Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Air Conditioner in India
Hailing Indian summer as scorching is fast proving to be an understatement. The sweltering summer temperatures have made air-conditioners an item of necessity rather than an item of luxury. Its cools refreshing breeze is almost a lifesaver. According to Energy Star, about 13 percent of an average Indian household utility bill is spent on cooling.
Thus, it takes no rocket science to understand as to why the Indian market boasts not only of several brands of air conditioners but their innumerable models as well. According to estimates, you need to choose the best fit from over 2000 models available in the market!
This can prove daunting for any layman. However, we seek to eliminate all confusion and help you follow a step-by-step process to select and nail the most perfect air-conditioner to fit your bill. Check it out:
How To Choose an AC For Your Home?
Types of Air Conditioners
The first step to the selection of an air conditioner is deciding on the type of AC. Let’s glimpse through the various types available and weigh in their pros and cons.
This form of AC has recently been grabbing attention in India. It needs no installation and can look similar to an air cooler.
- Requires no installation like fixed AC.
- They are highly portable, be it within rooms, houses or any transportation anywhere.
- They do not interfere with the aesthetics of a room as they can be removed or easily hidden.
- Are getting cheaper with each passing day.
- Can be easily stored when not needed.
- Often the warm air is discharged in the same room that is being cooled. Hence, it uses higher power to cool the room. A venting hose can be used but they its effect on energy bills isn’t significant.
- They create the maximum noise of all types of ACs.
- These units drain water into a tank, which you need to clean regularly.
- They can cool only small spaces.
- Larger and heavier versions can be challenging to move about.
Combining both the compressor and blower within the same box, this AC can only be installed in a window frame. The compressor faces the outside open air while its blower faces the room. It can also be installed in an external wall hole.
- The air conditioner is ideal for small rooms as it does not use as much internal wall space as split AC.
- The installation process is much simpler compared to split ACs as you need not drill walls to conceal air tubes.
- As these conditioners pump the hot air from the room out, they are more powerful than portable conditioners.
- They are far more economically priced than split air-conditioners.
- They are easy to maintain.
- Relocation is an easy and hassle-free process.
- During relocation, it does not require gas refill in the compressor like split AC.
- They are noisy compared to split ACs.
- They consume comparatively high power and thus prove expensive in the long run. A 5 star rated window AC consumes as much electricity as a 1 star rated split AC thus making is literally an electricity guzzler.
- Because they run on outlet power, they may require cumbersome extension cords.
- They tend to compromise the aesthetics of any ambiance.
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As evident by the name, split AC consists of two parts: the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. The inner unit boxes the cooling coils, fans, and the evaporator while the outer unit has the compressor, condenser and the expansion valve. You can wall mount or ceiling mount the inner box while the outer box is placed on a ledger outside.
- Due to its wide blowers, higher volumes of cool air are pumped into the room and thus cooling is at an accelerated speed.
- Can be installed anywhere in the room and its wall without any need of any window frame.
- As the compressor and condenser are located outdoors, split ACs make appreciably low noise.
- The AC does not interfere but adds to the aesthetics and style of any ambiance.
- They are ideal for large spaces.
- Power consumption is low and thus saves on energy bills.
- They are expensive and have a higher price tag attached to them.
- Installation is difficult and requires professional support.
- Relocation and reinstallation is difficult and expensive.
- The gas refill in the compressor is a must after relocation.
Room Size and AC Capacity
While deciding on the type of AC, the room size and required AC capacity are an important factor to consider. This is both crucial and tricky as an oversized air conditioner can cool your room quickly but give you high electricity bills, while undersized would not only render high energy bills but would also prove inefficient in cooling the room appropriately.
The capacity of the AC is decided by considering the square foot area of the room. In India, the air conditioner size and capacity are rated in tonnage. The average ideal selection ground is:
- 75 tons of AC is sufficient for any room of maximum size of 80 sq. ft.
- 1-ton AC works perfect for any room size varying between 80 sq. ft and 120 sq. ft.
- 1.5-ton of AC should be installed in room size varying between 120 sq. ft and 190 sq. ft.
- 2-ton AC works great for room size between 190 sq. ft and 300 sq. ft.
- 5-ton AC is also available for rooms slightly larger than 300 sq. ft. However, any space larger than that should ideally have multiple ACs installed.
Apart from the room size, several other factors also creep in to calculate the ideal AC capacity and size. Few noteworthy factors are given below. Any of these factors would need you to add extra 30 percent of the total square area of the room to arrive at the square feet area you need to consider while deciding on the air conditioner capacity and size.
- The ceiling height of the room is more than 9.5 sq. ft.
- The room has multiple and large windows spanning over 25 sq. ft. area. Multiple windows filter more sunlight and heat in the room making it hotter than usual.
- The room or flat is located anywhere from the third floor to the terrace.
- The normal summer temperature of the room is around 40 degree Celsius or more.
- The mounted AC compressor is facing west or south i.e. towards sun direction.
- Sunlight falls directly on the room walls.
Energy Efficient Ratings
None can eliminate the concern about the electricity bill incurred when using an air conditioner. To help you understand the possible electricity consumption, energy efficiency ratings are given to each air conditioner by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
BEE has introduced a star rated special method for Indian air conditioners called Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER). Higher energy ratings are represented by a greater number of stars on the air conditioners. A higher number of stars equate to a more energy efficient unit and thus lower electrical bill.
If two ACs have everything equal but differ in just their star ratings, the price would be higher for the more energy efficient unit. The 5-star rated AC is the ultimate but it need not be your exclusive choice. You can decide on it keeping your usage pattern in mind. If your AC is used just for a couple of hours, a 3-star rating is decent enough but if it is used round the clock, then the 5-star rating unit would be the best option.
Foremost, by inverter technology, we do not mean that the AC runs on an inverter or continues to operate during a power outage. It is a technology via which you get several advantages. Both window and split ACs are available with or without this technology.
Just like a refrigerator, in an inverter AC, the compressor keeps running during the entire hours of operation while the non-inverter one has the compressor switching between ‘on’ and ‘off’ mode. Few advantages of inverter AC over non-inverter types are:
- Cooling is faster and more consistent in the AC with inverter technology as the compressor continues to run at varying speeds continuously to quickly reach the set temperature and maintain it consistently. The compressor shuts down after reaching the desired temperature in the non-inverter AC and thus you experience varying temperature in the room.
- To reach the maximum cooling target, any AC motor starts running at a higher speed. This entails consumption of a higher amount of electricity. This is true for non-invertor AC but the need is eliminated in the inverter AC. Consequently, the inverter ACs consume lesser electricity.
- Inverter ACs have a quieter operation than the non-inverter versions.
- The compressor of inverter ACs does not have the stress to run continually on higher speeds like the non-inverter ones. This lack of load makes inverter AC more durable than the non-inverter versions.
Given the benefits, it is easy to surmise that inverter ACs would naturally attract a higher price tag than the non-inverter varieties.
These play an important role in the cooling speed of the AC by converting the gas refrigerant to liquid refrigerant and vice versa. They are made of either copper or aluminum.
ACs with an coil are cheaper and more economical but one should opt for copper coils as they help cool faster because of their high heat transfer rate. They are also less corrosive and have a high coil strength.
Apart from the top consideration features, you can explore various other features which enhance the experience of the cool refreshing air from the AC. Few of them are:
An inbuilt feature, it helps remove all invisible harmful allergens, dust mites, pollen, bacteria, etc. from the room for more refreshing air in the room. Simultaneously, they also prevent any dust mite deposits on the internal parts of the AC and thus increase their durability.
Made of mesh, these filters let the dust particles stick on them and prevent them from evaporating at home. Depending on usage, they must be cleaned periodically with plain water for optimum performance.
Cooling and heating
Few AC models come with an inbuilt heater. Thus, you can stay cool in summer and warm during the cold winter months using the same unit. These types of units are useful in places with extreme climate variation like Delhi.
Using this feature, you can eliminate excess moisture from the room especially during the rainy season for a cozy, comfortable feeling.
This feature helps the AC to turn ‘on’ and ‘off’ automatically during the night for a uniform temperature inside the room. They play a vital role in keeping you comfortable especially during the significant dip in temperature during the night. They also help in reducing your energy bill.
This feature allows you to turn on your AC even when you are not still inside the house. Thus, you have a cool room welcoming you when you step inside the house.
This feature help block mushrooming of micro-organisms like bacteria and mold on the internal parts of the ac by keeping the moisture away. Consequently, you AC lasts longer to give you better performance of clean, cool air.
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Budget and Brand
Last but not least, you need to look into the brand value and budget available to buy the best possible air conditioner for yourself. Since the brand value, energy rating, and all other features discussed above impact the cost of an air conditioner, you need to balance and get features such that you are able to enjoy all optimum performance within your budget.
Now that you know all about the things you need to size up, all that is left now is visit a store in real or virtual and shop the best air conditioner to meet your requirements to the tee.
Maintenance and Cooling
Regular cleaning and maintenance of an air conditioner is a must as it has a direct impact on the AC’s lifespan and performance. Moreover, you would also see a significant rise in your energy bill when you lay back on maintenance.
It is best to opt for air conditioners that give you a free maintenance the first year and lucrative contracts for the subsequent year as an air conditioner must ideally be cleaned a minimum of 3-4 times a year. The things that need cleaning and maintaining in an air conditioner are:
They capture the dust, moisture, and all other allergens and tend to get clogged. Cleaning the filters at least once a month helps you reduce your energy bill by 5 to 15 percent.
Coils and Fins
Dirt and grime inevitably deposit on the evaporator and condenser coils and reduce the efficiency of the unit. They also have fins which tend to bend and block the airflow. They must be straightened out periodically for maximum airflow.
The condensation drains of the air conditioner tend to clog easily which in turn, reduces the humidity lowering efficiency of the air conditioner. Cleaning of the drains eliminates the issue.