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How to buy the right air conditioner

How to buy the right air conditioner

Summer is not the best time to buy an AC. But if the sweltering sun is too much to handle, avoid falling for sales tricks before you buy yours.

With temperatures soaring, you may want to add an air conditioner to your list of household appliances. Before you sweat it out to pick one, check our AC buying tips and head home with a bagful of savings.

Find the right size needed
Getting the right size AC is important if you want to save on the price of the unit and electricity expenses. There are several calculators available online to help you gauge the tonnage requirement for your room. For bigger rooms, see whether two 1-tonne ACs would turn out to be cheaper than a 2-tonne AC. A slightly lower tonne AC – say 0.75-tonne instead of 1-tonne – would work if you are planning to use the AC only at night time (for office goers). The price difference could be Rs8,000-10,000.

Technology that saves
If you are likely to shift residence often, opt for window ACs. Split ACs, however, are better suited in terms of technology.

Inverter technology:
ACs with inverter technology can save about 30-50% in terms of electricity consumed vis-à-vis regular air conditioners. Normal ACs use about 1.3-1.4 units of electricity per hour, while those with inverter technology require 0.8 units each hour.

Inverter technology ACs cost about Rs 5,000-6,000 more than the regular ACs, but make up for this during the course of their lives.

With regular ACs, the compressor is either off or on and works at full capacity, consuming all the electricity it is designed to consume – the compressor shuts off as the temperature drops below a certain point and starts again at full throttle at a certain temperature. With inverter technology, the compressor is always on, but draws power depending on the temperature outside and the level set on the thermostat. ACs with heat pumps may not be required for areas such as Mumbai where the temperature rarely goes below 16 degrees. But Delhi residents or other North Indian city dwellers would need heat pump technology, too.

Coolant used:
ACs which use R32 refrigerant are less energy-efficient than those using R410A due to higher thermal conductivity and lower vapour density of the latter. Avoid ACs which use the older R22 refrigerant.

Compressor type:
When it comes to compressor movement, opt for rotary instead of reciprocating to reduce your electricity bills.

Know energy ratings:
The energy efficiency of a window AC rated 5 stars by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) would be at par with that of a 4-star split AC. So, don’t shell out more for a 5-star split AC.

Forego quick cooling:
ACs that cool quicker would consume more energy than those that take a little longer. So for a difference of 10 minutes of cooling, you can save about Rs4,000 or more (in terms of cost of the AC).

Cooling coils:
Airconditioners with copper coils are more durable than those using aluminium coils.

Never install the AC on your own or through local technicians. For the warranty of the product to remain intact, the installation should be done only by official technicians employed with the AC manufacturer.

Place of purchase is important for savings
The store you purchase the piece from too would have an impact on the cost. The stores owned by manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and others offer the same product at a higher pricewhen compared with multi-brand consumer durable chains such as Croma, Vijay Sales and Next. Since the products are competing with other brands to stand out, discounts are offered on various models and brands.

For more on air conditioners, go here and here.

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