Category - Air Conditioning
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

31 Jan : Updated 25 Mar ● 7 min read

What is an indoor air conditioner? Everything you need to know

As the scorching summer sun beats down, we all yearn for the joys of outdoor activities – barbecues, beach days, picnics, and a refreshing dip in the pool. But the moment you step inside your home and find it feeling more like a sauna than a sanctuary, it's a whole different story. Those sleepless, sweaty nights can take a toll on your well-being.

Fortunately, today's indoor air conditioners are designed to rescue you from the heat and keep your home comfortable, offering both temperature control and health benefits.

Are you curious about how to install an indoor air conditioner or what makes them tick? We've crafted this guide with you in mind, so let's dive into the world of indoor air conditioners.

What is an indoor air conditioner?

An indoor air conditioner - also known as an AC unit - is a vital appliance designed to regulate and maintain the temperature and humidity levels within an enclosed indoor space. It plays a crucial role in enhancing the comfort and overall quality of the indoor environment, particularly during hot and humid weather conditions.

Most air conditioning systems consist of two central units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit's primary function is to circulate cool air throughout your living space, working in tandem with the outdoor unit. Typically, the indoor unit is wall-mounted at a high level.

Inside, you'll find the evaporator coil, an essential component of indoor comfort.

Understanding the different parts of an air conditioner

An air conditioning system comprises several key features:

  • A thermostat for system control
  • The indoor unit housing the evaporator coil and a fan for air circulation
  • An outdoor unit housing the fan, condenser coil, and compressor
  • Copper pipes facilitate the flow of refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units
  • Ducts that allow air to circulate from the indoor unit throughout your home and back
  • An expansion valve regulating the refrigerant flow into the evaporator coil

How do indoor air conditioners work?

Indoor air conditioners eliminate heat and humidity from your indoor environment while providing a cool, comfortable atmosphere. Unlike fans that merely circulate warm air, air conditioning units use a specialised chemical known as refrigerant.

Here's a simplified breakdown of the process:

  1. Compressor action: The compressor increases pressure and sends the refrigerant gas to the condenser coil, where it transforms into a liquid
  2. Return to the indoor unit: The refrigerant returns to the indoor unit and enters the evaporator coil, where it evaporates, cooling the indoor coil
  3. Heat absorption: A fan blows indoor air across the cold evaporator coil, transferring heat from your home to the refrigerant. The cooled air is then circulated throughout the room
  4. Disposal of heat: The heated air is expelled outside to the compressor, and this cycle continues until your home reaches the desired temperature

Check out this helpful video explaining how air conditioners work:

cover for videos

How to cover indoor air conditioners?

Covering indoor air conditioners is a simple but effective way to keep them safe when they are not in use. Before covering, you’ll want to make sure that the unit is turned off, to be safe. Select a suitable cover or shield designed specifically for air conditioners; this cover should be of sufficient size to fit snugly over the unit.

Once you've secured the cover over the indoor air conditioner, you can help it last longer by protecting it from dust, debris, and potential damage when not in use.

What are the different types of indoor air conditioners?

Now that we've uncovered the inner workings of indoor air conditioners, let's take a closer look at the diverse range of options available. When it comes to indoor air conditioning units, there is more than a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, you'll find various types, each catering to specific needs and preferences.

Split-system air conditioners

Split-system air conditioners offer enhanced flexibility and aesthetics. As the name suggests, they are divided into two parts: indoor and outdoor units. The indoor unit is typically mounted on a wall or ceiling, blending seamlessly with your interior decor. These systems are known for their quiet operation and are ideal for cooling larger areas or multiple rooms.

On average, you can expect to pay between £1,000 to £3,000 for a single-zone system and more for multi-zone systems.

Ductless mini-split systems

For those seeking a more permanent solution, ductless air conditioners - also known as mini-split systems - offer a practical alternative. These systems include an indoor air-handling unit and an outdoor compressor connected by refrigerant lines. Ductless systems provide efficient cooling and heating and can be controlled independently in different rooms, enhancing overall comfort and air quality.

Prices for ductless mini-split systems typically start at around £1,000 to £3,000 or more.

Central air conditioning

For comprehensive home cooling, central air conditioning systems are the gold standard. These systems use a network of ducts to distribute cool air throughout your entire home. While they may involve a higher upfront cost and professional installation, central air conditioning ensures consistent comfort in every corner of your house.

Prices for central air conditioning systems can range from £2,000 to £5,000 or more, depending on the home's size and the installation's complexity.

Through-the-wall air conditioners

Like window air conditioners, through-the-wall units are designed to be installed directly into an exterior wall. They offer a permanent cooling solution for specific rooms and are known for their durability and efficient operation.

Depending on the quality and capacity of the unit, for through-the-wall air conditioners, you can expect to pay anywhere from £300 to £1000.

As you can see, indoor air conditioners are incredibly diverse, offering options to match your unique needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences. The most popular air conditioning system is the split system air conditioner. This system can be worked by remote control and often has the option to be fitted with a heating pump facility for all-year comfort.

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What are the benefits of permanent indoor air conditioning?

Indoor air conditioning systems, whether permanent or portable, offer many benefits for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Permanent indoor air conditioning systems, such as central air conditioning or ductless mini-split systems, come with their own set of advantages:

  • Consistent cooling: Permanent air conditioning systems are designed to cool your entire home consistently. They distribute cool air through ducts or multiple indoor units, ensuring that every room stays comfortable.
  • Increased energy efficiency: Many permanent air conditioning systems are highly energy-efficient, leading to potential cost savings on your energy bills over time. They often come with programmable thermostats to optimise cooling when needed.
  • Improved air quality: Permanent systems often include air filters that can help improve indoor air quality by capturing dust, pollen, and other allergens. This is especially important for those with allergies or respiratory conditions.
  • Increases property value: The installation of a central air conditioning system can add value to your home, making it a desirable feature for potential buyers.
  • Peace and quiet: Permanent systems are usually quieter than some portable air conditioners, providing a more peaceful living environment.

How much does indoor air conditioning cost?

The price point will vary depending on the type of air conditioner you install and its capacity. This includes the positioning of the unit and whether it is placed on the floor, low down or high up the wall.

We stock various air conditioning systems to suit varying budgets and requirements. A new air conditioning system from BOXT comes at a fixed, fair price, so you don’t have to worry about additional costs. Simply choose the system and deal you want, and be confident there will be no hidden charges upon installation.

You can find out the total cost of your new air conditioning installation by going through our Find An Air Conditioning tool. Simply answer a few questions about your home set-up and personal requirements, and we'll compile a list of all the suitable air con systems for your home to suit any budget.

​​We also offer a range of finance options, so you don’t have to deal with larger outright costs. Our 0% APR payment plans mean you can pay for your air conditioner monthly without racking up interest (subject to status, T&Cs apply). 

Want to learn more about air conditioni­ng installati­on costs?

Check out our guide explaining how much it costs to install air conditioning

Check out our guide explaining how much it costs to install air conditioni­ng

We explore the various costs for installing different types of air conditioni­ng models in our complete guide.

Read more

What are the benefits of installing indoor air conditioning?

Besides keeping you cool, indoor air conditioning systems offer some advantageous health benefits. They purify the air by capturing dust, bacteria, microbes, and fungi. Through which allergens are removed, reducing the risk of asthma attacks and hay fever symptoms. Additionally, during warmer months, these systems help prevent dehydration, offering a comfortable and uninterrupted night's sleep compared to noisy fans.