Jasper Lindell

Canberra air conditoning installers feel heat of pre-summer rush | The Canberra Times

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Air conditioning installers across the ACT are feeling the heat of the pre-summer rush, as warmer weather encourages more people to take action against potential heatwaves. Clark Electrical’s Aaron Clark was quietly confident his business would still be installing a new air conditioning system somewhere on Christmas Eve. “It’s getting busier every year. This year’s probably the worst year. Everyone’s scared of the fires again,” Mr Clark said. All the air conditioning businesses the Sunday Canberra Times called this week reported extremely busy periods with calendars full of installations. Mr Clark, who has installed air conditioners for the last 15 years, said he still had a few spots available in December, but in the next week they would fill up. He said many of his clients were pulling out evaporative cooling systems, which struggled in extremely hot temperatures, and gas heating. “Above 35 [evaporative cooling] doesn’t work. It can only keep the house down to about 23 to 24 when it’s that hot. When it hits 40, your house will go up to 28. It just struggles,” he said. “I’ve owned evaporative in my house. I’ve pulled it out and put a refrigerated system in. They’re so much cheaper to put in now and much more efficient, much better technology.” Mr Clark said many clients now sought to combine solar panels and battery power storage with electric air conditioning systems. “They usually make a choice about how their power bill’s going to be. They get solar and get some air conditioning, and get off the gas and evaporative, because that just doesn’t work anymore,” he said. READ MORE: Mr Clark, whose business is based in Mitchell, said he stopped installing evaporative cooling systems two years ago, and in another five years very few people in Canberra would bother installing them. “If we get 10 days of 40 [degrees], which we can, you’d be screwed. Your house will be hot. And when it’s 20 overnight or 22 overnight, you can’t [cope],” he said. But the people desperate to have air conditioning installed before summer’s peak were more likely to pick a high-wall split system for a smaller living room or bedroom, Mr Clark said. In January, the temperature in Canberra soared to 44 degrees, the hottest on record. That day, the temperature did not fall below 40 degrees until after 7pm. The Black Summer fires also brought an extended period of poor air quality to the capital, some of the worst on record, as thick smoke forced people to remain inside for weeks.

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