Summers are fast approaching and bring along enticing “Summer Cool Offers” on Refrigerators & Air Conditioners. Almost all retail stores in Mumbai like Vijay Sales, Snehanjali, Digi1, Croma, Reliance Digital, Kohinoor, Ezone  and online stores like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal market fabulous discounts on Summer  Appliances.
Choosing an AC to beat the summer is more like welcoming a new member into your home. Apart from affordability, performance, and quality, you have to apply much thought to its running cost and maintenance cost. More often it becomes a balancing act between purchase cost and recurring lifetime maintenance or repair cost. 

Window or Split AC’s:
  Most commonly used residential ACs are either Window  or Split type. A Window AC is a single unit fitted onto your window or in a  square hole on the wall. This one is easier on the pocket and also in terms of maintenance, and  is less prone to gas leaks as compared to a Split AC. However, Window ACs are noisy and less energy efficient. A Split AC consists of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit connected by Copper tubes. Though a little on the expensive side as compared to the Window AC, a split AC is low on noise and high on energy efficiency.

INVERTER ACs: Standard ACs  use a  thermostat to automatically switch on/off the compressor to maintain requisite temperature . So is mentioned that such periodical switch on/off of compressor consumes extra power. Inverter AC’s never switch off the compressor, instead, use electronics to run the compressor at  variable speed to maintain the required temperature. The AC  compressor initially runs at a high speed to reach required temperature, then slows down to maintain that temperature. Result is less noise and  more consistent cooling. It has high EER, and probably saves 10%-15%  energy compared to 5-Star ACs in case of continuous use for long time.  

THE REFRIGERANT/COOLANT/GAS:   In India, most commonly used refrigerant is the R22, but  due to harmful effects on the environment this is being phased out.  However, non-ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) substitutes of R22 like  R417A and R407C will be available. The future of AC coolant is R410A  gas. This gas is known to be more  efficient coolant than R22. 

THE COMPRESSOR: A home AC compressor can be of three types,  Reciprocating, Rotary & Scroll, each being more advanced in that order. Most room ACs use Rotary compressors, Scroll is more efficient  with bigger AC systems.

THE COILS: Copper coils i.e. Cooling and Condenser Coils are considered to be the best because of longer lifespan. Check if your AC has copper coils or merely coated coils. Also double check if both the indoor and outdoor coils are Copper.

TON OR TONNAGE: 1 Ton AC means cooling capacity of 12000 BTU/hour (+/- 5%)  depending on the model/brand of the AC.
AC tonnage requirement is  calculated on the basis of peak load, like afternoon of the hottest days. You need slightly bigger ACs if the roof is exposed to Sun, or if the  room has west facing windows, glass windows are worst unless those are heat resistant. 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY:  This is a very crucial aspect that should influence buying decision. An AC will consume major share of your electricity bill. Check for the EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio which Indicates the ratio of the unit’s cooling power output (BTU/hr) to that  of its Power consumption (Watts) & is a measure of Air Conditioner’s  efficiency at maximum load. Higher EER means better energy efficiency and less power consumption for same level of cooling.

STAR RATING: BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) has instituted a STAR rating system that enables us to identify which AC has  the right EER or COP to facilitate lower running costs and hence help  us save on electricity costs. The higher the STAR rating the more the  efficiency. STAR rating parameters are updated every year therefore look for the color of the band on the rating sticker on the AC to ensure that it is the latest. 

Base your purchase decision in view of the above factors and also consider after sale service of the brand you choose to buy.
Happy Summers to you 🙂

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