Harsh summers have hit most parts of India with temperatures of over 40 degree Celsius and to beat the heat indoors, opting for an
seems like an obvious choice. When it comes to buying an AC, affordability and electricity bills are the major concerns for most households in India. Having said that ACs when serviced well and used judiciously doesn’t give bill shocks anymore with newer power saving technologies. So, if you are planning to buy a new AC, here are all the things you should consider:
Windows AC vs Split AC model
While most modern houses opt for split AC models, this doesn’t mean that window AC models are obsolete or cooling is less efficient. Windows AC models cost less, offer a compact solution and also attract lesser servicing costs. On the other hand, split AC models look better, can be placed anywhere in the room and generally cools a larger area in less time.
If your room has a spare window or the facility to accommodate a window AC then buying it makes sense. Also, if you stay in a rented accommodation, a window AC is a versatile choice as it is easier to install or disassemble. But if your room doesn’t have any provisions for window AC then a split model is the only option. Another thing to note is that window ACs generally tend to be nosier, especially at night when the surroundings are quiet.
Installation and servicing costs
If you already have an existing place to put a Window AC, then the installation costs are minimal. But if you have to make provisions to integrate a window AC then installation costs will be higher. On the other hand, installation costs of split AC models are standardised. But do note the distance between indoor and outdoor units of the split AC as the cost of connecting pipes needs to be considered as brands only provide a certain length for free which depends from model to model.
As far as servicing costs are concerned, split AC models require more servicing and costs are usually higher when compared to window AC models.
While deciding on the cooling capacity of the AC, it is important to consider the room size, floor number and amount of sunlight the room generally receives. Given the summers in India, it is highly recommended that you opt for a minimum of 1.5 ton AC model. For basement or ground floor rooms measuring less than 10x12 feet, you can consider a 1 ton AC model. If you stay in a highrise, for rooms bigger than 12x15 feet, it is highly advisable you opt for a 2 ton AC model. ACs with higher tonnage will cool the room quickly and you can save on running costs. Buying an AC model that is underpowered for the room will directly translate to higher electricity bills.
All AC models come with
the Bureau of Energy Efficiency
(BEE) star rating. As a rule of thumb, the higher the star rating, the higher the savings on electricity bills. But do not fret much on the BEE stars. A lot depends on how you use the AC. Models with higher star ratings are usually expensive and to get ROI on that extra investment, you will have to use it judiciously over a long period of time. ACs do not come with a lifetime guarantee and in most cases you may have to replace it with a newer model after five to six years. So, if you are not going to use the AC throughout the day, buying a model with lesser BEE stars will mean little difference in electricity bills.
Inverter AC vs Fixed speed AC
First things first, inverter AC models don't mean that the AC will work with the power supply from inverters in case there’s a power cut. If an AC is not an inverter model then it is a fixed speed version. Inverter ACs regulate the speed of the motor to adjust temperature while fixed speed ACs start and stop the condenser. Starting and stopping the condenser to regular temperature every time draws more power, so inverter AC models are claimed to run on lesser power which translates to lesser bills. But remember, the costs of servicing and repairing an inverter AC model is way higher than the regular fixed speed models. If you are on a tight budget, buying a non-inverter AC is perfectly fine as you would want to spend less money on servicing and repairs. As far as electricity bills are concerned, if you use the AC judiciously, it makes little difference.
Be very sure about the airflow as this can affect your comfort. There are AC models which throw cool air at long distances and don't provide much comfort when you sit just under the AC. So, depending on the placement of the bed or sofa in your room, you can know whether you want an AC model with long range or a model which offers an airflow angle starting from 90-degree, which means you will get cool air even if you sit right beneath the AC.
AC’s come with various smart features with companion apps and Google Assistant support as well. These are good-to-have features and have nothing to do with cooling. The only smart feature you would need is remote turn on/off. This means, you can turn on the AC while you are travelling to your home from the office to get a chilled room when you enter. But note that there are smart plugs available at cheaper prices that get the job done as well. Also, most smart features will simply add load to your home Wi-Fi. So, it’s good to go through the features but prioritise cooling efficiency and power consumption.