India’s economic growth and increasing purchasing power parity has empowered the average middle-class family to afford a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. Air conditioners that were once considered as a mark of luxury have now found a fair place in almost every middle-class household, not only in the metros but also in the small cities.
With the introduction of newer technologies, healthcare benefits and energy efficiency, consumers have become more aware of their necessities and they have a wide variety of brands and product offerings to choose from. Industry experts and analysts have projected ‘Energy Efficiency, Healthcare and Innovation’ as the three commandments that will guide consumer buying behavior in 2014.
Brands are now launching highly energy efficient five star rated ACs that are also exceptionally designed and include value added features especially developed for Indian markets, based on health conditions, local climatic patterns and consumer requirements. Apart from being cooling devices, these new age ACs are also high on innovative features like humidity control, air purification and a newly launched feature that repels mosquitoes in a non-toxic way for you to enjoy a sound sleep, especially in a season where serious epidemics like dengue, malaria are at their peak.
Saurabh Baisakhia, Business Head, Air Conditioners, LG India, explains the important factors to be considered while buying an AC this summer:
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 states 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: Today, with rising mercury levels and increasing electricity tariffs, an energy efficient model of air conditioner is a must-buy. Air conditioners come with star rated energy efficiency ratings; also called EER, which has been standardised by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Therefore, any unit with more stars will consume lesser electricity than one with a lower star rating.
Split or window AC: Another deciding factor is whether you want a window AC or a split model. Though window units are cheaper and easy to install, split ACs are quieter, aesthetically more pleasing and provide better air distribution.
Product Price: Price is another important factor to consider as more features and higher star ratings account for a higher price tag. For every star rating increase there is an increase of around Rs 2,500. An Inverter AC is usually 20% higher than a 5-Star rated Split AC.
Air Quality: Indoor air quality is very important while deploying ACs at home; hence AC with a good filter is extremely important to improve indoor air quality. A good filter not only ensures clean air but also enhances the cooling performance and energy efficiency of AC by preventing the choking of evaporator coil due to dust.
Installation requirements: The window AC is a compact unit designed to be attached to the windows. A split AC has a compressor unit outside the house and one indoor unit inside the room, specifically designed for better flow of air. Installation should always be done from an authorised service center. The performance parameter of AC depends on a good or bad installation.
Maintenance & Cleaning: ACs are like cars, and they need regular servicing to remain in best condition and optimum performance. Once installed, there should be regular servicing, preferably quarterly.
Cooling speed: The AC should have an adjustable thermostat (temperature setting) and at least two cooling speeds, and a minimum of two fan speeds as you may want to use variable speeds for different times of the day. An energy efficient setting will be a beneficial addition as it helps in saving energy while providing optimum cooling.
After sales services: After sales services and other add-on features like warranty would certainly be a plus for your purchase. Look for a service oriented brand which has the capabilities and good network to meet the servicing need of your product.
Other important features: Most air-conditioning units come with a dehumidification function, which reduces humidity in the air, for increased cooling and more comfort. Also it is important to check the noise levels of the model, which may range from 19 – 60 decibels. The sleep mode function in an AC is useful as it automatically adjusts the temperature during the night. Your unit should also have an auto restart facility to help restore the last setting after a power break.
Multipurpose: Nowadays, AC is not just used for cooling, but as a multi seasonal product which can also be used in winters for heating. These Hot & Cold Air Conditioners also save up to 35% more energy than heaters. ACs are also the best cooling devices for Humid weather. Special cooling functions are required for optimum cooling and maximum comfort during monsoons. So look for an AC with features which can control humidity and give more comfort in Monsoons.
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Some Tips and Tricks
Exposure to Heat & Sunlight: If your room is closer to kitchen or the wall of your room is directly exposed to the sun , you’ll need an air conditioner with higher cooling capacity.
Room Size: The size/capacity of the AC should be as per the size of your room. If it is bigger it will not be able to provide proper dehumidification and the smaller one will cost you more in terms of energy consumption. Room ACs are available in capacity range of 0.75 to 2 tonne. Inverter AC with variable tonnage can be used for a wider range of room sizes.
Brand: You should carefully choose an air conditioner brand which fulfills your need of maximum energy saving through highest EER, best cooling performance and extensive after sales service. The air conditioner you choose should have functions which provide faster cooling in summers, optimum comfort in monsoon and also protects from disease causing virus, allergens and insects like Mosquitoes, etc.
Weather conditions: While choosing an AC, one should look for air conditioners that can work efficiently even in extreme weather conditions of Indian summers.
Usage: If your AC usage is 8 to 10Hrs a day for 3 to 4 months, it is recommended to buy at least 3Star rated AC. In case AC usage is extended 5 to 7 months, you should opt for 5-Star rated AC. For usage of 10 to 12 months one should opt for cooling only or Hot & Cold Inverter AC.
Make a smart investment this summer by choosing an air conditioner that meets your above requirements and offers you joy of ownership.