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Thread: Airconditioning your favourite hovel

  1. #1

    Airconditioning your favourite hovel

    Over the years I am often asked what is the best Air conditioner to buy. With most brands being made in China, the quality difference is narrowing.

    There are many brands that are made in the same factory with just different labels, especially in the cheaper ranges. Some of the Japanese brands are still a reasonable quality, depending on the amount of oversight by the Japanese company. For the sake of the exercise I will concentrate on split systems in Thailand as ducted systems are more complex and have their own unique problems.

    Firstly I would not buy anything out of Korea other than a phone or Tablet.

    General rule of thumb is to buy a recognised Japanese brand. Daikin Fujitsu Toshiba Mitsubishi Panasonic are all recognised Japanese brands most of which are now made in China. To me, the main points to look for are reliability and ease and availability of service agents in case there is a problem so look for a brand that has its own or authorised service agents. At least you have a good chance of getting parts and expertise from experienced technicians.

    Most people outside of a few specific areas will need a cooling only unit. Either standard or with a variable frequency drive (VRF or VRV). VRF units do use less power and will be provide power savings in the long run although initially more expensive. They are also more expensive if they breakdown outside of warranty, so if short term use and purchase price is more important, a standard cheaper unit may suffice.

    The Indoor cooling unit will produce water and depending on the size around 0.5 to 2 litres per hour as a guide. Therefore they need to be installed on the inside of an external wall to drain the condensate water outside.

    If installed on an internal wall a small drain pump will be needed with a drain piped to outside, usually via the roof or ceiling space. These pumps are small and need quarterly maintenance to keep clean or they will block or fail and leave you with wall and or ceiling water stains, so always use an outside wall if possible. Also the A/C pipework must go from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit and unless their is ceiling access it can look ugly.

    A unit installed on an outside wall preferably with the outdoor unit directly on the other side of the wall and known as a "back to back" installation is generally the best and cheapest.

    Remember the outside unit is best placed in an area with plenty of flow through ventilation and may need to be fixed higher up the wall to achieve enough ventilation. If the air is inhibited or tends to recirculate through the outdoor unit it will run hotter, will be less reliable and consume more power.

    If you are in a house with standard windows and some shading the rule of thumb is multiply the length and width of the floor in feet and multiply by 50 will give you the approximate size you require in BTUs.

    I E: Room 10ft x 10ft = 100 sq ft x 50 = 5000 BTUs

    Unshaded uninsulated western wall with large windows will require slightly more.

    I personally prefer Mitsubishi or Panasonic.

    DISCLOSURE:
    I should state I have been in refrigeration and air conditioning for over 40 years and have a small interest in a refrigeration and air conditioning business in Bangkok Thailand. It is an authorised sales and service agent and parts stockist for both Mitsubishi Electric Air conditioning and Panasonic Air conditioning and white goods. I am a design Engineer (semi retired) in commercial and Industrial refrigeration and have run education seminars on the subject. I am also happy to give any advice on the subject if a member needs any.

  2. #2
    Had 'em all and Mitsubishi is far and away the best.

  3. #3
    Korean air conditioners can be of sufficient quality if it is not Chinese fake.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamH View Post
    Korean air conditioners can be of sufficient quality if it is not Chinese fake.
    Sorry would have to disagree most refrig technicians consider them crap.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat RadioChaser's Avatar
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    The house that I live in, here in the U, S. of A., has a through the wall type of air conditioner. From the research that I have done, it appears to have been installed in 1972. So, still working for 46 years now.

    That is the same year that I was in Thailand for the first time.

    It used to cool an area of 400 square feet. Last fall there living area was increased by 275 square feet.

    I don't know how well it will do next summer.
    I used to chase radios. Now I don't.

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    Speaking (writing) about air conditioning your favorite hovel, if you buy a new condominium in Bankgok, can you ask that a specific brand of airconditioner be installed?
    I used to chase radios. Now I don't.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by RadioChaser View Post
    The house that I live in, here in the U, S. of A., has a through the wall type of air conditioner. From the research that I have done, it appears to have been installed in 1972. So, still working for 46 years now.

    That is the same year that I was in Thailand for the first time.

    It used to cool an area of 400 square feet. Last fall there living area was increased by 275 square feet.

    I don't know how well it will do next summer.
    A good chance (If it is about a foot to 18 inches wide and about 4 foot high or so it could be an old carrier quietline. They were a good air conditioner with electro mechanical switches. As long as the cooling coil and the condenser coil are kept clean the main faults are fan bearings and capacitors as they age. The compressors generally have a long service life. If you are happy with it replace the fan bearings when needed. They will become noisy as they wear out. Cheaper than a new unit and may last another 10 years or so. Many of those had a 2 hp compressor which would do around 23,000 BTUs. If so it should just about do your 675 sq ft especially if a dry climate providing the cooling coil (evaporator) and condenser (where the heat is rejected) are clean with good airflow. My off -the -cuff heat load estimate without knowing details is 27,000 BTUs. The biggest problem is whether the fan can adequately service the increased room size.
    If it's a standard Room air conditioner(window rattler) They can still be repaired provided the drain pan has not rusted out, although I would replace it with a more efficient unit in a room of that size.
    Last edited by Hugh Cow; 02-13-2019 at 06:34 AM.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat RadioChaser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    A good chance (If it is about a foot to 18 inches wide and about 4 foot high or so it could be an old carrier quietline. They were a good air conditioner with electro mechanical switches. As long as the cooling coil and the condenser coil are kept clean the main faults are fan bearings and capacitors as they age. The compressors generally have a long service life. If you are happy with it replace the fan bearings when needed. They will become noisy as they wear out. Cheaper than a new unit and may last another 10 years or so. Many of those had a 2 hp compressor which would do around 23,000 BTUs. If so it should just about do your 675 sq ft especially if a dry climate providing the cooling coil (evaporator) and condenser (where the heat is rejected) are clean with good airflow. My off -the -cuff heat load estimate without knowing details is 27,000 BTUs. The biggest problem is whether the fan can adequately service the increased room size.
    If it's a standard Room air conditioner(window rattler) They can still be repaired provided the drain pan has not rusted out, although I would replace it with a more efficient unit in a room of that size.

    I think it is a Sears branded air conditioner. 26" wide, 16" high (measured) about 24" deep (guessed).

    Windows don't rattle, but the wall shakes and things leaning on the wall rattle against it. I have looked at the fins outside and they don't appear to be clogged up.

    I am in Eastern Pennsylvania and it does get a little humid here, not as bad as southern Louisiana, parts of Texas or South East Asia.

    This one has freon in it. It probably won't be repaired if it failed because it was made for freon.

    Most times, just cooling the room to a temperature 10 degrees lower than outside makes downstairs more comfortable.

    If the fan needs replacement, I may be able to do that, if I can get to it. Not sure about any electromechanical control replacements though.

    The biggest problem I have had with this air conditioner is walking into when I wear a baseball cap and don't see it because of the bill on the cap. Ouch!
    Last edited by RadioChaser; 02-13-2019 at 12:33 PM.
    I used to chase radios. Now I don't.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RadioChaser View Post
    I think it is a Sears branded air conditioner. 26" wide, 16" high (measured) about 24" deep (guessed).

    Windows don't rattle, but the wall shakes and things leaning on the wall rattle against it. I have looked at the fins outside and they don't appear to be clogged up.

    I am in Eastern Pennsylvania and it does get a little humid here, not as bad as southern Louisiana, parts of Texas or South East Asia.

    This one has freon in it. It probably won't be repaired if it failed because it was made for freon.

    Most times, just cooling the room to a temperature 10 degrees lower than outside makes downstairs more comfortable.

    If the fan needs replacement, I may be able to do that, if I can get to it. Not sure about any electromechanical control replacements though.

    The biggest problem I have had with this air conditioner is walking into when I wear a baseball cap and don't see it because of the bill on the cap. Ouch!
    The good part is the electrics and the circuit are quite simple and can be fixed fairly easily. The refrigerant is most likely R22 which is still available although their are drop in alternatives. I am not familiar with the U.S. market but I thinks Sears are just resellers and it's quite possibly a carrier or even a Westinghouse. both very similar and fixable.The coil thickness in these were generally much better than the paper thin coils used in chinese A/Cs today.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat RadioChaser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    The good part is the electrics and the circuit are quite simple and can be fixed fairly easily. The refrigerant is most likely R22 which is still available although their are drop in alternatives. I am not familiar with the U.S. market but I thinks Sears are just resellers and it's quite possibly a carrier or even a Westinghouse. both very similar and fixable.The coil thickness in these were generally much better than the paper thin coils used in chinese A/Cs today.
    Well, I am going to keep running it as long as I can.

    If it does not cool the place off enough, then I will get a smaller window air conditioner for the new room..
    I used to chase radios. Now I don't.

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