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  • Writer's pictureChan Alan

Choosing the Air Conditioning System for Your Home: A Comparative Guide

Updated: Feb 14


Project @ horizon Hills


As temperatures soar in Singapore and Johor, finding the perfect air conditioning system becomes paramount for ensuring comfort within our homes. With a myriad of options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which type of system best suits your needs. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the differences between centralized, cassette, and split unit air conditioning systems, while also exploring the crucial relationship between BTU and square area to help you make an informed decision.




Comparative Analysis:

1. Installation and Space Requirements:

Centralized: Requires extensive installation involving ductwork throughout the building or home, as well as space for a central unit typically located outdoors or in a mechanical room.

Cassette: Installed within a dropped ceiling, requiring space above the ceiling for the unit to fit. Suitable for commercial spaces or rooms with false ceilings where ductwork is not feasible.

Split Unit: Easier and less invasive installation since it doesn't require ductwork. Consists of separate indoor and outdoor units connected by refrigerant lines. Ideal for smaller homes or individual rooms where ductwork installation is impractical.

2. Cooling Capacity:

Centralized: Capable of cooling entire buildings or large areas efficiently and evenly through the distribution of conditioned air via ducts.

Cassette: Designed to cool specific zones or areas directly beneath the unit. Suitable for medium-sized rooms or spaces with consistent cooling requirements.

Split Unit: Designed to cool specific zones or individual rooms. May not be as effective for cooling larger areas or multiple rooms simultaneously unless multiple units are installed.

3. Energy Efficiency:

Centralized: Can be more energy-efficient for cooling larger areas or buildings due to the centralized control and distribution of air.

Cassette: Energy-efficient options are available, especially with inverter technology, which adjusts compressor speed based on cooling demands.

Split Unit: Energy-efficient options are available, especially with inverter technology. Can be more efficient for cooling smaller areas or individual rooms compared to running a centralized system for the entire building.

4. Customization and Zoning:

Centralized: Limited ability to customize temperature settings for individual rooms or zones since air is distributed uniformly throughout the building. May require separate zoning systems for temperature control.

Cassette: Offers some flexibility for zoning within the area directly beneath the unit, allowing for personalized temperature settings in specific zones or areas.

Split Unit: Offers more flexibility for zoning and customization since each indoor unit can be controlled independently. Allows for personalized temperature settings in different rooms or zones, potentially saving energy by only cooling occupied areas.

5. Maintenance and Repair:

Centralized: Requires regular maintenance of ductwork, filters, and the central unit. Repairs may be more complex and costly due to the centralized nature of the system.

Cassette: Maintenance involves cleaning the unit's filters and inspecting the unit for any issues. Repairs are typically simpler and less expensive compared to centralized systems.

Split Unit: Generally easier to maintain since each unit can be serviced individually. Filters are typically easy to access and clean. Repairs tend to be simpler and less expensive compared to centralized systems.

6. Aesthetics:

Centralized: Ducts and vents may be visible throughout the building, impacting aesthetics.

Cassette: Fits discreetly within the ceiling, providing a sleek and unobtrusive appearance.

Split Unit: Indoor units are mounted on walls or ceilings, which may affect aesthetics, but newer models often feature sleek designs that blend well with interior décor.

7. Noise Level:

Centralized: Typically quieter since the main unit is located outside the living or working space.

Cassette: Indoor unit is relatively quiet during operation, but noise levels may vary depending on the model and installation.

Split Unit: Indoor units are typically quiet during operation, especially newer models equipped with sound-dampening technologies.

Understanding BTU and Square Area Relationship

BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a measurement of cooling capacity, representing the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. When choosing an air conditioning unit, it's essential to consider the relationship between BTU and the square footage of the area to be cooled. A higher BTU rating is required for larger areas, while smaller rooms require lower BTU ratings to achieve optimal cooling efficiency. As a general rule of thumb one can calculate BTU requirements by multiplying the volume of the space (in cubic feet) by 25 BTU for spaces with standard insulation, no direct sunlight exposure & normal residential occupancy levels.

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Selecting the right air conditioning system for your home involves careful consideration of factors such as space requirements, cooling capacity, and energy efficiency. Whether you opt for a centralized, cassette, or split unit system, understanding the relationship between BTU and square area is crucial for achieving optimal cooling performance. By weighing the pros and cons of each system type and consulting with HVAC / Aircon professionals, you can make an informed decision that ensures comfort and efficiency in your living space.


Ultimately, the choice between centralized, cassette, and split unit air conditioning systems depends on factors such as the size and layout of the space, cooling requirements, energy efficiency goals, budget constraints, and aesthetic preferences. Further reading that might be helpful to you : A quick comparison of top brands in singapore & Johor.



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