Things to look for when buying AC
Air conditioners are an essential aspect of our life. This is because heat brings in serious consequences for human health, making the use of air conditioners even more crucial.
The market today has a vast variety of air conditioners that differ based on their price, cooling capacity, and energy efficiency. Newer technologies have been introduced making it difficult for the consumer to decide which brand and product specifications they need to select from. Given below are a few tips that you must consider before purchasing an AC if you want to make sure that it is a worthwhile investment:
The Types of Air-Conditioning Units
At present there are 3 types of ACs popular in the Indian market. They come from a variety of brands including Hitachi, Voltas, Daikin, Blue Star, Godrej etc.
1. Window mounted AC
This is the most common type and is fitted in a window opening. It is available in a cooling-only and cooling/heating version. Depending on your requirement and the area you reside in, you can choose an appropriate unit.
Pros – Easy installation, function with the existing electrical wiring in your home, and are affordable.
Cons – Their size is usually as per double-hung windows and, therefore, you need to ensure that the unit fits in the dimensions of your window.
2. Split AC
These units are permanently mounted. A metal sleeve is attached through the wall and the AC chassis is slid inside. This type also comes in both cooling-only and cooling/heating variants.
Pros – Has aesthetic looks, fits more securely than window-mounted, and storage is not necessary. The biggest advantage of wall-mounted air-conditioning units is that if you only have one window in the room, you can save it to let sunlight enter into space.
Cons – Installation can be expensive since you may have to cut an opening through the outside wall. For larger units, you may have to install a specific 220-volt line. Furthermore, a lot of models don’t provide the exterior metal sleeve, this means that you will have to purchase it separately at an added expense.
This air conditioner is on wheels and can be moved from one room to another. It includes a tube to release heat out of a window or via a wall opening.
Pros – It can easily be stored as the season ends.
Cons – May be a little overpriced as compared to window units. It takes up space on the floor and the exhaust tube needs to be installed every time the unit is moved.
Factors to consider when Choosing an AC
1. Size of the room
The size of the room determines the capacity of the AC you need. You must choose an air conditioner that has the right cooling capacity as per room space. For instance, a smaller AC will cost more for energy consumption. On the other hand, if it is bigger, it will not provide proper dehumidification. It will turn off and on too often.
2. Noise Control
When purchasing an AC, noise is of critical concern. Every air conditioner has a level of noise of operations. This is mentioned in the product specifications. It is suggested that you buy an air conditioner with noise levels below 50dB. If the AC is noisy, it can disturb you or anyone sleeping in the room.
3. Energy efficiency
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has standardized certain energy efficiency ratings, called EER. Air conditioners available in the market today have a label mentioning the energy-rating with stars highlighting the rate of efficiency.
You must try and purchase ACs that have higher star ratings since they will consume less power compared to the ACs with lower star ratings. An energy-efficient air conditioner will help you save on electricity bills over time.
The AC’s capacity is also a vital consideration. For a room that has a size smaller than 140 sq. ft., a 1 ton AC is suitable. Similarly, if the room size is between 140 sq. ft. and 180 sq. ft., a 1.5 ton AC is good enough. A 2 ton AC is appropriate for a room that is larger than 180 sq. ft.
5. Inverter technology
An inverter AC while providing continuous and improved cooling takes care of energy efficiency as well. It may cost more than regular units but in the long run, you will be able to cover the extra price with savings on electricity bills.
Their power consumption is lesser by one-third when compared with non-inverter units and you’ll only need two years to cover costs. Recently, brands have started manufacturing a dual inverter variant that helps with improved cooling and accurate energy control.
6. Air Filter quality
This is an essential determinant to consider when installing ACs at home. ACs that have a good filter maintain air quality indoors. The latest AC models have built-in air filters that remove smoke, germs, and odors from the air. Additionally, a good filter improves the cooling and energy performance of the AC as it does not let the evaporator to choke because of dust.
7. Blower Fan
The blower size significantly impacts the airflow of your air conditioner. Every AC user must have information about the blower fan since it is an essential component. It is placed inside the air conditioner and functions to blow air into the duct network, which further distributes the air in your entire home. The blower’s airflow ensures that individuals do not feel suffocated. The blower distributes airflow in different sides of the room.
8. Condenser coils
Coils are used in condensers to make the air cool. The most popular type of coils are copper coils since they cool quickly, are easy to maintain and function for longer. When compared to aluminum coils, they have anti-corrosive properties and better heat exchange.
9. Air filters
If the filter of the air conditioner is clean, it can help save up to 5-10 percent of energy. Most ACs today have filters that keep allergens, germs, and other contaminants away. The filter must be easy to remove so that you can frequently clean it and maintain the performance of the unit. Choose an AC in which the filter is easily accessible for cleaning if you want to extend its service life.
10. Air swing
Any good air conditioning system must circulate the air throughout the room. Nowadays, ACs have options for airflow settings as well as swing. Air swing allows the AC to send out airflow in all directions of the room.
11. Fire safety
Modern-day ACs have P2 protected capacitors with the highest level of safety features. They have overpressure disconnection and self-healing properties. Moreover, some of them come with a protective metal casing on the electrical safety box.
An important thing to note here is that you must avoid the unattended operation of air conditioning equipment. Any flammable items, curtains, combustible stationery, and more should be kept away from the air conditioning unit or else they can catch fire and lead to significant damage. During routine servicing, make sure that no alteration or addition is done to avoid hampering the performance of the unit in a negative manner.
12. Technology and price
Most air conditioners today are loaded with features but when you step out to purchase the same, you must choose an air conditioner that is technologically advanced, ready to meet the requirements of the customer. A piece of good advice would be to select a renowned brand offering all vital specifications and at an affordable price.
13. Installation, Maintenance, and Cleaning
Installation is an important aspect affecting the performance of an air conditioner. You must properly install it to enjoy all of its features and benefits. The window AC has a compact design and must be installed in the windows, whereas for the installation of a split AC, a compressor is fitted outside and the unit inside the room.
Appropriate installation of the air conditioning system ensures a better flow of air. Remember to hire a professional team to take care of the installation so that there is no space for flaws. You may have purchased the best air conditioner from a reputable brand but if it is not installed professionally, you will not be able to get the most out of it.
Certain ACs require regular maintenance. You must discuss this with your dealer to know how often your AC requires cleaning for optimum performance.
14. Cooling Speed
Air conditioners that allow you to change the thermostat and speed are great since you can choose different settings at different times of the day. Recommended pre-settings provided by the manufacturer help to improve cooling and at the same time save more energy. This means that you use the air conditioner optimally and consume minimum power.
15. Plug type
A lot of units use the common three-pronged 125V/15A plugs. These are easy to use in most homes. The larger models sometimes have 250V/15A, 125V/20V, or higher plugs. These require the assistance of an electrician who will upgrade your circuitry before you install the air-conditioning system.
Every air conditioner available in the market has a warranty. However, the duration differs from one brand to another. Make sure that you check the website of the manufacturer for details and inquire for the warranty of that variant and brand from the retailer.
Brands offer different durations of warranty on the machine and the compressor. For example brands offer 1 year warranty on the AC machine whereas upto 3 or sometimes even 5 years of warranty on the compressor.
1. Dehumidification: A majority of air-conditioners have a dehumidification system, a feature that helps to remove excess moisture from the air at the time of monsoons.
2. Sleep mode: This feature helps to cut down on electricity bills by lessening the cooling effect every hour. You are saved from nighttime chills as the temperature setting automatically increases at night. The biggest advantage of this function is seen in conditions when the temperature outdoors significantly changes at midnight.
3. Self-cleaning: This feature eliminates the chances of development of harmful microorganisms. It removes moisture and lets you enjoy better and cleaner cooling.
4. Energy-saver switch: Usually, the fan of an air conditioner runs continuously, even when the compressor is turned off. However, if you buy an air conditioner that has an energy-saving switch, the fan will automatically turn off when the compressor turns off because of the thermostat. With energy savings, you save money.
5. Check filter light: The air filter attracts all germs, dirt, and odors from the air. You must clean the filter from time to time. This feature gives you a visual reminder to clean the filter, in case you forget.
6. Remote control: This is another essential feature. With the remote control, you can easily change the temperature in the middle of the night without getting out of bed. You can also turn on/turn off the AC whenever you like.
7. Oscillating vents: This feature automatically spreads the airflow from one side to another with the help of an internal motor. The room is cooled more evenly and you don’t have to sleep under direct cold air.
8. Timer: When you set the timer, the unit automatically turns off or on at a pre-scheduled time. With this feature, the temperature of the room can heat up or cool down even when you are not there, as per your preference.
9. Exhaust: The exhaust helps with circulation in the room so that there is no feeling of suffocation. Fresh air from the outside enters into the room and proper ventilation is maintained.
Purchasing the right air conditioner can be a challenging and daunting task with a wide range of models and brands available in the market today. However, if you know what you need and are aware of the specifications you need to look at, it will not be difficult for you to make a wise decision. With the help of this air-conditioner buying guide, you will be able to easily get the best one in your budget. Enjoy your AC shopping experience!