Given the choice, most people would prefer high ceiling homes over those with standard height roofs. Higher ceilings allow more light and a greater sense of space and often include attractive design features such as timber cross beams and gabled ceilings. From a cooling perspective however, high ceiling homes present more of a challenge and expense to effectively cool, but fortunately there are a number of strategies available. Whether it's a newly built house, or an existing high ceiling home, these tips will help you cool the larger area as effectively and affordably as possible.
Consider a Ducted Ceiling System
The rule for high ceiling homes, especially those with larger rooms will be that an air conditioning system with a greater output will be required. While these will cost more to run, in the long term you'll save on operating costs by buying a correctly sized system rather than operating a smaller system that will struggle to maintain a set temperature.
For ducted systems capacity is calculated based on the height of the ceiling and the size of the area to be cooled. A house with 2.7m high-ceilings with 110sq metres of space to be cooled will use 160 watts of power per square metre—otherwise 160 x 110sq, which equals a 17.6 kW ducted system.
If the home includes many rooms with high or vaulted ceilings and you want to cool several or all of these rooms at the same time, a ducted system will be the most economical way to effectively cool these larger spaces over several split systems. If just a single split system is used in a large room, to ensure the most effective running of the system, the outdoor unit should be placed in a shaded area where there is plenty of airflow.
Use Ceiling Fans with Air Conditioning
You can reduce the load on a ducted or split system air conditioning system by using ceiling fans in conjunction with the system. This will help to mix air more effectively, especially warmer air that rises, meaning the larger high ceiling rooms are cooled faster while using less power. The time it takes an air conditioner to cool a space, and how much energy is used doing so will depend on which way the windows face. Rooms with windows that face west will require a slightly larger system and more time to reach the desired temperature.
Improve the Building's Energy Efficiency
One most effective way to ensure a large or high ceiling home can be cooled effectively is to invest in quality energy efficiency measures. Installing double glazed windows, investing in window awnings to provide shade and investing in ceiling and roof insulation will reduce the running costs and allow for a slightly smaller system.
Whirly birds or eave vents will also help remove warm air from the home, allowing for more affordable and effective cooling. While many of these features can be added after a home is built, its always more affordable to design a home with the greatest thermal efficiency during the building stage.
For more questions about effectively cooling a home with large rooms, high ceiling or both, speak to HVAC contactors like Robertson Air Conditioning. They'll be able to provide exact specifications for a system that provides adequate and affordable cooling based around the exact dimensions of the area to be cooled.