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Tips to help you buy the right AC for the house and keep cool this summer

Right, so the summer year has been particularly severe and you're dying to bring an AC home. The trouble is that there are numerous brands available in the market, leaving you both spoilt for choice and confused, as not all of them will meet your needs or fit within your budget. 

The temperature has touched 43.5? this season, with the India Meteorological Department labelling June 30 as a 'severe heatwave day'. Air coolers have failed to battle the summer heat and provide necessary relief. This may have prompted you to go for a good quality home air-conditioner (AC). However, you must never buy an AC in a hurry, especially, with so many brands providing so many options and promising myriad benefits. Before you set out to buy one, check out important features such as humidity control, air purification, and heating ability during winters. 

Most people look at brand and budget before zeroing on their choice of AC. Rather than relying on price or credit facilities to buy a machine, it makes more sense to rely on the brand or product features before selecting the piece suited to your needs. So, before you jump to calculate the price that you are ready to pay and whether you wish to pay for it in cash or through credit, let us discuss the important features that you must keep in mind before selecting the best AC for your room. 

Which kind of AC suits your needs?

For the unversed, ACs are of three types––window AC, split AC, and portable AC. A window AC, as the name suggests, is mounted on to the window of a room as a single unit. Split ACs are different from the former as they come in two units. The unit placed outside your room contains the compressor and condenser while the one mounted on the wall inside the room is the blower. Portable ACs are much smaller than the other two kinds and can be placed anywhere in the room. Since this kind of AC is not mounted on any specific location in the room, it can also be moved from one room to another. Deba Ghoshal, Vice President and Head of Marketing, Voltas Limited, says, “The choice between a window or a split AC depends on several factors. Window ACs provide ease of installation, do not require separate space for the outdoor unit, and are relatively economical. Split ACs are good for indoor unit aesthetics, lower noise levels, energy efficiency and cooling efficiency. Portable ACs are not comparable to either window or split, and are more suited to low ambient temperature.” 

The right tonnage of your AC matters

Choosing an AC with the right capacity is a must. The tonnage of an AC does not refer to its weight, but to its cooling capacity. Split and window ACs are available in various capacities between one and two tons. Higher the tonnage, higher would be the capacity to cool a room, which means you must have a higher tonnage AC fitted in a larger room. 

A tried-and-tested method to determine the required tonnage or exact capacity is to consider the British Thermal Unit (BTU), a standard measuring unit used to classify ACs. The higher the BTU, the greater the capacity of the AC to cool the room. One tonne is equivalent to 12,000 BTU. The International Organization for Standardization set up to develop and publish technical, industrial, and commercial standards explicitly state 20 BTU per square foot to measure the ideal cooling capacity. The number is slated to go up with greater room size and more exposure to sun rays. Most electronic showrooms have this hand guide for their prospective customers to refer to.

Table: Air conditioner capacity guide 
Room Size
Tonnage Split AC price Window AC price
100-125 sq ft 1-ton Rs 25,000-37,000 Rs 20,000-23,000
150-200 sq ft 
1.5-ton Rs 37,000-58,000 Rs 24,000-37,000
Above 200 sq ft 2-ton Rs 45,000-60,000 Not Applicable
Check the star rating on your AC

The running cost of an AC is high, which is why many people avoid buying one. Its power consumption depends a lot on its energy efficiency, denoted by the number of star ratings on the machine. Energy-efficient ACs come with higher star ratings and are usually more expensive. K J Jawa, MD and CEO, Daikin India, says, “Yes, high energy efficiency air conditioning solutions offer ambient cooling, ventilation, eco-friendly refrigerants and lower running cost. These energy efficient solutions are able to offer you better management of air, thus, helping customers save money and enjoy unparalleled comfort.”

Inverter-equipped ACs

The electricity tariff slabs and rates for all states have shot up in the past few years, making electricity a costly resource. If you are concerned about paying high electricity bills every month, buying an inverter-equipped AC will help you save more money than its traditional counterparts. In a traditional piece, adjusting AC temperature according to changing room temperature takes up a lot of power. Explaining why inverter-equipped ACs consume less power, Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, Business Head RAC, LG Electronics, says, “LG inverter ACs comes with Dual Inverter Technology that offers variable compressor speed. The sensor embedded in the inverter regulates the power as per room temperature. Once the room is cool, inverter air conditioners lower the speed of the motor to save the energy. An on-off AC, on the other hand,  completely turns off the power once the desired room temperature is attained, and again turns on with maximum speed and high starting current on change in temperature, thus consuming higher electricity.”

All-weather features 

Today’s ACs have dual functioning as they blow both hot and cold to counter the summer heat and the chill of winter. These all-weather ACs are now trending as they can be used in all seasons according to the changing room temperature ranging from extreme hot to extreme cold. They also come with adaptive features like built-in sensors that adjust the surrounding air according to change in room temperature. The new internet-savvy generation can opt for hi-tech WiFi-enabled ACs.

Warranty

Do not forget to check the warranty period of the AC you plan to buy. While most ACs are available with an inherent warranty period of one or two years, many manufacturers also provide an added warranty for necessary components such as the compressor. The warranty period of these components is usually much longer than the comprehensive warranty promised on the AC. 

Buying an AC is a necessity now considering the recent heat wave and long spells of dry weather affecting many countries. While paying the price of an AC may seem like a temporary burden on your wallet, it is a meaningful expense in the long run if you pay attention to the features and pricing carefully. 


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