With spring and the promise of some warmer weather just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to begin thinking about your air conditioning.
Despite being commonplace in the majority of offices and workspaces, many premises fail to make the most of their installations, with some managers even choosing not to use them at all.
In this article, we take a look at some of the most common air conditioning myths and misconceptions and demonstrate just why you should not be afraid to get your system up and running - and sooner, rather than later.
If you haven’t already got an air conditioning system, by the time you’ve read this article you might just want to get one on the way.
1.They Are Expensive To Run
As with all electrical devices, air conditioning units consume energy, and with constantly rising energy prices, many business owners are attempting to eliminate the use of non essential equipment. It is a huge mistake to categorise your air conditioning within this class - as you read on, you will see numerous reasons why it should in fact be a priority.
With modern advances in technology, air conditioning has never been more energy efficient.
- Modern air conditioning units are considerably more energy efficient than older models. In fact, modern air conditioning units use less than 50% of the energy compared with those of just a few decades ago. if you are investing in a new installation, make sure you consider the energy rating. Investing a little more in your equipment can result in significant longer term savings.
- Current refrigerants are substantially more effective than older versions - and are better for the environment too.
- Modern units have intelligent controls to make them much more accurate and effective and avoid overworking. Taking the time to familiarise yourself with the controls can be a real-time money saver for you and your business. As well as temperature controls, be sure to make full use of the timer to avoid unnecessary use.
Did you know that you can save a significant amount of money simply by adjusting your temperature by a degree or two? Not sure how to set your controls - be sure to take the time to study the manual fully.
On a final note, it is worth remembering that whilst air conditioning will consume energy in the process of keeping temperatures cool, they can also help to reduce the amount of work other devices need to do to keep cool - which in itself can offset some of the operating cost.
2. They Are Unhealthy
Sceptics of air conditioning often argue in favour of opening the windows and letting the fresh air in. This may seem reasonable at first, but have you considered how much dust and pollution there might be in the air around your location? The truth is, air conditioning units now have advanced filtration that makes for a much better air quality - especially in urban environments. The filtration system within your unit can actually remove a large percentage of harmful contamination from the air, meaning it actually benefits health.
Maintaining good air circulation within the workplace also reduces tiredness and therefore has a positive effect on productivity. With a correctly installed system, you will get a flow of fresh clean air over the entire space, meaning that it is not just those lucky enough to have a window seat who benefit.
Good air circulation also prevents dampness, helping to avoid health issues such as mould which can also have a negative impact on staff.
Air conditioning is by far the healthiest choice for the workplace - provided of course you get the filters changed and the system cleaned regularly by a qualified service engineer. Not sure when the last service was done? Now is a great time to get your system looked at.
Make sure you know what your service responsibilities as an end user are too!
3.They Are Too Noisy
There is a stereotype in movies of conversations drowned out by window-mounted fan units clattering away at ear-bursting volume. Luckily, whilst the original commercial and domestic units may indeed have been incredibly loud, today’s equivalents are a far cry from this.
In fact, modern units are incredibly quiet, delivering an impressively high flow at a very low level of decibels.
Before writing off air conditioning as noisy, have you considered the actual ambient noise of your location? Many offices have found that in terms of noise, using air conditioning is in fact preferable to having windows open.
The added bonus - less noise = more productivity
If you are investing in a new air conditioning installation, don’t be afraid to discuss noise levels and optimum locations with an expert such as those at Carlton Sales before making your final decision.
4. They Are An All American Invention
Another air conditioning myth popularised by Hollywood is the notion that they are an all American invention. Whilst it may be true that it was America that brought us air conditioning as we know it today and saw to it becoming the hugely popular phenomena that it now is, the real science behind this brilliant technology is a very British tale.
The first real venture into what was to eventually become the modern air conditioning system took place in the 17th century when inventor Cornelis Drebbel, on the invitation of King James I of England, demonstrated a method of ‘Turning Summer into Winter’ by adding salt to water.
In 1758 John Hadley, a chemistry professor at Cambridge University conducted a series of experiments with Benjamin Franklin in which they used evaporation with chemicals such as alcohol and ether to achieve a rapid cooling effect. They subsequently discovered that adding bellows into the equation made the process even quicker.
The next key development in air conditioning came in 1820, when English scientist and inventor Michael Faraday discovered that compressing and liquefying ammonia could chill air when the liquefied ammonia was allowed to evaporate - laying the foundation for the refrigeration system that air conditioning systems (and refrigerators) remain based on to this day.
5. It’ll Give You A Cold
In almost every office and workplace you will find someone who is outspoken against the use of air conditioning, using the argument that it always gives them a cold.
Whilst it is true that being chilled may reduce your vulnerability, a common cold is caused by a virus, not the temperature around you.
In fact, the filters in your air conditioning might actually help to prevent colds!
Did you know?
According to the NHS, failing to wash hands properly is the single most common way of passing on the common cold virus!
6.Bigger Is Better
There is a common misconception that the bigger the air conditioning unit you get, the better it will be. This is simply not true.
The best system is one that is designed for optimum performance in your precise location. As well as the cubic volume of your premises, factors to consider include insulation, windows, air leakage, roof characteristics and which way the windows face. Air conditioners that fit the premises they serve may run a bit longer, but they also keep the occupants more comfortable and use less electricity than oversized units.
There’s a good reason to talk to our experts if you haven’t already!
7.Air Conditioning Is Bad For The Environment
If you consider air conditioning in the simplest of terms - consumption of energy and materials, then there is obviously an associated impact on the environment. However, it should be borne in mind that the technology itself is increasingly environmentally friendly.
Most modern air conditioning systems are rated at least A for energy efficiency and no longer depend on ozone-depleting refrigerants. In addition, manufacturers are using carefully sourced materials and making their production systems ever more sustainable to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing process and the product itself.
In the UK, where the climate is relatively mild, air conditioning can be extremely efficient if you use it in the right way.
Properly installed and serviced HVAC systems enable businesses to make huge savings on their energy bills and as a result drastically reduce their carbon footprint.
Did you know?
Even in smaller spaces, air conditioning is generally better for the environment than electric heaters and fans.
8.They Don’t Need To Be Checked
It’s not like a car, right, which needs oil changes, servicing, MOT’s etc..? All you have to do with air conditioning is turn it on and off…
Wrong! Just as with any other piece of equipment, preventative maintenance is always the best way to prevent problems from arising. By conducting a pre-season inspection of your air conditioner and replacing filters, as well as regularly inspecting it through the season, you can help to ensure that it keeps on running properly and effectively.
If you don’t know where to start, it’s well worth investing in the services of an air conditioning accredited technician.
9. Lower Temperature = Faster Cooling
Of all the air conditioning myths and misconceptions out there, this one is probably the biggest.
You see, an air conditioner will always cool a room at the same rate, regardless of what the thermostat is set to. It doesn’t matter if you set the control to max chill or medium chill. Whilst if you are sitting directly in the path of the unit you may feel an instant effect on your skin, the effect on the environment around you is ultimately no different.
The only difference is the increase in how much energy you use to reach the same effect.
(Confused? It’s all about the science of heat transfer. Feeling scientific - Look here for all you need to know.)
10. Air Conditioning Is Just For Summer
Many modern air conditioning units now function for both heating and cooling. If you are buying an installation, this is great as you can get two for the price of one (always consult an expert first though, to check on the suitability for your premises).
In addition, this combined functionality can also help to improve cooling efficiency, as it eliminates any temperature conflicts with heating systems, making it much more efficient.
11. Air Conditioning Is A Luxury Not A Necessity
Whilst it may be true that air conditioning was once considered a luxury, this is no longer a valid argument.
Firstly, there are numerous commercial environments that are dependent on air conditioning to maintain operations - call centres, server rooms and hospital operating theatres to name but a few. Without air conditioning, essential services would cease to work and lives would be put at risk.
When it comes to the office or other workspaces, whilst air conditioning may not be considered critical, there are other considerations to bear in mind. Firstly, the law sets out the minimum acceptable working conditions - including temperature. There are many premises where air conditioning is the best solution to prevent staff from working in excessive or uncomfortable temperatures.
Then there is productivity. In a world where the markets are more volatile than ever, productivity is essential to the survival of businesses. Can you afford to sacrifice productivity for the sake of reducing your energy bill? The chances are, the financial benefits of maintaining a balanced and comfortable working environment will be far greater.
Why Choose Carlton?
At Carlton Sales, we supply and install a comprehensive range of air conditioning equipment with something to suite every situation and budget, and a range of financing solutions on offer. From all in one units and ceiling mounted systems to complete wall mounted or ducted systems, we can keep your premises comfortable - and your bank account too.
Our expert team is always on hand to give you the advice you need, and we can also cover all your service requirements with the team of accredited engineers at Carlton services.