wall mounted air conditioner with external condenser

What Is The Difference Between Air And Water Cooled Air Conditioners?

If you have been looking for an alternative to traditional air conditioners, you may have come across the term water cooled air conditioning. So what exactly is the difference between the two? We are going to look at both in some detail.

Air Cooled Systems

wall mounted air conditioner with external condenser

Air cooled systems are what we refer to as traditional air conditioning systems. These type of units are the most common type of system. You will find these in most commercial buildings such as retail stores, hotels and restaurants. They are also popular for installations in residential homes. They consist of two main components, an indoor unit and outdoor condenser box.

How do they work?

Air cooled systems remove heat and humidity from the air inside the building and dissipate it outside through the external condenser unit. The air is then passed through the cooling components containing the refrigerant and is returned into the room as dry cool air.

where can you install air cooled units?

Different types of AC units are suitable for different spaces. Wall mounted and ducted units are most common in residential spaces, whereas larger commercial spaces install ceiling cassette and more complex ducted systems. There are some common obstacles and limitations faced by homeowners who want to install an AC in their residential home. The outdoor condenser unit requires access to an external wall which can cause issues for residents in apartment buildings and flats. In addition, there are some instances where you will need planning permission. For example, the noise and visual aspect of an outdoor condenser may affect neighbours negatively, particularly in apartment buildings. This is why apartment building often do not allow the installation of traditional air cooled system. If you live in a listed building, you will need to obtain planning permission due to the protected nature of the property.

Water Cooled Systems

Parkair water cooled wall mounted unit

Water cooled systems on the other hand, consist of two internal components. Both the internal fan and the condenser units are installed and contained within the property. They are popular for residential and commercial purposes and specifically designed to overcome property restrictions.

How do they work?

Unlike air cooled systems, water cooled systems use water to cool the air. The condenser is installed inside the property and plumbed into your mains water supply. Water cooled air conditioners use cold water in a controlled manner to cool the air through the piping system. They feature a new R32 refrigerant gas which is more environmentally friendly than previous gasses. Due to the water element, they tend to be very energy efficient. The average water cooled system uses as much electricity as a domestic fridge. The internal condenser is hidden for convenience and visual appeal. Engineers hide the condensing unit in a cupboard or under the kitchen sink so you don’t need to compromise on the visual aesthetic of your home.

Where Can You Install Water Cooled Units?

Water cooled units are ideal for restricted properties. They are the only alternative to an air cooled system. They are suitable for both residential and commercial purposes. For example, if you live in an apartment or Grade II listed building, it is likely that building restrictions will not permit a traditional outside condenser, so an internal system is an ideal solution. In addition, shops in large shopping centers do not have access to an external wall so again, you can install an internal condenser. If your property has limited space, these units are also perfect for loft conversions and conservatories.

How are they different?

the difference between air and water cooled air conditioners

In short, water cooled air conditioners use water instead of air to cool the required space. They are installed completely internally whereas air cooled units require outdoor access for the condenser unit. This allows you to install air conditioning in a restricted property such as apartments and listed buildings with no planning permission requirement. You will also benefit from the visual appeal of the hidden condenser.

Types of air conditioning units

Wall Mounted Units

wall mounted air conditioning unit

Wall mounted units are one of the most popular choices for residential and small to medium commercial spaces. Engineers can install the fan unit in a low or high position on an internal wall, to accommodate the space. They are one of the most cost effective options. A single unit can cool an average sized room. You can install multiple units if you are looking to cool a bigger space. For example, if you’re looking to cool your entire home, you may install a unit in your living room and then a unit in each bedroom.

Ducted Units

ducted air conditioning unit

Ducted air conditioners are designed to be almost entirely concealed. The only visible element are the small grilles in the ceiling. They are a slightly more expensive option when you compare them to wall units, however you will benefit from visual appeal. Engineers will install the units and duct work in a suspended ceiling.

Ceiling Cassette Units

ceiling cassette air conditioning unit

Ceiling cassette units are a popular choice for commercial buildings. They are ideal for large spaces. They also feature four way air flow for even air distribution, which is great for restaurant, office and warehouse spaces. These units are discreet and installed in a suspended ceiling. They are also easy to retrofit and engineers can install them with minimal disruption.

Talk to the experts

At ACS, we are dedicated to helping our customers find the ideal air conditioning solution for their property. We specialise in internal air conditioning solutions and provide a bespoke installation service, tailored to your individual needs. Our team of dedicated engineers are available to provide free consultations and site surveys. Get in touch for a quote.

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