning” and is not applicable for data in heating heat pumps. SEER energy efficiency is the ratio of the cooling power (BTU / h) divided by the gross energy consumption of the device (Watt / h or kWh). This is the average for an air conditioning season and is calculated using a constant indoor temperature of around 20 ° C and an outdoor temperature of 28 ° C. So if the average outdoor temperature in summer of the region you live in is above or below 28 ° C, the SEER efficiency will not be the same. All air conditioners have a seasonal energy efficiency rating and must be displayed on the Energy Guide sticker (yellow). Since 2015, manufacturers are no longer allowed to sell air conditioners with an energy efficiency rate below 14.5 SEER. SEER of 13 (lowest efficiency and no longer eligible to be sold) SEER of 33 (highest efficiency Fujitsu RLS3 and RLS3H model) SEER of 40 (highest efficiency Keeprite DLCPRA model)
What is the EER and how is it calculated?
The term EER means Energy Efficiency Ratio (English version). In French, you will find the abbreviation TRÉ which stands for Rate of Energy Efficiency. The EER is calculated using an outside temperature of 35 ° C, a temperature of 26 ° C inside and a level of 50% humidity. No seasonal temperature change is taken into account in the rating of a unit’s EER.
The difference between EER and SEER
If you observe on a technical sheet the SEER value of an air conditioner, then you know that the SEER is a good approximation of the energy efficiency of the unit if the average summer temperature in your region is around 28 ° C, but can be misleading if you live in Southern California or in very hot regions. Conversely, the EER value is a standard set that can be used to directly compare air conditioning units without worrying about seasonal changes in your area. The EER, unlike the SEER, is mainly used by refrigeration technicians to obtain real information on the general performance of the air conditioner. In other words, the EER is used by engineers and technicians and the SEER is used for marketing. The EER is actually an energy efficiency ratio as each device is rated based on their performance. In other words, the higher the EER, the less energy the device will consume. Energy efficiency EER is the ratio between the cooling power (BTU / h) divided by the gross energy consumption of the device (Watt / h or kWh). EER of 8 (lowest efficiency) EER of 18 (highest efficiency in 2020 Fujitsu RLS3 and RLS3H models)
What is HSPF and how is it calculated?
The term HSPF means Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (English version). In French, you will find the abbreviation FRSC which stands for Seasonal Efficiency Factor in Heating. The HSPF is actually a ratio or rating of energy efficiency that each device is evaluated according to their heating performance. In other words, the higher the HSPF, the less energy it will use during the heating season. Now, it is important to understand that the HSPF is only a means of measurement for “heating” and is not applicable for air conditioning data of air conditioners. The HSPF energy efficiency is the ratio between the heating power in (BTU / h) divided by the gross energy consumption of the device (Watt / h or kWh). This is the average for a heating season and is calculated using a constant indoor temperature of around 20 ° C and an outdoor temperature of 8 ° C. All heat pumps have an energy efficiency rating for the heating season and it should be displayed on the Energy Guide sticker (yellow).
Is HSPF so important?
I can confirm that yes, because we are in Quebec and unfortunately we have more months of heating than air conditioning. At first glance, the term HSPF doesn’t mean much, but if you compare the different rates, there can be a huge difference in energy consumption between heaters over a lifetime of 20 years. . However, it is extremely important to weigh the investment cost of purchasing the device against the long-term profitability of the device. It is obvious that it is useless to buy a device with an HSPF of 12 and + if you intend to move within 2-3 years, because it is the next owner of your house who will benefit from it. energy saving of your heat pump. If you plan to stay in your home for several years, buying a heat pump with a high energy efficiency rate will have several benefits. First, a heat pump with an HSPF greater than 10 and + will consume much less energy compared to a device that has an HSPF of 8. Second, devices with an HSPF raise, its usually considered as “high end” devices then your device will also have a SEER raise and this will save you for the air conditioning season (what is SEER?). It is important to consider the HSPF of heat pumps if you live in Quebec, because we must not forget that we have about 3-4 months of summer and 8-9 months of cold weather. The HSPF will save you more on energy consumption compared to the SEER. Third, devices with a high HSPF are generally manufactured by industry recognized manufacturers who have many years of experience in the design of heat pumps. To get an HSPF to elevate, manufacturers need to use the best parts and components to achieve high performance yields. So this assures you that your device is built with quality materials. Finally, the purchase of a heat pump is not an easy task, particularly because of their acquisition costs. It is therefore important that you are well advised according to your needs, your current situation and your budget.
Inverter technology how does it work?
The word “Inverter” is a technology that allows the compressor to modulate the cooling power of your air conditioning system. The majority of air conditioning systems today have Inverter technology and here is why:
Indoor temperature accuracy
Thanks to the compressor power modulation, the temperature will be more stable, because the temperature sensor indicates to the indoor unit the required power.
Superior energy saving
The compressor will considerably reduce its power when the temperature is reached and will provide you only the BTU / h necessary to maintain the temperature
A wall mounted air conditioner with a good capacity Inverter compressor will be able to cool your home with longer air conditioning cycles, this will give you better humidity.
Longer service life
Variable speed compressors last much longer because it almost never stops. Instead of stopping, the compressor will lower the power to provide only what is needed. This allows the compressor to always be cooled to the right temperature and to last longer.
Very low operating noise
The wall-mounted air conditioners and wall-mounted heat pumps with compressor invented are much quieter than traditional air conditioners, because they start at low speed and increase slowly to maximize energy consumption and humidity removal. This allows the oil to circulate better, thus being quieter when your air conditioner is running.
The operation of an inverter compressor
The frequency converter communicates with the interior temperature sensor and this makes it possible to vary the speed of the compressor. The compressor is specifically designed to operate at different speeds to modulate the cooling power according to the requested temperature. The correct refrigerant charge is a critical requirement to ensure the life of the compressor. Proper oil management ensures proper lubrication for low speed operation and prevents excessive oil injection into the circuit when operating at full speed.
Important purchase criteria
Prioritize an air conditioner with a self-cleaning function
When your air conditioner turns off, the fan continues to run until the evaporator is completely dry, this ensures that your unit will always stay clean and free from mold
Anti-corrosion treatment of the indoor and outdoor unit
Ensure that the unit is coated with an anti-corrosion coating which prevents the formation of oxidation on the outdoor and indoor unit. This promotes lasting efficiency and will extend the life of the coil by helping to prevent corrosion caused by surrounding pollutants.
Protection of refrigerant leaks
Good quality units have a module that protects the compressor from overheating if a refrigerant leak is detected
The noise level of your wall-mounted air conditioner
When you compare the data sheets of the different devices, there are 2 sound variants to watch:
The sound level of the indoor unit:
The indoor unit called “evaporator” has between 3 and 8 fan speeds. Each ventilation speed must be entered on the technical sheet with the air flow (CFM) and the noise level (dB). The quietest unit on the market is the LG Prestige model with (17 dB) for the indoor unit.
The sound level of the outdoor unit:
The outdoor unit called “condenser” has no speed, as it is usually a variable speed fan motor with the ability to communicate with the “inverter” compressor. The operating noise in (dB) will then be entered at the highest speed in the technical sheets. The quietest unit on the market is the LG Prestige model and the Fujitsu RLS3 and RLS3H model with (43 dB) for the outdoor unit.
The price of wall-mounted air conditioners
We strongly advise you to call on companies that have been in business for several years and that are well established: office, showroom and warehouse. This will assure you that these companies can give you service throughout your warranty. The prices will be a little more expensive, but you will be sure to get a good quality of installation performed by certified technicians who have the skill cards necessary to perform your installation. Some companies offer you products at ridiculous prices, but be careful, because the quality of installation and after-sales service vary enormously between each company. Here are the market prices analyzed between 2012 and 2020 for a wall-mounted air conditioner or wall-mounted heat pump of 12,000 Btu
|Low end||1700$ to 2300 $|
|Mid-range||2400$ to 3400$|
|Top of the line||3500$ to 4500$|
The warranty for wall-mounted air conditioners
The guarantees vary enormously from one brand to another, however most quality devices now have a 10 year warranty and even 12 years in some products. This is a fairly important indicator of the quality of the unit. We advise you to be wary of warranties that are not written on the manufacturer’s brochures or data sheets. Some companies add “house warranties” to their products, but be very careful, because if the contractor closes the doors, you will have no warranty except that of the manufacturer. The average lifespan of a wall air conditioner that has been well maintained is between 12 and 15 years.
Installation carried out according to the rules of the art
As certified air conditioning, heating and ventilation contractors, our technicians are often called into homes where a system no longer works. After performing a diagnostic on the system, it is easy to see that the previous job was done poorly by an unlicensed worker. Sometimes the owner can no longer reach the person responsible for the installation and calls us with great frustration. Most of the time, the owner has already tried to get a repair reimbursed by the manufacturer, however when the owner mentions that the devices were installed by an unqualified contractor, the contractor completely loses the guarantees. There are many other stories like this and, unfortunately, although there are laws and regulations against unlicensed entrepreneurs in most regions of Quebec, enforcement is often slow or nonexistent. This leaves owners in precarious positions and often with devices that no longer work. As an air conditioning, heating and ventilation contractor we adhere to the rules and regulations adopted by our local government in order to work according to the rules in force. Many of these regulations are intended to protect homeowners from scrupulous and dishonest contractors. But, if the owner is not aware of the risks associated with using an unlicensed contractor, how can he make a good decision about hiring a business where workers have access to a home and to its content, often with an intimate knowledge of the residents? All of our technicians are trained to answer questions and concerns to help owners feel comfortable using our business as their service contractor. Here is a list of topics that technicians should discuss with owners in order to uphold the importance of licensed contracts. When purchasing an air conditioner, you must ensure that the contractor performing the work has all of these licenses to perform the work.
- Refrigeration 15.10
- Ventilation 15.8
- CMEQ License: Electricity 16
- Liability insurance to protect you from any damage caused by the installation
Unauthorized contractors cannot perform warranty work unless the manufacturer has agreed in writing to let a specific person do the work. Be careful because some contractors subcontract the work to unlicensed contractors. Request the license and make sure it lists the person doing the work. Unlicensed work on your system will void the manufacturer’s warranty.
How long has the business obtained its license? Is the company certified to perform warranty and installation work? With a licensed contractor, an owner will receive a warranty for the work performed and a warranty on the equipment. If these things are not offered, the owner could have a poor installation and even cause the system to malfunction. In the event that an electrical connection is incorrect, it may cause a fire.
Many homeowners don’t realize when they hire a cheaper, unlicensed contractor, they can be responsible if that worker falls or gets injured while working on their property. Homeowners often think they are getting a good deal on a repair or a new system. But, if a worker slips and falls on the job, the owner could be responsible for the worker’s injury. So be sure that the contractor has liability insurance in good standing. In our area, being a licensed entrepreneur has its drawbacks when it comes to job auctions. Unregistered contractors do not have to comply with the law, do not have overhead costs, do not pay workers’ compensation, and do not offer insurance for their workers.
Maintaining your wall-mounted air conditioner
Before cleaning your wall-mounted air conditioning system, be sure to turn off the power and disconnect the power supply.
Cleaning the evaporator (indoor unit) Clean the indoor unit with a vacuum cleaner, scrub the unit with warm, soapy water, then dry with a soft, clean cloth. During a period of normal operation, the filter included in the device should be cleaned every 2 to 4 weeks of use. If dust accumulates on the filter, the air flow will be considerably reduced, which will lower the operating efficiency and increase the noise of and the power consumption of the device the dust must eliminate either by a vacuum cleaner, either by washing in a solution of mild detergent and lukewarm water. If you are cleaning the filter, be sure to let it dry completely before reinstalling it in your appliance Cleaning the condenser (outdoor unit). To keep your device in good condition, external cleaning is essential. Just wipe the unit with a damp cloth or a dry cloth and with a garden hose make sure the outdoor coil is free of litter or pollen. Finally, the entire system requires special care, a maintenance contract could prove to be a necessity in the event of specific maintenance which would require the services of a professional.