Chilly breezes have stopped and winter clothes are back in the shelves. Summer has almost arrived. When the temperature in cities like Delhi and Agra threatens to touch 50-degree Celsius in summer, air-conditioners become the Holy Grail. However, if you choose a wrong air-conditioner for your house, you might end up not just doling out a lot of money but also be stuck with a less-than-satisfactory cooling experience and high maintenance cost. We present here a complete guide to select the right air-conditioner so that you can beat the summer heat wisely.
Inverter technology is the new normal. When the inverter technology first arrived there were a lot of speculations about the claims of their higher energy-savings than five-star ACs. A few years down the line, inverter ACs have become the most preferred choice.
There is a major difference between the working of inverter ACs and their conventional counterparts—and that lies in the compressor. Conventional AC compressors halt when the room becomes too cold, and resume when the room starts to heat up. This makes cooling inconsistent, especially in large rooms. Also, it consumes more electricity as the compressor runs at full power.
Inverter AC compressors, on the contrary, are always ‘on’ with dynamic operation pace. These speed up when more cooling is required and slow down when the area is sufficiently cold. This reduces the need of full power output, thus saving electricity. It also improves the compressor’s longevity. Inverter ACs may cost up to 20 per cent more than conventional models, but provide guaranteed return on your investment.
Go for higher star ratings. Star-rating on electronic and electrical equipment indicates their energy-efficiency level. Higher star-rating implies more savings on your electricity bill.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) provides this score based on certain parameters. Earlier, conventional ACs were scored on the basis of the ratio of their cooling capacity to electricity consumption. The introduction of inverter ACs changed the rating to a different calculation, which takes into account the compressor speed along with cooling capacity and electricity consumption.
Most inverter ACs with the highest energy efficiency are marked as 3-stars. Note that a three-star inverter AC is much more energy-efficient than a five-star non-inverter AC.
Recently, an additional rating method called the Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) was introduced. Mentioning the ISEER is not yet mandatory but many vendors choose to display it on their products.
Therefore to pick the most energy-efficient model, first ensure you are comparing ACs from the same category—an inverter AC with another inverter AC, not with a non-inverter AC. Then, among all ratings, go for the highest score.
Choose the capacity according to your room. An AC with a bigger capacity will require a bigger space. ACs come in different capacity levels (measured in tonnes): one tonne, 1.2 tonnes, 1.5 tonnes, 2 tonnes and so on. A 9-13sq.m (100-140sq.ft) area requires one-tonne AC. A 14-16sq.m (150-175sq.ft) room will need 1.5-tonne AC. A larger room with area between 17 and 22sq.m (180 and 240 sq.ft) calls for 2-tonne AC.
AC types. Most inverter ACs come in split models—these have two separate units, interconnected via copper tubings. While these models require more installation space and effort, they cool a wider area. The cooling is also faster.
Window ACs, on the other hand, are single units fitted usually on the windows of rooms. These are easy to install, space-effective and cost comparatively less. However, they cool smaller areas, are louder and take slightly more cooling time.
Maintenance is important. Good after-sales service is essential for ACs. Ideally, you should get your AC serviced twice a year. Therefore ensure customer support by the vendor is easily accessible and provides prompt response to service requests. Also evaluate the warranty and the number of free services offered. Vendors offer separate warranties on the complete product, the compressor and the condenser. Usually, the product warranty period is one year. On the other hand, compressors and condensers come with 5-year warranty. Some vendors cover these parts even up to 10 years.
Filters and other features. Ensure the AC has a strong filtration system. Two or more filters provide extra protection from dust, bacteria, particulate matters and even certain chemicals. Additionally, it increases the filter life, reducing the frequency of servicing required. Apart from filtration, features like smart temperature control, auto-recovery and Wi-Fi connectivity are also advantageous.
The best ACs out there
AC manufacturers work on their toes to dole out the most desirable models. We round up a few of the best models available. For easy comparison, we are considering only 1.5-tonne models. You may choose AC capacity as per your requirement.
LG JS-Q18CPXD2. LG’s 1.5-tonne inverter AC is a split model with 3-star BEE rating. Energy-efficient copper wiring improves the longevity of the circuit and also the cooling capacity. Moreover, it comes with a dual inverter compressor, which greatly enhances the cooling speed and coverage. The proprietary Gold Fin condenser remains corrosion-free and extends the durability of heat exchange. The AC operates with minimal noise. A two-step filtration system removes dust and bacteria efficiently. The AC is priced at about INR 40,399.
Voltas 183V MY. Voltas’ inverter AC has built-in intelligence to detect the weather. Its Insta-Cool capability quickly brings down the temperature in summer. On the other hand, it keeps the overall temperature comfortably warm during winters. It also checks humidity levels with its Active Dehumidifier. To cut down excessive power usage, the AC can go into sleep mode. The filtration system uses three filters—one for eliminating dust, bacteria, pollen and particulate matters, one for filtering silver ions and the third being an Acaro Bacterium Red filter. The AC can self-diagnose in case of any unprecedented change. It is priced at INR 38,000.
Carrier 18K Ester Inverter 3i. Carrier’s 3-star split AC packs a copper condenser that provides quick and efficient cooling. The Esko inverter saves substantial electricity with a turbo mode that can quickly bring down the room’s temperature. The louvers reposition themselves automatically to their previous position when the AC is switched on. Auto-restart mode resumes the AC with last active settings automatically if it had turned off due to a power cut. In case of critical refrigerant leakage, the AC remains off, displaying relevant error code. It costs about INR 39,000 on Flipkart.
Blue Star 3CNHW18CAF/U. Blue Star’s three-star 1.5-tonne inverter split AC has an anti-freeze thermostat that regulates the room temperature consistently. It can operate in five modes: auto, cool, fan, dry and no-heat. This AC too comes with a self-diagnosis unit. Anti-corrosion blue condenser fins ensure quick and efficient cooling as well as a long lifespan. Blue Star really delivers on the filtration front. The AC comes with five filters: an anti-bacterial filter, a Catechin filter, a silver-ion filter, a dust filter, an anti-acarien filter and an active carbon layer to suck out harmful chemicals and odours. The company offers one-year warranty on the complete product and five-year warranty on the compressor. The AC is priced at INR 46,500.
Godrej NXW GIC 18 CAH 5. This inverter AC from Godrej is smart in all respects. Copper condenser enables powerful cooling, while inverter technology ensures power savings. According to the company, its 5-star BEE rating and 5.20 ISEER score save up to 25 per cent electricity.
The AC has a strong anti-bacterial and dust filtration system. Intelligent Air Throw feature distributes the air equally throughout the room. 3X BLDC dehumidification technology keeps humidity in check. Godrej offers 10-year warranty on the compressor and 5-year warranty on the condenser.
Wi-Fi support is a distinct feature of this AC. That means the AC can be configured with a mobile application over Wi-Fi and controlled from anywhere (infinite operating range) using a smartphone. The application also provides you energy consumption insights to plan AC usage better and save more on electricity bill. The AC is available on Amazon.in for INR 46,000.
Apart from these models, you can explore other market options as well. Let us know which one you selected to beat the heat with!