How to pick the right AC and get the most from it?
The summer this year promises to be a scorcher and there are only so many ways you can deflect it. If you’re on a shoestring budget, a fan would be your only choice, but it cannot help reduce the temperature.
Air coolers are better, but they only add to the humidity, which makes the months of July and August simply unbearable. One of the best options then is to install an air conditioner in your home.
An AC will get you through the sultry months comfortably and, if you know the features you want in the appliance, it will even fit into your budget. A 0.75 ton branded model costs a little over Rs 10,000. If this is still a stretch for you, you can rent an AC for six months for about Rs 5,000.
The installation and stabiliser are included in this cost. However, as most of these machines are old, you might end up with a big electricity bill. What you’ll save on buying a new air conditioner, will be spent on power.
The first thing to determine before you buy an AC is the capacity you require. Measure the room in which you want to install it. A thumb rule used internationally is that for every square foot, you need 20 Btu/hr (British Thermal Units per hour).
An AC’s cooling capacity is its ability to extract a certain amount of heat in an hour, which is measured in Btu/hr. The higher the Btu, the more powerful the AC, which means it will be able to cool a larger area. The Btu for an AC usually ranges from 5,000 to 24,000, with 12,000 Btu being equivalent to one ton.
Another rough measure is that a 100 sq ft area will need one ton of cooling capacity. However, as the ambient temperature in India is right;” alt=”” src=”http://www.images.investmentkit.com/plog-content/images/2013/2013/ac.jpg” width=”161″ height=”741″ />higher, you will need a slightly more powerful AC to cool the room. This will also depend on whether the room is shaded or sunny, how many other electrical appliances are used, how many people occupy the room, etc.
Some AC companies have calculators on their websites, such as bluestarindia.com/ actonnage-calculator/ toncalculator.asp, to help you determine your requirement.
It’s important to install an AC with the right capacity. A unit with low power will be insufficient to cool the room, while the one with more cooling capacity than your requirement will switch on and off too often. This will wear out the machine and the AC will not be able to work long enough to remove the humidity from the air.
When you visit a showroom, the first question a salesperson will ask you is whether you want a window AC or a split model. Though window units are cheaper and easy to install, split ACs are quieter, more aesthetically pleasing and have better air distribution.
However, split ACs have two units—a compressor unit outside the house and one or two units inside. This means that installing them requires renovation work, which can be expensive. Usually, a 1-ton split AC will cost about Rs 5,000 more than a window model.
Once installed, the AC needs fresh air to work efficiently, so you should ensure that the ourdoor unit is not blocked. Also, the moisture from the room, collected as water, needs to be drained out properly. Make sure that the outdoor unit is made of corrosion-resistant galvanised steel.
The most essential component of an AC is its compressor. Primarily, these are of three types—reciprocating, rotary and scroll. Reciprocating compressors are usually used in small to medium systems, such as car ACs, and are bulky and noisy. Rotary units are compact and less noisy, while scroll compressors are the quietest and most efficient of the three. However, the last two are more expensive and are also difficult to repair.
There are other points you should keep in mind before you pick an AC. It should have an adjustable thermostat, 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 beneficial as it will stop the fan when the unit is not cooling. The filter should be easily accessible so that it can be removed and cleaned regularly.
Nowadays, there are various types of filters available in an AC, such as an electrostatic filter, which clears dust particles and is good for people who have allergies. An ionisation filter clears dust and germs, while an anti-fungal one removes bacteria.
Most air-conditioning units also have a dehumidifier, which reduces humidity in the air, making it cooler and more comfortable. Also remember to check the noise level of the model, which usually ranges from 30-60 decibel.
When buying an AC, check its star rating. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has rated the energy efficiency of electrical appliances by awarding one to five stars, with one being the least efficient. A unit with a higher star rating is more expensive than the one with fewer stars.
However, it will also consume less electricity. You can check how much you will save by logging on to the savings calculator on I want to save electricity..
The sleep mode of an AC can be useful as it automatically adjusts the temperature during the night. Your unit should also have an auto restart facility to help restore the original setting after a power break. Some ACs also come with bells and whistles, which may be useful depending on your need.
For instance, an AC may have a timer, which enables you to turn it on or off on schedule, while others can be operated through an SMS.
Source: Economic Times
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