If the ceiling fan hasn’t been cutting it for you this summer, you’re not alone. Buying a new Air Conditioner is likely a top priority given how the summers have just begun and the heat will only increase in the coming months. However, how do you choose the right AC for your home or office? Here’s a quick guide that covers the basics of choosing the right AC for you.
Types of ACs
There are two kinds of air conditioners, and you may have seen both of them in use in libraries, cafes, homes, hotels, etc. These are window ACs and Split ACs.
Window AC: A Window AC is a single, rectangular unit and easy to maintain and use. The major advantage is that it is also cheaper. This is because all components are inside a single chassis and there’s a lesser chance of external factors causing problems to the insides.
However, Window ACs can often be noisy and require thick walls for installation (9-12 inches thickness) so they may not be for everyone. The capacity of Window ACs is also limited and it may not be the best choice for larger rooms.
Split ACs: As the name suggests, the entire body of the appliance is split in two with these. There is the internal unit that sits inside your room, and an external unit that is placed outside the wall. Because the two units are separate and connected by pipes, maintenance and installation costs here are higher.
Split ACs are more expensive but less noisy compared to Window ACs. They also can be installed on any wall, even if the wall is thinner.
To get the right AC, the most important aspect you first need to figure out is capacity. What capacity you require will determine if the AC you bought will underperform or simply be overkill.
Factors to decide include the size of the room as well as ambient temperature, and how many of the walls of that room are actually exposed to the sun directly from outside (since these are likely to get hotter quickly).
Tonnage is how you calculate the capacity of an AC. You may have heard of the terms 1 tonne AC or 1.5 tonne. In the realm of Air Conditioners, 1 tonne is basically the amount of energy that is required to melt 1 tonne (1,000kg) of ice completely into water.
For smaller rooms, you may be content with a 1 tonne AC, but you may need a 1.5 tonne AC for living rooms, small offices and other larger areas. You can calculate your required tonnage by a simple calculator at https://learnmetrics.com/ac-tonnage-calculator/.
ACs are notorious for contributing big numbers to your electricity bill, which is why a lot of people only use them when necessary. However, whether you plan on using the AC sparsely or all the time, you can regulate these costs by going for a model that has a good energy rating.
Every AC will come with a 5-star scale by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. The rating here determines how well your AC is with its power efficiency. Always try to go for a 5-star model as those will help you get the lowest usage costs in the longer run.
Inverter and non-inverter ACs
An inverter is what converts Direct current (DC) into (AC) and when it comes to Air conditioners, you can find both inverter ACs and non-inverter ACs.
Non-inverter ACs have the compressor running at a fixed speed. It can either be turned on or off. During use, the compressor will turn on and run till your room reaches the required temperature, then switch off, only to switch on and cool it again when the temperature starts warming again.
Inverter ACs convert the AC current from your wall socket into DC and then back to AC for the compressor that powers the appliance. The purpose of this is to enable more controlled functioning of the compressor, which lets users manage temperatures better and more efficiently.
While more expensive, inverter ACs offer more consistent temperatures and produces lesser noise. Look for an inverter AC if you plan on using the AC continuously through the year and if its a proper, long-term investment for you. If you plan on using the appliance sparsely, a regular, non-inverter AC may be enough for you.
There are some other features that you may need and looking for these will narrow down your search further. Some ACs will come with filters and that will help keep air clean and cool at the same time.
Others may also double up as heaters. If it gets too cold in your area during winters, this may be worth looking into. Other features like sleep timers, fan swing modes, etc are common to most ACs these days, but check for them regardless.