As we enter the second half of May, the scorching heat is beginning to take a toll on our bodies. In a country with a tropical climate like ours, where the daily median temperatures are on a steady rise, investing in a quality air conditioner is a worthwhile decision. However, like any other technological product, the market is flooded with plenty of options to choose from, and for a customer with no prior experience, selecting the right air conditioner can prove to be a tedious task.
Here are some tips and certain factors you should consider before finalizing your air conditioner:
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. For rooms smaller than 130 sq. feet, a 1-ton AC is more than enough. However, for a room anywhere around 185 sq. feet, a 1.5-ton AC is better suited to ensure effective cooling.
Energy efficiency is one of the most important parameters to be considered when making a decision. With the high electricity costs, we would want an AC which produces maximum cooling but consumes the least power. The metric for energy efficiency of an AC is the star rating of the device, standardised by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Higher the star rating, better the energy efficiency. Hence, a 5-start AC will consume the least power compared to a 1-star AC. Additionally, there is another category of ACs known as inverter series which give higher efficiency at lower star ratings compared to conventional ACs.
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.
No matter which AC you choose, it is essential for it to improve indoor air quality. It must have filters to provide clean air by trapping smoke, unpleasant odour and impurities. A good dehumidification unit is also a bonus, as it will help to ensure a comfortable environment in the monsoon season by reducing the humidity.
Blower fan is an essential component of an AC, responsible for distribution of air throughout your home. Bigger the size of the blower fan, stronger the air flow. Condenser coils are another component, used to speed up cooling. AC should be such that condenser coils support heat exchange and have anti-corrosive properties. Protective capacitors are another key component, to provide fire safety in case of a disconnection or a circuit failure.
Air conditioners with a thermostat and multiple fans allow us to achieve variable fan speeds, thereby reducing overall power consumption. These days, ACs have options in airflow and swing settings as well. These choices allow the user to set the cooling levels of the AC as per his/ her liking and also contribute towards reducing the noise level of the AC.
Installation and Maintenance
To use your AC to the maximum, it is essential to get it installed properly from an authorized dealer. Split ACs have a compressor unit while window ACs, as the name suggests, are simply attached to a window. There should be no flaws in the installation process and the air conditioner must be maintained and cleaned regularly. Follow your dealer’s instructions as to how regularly the filter and other components of the AC should be serviced.
These days ACs come with a variety of subtle innovations to attract the consumers. These extra features can be considered in your decision, but only after the primary requirements have been satisfied. These features include Sleep Mode, an auto-cleaning feature to keep moisture away, 4-way swing, Quick Cool, Jet Cool, and even features like Mosquito Away for places with abundance of mosquitoes.
In addition to these factors, you can also look at the brand’s history, its aftersales and the quality of its servicing before buying an AC. An air conditioner is a complex piece of machinery, requiring seasonal servicing by professionals. If the brand of AC you are considering does not have an optimal servicing network and poor aftersales, you might want to look at other options.
Written by: Shubhang Gopal, an intern with indianexpress.com