6 Different Kinds Of Cooling Systems For Tight Spaces

February 02nd, 2022
5 Different Kinds Cooling Systems Tight Spaces

Cooling systems are essential in Melbourne summers. After all, our hottest season can be one of the most humid in all of Australia. While there are plenty of cooling solutions for big spaces like refrigerated air conditioning and ducted cooling, it can be difficult to find the right air conditioner for small spaces, such as apartments and offices. 

If you’re after a compact cooling solution for your residential or commercial property, this article is here to help. We’ve compiled a list of 6 different cooling systems you can use for air conditioning in small spaces, including pros and cons such as the cost of installation and the performance of each system.

As well as this, we’ve compiled some information on the benefits of smaller cooling systems, the importance of choosing the right size air conditioning, and other steps you can take to keep cool in tight spaces.

Size Matters When Choosing Your Air Conditioner: Here’s Why!

When it comes to cooling a small room, the primary reason that size matters is practicality. In tight spaces, you simply can’t afford to have a large and bulky air conditioner sitting on the floor or jutting out of the wall. You only have so much real estate in an office or an apartment, and you need to make the most of it.

However, the most important reason to choose the correct size air conditioner is related to your comfort and running costs.

If you choose an air conditioning system that’s too large for your room, it will use up extra energy and take up extra space. This is bad for the environment and your electricity bills.

You might think that an undersized system would save you some money, but that’s not the case either. Instead, an undersized air conditioner will work extra hard to cool down your room, resulting in higher energy use, greater emissions, and higher bills at the end of the month, as well as lower quality performance.

When selecting a cooler for a smaller space, it’s important to keep in mind the listed kilowatts (kW), which may also be listed as horsepower (hp), or even more rarely, British Thermal Units (BTU).

Selecting the right system isn’t just about higher or lower kilowatts. To ensure you have an energy-efficient system, you need to match the right energy output to your room’s size (usually measured per square metre). This takes into account both the floor space and your ceiling height. A qualified air conditioning supplier and installer will be able to help you select the right system for your room size, ensuring optimal performance and energy efficiency.

The systems below are generally useful for smaller spaces. Just remember that the size of these systems will still play a role in how effectively and efficiently they can cool down your room.

Consider These 6 Air Conditioners for Cooling Smaller Spaces

1. Hi-Wall Split Systems

Split system air conditioners will feature a few times on this list, and for good reasons. These systems offer you a proper air conditioner that’s highly efficient and effective while halving your indoor requirements. That’s because split systems keep part of the unit indoors and part of the unit outdoors. The two units are connected through the wall.

Hi-Wall air conditioners stand apart from other ACs and even other split systems as an effective way to cool small spaces.

They are better than other air conditioners because all the noisy and bulky elements are kept outside and they feature a non-intrusive design.

They elevate themselves above other split systems because they are positioned high on your wall (hence the name Hi-Wall split systems). This is perfect for smaller spaces because you don’t typically put anything high on the wall, meaning no useful space is being taken up.

For small rooms, a 2-2.5kW Hi-Wall split system will usually do the job.

Pros of Hi-Wall Split Systems for Small Spaces

  • Inverter technology for optimal performance and efficiency
  • Reverse cycle available for heating and cooling
  • Takes up minimal space, and extra useful features are usually available, such as remote controls
  • Cons of Hi-Wall Split Systems for Small Spaces

  • Requires professional installation
  • Indoor and outdoor units need to be close together, so may not suit all spaces
  • Outdoor unit can be noisy
  • 2. Ducted Cooling

    In the introduction, we listed ducted cooling as one of the systems that might not be suitable for smaller spaces. However, this won’t always be the case.

    If you’re cooling a small room that’s part of a larger space, ducted cooling is ideal. An example of this is if you have a small home office within your house.

    However, even in standalone spaces that are small, ducted cooling is sometimes an option. 

    Ducted and central cooling systems are often unsuitable for small spaces because they don’t have the room in the ceiling or floor to install the ductwork. However, small ducted cooling systems are becoming more popular, and they’re ideal for narrow spaces and flat roof designs.

    These systems are sometimes known as slimline systems, flat ceiling systems, and similar names. They offer climate control like any other central cooler without the fuss of an indoor unit.

    Pros of Ducted Cooling for Small Spaces

  • Whole-of-property cooling with zoning options to only cool your small space
  • No indoor units, and designs that are made to suit areas with limited space for ducts
  • Reverse cycle ducted systems offer both heating and cooling
  • Cons of Ducted Cooling for Small Spaces

  • Installation is more complex
  • Installation costs are also higher compared to simpler solutions
  • Still not suitable for all small spaces such as multi-storey apartment buildings
  • 3. Window Air Conditioners and Wall Air Conditioners

    When wall space is limited, a window air conditioner can be used to add cooling to a small home, office, or apartment building. If you have the wall space to spare, you can also opt for a wall air conditioning unit.

    Available in a range of shapes and sizes, these units are half in the room and half outdoors, hanging out the other side of your window (or wall). Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTAC Units) are a type of through-the-wall air conditioner that’s typically used in commercial settings such as hospitals.

    Pros of Wall/Window Air Conditioning for Small Spaces

  • Easy to install cooling for a small space
  • Choose a window AC if you have no wall space to spare, or a wall AC if you have the space and want to leave your window free
  • Can be suitable for spaces such as apartment buildings
  • Cons of Wall/Window Air Conditioning for Small Spaces

  • They are a visual eyesore both indoors and outdoors
  • They lack the advanced features of many modern systems, including reverse cycle technology (they are cooling only!)
  • You have to sacrifice window or wall space to use them
  • 4. Mini Split Systems

    Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy both cooling and heating in your home or office.

    A mini-split system is another member of the split system air conditioning family, and it functions exactly how you think it would. Just like with a standard split system and a Hi-Wall split system, mini-splits utilise an outdoor unit connected to an indoor unit through the wall. The main difference is that the mini-split design focuses on being as small as possible.

    Compact yet powerful, mini-split systems are perfect for narrow or cramped spaces. With reverse cycle technology, you can heat or cool your small place with a mini-split system.

    Pros of Mini Split Systems for Small Spaces

  • All the functionality of a split system, only smaller
  • Heat or cool any space
  • Additional features, including inverter technology for smooth, energy-efficient performance
  • Cons of Mini Split Systems for Small Spaces

  • Needs to be professionally installed (but this is not a huge hassle)
  • Outdoor and indoor units need to be close together, so may not suit all spaces
  • Outdoor unit can be noisy
  • 5. Portable Air Conditioners

    Size isn’t the only problem faced by small spaces that need air conditioning. In environments such as small apartments, cooling solutions need to be both compact and portable. Being able to move your air conditioner from the bedroom to the living room and back again is highly advantageous.

    Portable air conditioners are small, free-standing units that you can usually wheel around your home or office without any installation requirements. These systems utilise exhaust hoses that hang out the window, and they work by taking the heat out of the air and depositing it outside.

    Many portable air conditioners also remove moisture from the air, meaning they also act as dehumidifiers. 

    Pros of Portable Air Conditioners for Small Spaces

  • Air conditioning that moves from room to room
  • No installation required – simply set up and use!
  • Take it with you when you move out
  • Cons of Portable Air Conditioners for Small Spaces

  • Energy hungry and expensive to run
  • Creates noise inside your home
  • Cooling performance varies greatly from unit to unit (no heating function with any unit)
  • 6. Multi-Head Split Systems

    We started this list with a split system air conditioner and we’ll finish with a split system.

    A Multi-Head Split System involves installing multiple indoor units and connecting them to a single outdoor unit. This could be space-saving in multiple ways!

    Inside your property, you can heat and cool multiple small rooms. Choose mini-splits, Hi-Wall systems, and more – you can have different indoor units for every room.

    Outside your property, a multi-split system set-up saves outdoor space by connecting all the indoor units to just one outdoor unit.

    Pros of Multi-Head Split Systems for Small Spaces

  • Heating and cooling with individual temperature control for multiple small rooms (or rooms of different sizes)
  • Choose different indoor units to suit the requirements of each room
  • Save space and preserve aesthetic appeal outside with just one outdoor unit – this can also save you money on your energy bills!
  • Cons of Multi-Head Split Systems for Small Spaces

  • Connecting multiple indoor units to one outdoor unit requires a more complex installation
  • More expensive to buy than most other options on this list
  • Like other split systems, the outdoor unit can get noisy
  • Benefits of Choosing a Smaller Air Conditioning System

    When you make the right choice, a smaller air conditioning unit will serve your tight space well for years to come.

    Here are some of the biggest advantages you can enjoy.

  • When the size of your air conditioner suits the size of your space, you will enjoy lower energy usage, higher energy efficiency and lower running costs
  • Most smaller air conditioners you find will be quieter than large units. The exception might be a portable unit, which keeps all the noisy parts inside your home
  • On the other hand, if you do choose a portable air conditioner, you can move it from room to room and easily store it away in the warmer months
  • Many of the smaller units mentioned above can utilise reverse cycle technology, perfect for heating and cooling your home
  • Most importantly, smaller air conditioning units are lightweight and take up very little space in rooms that have very little space to spare
  • Other Steps You Can Take to Cool a Smaller Room

    Air conditioning is the most effective way for keeping cool in spaces of all sizes, but there are a few other steps you can take. 

  • Invest in heavy window furnishings such as block-out curtains, blinds, and drapes. These window furnishings will block out the sun and reduce the heat that comes into your space
  • If you have a window that opens in your tight space, consider opening it for air circulation and breeze on days when there is air movement
  • Take a look at your insulation and consider upgrading it. Better insulation can keep out the warm weather in the summer months
  • Invest in double glazing for your windows and glass doors for even more thermal insulation
  • If you have stand-up or ceiling fans, consider using them. While fans don’t lower the temperature, they can create a wind chill effect that will make you feel temporarily cooler
  • If you have an air conditioner for your tight space, ensure it is serviced and maintained every few years and replaced when it gets too old
  • Next Steps – Find an Air Conditioner That Suits Your Space

    Get ready for summer with Australian Climate Systems. Whether you’re looking for split systems in the Yarra Valley or ducted air conditioning in Toorak, we can assist you.

    Our variety of compact cooling systems will make sure any space, no matter how small, is kept cool during Melbourne’s crazy summer heat.

    We also specialise in servicing, maintenance, and repairs, making it easy to take care of your air conditioner in the long term!

    Need advice?Call: 03 9726 4444
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