The vast majority of air conditioners on the market have an external condenser which contains the ‘engine’ for the air conditioner. This condenser box is usually fitted either on brackets on the exterior wall of the property, the roof of the building or on special blocks on ground level. Because these condenser boxes are on the outside of the installation site, this can pose a problem when trying to obtain planning permission, especially in Central London, conservation areas or blocks of flats.
If you are unable to install an air conditioner with an external condenser box then a water-cooled air conditioning system may be the solution. These units are ideal as the entire system is installed inside the property. What would normally be the external condenser unit is brought inside and is usually installed in a small utility closet or cupboard. Perfect for retrofitted in existing properties or listed buildings.
Water-cooled units are available for many different applications and visually, from an end-user view, are almost indistinguishable from traditional split systems. You can have wall mounted or ceiling mounted water-cooled systems installed.
When traditional air conditioners are run in ‘cooling mode’, the outside condenser box gets warm and must release warm air into the atmosphere and still have sufficient clear space around it for cool air to circulate. Enclosing a ‘traditional’ condenser box and preventing heat escape and air circulation will cause an almost immediate failure of the system.
Water-cooled air conditioners, however, are plumbed directly into your mains water supply and use cold water to cool the system via internal pipes. Although the release of water is controlled, water-cooled air conditioners are still more expensive to run than traditional ‘split’ air conditioners. Despite these extra running costs, water-cooled air cons are often the only air conditioning solution when systems with external condensers are not viable. It is, for this reason, they are called ‘air conditioners of last resort’.
Many water-cooled air conditioners are bespoke systems. Instead of ordering AC equipment from the manufacturer who simply takes it off the shelf, these water-cooled systems are carefully designed by an experienced surveyor before the specification is sent to the manufacturer to be custom-built to your particular requirements.
Water-cooled units are very quiet and can offer both cooling and heating. Even customers that don’t require planning permission will often choose a water-cooled air conditioning system because it keeps the outside of their residence free of any condenser and is, therefore, the most aesthetically pleasing option.