Air Conditioners in Ireland: Are They Worth It?

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With temperatures rising year after year, one cannot stop and consider buying an air conditioning unit. Especially after the hot summer in 2022, an air conditioning system could be very tempting. However, is it worth using air conditioners in Ireland? Which system or unit should you get? Read our complete air conditioning guide to find out more!

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What Is Air Conditioning?

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Simply put, air conditioning is the action of removing heat from a given confined space.

One of the most common ways to remove heat from a confined space is by using a mechanical apparatus known as an air conditioner. There are all sorts of air conditioning units and systems available which we will examine in further detail below.

Did you know? There are approximately 1.6 billion air conditioning units installed in the world according to the IEA (International Energy agency).

How Does Air Conditioning Work?

An air conditioner functions by extracting the warm air out of the room it is in and replacing it with cooler air. This subsequently lowers the room temperature which in most cases you can set to a level of your choice.

Here is how an air conditioning system works to lower the temperatures:

  • The air conditioning unit will suck the hot air into its system.
  • With the use of electricity, the system circulates a coolant through pipes inside.
  • The coolant captures the warm air and sends it outside the room.
  • The initial hot air that was taken has now been slightly cooled and is thrown back into the room.
  • This process is repeated, gradually lowering the room temperature until the desired setting is reached.

Did you know? Air conditioning can be traced as far back as the Ancient Egyptians! Many of their constructions used air conditioning techniques that didn’t need energy. Some of these procedures are being reintroduced in modern buildings as an energy-efficient solution.

What is a Passive Cooling System?

A passive cooling system is meant to keep a building or home at comfortable temperatures without, or with very little, use of energy.

This is an important concept and one which is gaining in popularity given the push to protect the environment and lower our carbon footprint.

Some of the common passive cooling techniques used are:

  1. Heat Dissipation
    This is to send the heat elsewhere through natural convection such as with the use of a thermal mass or a heat sink.
  2. Ventilation
    Ensuring your home has a good cross and stack ventilation is another effective way to naturally cool its interior.
  3. Night Flushing
    Considered to be a semi-passive technique as it involves creating ventilation at night when temperatures are naturally cooler.
  4. Evaporation Cooling
    This works in conjunction with water. For example, the water keeps the roof cool as heat needs to evaporate the water before it can continue its path inside the home.
  5. Earth Coupling
    This principle uses the consistent and mild temperature of the soil to keep indoor temperatures comfortable. Very similar to the principles used in a geothermal heat pump.

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How Much Is Air Conditioning?

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Like many products, the cost of air conditioners in Ireland will depend on the type of air conditioning unit you choose. In Ireland, there are three main types of air conditioners. We look at the price range and difference between each type of air conditioner below.

What Are the Three Types of Air Conditioners?

The three types of air conditioners vary in both price and function and you should definitely read up on the benefits and drawbacks of each one before you decide to buy. The three types of air conditioners are:

  • Portable Air Conditioners
  • Air Conditioning Units
  • Air Conditioning System

What Are Portable Air Conditioners?

Portable air conditioners in Ireland are the most economical choice you will find. They are easy to use since, as the name suggests, they come on wheels which allows you to move the unit in a room which needs cooling.

Most portable air conditioners will range between €275 to €495. Their big drawback is that you still need some ducting, meaning, there still needs to be a pipe going to the outside of the home for the warm air to escape.

That is unless you opt for an evaporative cooler. This is a type of portable air conditioner which is filled with water and the warm air is released into the water rather than outside. Its drawbacks are as follows:

  • Need a constant supply of water
  • Is not as efficient in high temperatures
  • Not ideal for people with breathing difficulties such as asthma.

What Is an Air Conditioning Unit?

An air conditioning unit is more involved, consequently so does its price tag which typically ranges from €2,100 to €2,500.

There are different types of air conditioning units which we list and describe below:

  1. High-wall air conditioners
    These are relatively easy to install, high on an exterior wall or above windows. It requires some ducting installation in the cavity of the wall and connects to an exterior mechanism which will draw the warm air out.
  2. Low-wall air conditioners
    Similar principle as the high wall air conditioner, except they are positioned closer to the ground. Looking like another home heating radiator essentially.
  3. Window air conditioner
    These are a little less expensive than the wall units as no ducting is required. The unit is installed in the window itself (half inside and the other half outside), and warm air is immediately drawn away from the home.

What Is an Air Conditioning System?

Most air conditioning systems will have a dual function and work as a heating source during the cold winter months as well as an air conditioner.

As one can imagine, these can be quite simple or very elaborate in larger homes. Their price tags can start as low as €2,650 and run into the five figures, according to the size of your home.

The three main types of air conditioning systems found are as follows:

  1. Ducted air conditioners
    These are great as they can even be fitted out of sight in places such as the attic. There are all sorts of designs available, most of which fit flush with the wall or ceiling.
  2. Cassette air conditioners
    A cassette air conditioner is installed in the ceiling in the middle of the room. It pushes the air in all four directions making for a more even room temperature.
  3. Multi-split air conditioners
    This is an elaborate version of an air conditioning unit. As we saw in the previous section, a unit needs to be connected via ducting to an outdoor mechanism to function properly. In a multi-split system, the ducting is split inside the house to connect the one single outdoor mechanism to multiple indoor air conditioning units. It ends up saving a lot of outdoor space.

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Is it Worth Using Air Conditioners in Ireland?

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If the recent heat wave is any indication of the times to come, it will no longer be a question of whether or not air conditioning in Ireland is worthwhile, but it will become a necessity.

The downside of adding more air conditioners into homes is that it will increase our energy bills whose costs are already spiralling out of control and ironically contributing to the rise in global temperatures.

So, if you happen to be in the middle of buying a newly constructed home, ask your builder about incorporating these passive cooling systems rather than a standard air conditioning system. Future generations will greatly appreciate your efforts in helping meet Ireland’s 2050 gas emission targets!

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