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Blog: Air Conditioning, The Cooling & Heating Solution For Self Builds.

24/01/2022

Air Conditioning and Self Builds

We don't have a reputation for being the hottest country, but we do have our moments. All it can take is a single summer, restless night, or uncomfortable Zoom call, to make us think; "Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have some cooling options on the table?". 

But Air Conditioning is more than just a cooling option. Modern units now provide the only solution that can handle the cooling AND heating of your entire home. Not only this, but they provide you with individual control over each room. If you want to spend your evening in a toasty living room with the family, and then retire to a cool bedroom for a good night's sleep - that’s no problem. 

Air Conditioning does all of this with high energy efficiency, whilst simultaneously improving your air quality with cutting edge filtration technology. These are benefits that are unheard of with traditional central heating systems, and with gas boilers seemingly being phased out, it’s a great time to find out more. 

Building a new home presents a great opportunity to install Air Conditioning. It can allow you to build a comprehensive heating and cooling system into the bare bones of a building. Providing heating and cooling to as many or as few rooms as you want, at the push of a button (or screen).

Air Conditioning a new build can let you side-step some obstacles that would usually appear when retro-fitting into a regular home. This is particularly true if you opt for a ducted system. But it’s not all roses, as with this blank canvas comes plenty of decisions (like you didn’t have enough of those already).

Here we hope to shed some light on your options and provide some counsel. We can’t cover everything, so if you want to use our expertise personally, you can book a free consultation by calling 0118 449 2007, or emailing contactus@protocool.co.uk.

At what stage in our self-build should we call you?

The earlier in the process the better. Letting us know early means that your system is going to be as tailored to your needs as possible. Even if your home is still in the design phase, we can work with other contractors to plan the location of units, controls, ducts, and everything else.


External Units
An important element to consider is the outdoor space for external units. These should be easy to access, and need a certain amount of free space surrounding them for air-flow. They can have a large impact on the aesthetics of a building, so we will work with you and your other contractors to find the most discreet option.

Accessibility
Accessibility is also important for the internal systems. Unfortunately, we have visited ducted installations where this hasn’t been thought of in advance. It makes for an awkward conversation when ceilings/walls must be cut through in order to carry out a service to ensure everything is in order . Both internal and external units must be serviced at least once per year by a certified engineer, this ensures that they run safely and effectively, and also maintains their manufacturer warranty.

Power supply
Another important factor is the power supply, whether you have decided on the type of Air Conditioning you want to install or not, it pays dividends to consult with us or an electrician in advance, to cater for the electrical supply and ensure a seamless installation in the future that avoids additional cables that at this stage are more difficult to hide.

To summarise, the earlier you can contact us the better. We can typically find a solution for all budgets, but early contact allows us to plan and communicate with the other parties involved, and provide you with the system that does exactly what you want it to do. With more time comes more flexibility, and less of a likelihood that you will have to compromise.

Wall-mounted, floor-mounted, or built into the walls/ceiling?

If we’re talking performance, then all of these options are pretty much the same. If we’re talking features, then they will vary somewhat. But the big difference here is aesthetics.

It's true that most wall-mounted Air Conditioning units these days look great. However, Ducted systems that merge into walls and ceilings can fit any style of decor, and are definitely the most discreet. For some properties it just makes sense, for others, it’s not such an obvious decision.

The truth about Ducted Air Conditioning for self-builds
Expertly concealed ducted Air Conditioning is an unbeatable aesthetic, however it comes at a price. There we said it. The truth though, is that it just isn’t compatible with a lot of projects. Even if it is a new build. Ducted systems require a lot of space (behind the scenes), a lot of access, a lot of work, a lot of coordination, design work, and subsequently, a lot of resources. Although a good amount of this can be averted with early stage planning.

"We don't want a big box on the wall"
We hear this a lot from our customers, understandably, but times have changed. We think that everybody is long overdue for a refresher on what a wall-mounted Air Conditioning unit looks like in the 2020's (take a look at our popular units here).

Some of our customers expect a large, ugly, yellow-ish box. That looms over them and whirs whilst they go about their daily activities. But what they really find is a sleek, stylish, highly engineered, compact unit, that even comes in a variety of colours. They’re also now practically inaudible. And our recommended units are packed with high-tech features that were unheard of before i.e thermal imaging room scanners.

So what we’re trying to say is that we’ve completed many, many ducted projects in beautiful homes. And also many, many wall-mounted projects in beautiful homes. And.. both camps were very happy with their choice.

A slight caveat to this, is that the installation must be carried out to a high standard. There are many do’s and don'ts in the Air Conditioning game, and all installations are not equal. It must involve attention to detail, but also enough engineering knowledge to ensure the unit is effective. It's a juggling act between lots of different factors, and that’s where our experience comes in.

Where should we install it?

Before tackling this, it’s important to distinguish that all of our Air Conditioning systems have a cooling AND heating setting. We all think of cooling when it comes to Air Conditioning, but the truth is that they are also very effective heaters. So yes, Air Conditioning can run alongside and complement your primary heating system. Or, it can replace it entirely. It won’t heat your water though, you will need an air-to-water heat pump for that, (a service that is coming to ProtoCool soon).

So the best starting point when considering Air Conditioning is, how many/which rooms do I want it in? We can’t decide this for you, but we can tell you which areas will benefit the most.

Top floors
The top floor of new homes are getting a bit of a reputation for becoming too warm. Unfortunately, these quiet sanctuaries become a lot less enjoyable when they hit 30-35 degrees. The reason of course is that all heat rises, and current insulation regulations prevent it from escaping like it used to. Air Conditioning is strongly recommended here.

Southern facing rooms
We all love big glass windows and big glass doors, they look fantastic. Unfortunately, they have a large effect on room temperature as they expose you to more sun. The glass can be sold with tints, and other things that promise to combat this, but in our experience it’s an issue that even blinds don’t fix. The good news is that Air Conditioning will solve this problem, and provide you with the comfort you would expect in your new home.

Bedrooms and Offices
Pretty self explanatory, but ambient room temperature plays a huge role in the quality of both sleep and focus. And the better you sleep, the better you concentrate, and vice versa. Other nice benefits include not having to leave windows open to get ‘fresh air’ - saving you from unwanted insects, noise, and keeping your home secured. 

The conclusion

To conclude, there are a lot of decisions you need to make when you decide to invest in an Air Conditioning cooling and heating system, but it's absolutely worth it. You may feel pressured to go down the ducted route because it’s the most aesthetic option. But depending on your property, you could end up being just as happy with a wall-mounted system (if it’s done well).

Thank you for reading. Still have questions? Want us to install a system in your home? Contact us for a free consultation at 0118 449 2007, or email contactus@protocool.co.uk.

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0118 449 2007
contactus@protocool.co.uk
ProtoCool LTD
Unit 1 Comet House,
Calleva Park,
Reading,
RG7 8JA
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