Which refrigerant is best for air conditioning

Stiftung Warentest: These are the best air conditioning systems - Test 2020

Just a few hot days are enough and our houses and apartments are already heating up. An air conditioner can help to cool your own four walls down to a bearable temperature. We present air conditioning systems for the home, which scored well in the Stiftung Warentest test, and explain how the devices work.

The German Weather Service has determined that the summers of the past two years are among the warmest since weather records began more than 130 years ago. Climate experts assume that hot summers will tend to become the norm in our latitudes as well.

In order to still be able to sleep well at night, normal ventilation is often no longer enough. Even more warm air penetrates into the room. Air conditioning for the home can help lower the room air temperature.

What air conditioners are there for the home?

A basic distinction can be made between different models of air conditioning systems. The so-called Monoblocks are air conditioning systems that can be set up mobile in the home. They are simply connected to the socket. Split devices however, consist of two components: on the one hand, an indoor unit that is permanently installed in the room and, on the other hand, a compressor that is mounted on the outside wall.

There are also air conditioning systems that are permanently installed when the house is being built. A heat pump that warms the house in winter can also be used for cooling in summer. The last two solutions, however, are relatively cost-intensive and can only be implemented retrospectively in houses that have already been completed.

The use of monoblocks and split devices in the fight against the heat, on the other hand, is much easier and cheaper to implement.

What are the pros and cons of monoblocks?

A monoblock has several advantages over other air conditioners. So it can also be used in a rented apartment. Monoblocks are mobile and can therefore be placed in any desired room. It only needs to be possible to lead the exhaust hose to the outside. They are inexpensive to purchase and are characterized by less maintenance than the split units.

However, a monoblock also has disadvantages that should be considered before buying. The devices have a high power consumption during operation and also have a high level of noise emissions. The air conditioning in the bedroom can be perceived as annoying at night.

The warm exhaust air from the monoblock devices is led outside through the window with an exhaust hose. Sealing the windows is often difficult and warm air flows in again from the outside. Result: The air conditioning units have to cool the air in the room even more.

Caution: In some cases, climate-damaging refrigerants are used in monoblocks. However, the air conditioning units presented here have a refrigerant with good environmental properties and a low global warming potential. This refrigerant also does not damage the ozone layer.

Recommended monoblock air conditioners

These small mobile monoblock air conditioners are among the test winners in the test by Stiftung Warentest and ensure pleasantly cool room air.

Current test winner monoblocks: De'Longhi PAC N90 Eco Silent

The De'Longhi monoblock was the only device tested to receive the "test" quality rating of "satisfactory (3.5)" in the current test of its product category - all other models performed even worse. Energy efficiency and cooling performance were only given a "sufficient" rating, which is mainly due to the fact that the monoblocks suck in the air and the resulting negative pressure repeatedly (warm) air from neighboring rooms or through the tilted window for the exhaust air hose into the room.

The De'Longhi air conditioner operating instructions are understandable and easy to install. The cooling capacity in the test is 0.8 kW (according to the provider 2.5 kW). The calculated average power consumption is 434 euros over ten years. Control via app is not possible.

Best monoblock air conditioning from the last test: De'Longhi PAC EX100 Silent Monoblock

In the last test by Stiftung Warentest in 2018, the De’Longhi PAC EX100 Silent air conditioning system was the test winner among the five monoblock air conditioning systems tested ("test" issue 07/2018). With this model, temperature and humidity are automatically adjusted. The air-to-air system ensures that the condensation water that occurs is fed back into the cooling circuit. So it doesn't have to be removed regularly. The PAC EX100 Silent has castors and can therefore be easily moved.

The refrigerant R290 (propane) is environmentally friendly and has a low global warming potential. The energy efficiency class A ++ is particularly energy-saving.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of split devices?

Split units have a significant advantage: their operating costs are lower compared to those of the monoblocks. In addition, they usually cool the rooms faster and more efficiently. Many split devices can also be conveniently controlled with an app. If it is cold in the room, a split unit can also be used for heating. Since split units do not require an exhaust air hose, the windows can remain closed in the heat.

However, split devices also have some disadvantages. First of all, this is the higher purchase price, but also the greater effort involved in installing it. In case of doubt, a specialist should take over the assembly. This also applies to the maintenance of the air conditioning systems.

Since the devices cannot be used mobile, but are built into the room, separate air conditioning units have to be purchased for each room. That drives up the price. If the split air conditioner is to be installed in a rented apartment, the landlord must give permission beforehand.

The test winners for split air conditioning systems

The split air conditioning systems presented here achieved good results in the Stiftung Warentest test and cool rooms down well in the heat.

Test winner split devices: Daikin Comfora FTXP25M5V1B + RXP25M5V1B split air conditioning unit

The Daikin model took first place in the current test with the "test" quality rating "Good (2.0)" as the best split device. In terms of energy efficiency, this model is at the top of all tested air conditioners with a "very good" rating and was able to convince with the sub-rating "very good (1.7)" in the test point environment and energy efficiency. The split device can be controlled by remote control and also by app. So the room can be cooled down before you come home.

The cooling capacity of the air conditioning system from Daikin is 2.3 kW in the test (according to the provider, it is 2.5 kW). The calculated average power consumption is 257 euros over ten years. With an average price of around 1,300 euros, the Daikin air conditioner is rather cheap and therefore also the price-performance winner in the current test.

Best split device from the last test: Panasonic Duo split air conditioning device

In an older air conditioning test by Stiftung Warentest, the Panasonic model was the test winner among the split devices ("test" edition 07/2018). The Etherea duo-split air conditioner has two indoor and one outdoor units. The model can both cool and heat. It can be controlled via Wi-Fi and the app.

The refrigerant R32 (difluoromethane) is not as environmentally friendly as the R290 used in the mono devices presented. It has a high global warming potential, but it is not ozone-depleting.

Our conclusion

Among the air conditioners for the home, we recommend the test winner from Stiftung Warentest, the Monoblock De'Longi PAC EX100. As a monoblock, it is more environmentally friendly, requires less maintenance, can be used on the move and is cheaper than a split device, which is also our tip.

How does air conditioning work for the apartment?

The functions of air conditioning systems in the monoblock and split unit design do not fundamentally differ from one another. However, with a monoblock everything takes place in one unit, while with a split unit some of the processes take place in the outer block and the other part in the indoor unit.

The warm air flows past an evaporator in the device (in the case of the split device, this is inside). The refrigerant absorbs the heat, making it gaseous. In the so-called compressor, the refrigerant is compressed and warms up even more.

In the outdoor unit, the heat is then released from the refrigerant to the ambient air. The refrigerant changes from the gaseous to the liquid state again. It then flows back into the device and the cycle starts all over again.

In the case of a mono device, in which all components are in one device, the warm air is directed to the outside through a hose.

How is an air conditioning system operated correctly?

In order for the air conditioner to work optimally at home, it must be regularly serviced and cleaned. It is particularly important to clean the air filter, because a dirty air filter reduces the cooling capacity of the device. Dust and dirt can usually be removed with a vacuum cleaner, more stubborn dirt can be removed with warm water. The filter must then be dried thoroughly before it is reinstalled.

With the mobile monoblock devices, the container for the condensation water must be emptied regularly. Split devices should also be serviced regularly - preferably by a specialist. This prevents germs and bacteria from collecting in the device, which are then released into the room air when it is started up.

Since air conditioning systems generate a strong draft when cooling, the selected temperature should not be more than four to six degrees below the outside temperature. The ventilation slots of the air conditioning units should always be free so that the unit can work without problems.

Sources of heat should of course be switched off; it is also helpful to close blinds or curtains in order to reduce the warming of the rooms by solar radiation.

What does BTU mean for air conditioning units?

BTU is the abbreviation for "British Thermal Unit". With regard to air conditioning systems, the BTU / h value indicates the cooling capacity per hour of an air conditioning system. The larger the room to be cooled, the greater the cooling output BTU / h should be.

Our tips for buying an air conditioner

The air conditioner you buy must go with yours Living situation fit. If you live in a rented apartment and want to install a split device, you have to discuss this with your landlord. Always have your consent given in writing. Remember that you will have to remove the system when you move out.

Ask yourself the following questions: Which rooms do I want to cool, when and how much? Do I only need the air conditioning in the bedroom or do I also want to cool other rooms? Who will maintain the device? Could the noise from the outdoor unit bother my neighbors? How high is the additional electricity consumption calculated over the year?

When choosing your new air conditioner, pay attention to the one you are using Refrigerant. Some refrigerants, such as R410A, are considered environmentally harmful because they have a high global warming potential. However, there are enough well-tested air conditioning systems for apartments on the market that use refrigerants that are considered less harmful.

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