There are various brands of air conditioners with large number of models focusing only on minor differences mainly in aesthetics, design, appearance, colour, shape and size, etc. It is very difficult and challenging for a consumer to choose a good air conditioner out of the huge variety of brands/ models. During purchase, one has to be careful about the selection of latest models too. Important criteria for selecting the right AC is mainly its energy efficiency ratio, power consumption and cooling capacity besides special features.
A major deciding factor for consumers is whether you want a window AC or a split AC model or latest Inverter Type AC *(variable speeds). Though window units are cheaper and easy to install, split ACs are quieter, aesthetically more pleasing and provide better air distribution. But if there is a good provision for installing window category, go for window only. Globally windows ACs have almost gone out of production but in India we still have a good choice. Once you have decided to buy an air conditioner, a careful market study is required for which Consumer Voice has done some basic research.
Window air conditioners are quite popular because of their lower initial cost, compactness (single unit) and efficiency and ideal for small size rooms, bed rooms, small offices where provision of windows are already there to accommodate the unit. Window AC units are self-contained, single-unit air conditioners that are mounted inside an open window. Split type AC is very popular because it can be fitted in a room without having open up walls or windows to install AC. Split air conditioners are made up of two parts – an indoor unit and an outdoor unit that work together to cool the room. Usually, split ACs are faster at cooling, more energy efficient and quieter than window AC. Split air conditioners for domestic & small offices use come in the cooling capacity ranging from 0.75 to 3.0 tons.
Room Size and Tonnage of Window AC
Tonnage refers to the cooling capacity of the air conditioning system, where one ton is defined as the amount of heat required to melt one ton of ice in 24 hours. It is essential to choose an air conditioner with the right tonnage according to the size of your room.
|>120 Sq. feet||0.75|
|120-150 Sq. feet||1.0|
|150-180 Sq. feet||1.5|
|180-220 Sq. feet||2.0|
Type – Split or Window
Window ACs are usually cheaper and relatively easier to install, however, they are much noisier as compared to a split AC. Split ACs provide better air distribution, are more beautiful to look at, and provide comparatively faster cooling. Additionally, split ACs provide higher efficiency and are more suitable for long-term use. Both types of air conditioners are available in a large variety of designs and sizes.
Things to Check before Buying an Air Conditioner
- Capacity: The capacity of the air conditioner should be considered depending on the floor size of the room for which the AC is required. A rough measure is that an area in range of 120-140 Sq. ft. area will need 1 ton, 150-180 Sq. ft. area will need 1.5 ton and 180-240 Sq. ft. area will need 2 ton cooling capacity air –conditioner.
- Energy efficiency: Air conditioners come with star rated energy efficiency ratings; which has been implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Therefore, any unit with more stars will consume lesser electricity than one with a lower star rating. If the regular usage of ACs are more than 4 hrs/day, go for higher star rated (4-5) AC, else 3 star can serve your purpose. 3 star ACs are most popular as mid-range power saving gives consumers a great price advantage as compared to 5 star.
- Copper Vs Aluminium Coils: Since a few years, ACs also come in aluminium coils (condenser coils) where the cost is slightly lower but has much lesser life/durability. So do insist that condensers have copper coils and do not compromise on the cost and always insist for copper coil ACs. They have a much longer life and less leakage complaints.
- Installation & cartage: Window air conditioners are so simple to install that even a person without much skill can do it. While placing order, clear terms of payment (cash or cheque/draft) and installation charges if any, as it is generally included in the unit cost. Also, do insist for free home delivery while placing the order.
- After sales services: Look for a longer service oriented reputed brand which have the capabilities and good network to meet the servicing needs of your product. Ask your friends and relatives for feedback.
- Brand Selection: You should carefully choose an air conditioner brand which fulfils your need of maximum energy saving through highest EER, best cooling performance and extensive after sales service.
- ISEER: ISEER stands for Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is the ratio of total annual amount of heat that the equipment can remove from the indoor air when operated for cooling in active mode to the total annual amount of energy consumed by the equipment during the same period. Higher ISEER rating means a more energy-efficient air conditioner that can help you save on your energy bills in the long run.
- Cooling Capacity: Cooling capacity is the measure of a cooling system’s ability to remove heat.
- Power consumption: Power consumption denotes the electrical energy over time supplied to operate an electrical appliance.
Window Type Air Conditioners: Comparison at a Glance
The survey of window type air conditioners was conducted in the 2nd week of May 2022.
|30||Godrej||AC 2T GIC 24LTC3-WSA Split 3S||3.74||2.0||40||1296||3||48609||1+10|
Note: All models had copper condenser tubes. Prices may vary, therefore check latest prices at amazon.in or flipkart.com.
Keeping a Reasonable Temperature
On a hot day – say 43 degrees C – you may be tempted to put the air conditioner way down to 20 degrees C to get the room cool as quickly as possible. But if you can cope with setting the temperature at 25 degrees C, you will save big on your energy bill. Each degree cooler, or warmer in winter, can add about 10 per cent to the running cost. The same principle applies in winter. If it’s 10 degrees C outside, try setting the indoor temperature to 18 degrees C rather than 25 degrees C. Generally you’ll get better efficiency by aiming for a maximum temperature differential of about 8 degrees C. So, on a 35 degrees C day, set your indoor thermostat to 25 degrees C. Realistically, most people will still go for a cooler temperature. You can probably aim for a bigger differential if your house is very thermally efficient (well-insulated, double-glazed, etc.).
Star-rating labels: Once you’ve worked out what capacity you need, compare the star ratings of models of similar capacity. The more the stars (from 1 star to 5 stars), the lower the running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Air conditioners come with star-rated energy-efficiency ratings; these have been standardized/implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Govt. Of India. Therefore, any AC with more stars will consume less electricity than one with a lower star rating.
Tips for Optimal Use of ACs
- Do not install AC units on walls that are exposed to direct sunlight through a major part of the day during summers.
- Reduce air-conditioning energy use by as much as 40 percent by shading your home windows and walls. Plant trees to keep the sun off your house.
- Try turning your AC down at night and utilize the “sleep mode” which lowers the output on a timer.
- One will use 3 to 5 percent less energy for each degree air conditioner is set above 25°C to provide the most comfort at the least cost. Keeping ACs at 24-26°C can save electricity.
- Using ceiling fans allows you to set the temperature higher because the air movement will cool the room.
- Clean the air-conditioner filter every month. Clean filters enable the unit to cool down quickly and use less energy.
- Have your air conditioning unit checked if the Freon gas level is not correct, you will waste a lot of energy and your home will never be as cool as you want it.
- The gaps around the windows and doors leads to AC loss.
- Buy Inverter or split ACs instead of window ACs. They cost more, but they are more energy efficient and consume lesser electricity.
- Switch to evaporative coolers from air conditioners during hot/dry summer days.
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