Best Split Air Conditioner (AC) in India— 2019

 

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This 1 ton all-star AC from LG offers the best long-term money savings owing to its unique dual inverter compressor. Its annual energy consumption is only 938 units.

Many users agree that this AC doesn’t just cool faster but also runs quieter.

Most ACs, inspite of claiming long life, degrade before time due to environmental exposure like dust, humidity, heat, smoke, sand and other pollutants. But not this one. LG brings you a fully secured AC (owing to its Ocean Black Protection) and high-quality Gold fin condensers.

As explained in my guide below, Gold fin condensers offer the best protection to Copper condensers against rust and corrosion. This adds to the AC’s durability and consistently superior performance.

The AC comes with an eco-friendly refrigerant like R-32 and also has provision for low refrigerant detection. Ideal for medium-sized and small rooms of about 110 square feet, this AC has you covered with its best-in-class technology and design.

If you’re looking for an AC that will comfort you a long time with minimal issues, then this one’s perfect!

Highlights:

  • No voltage stabilizer needed
  • Comes with micro dust protection filter
  • 10 years warranty on compressor
  • Longer durability ensured by Ocean Black Protection
  • 100% Copper condenser (Gold fin)

Another inverter AC from the 2018 line-up of Voltas ACs, this one comes with a good combination of price, features and technology. Offering everything you need in the best 1-ton AC like a high-quality Copper condenser, low energy consumption and better cooling, this AC ticks off all you need.

Suitable for bedroom and study-room, this AC is one of the quietest models out there. Its 3-star ratings for energy efficiency will help you save expenses in the long run.

It is also perfectly suited for cities and small towns where pollution and construction dust are an everyday thing. The AC’s advanced filter and 4-way swing ensure that you only breathe in clean and well-circulated air.

The AC comes with Turbo mode and sleep mode, making sure you can curate your needs according to the conditions. For example, Turbo mode will quickly cool the room, useful especially in summer. While Sleep mode raises the temperature by a degree every hour to ensure comfortable sleep at night (when temperatures drop outside).

The longevity of the AC is ensured by its pure Copper condenser, 1-year comprehensive warranty and 5 years warranty on compressor.

Highlights:

  • 1-year comprehensive warranty
  • 5 years warranty on compressor
  • Value for money
  • Active dehumidifier

Ethics conscious and environment friendly, Daikin is one of the most popular AC brands in India. This popularity is owing to a lot of its salient features like quick and sensitive cooling along with noise-free operation and energy efficient performance.

Its Coanda airflow technology ensures optimum flow of air throughout the room instead of an undesirable air draft right on top of your head. Its Econo mode is designed to further aid energy savings by capping the maximum power consumed by the AC.

A unique feature is the AC’s ‘Self-Diagnosis’ feature which displays an error code on the remote-control screen so you can self-diagnose the error and report it accordingly.

With a built-in stabilizer, 5-year compressor warranty and Copper condenser coil, this AC is set to last a long time without major issues. It also uses an eco-friendly refrigerant gas R-32 helping you be an environment conscious user.

If you’re looking for an AC that gives more for less, then this one’s just right!

Highlights:

  • Unique self-diagnosis feature for error detection
  • Coanda airflow for better air flow circulation
  • In-built voltage stabilizer
  • Outdoor unit dimensions: 55 x 76.5 x 28.5 cm
  • Eco-friendly R-32 refrigerant

Godrej really understands the phrase ‘Dil maange more’ with its affordable and feature-rich ACs. This model in particular, offers a solution for every problem (in the air conditioning area ofcourse).

Its rotary inverter and blue fin condenser ensure optimum cooling without hiking your electricity bills. The blue fin coating keeps the copper condenser safe from leakage, corrosion and rust.

The AC has powerful cooling function which can instantly cool the room to offer immediate comfort during a hot afternoon or when you come home tired.

The in-built voltage stabilizer and the high-quality Copper condenser, safeguard the AC’s durability. And the 10-year compressor warranty (rare in budget ACs) has you covered in case of any unexpected breakdown.

The AC also has an efficient filter that can block pollutants, allergens, odours and dust. It thus functions like a semi air purifier.

With annual energy consumption of 740 units only, this AC is designed to work smoothly, even if your daily usage runs into hours.

Highlights:

  • 10-year warranty on compressor
  • Pocket-friendly price
  • Efficient filter
  • Built-in stabilizer
  • Outer unit dimensions: 5 x 88.5 x 36 cms

Best 1.5-ton Split Inverter air conditioners (ACs) in India

LG 1.5 ton 5-Star Inverter AC: KS-Q18WNZD (Best Overall)

No matter where you live in India, dust, smoke and pollutants are a constant problem. This AC from LG battles all with its 100% Copper condenser coated with special Ozone black layer, which protects it from rust, corrosion and gas leakage.

The AC’s dual inverter compressor comes with a variable speed motor that switches between three ranges— power saving range, conventional operating range and high-speed cooling range. The above two points add to the condenser and compressor’s longevity along with faster cooling and quieter operation.

This LG AC goes a step further in giving you active control over your energy usage. The ‘energy saving’ button lets you choose between how much power the AC consumes between 80%, 60% or 40%.

This feature is especially helpful when you’re alone in the room (needing only 40% power to maintain cooling) or with your family (may need 60% or 80% depending on your family size).

This AC even comes with a micro dust protection filter that functions like a semi air purifier by blocking dust and allergens.

Highlights:

  • Eco-friendly R-32 refrigerant
  • Ocean Black protected Copper condenser
  • 10-year warranty on compressor
  • Active energy control feature
  • Low Refrigerant indicator

Carrier midea is a well-known brand in the Air conditioner sector with a large number of distribution centres and service centres.

This AC from Carrier midea is a 4 starred inverter AC, ideal for mid-sized bedrooms and small living rooms of about 120 to 180 square feet. Like other popular ACs this one too comes with Copper condenser, 1-year product warranty and inverter compressor.

Other useful features include built-in stabilizer, sleep mode, auto restart and follow me function for better cooling experience. An advanced filter, eliminates allergens, dust particles, and odour, acting to give you cleaner and healthier air.

The 10-year compressor warranty adds to the AC’s durability. Overall, this is a no-frills, steady cooling and money-saver AC that will stay with you a long time.

Highlights:

  • 100% Copper condenser
  • 10-year warranty on compressor
  • Advanced filter
  • Outer unit’s dimensions: 78 x 54 x 25 cm

Whirlpool offers a variety of unique features in its latest AC line-up. With a capacity of 1.5 ton and equipped with Copper condenser and inverter technology this product delivers greater cooling along with greater energy efficiency.

Its IntelliSense inverter and Multi Port Fluid Injection technology ensure optimum cooling without hiking your electricity bill. The 6th Sense technology provides uniformly consistent cooling by detecting slightest changes in temperature of the room.

This AC comes with three air vents which ensure faster and better cooling along with improved ventilation, and the capacity to cool even when the outside temperature is as high as 55 degrees. Like other 1.5-ton ACs, this one too is suitable for medium-sized rooms of about 150 square feet.

Another exclusive feature is the Wi-Fi through which you can turn on and control the AC from anywhere, be it your office or a restaurant. This way you can come home to an already cool room waiting for you.

The longevity of the AC is ensured by 1-year warranty on the product and 10-year warranty on the compressor.

Highlights:

  • 10-year warranty on compressor
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Three air vents
  • 6th Sense technology

This AC from Onida offers an attractive combination of price, technology and features. Its variable speed or inverter compressor contributes to a quiet and energy efficient AC. While its Blue fin Copper condenser protects the condenser coil from corrosion and leakage.

 All these points add years to the ACs shelf-life which is further covered by 5-year compressor warranty and 1-year warranty on the whole AC. This AC also comes with an anti-fungus and dust filter which is especially useful if you’re living in a crowded area with a lot of construction work around.

Indian summers break their own record each year and can go upto 50 degrees in peak summer. This Onida AC is fully prepared to take on the summer heat and cools the air even at 52 degrees.

This cool air is efficiently distributed by the AC’s four-way cooling vents. This, in conjunction with a wide menu of functions like Turbo, health, sleep, iclean, ifavor and so on make sure you can curate the cooling according to your moods & needs.

This is one the most pocket-friendly ACs out there, so don’t miss out!

Highlight:

  • Eco-friendly R-32 refrigerant
  • Multiple modes and functions
  • Blue fin Copper condenser
  • Anti-fungus and dust filter
  • Outer unit dimensions: 86 x 54.5 x 31.5 cm

Best 2-ton Split Inverter air conditioner (AC) in India

LG 2 ton 3-Star Inverter AC: JS-Q24AUXA1.ANLG (Best Overall)

Having the largest service centre coverage in India owing to its range of consumer electronics, LG is a popular brand among AC users.

This particular model from LG comes in a 2-ton large size capable of cooling a large bedroom or medium sized living room of about 200 square feet. This in combination with its dual inverter compressor, makes for an AC that consumes less but cools more.

Its full Copper condenser is protected with anti-corrosive, anti-rust and anti-leakage coating, increasing its durability. Such Gold fin condensers are one of the best in the market as they don’t just safeguard the condenser but also enhance its heat-exchanging property.

The AC offers two notable modes— Himalaya cool and Monsoon comfort. The first ensures instant cooling (useful in summer) while the latter provides humidity-controlled cooling (useful in monsoon).

Both these modes provide a curated experience for better comfort and energy savings. The AC is also able to detect low refrigerant levels which is the crux of the cooling circuit.

All-in-all this is a good choice to go for, if you want brand value along with unique features.

Highlights:

  • 10-year warranty on compressor
  • Gold fin Copper condenser
  • Micro dust protection filter
  • Ideal for large bedrooms and mid-sized living rooms
  • Night glow buttons on remote
  • Outer unit dimensions: 87 x 65.5 x 32.2 cm

Voltas, a Tata brand, offers a 2-ton large AC with inverter technology and Copper condenser at an affordable price.

The AC itself has an elegant and stylish design which is sure to add to your home’s interior décor. Like other Voltas ACs this one too offers turbo, sleep and auto restart mode.

Timer, cross flow, display on/off and glow buttons are other features that come along with this product.

The energy consumption is lowered owing to the dual inverter and a grooved condenser which ensures optimum cooling. The reliability and durability of the AC is ensured by a 1-year product warranty and 5 years warranty on compressor.

You also get a self-diagnosis feature in the AC, which helps detect issues early-on so you can get them fixed in time.

Highlights:

  • Anti-dust filter
  • 5-year warranty on compressor
  • High brand value
  • Self-diagnosis feature
  • Dual inverter

Split Air Conditioner (AC) Buying Guide.

How does the Air conditioner (AC) work?

Air Conditioner takes a small batch of hot air from the room, transfers the heat outside thereby reducing the temperature of that batch of air and making it cooler. It then releases the cool air back inside the room. (Remember it transfers only the heat not the air itself).

The AC then takes another batch of hot air from the room and repeats the process.

Detailed explanation of how the air conditioner works.

To understand how the AC does this, there are two concepts that need your attention.

The first is the concept of heat transfer.

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Consider this, you prepare a hot cup of tea, place it on your table and leave. What happens when you come back to it after an hour?

Obviously, the tea has become cold. This is because heat from the tea has escaped to its surroundings i.e. the surrounding air, the surface of the table, etc.

Notice here that the tea was in the same place, the cup too was in the same place, just the heat from the hot tea has been transferred to its surroundings thereby making the tea cold. This is the concept of heat transfer.

When heat is transferred from one object to another, the object which loses heat becomes cooler and the object which gains heat becomes hotter.

This is what the Air Conditioner does; it takes in a small batch of hot air, transfers its heat to another object (called a coolant or a refrigerant) thereby making that batch of air cooler, and releases the cool air inside the room.

Again, notice here that neither does the AC generate any cold air of its own nor does it take in any outside air. It just transfers heat of air from inside to outside.

The Second concept in understanding how the AC works only needs a bit of revision of something we have all learned in school:

Evaporation and Condensation

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We all know water is in liquid form. If we heat it, it converts into steam (or gaseous state). We call this evaporation. Thus, evaporation is the process of converting liquid into gas by applying heat to the liquid.

And condensation is the reverse of evaporation. Take out the heat from steam (gaseous state) and it’ll turn to water (liquid state).

Hence, in other words, condensation is the process of converting gas into liquid by removing heat from the gas.

Now that the basics are brushed up, lets understand how the AC works.

For any AC (window or split) the unit inside your house has a component called as Evaporator. The job of this evaporator is exactly what its name suggests, to evaporate.

But what does it evaporate?

The evaporator evaporates something called as refrigerant or coolant— the object which takes the heat out of the batch of air I was referring to, in the points above.

The evaporator contains this Refrigerant or coolant in a liquid state. Now as per its job, it wants to evaporate the coolant into gaseous state. Where will it get the heat to evaporate the coolant?

Yes, you guessed it right, within the room itself! So, a batch of hot air from the room is taken in by a blower fan and passed over the evaporator coil.

The heat from this hot air is transferred to the refrigerant, thereby cooling the room air which is released back into the room.

Now, as the refrigerant has absorbed heat from the room air, its temperature increases till it evaporates from liquid to gas. The evaporator’s job is then complete.

But there is still more air to be cooled within the room. However, there’s no more refrigerant as all of it has evaporated to gaseous state.

Hence in the next stage, the hot gaseous refrigerant is cooled down or condensed into liquid and brought back to the evaporator again so the cycle can continue.

Let’s understand how it is done.

After heat from a batch of hot air is transferred to coolant and the coolant turns into gas, this very hot gaseous coolant passes through a compressor. Here it is compressed, leading to an increase in its pressure.

This high-pressure hot coolant then passes through a condenser.

The condenser coil is made of heat-loving metals like Copper or Aluminium. The highly pressurized hot gaseous coolant loses its heat to the condenser and becomes highly pressurized liquid.

This highly pressurized liquid then passes through an expansion valve that reduces its pressure.

Liquid coolant becomes cold again and comes back to the evaporator coil (the starting point of its journey) to absorb heat from the next batch of air from the room. And the cycle repeats again.

That’s how an AC works. Both window and split ACs work in exactly the same way.

If you still have any doubts just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Things to consider while buying Air conditioner (AC)

Tonnage/ Size/ Capacity

The very first thing you should decide before buying an AC is its capacity or tonnage (1-ton, 1.5 ton, etc.). This is because irrespective of the type of AC you choose (split or window, inverter or non-inverter) the tonnage will remain fixed (keep reading to know why).

 If you’ve read my explanation above, then you already know that the AC transfers heat from inside your room to outside and not the air itself. Tonnage is a number that tells you how much heat the air conditioner can remove from the room in an hour. For 1-ton AC it is 12000 BTUs (more on that later).

Simply speaking tonnage is the cooling capacity of your AC. More the tonnage faster will be the cooling.

Every room requires an AC of certain minimum capacity to effectively cool the room’s air. And this is a very important thing to remember while buying an AC.

Why?

Because if your room is too big and your AC of smaller capacity, you’ll never get the desired level of cooling even after running the AC at full blast (think- a single AC in a big wedding hall). This increases electricity costs and also stresses out the AC leading to early breakdown.

In fact, the installation technician may even refuse to install the AC if it’s of inadequate capacity.

On the other hand, if you buy an AC of higher tonnage for a small room it may cause improper cooling and mess with the AC’s mechanism.

Especially in coastal cities like Mumbai where moisture is high buying an oversized AC will prevent it from removing the humidity in the room effectively. This will cause issues with the AC’s cooling performance.

Another problem of getting an oversized AC is related to its mechanism. An oversized AC cools an undersized room quickly and shuts down. A few minutes later it starts and shuts down again as it quickly reaches the set temperature.

Thus, the oversized AC starts up and shuts down a greater number of times when on, than an AC of appropriate size. This messes with all the components of AC (particularly the compressor) and you will have to spend more money later in repairing or replacing parts of the AC.

The third reason is obvious, ACs with higher tonnage are more expensive than ACs with lower tonnage. So, you’ll be saving money upfront by not buying an oversized AC.

As ACs with higher capacity are more expensive than ACs with lower capacity your local electronic dealers will always try to sell you AC of higher capacity. DON’T FALL FOR IT.

Now that you’re clear about why the ‘right’ tonnage is important, lets see how to calculate it for your room.

Calculating Tonnage

The calculation of the tonnage for your room is pretty straight forward. Use this formula

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Once you have the tonnage for your room, there are a few other points you should consider before finalizing it.

  • If your room is situated on the top floor and gets direct sunlight throughout the day, increase your calculated tonnage by 10% to get your final tonnage. For example, if your calculated tonnage is 1 ton and your room is on top floor your final tonnage requirement will be 1.1 ton.

This brings us to an important point; ACs are available in limited number of tonnage options so, whenever you calculate the final tonnage, choose the AC with tonnage which is closest to your required calculated tonnage.

For example, if your final calculated tonnage comes to 1.1 ton then buy a 1-ton AC as 1.1-ton ACs are not available in the market. Similarly, if your room requires 1.4-ton AC then get 1.5-ton AC (as you’ll get more choices in this category) and so on.

If you don’t want to get in the hassle of calculating volume of your room then use this image to see what is the required tonnage for your room based on its area.

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What is tonnage? The concept

As already mentioned, the AC’s job is to transfer heat from inside your room to outside. Tonnage indicates how much heat your AC can transfer outside in one hour.

1-ton AC can remove 12,000 BTUs or British thermal units of heat in one hour.

To understand what this means let’s have a look at the basics.

BTU is a unit of measuring heat. It is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one-degree Fahrenheit.

Now suppose you have 1 ton of ice and you want to melt it. Of course, you will need heat to melt it.

Science says you need about 2,88,000 BTUs of heat to melt 1 ton of ice completely.

You cannot change the number above, what you can choose, however, is how fast you want the 1-ton of ice to melt. Whether you decide to melt it in 1 hour, 1 month or 1 year you will need 2,86,000 BTUs of heat to do that.

What if you decide on a 24-hour period? That’s what the industry reference is for a standard time.

So, when you decide to melt 1 ton of ice uniformly over a 24-hour period you have to pump in 12000 BTUs of heat into it every hour (2,88,000/ 24 is 12000). Coming back to my point above ‘1-ton AC can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat in 1 hour’, you can make the connection now.

A 1-ton AC can remove an equivalent amount of heat required to melt a ton of ice uniformly in 24 hours.

Another perspective to this is if you collect the heat removed by 1-ton AC from your room (i.e. 12000 BTUs) every hour, after 24 hours you will have 2,86,000 BTUs of heat saved up. You can now melt a ton of ice with it.

There you have it. Now you know what “ton” in 1-ton AC actually means.

One ton is equal to the amount of heat required (288,000 Btu) to melt one ton of ice in a 24-hour period. So, a 1-ton AC can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat from your room in one hour.

Split AC vs window AC

Already have a clear idea of which AC you should go for? Great! You can go ahead to the next point!

But if advice from your near and dear ones has only increased your confusion, the points below will help you decide which one’s right for you— split AC or Window AC.

  • Location

If you’re out looking for the best AC in India, you must have already decided which room you want the AC in.

Although, bedrooms are usually the first choice for installing air conditioners, living rooms and study-rooms come right after it. The type of AC you should go for depends on the room it will be installed in, as that will clarify the load exerted on the AC.

If you’re looking for an AC for the living room, split ACs are an ideal choice in terms of efficiency, cooling capacity and installation. In fact, if your living room is too big you might need two split ACs!

However, for smaller rooms like bedroom or study room split and window AC both are good options. That is why figuring out the perfect ‘spot’ will help you decided between which type of AC to go for in case of bedrooms.

  • Placement (Spot)

If you’re just looking to replace your old AC then you may already have your perfect ‘spot’.

But if you’re thinking of switching between window and split AC or if you’re a first-time buyer, there are two factors you should consider before marking your new AC’s place— number of windows in the room and the window space.

Window ACs as the name suggests, are a single box unit that sit right in your window blocking a part of it and taking up space. If your bedroom has no or just one window then this is one space you can’t spare.

Hence, go for window ACs only if you have a large window or multiple windows so as to allow adequate ventilation and natural light.

Split ACs on the other hand, stick to the wall and their external unit can be placed in the window space or outside the window.

Even if the room lacks a window, the internal unit can be wall mounted while the external one is attached to the outer part of the wall and connected to each other by drilling a hole in it. Hence, split ACs offer more flexibility in ‘spots’ for placing them, even when the room has too many hurdles in the form of pillars, no window space or no windows at all.

  • Installation

As window ACs are single box units, they are easier and less complex to install. Alternatively, split ACs have two units— internal and external making their installation comparatively more complex.

Professional technicians are required to install both type of ACs but the effort and pre-installation requirements differ in both. Refer to ‘things to consider before buying an AC’ to know more.

Installing split ACs may require drilling, ductwork or even grillwork (in windows), especially if its your first split AC. However, if you have the basic framework ready, installing a split AC won’t be much of a hassle.

  • Efficiency

The efficiency of split and window ACs can be gauged on two parameters— energy efficiency and cooling efficiency.

For energy efficiency, if you compare similar ton ACs (window and split) the power consumption is almost similar and doesn’t give much insight for decision-making. For example, Whirlpool’s 1.5-ton, 3-star Window AC (Copper) consumes 1617 Watts of power, while Whirlpool’s 1.5-ton, 3-star Split AC (non-inverter and Copper) consumes 1420 Watts. (source: whirlpoolindia.com)

However, if you choose an inverter AC, then the difference is notable. Taking the same example as above, Whirlpool’s 1.5-ton, 3-star inverter AC (Copper) consumes electricity in the range of 639-1773-2387 Watts, which translates into better energy efficiency and lower electricity bill. (Read about inverter technology in this buying guide to know why)

As far as cooling efficiency is concerned, split ACs outperform window ACs. This is due to split AC’s better circulation of cool air and higher sensitivity to changes in the room temperature eliciting quick response.

The cool air circulated by Window ACs creates ‘hot’, ‘too cold’ and ‘comfortable cold’ spots in the room which may affect your experience.

  • Noise

This may seem like a minor parameter unless you’ve already experienced how noisy ACs can get in their worst states. Although the newer ACs, both window and split are less noisy than the older models its best to check the decibel levels in the AC’s specification.

Split ACs are definitely quieter than window ACs, as all their noise-making mechanical parts are in the external unit. Hence, from in terms of noise, split ACs are a quieter pick.

  • Features

Dehumidifier, mosquito-away, 6th-sense, auto-clean, and sleep are just a few of the many features offered by split ACs. Window ACs in comparison, have limited features to offer which may work against them when making a buying decision between split and window AC.

Split ACs also offer more flexibility in terms of modes, settings and cooling options.

Their sensors too are better equipped to detect minute changes in room temperature, leading to better performance. However, window inverter ACs give a strong fight to this point and may be a more suitable option, if you’re already leaning towards buying a window AC.

  • Cost

As explained in my budget point, window ACs and split ACs both start around 20000 Rs.

However, if you compare two similar ACs, one split and another window, having the same tonnage, star ratings and condenser material, you will notice that there’s significant cost difference between both.

For example, BlueStar’s 1.5-ton, 3-star split AC (Z series) is about 13000Rs costlier than its 1.5-ton, 3-star Window AC (YC series). (source: bluestarindia.com)

Hence, in terms of immediate costs, window ACs are more affordable than split ACs.

Energy efficiency

Any home appliance these days claims to be energy efficient. But what does it really mean?

‘Energy’ is the electricity an AC consumes to remove a fixed amount of heat. If an AC consumes LESS energy/power to remove MORE heat, then it is considered as highly energy efficient.

And higher the energy efficiency of an AC, lower will be your electricity bill. So how do you know which AC is more energy efficient and which one is less efficient?

Well, by star rating of course.

In general, higher the star rating lower is the energy consumed by the AC to remove a fixed amount of heat.  So, higher the star rating, lower will be your electricity bills and higher will be your savings in the long run.

But did you know that star ratings are different for window ACs and split ACs? How different you ask?

Well a 4-star window AC consumes same energy as a 1-star split AC. This means buying a 4-star window AC is equivalent to buying a 1-star split AC in terms of energy efficiency. But a 4-star window AC will be costlier than 1-star split AC. It is then obvious which AC is a better buy— the 1-star split one.

Still confused? Don’t worry, when you buy an AC, along with the star ratings you also get an ISEER value. As of 2019, star ratings for ACs are based on ISEER value.

By understanding ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) you will be able to compare star ratings for different types of ACs and make a thoroughly informed choice.

Star ratings are given by BUREAU OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY (BEE) in order to force manufacturers to produce more energy efficient ACs and help consumers make informed buying decisions.

According to BEE “Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio” means the ratio of the total annual amount of heat that the equipment may remove from the indoor air when operated for cooling in active mode to the total annual amount of energy consumed by the equipment during the same period.

Simply put it is ratio of heat removed to energy consumed over a fixed time period. Higher the value of ISEER ratio higher will be the energy efficiency of your AC.

As of 2019, star ratings for split ACs and window ACs are as follows:

 

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Source:  https://www.beeindia.gov.in

Whenever you want to find out energy efficiency of AC use the image above. And look at the ISEER value instead of looking at the star rating (ISEER value is displayed immediately below the star rating in big bold characters on the label).

Also note that higher the ISEER value better the energy efficiency of the AC

By looking at ISEER values it is now clear that a 1-star split AC is equal to 4-star window AC in terms of its energy efficiency. So, energy efficiency wise it is far better to buy a 1-star split AC than a 4-star window AC.

Also observe that a single star rating comprises of a range of ISEER values, manufacturers and dealers use this knowledge to increase price of their products.

For example, a split AC with 3.99 ISEER value, gets a 3-star rating but at 4.00 ISEER value, it gets 4-star rating. So, the AC with 4.00 ISEER value is priced significantly higher than one with 3.99 value. This is because buyers generally look only at star rating and pay more for extra stars.

Since, you’re now clear about ISEER and its relation to star ratings, you can compare ACs of different brands, different types (window or split) and then take your decision. Also, no AC dealer can scam you by trying to confuse you with star levels of window and split ACs.

One last important note: Don’t get confused between star ratings of inverter and non-inverter ACs. Before 2018, star ratings of inverter and non-inverter ACs were different but after 2018, star ratings of inverter and non-inverter ACs have been merged.

So as of 2019, star ratings of both inverter and non-inverter ACs are same. Meaning a 1-star inverter AC will be less efficient than 2-star non-inverter AC and so on. This wasn’t the case in 2017.

Ultimately, to grab an energy efficient AC for a good deal, look at the ISEER value. If there’s a large difference between prices of two ACs but not a lot of difference between their ISEER value go for the AC that is less costly irrespective of the star rating.

Inverter vs Non-inverter AC

Before beginning to understand the difference between the two, let me clear a common misunderstanding— ‘inverter AC’ DOES NOT mean that the AC will work when there’s no electricity.

With that clarified, let’s begin.

As you may have read in my guide above, the AC takes a batch of warm air in, removes the heat from it and returns the same batch of air (but cooler this time) to the room. It is the refrigerant or coolant that removes the heat, which travels in gaseous state to the AC’s outer unit and dumps the heat outside via condenser. It then travels back to the indoor unit and repeats the cycle.

But how does the coolant travel from indoor to the outdoor unit and back repeatedly? That’s because of the compressor. Before reaching the condenser, the refrigerant passes through the compressor, present in the outdoor unit of the AC.

The compressor compresses the coolant i.e. increases its pressure; turning the hot coolant gas into highly pressurized hot coolant gas and sends it to the condenser coil.

And it’s here, in conjunction with the compressor that the inverter comes into play. Normally, the compressor can work with or without an inverter. So why does the inverter matter?

A compressor running without an inverter, operates only in two modes— ON and OFF. On the other hand, compressor with an inverter can run at regulated speed thereby controlling the flow rate of coolant.

Let’s look at it with an example.

Consider a ceiling fan but without any regulator to change its speed. There are only two ways you can operate it, by turning the fan’s button ON and OFF.

So, when you feel hot, you’ll start the fan but it will run at full speed and you may end up feeling too cold. Switch it off and you’re back to feeling hot. This is how a compressor in a non-inverter AC works, it is either fully ON or OFF.

On the other hand, when you have a fan with a regulator you can just start the fan and adjust the fan’s breeze at your comfort level. This is how an inverter AC works. It can control the flow rate of the coolant thereby giving a much consistent cooling.

But that’s not the only difference between inverter and non-inverter ACs.

Owing to this technology, inverter ACs have variable tonnage (hence also called variable speed ACs). Meaning a 1-ton inverter AC can function at a variable tonnage of 0.8 to 1.2 tons (like a fan’s regulator).

Just like the ceiling fan on low speed is enough during winter, the inverter AC runs at lower speed when the temperature outside is not too high. In summer it initially runs on full blast and then at a lower speed to maintain the cooler temperature within the room.

This makes inverter ACs efficient at power saving and uniform cooling for longer periods of time.

The non-inverter ACs stop on reaching the desired temperature and start only after the temperature rises significantly. In contrast, inverter ACs are more sensitive to temperature changes in the room and thus better at quick response to these changes.

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Source: Daikin India

The last but the most important benefit of inverter ACs is that it consumes up to 64% less electricity compared to non-inverter ACs. That is some serious power saving!

So, which AC is better non-inverter or inverter?

I would say, inverter. Though they cost more than non-inverter ACs the difference is not much, while the power savings are significantly more, making up for the cost difference.

Another thing, it seems that BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) wants to phase out non-inverter ACs altogether.

BEE continuously tightens the standards such that, the 5-star AC in 2010 became 3-star in 2015 and 1-star in 2018 as per the new ISEER guidelines. Also, 1 star rated ACs of previous years are not permitted to be sold the following years.

So, when star ratings of inverter and non-inverter ACs were brought under one umbrella in 2019, most of the non-inverter ACs couldn’t even bag 1-star rating and were automatically ousted.

As this trend continues, all non-inverter ACs will be phased out of market slowly. So, it is better to future-proof your home by getting an inverter AC. as if it gives problems in future its parts will readily available.

Budget

Both split and window ACs start from a range of about 20000 and go up to 70000 Rs. Window ACs are more economical and cost in the range of 18000-40000 Rs.

Within this range, you can find a wide variety of ACs that offer good combination of price, features, technology and energy efficiency.

However, the only factor that must stay constant in your budget considerations, is capacity or tonnage of the AC. Buying an undersized or oversized AC will lead to higher bills, improper cooling and frequent issues in its working.

So how do you fix a budget that’s just right for your pocket and tonnage? Well, here are a few pointers:

  • You can choose between a combination of factors, to fit the right AC in your budget. These are technology (inverter vs non-inverter), energy efficiency ratings and brand.
  • Inverter ACs are costlier than non-inverter ACs. Although, inverter technology is trending, going for a non-inverter AC can significantly reduce your costs up to 10000 Rs.
  • For example, Voltas 1.5-ton split AC (183 JZJ1) is about 7000 Rs cheaper than Voltas 1.5-ton split inverter AC (183V MZJ2). (source: myvoltas.com)
  • Star ratings are most popularly referred for making buying decisions. After all a 1- or 2-star AC may be cheap but will prove costly in the long run in terms of electricity bills and cooling capacity.
  • But this doesn’t necessarily mean, you should run off to buy a 5-star rated AC and pay whatever the cost.
  • Instead, 3- or 4-star ACs do a good job of power saving and don’t even cost a lot!
  • Also, there is significant cost difference between all-star (5-star) ACs and 3- or 4- star ACs.
  • For example, Voltas 5-star 1.5-ton split inverter AC (185VH Crown AW) is almost 20000 Rs costlier than Voltas 4-star 1.5-ton split inverter AC (184V SZS) which is only about 1000 Rs dearer than Voltas 3-star 1.5-ton split inverter AC (183V DZU). (source: myvoltas.com)
  • Only go for a 5-star AC if you’re willing to pay for a premium brand (for a strong back-up) and to reap its cost-saving benefits over a period of time.
  • Last but not the least, brand value is another factor that can make or break your budget plans.
  • According to Motilal Oswal’s market analysis on Air conditioner industry (2018),  Voltas, Mitashi, Onida, BlueStar, LG, Daikin, Whirlpool etc. are a favourite among buyers. While brands like O General, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi are considered premium.
  • According to the same report, most buyers prefer popular brands over premium ones and a star rating of 3 or 5 with inverter technology.

Additional considerations

Condenser material (Copper vs. Aluminium)

Condenser is a coiled component, located in the external unit in split ACs and in the outer section of window ACs.

What does the condenser do?

Well, as soon as the liquid refrigerant absorbs heat from the room and evaporates, it’s taken to the compressor.  The compressor passes on the very hot and pressurized refrigerant to the condenser.

It is the condenser’s job to take the heat out of the hot gaseous refrigerant flowing through its coils— making the refrigerant, liquid and less hot. The condenser then passes on this liquid state refrigerant to the expansion valve for further cooling.

How does the condenser get rid of the heat?

Well, the external unit of the split AC or the outer part of window AC comes with another component that’s located beside the condenser— a fan. This fan forcefully dissipates or helps the condenser coils cool down to outside temperature (condenser coils get much hotter than the outside temperature, the fan brings it down to surrounding temperature).

In order to make the very hot refrigerant gas less hot, the condenser needs to rapidly absorb heat and pass it into the outside air with the help of the fan. This is why condensers are made of the two most heat loving metals— Copper and Aluminium.

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However, both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Aluminium condensers

Pros:

  • ACs fitted with Aluminium condenser are cheaper as it can be easily moulded and shaped reducing the manufacturer’s making costs.
  • Although not as efficient as Copper condensers, Aluminium condensers are still good heat exchangers and are especially suitable for areas where temperatures don’t go too high e.g. city like Bengaluru.
  • The rising costs of Copper has encouraged use of thinner and thinner Copper coils in ACs bringing down their pros or elevating worth of Aluminium coils to an almost equivalent level.
  • However, these condensers have their own drawbacks.

Cons:

  • Aluminium coils, if damaged cannot be repaired on field and often need complete replacement.
  • Aluminium, unlike Copper cannot repel bacteria and other microbial degradation. And just like Copper, it is vulnerable to environmental corrosion. These issues make Aluminium a less reliable material especially in areas where humidity and heat are high, e.g. Mumbai, Nashik etc.

Copper condensers

Pros:

  • Copper is a better and faster conductor of heat than Aluminium. That means it is more efficient in absorbing and throwing out heat taken from the refrigerant.
  • Copper being highly durable, can be easily repaired when damaged. Aluminium condenser on the other hand cannot be fixed on field and can only be replaced with a new one.
  • The above two points could have settled the argument of which condenser to choose, if not for a few cons related to Copper condenser.
  • The high durability of Copper condenser also makes them highly reliable and easier to maintain.
  • Another reason for Copper’s high durability is its property to repel bacterial and other such growths. Though it is still susceptible to corrosion in extreme weather conditions, it is still more sturdy than Aluminium condensers.

Cons:

  • The increasing demand for Copper in general, has led to an increase in its price; making ACs with Copper condenser, costlier than their Aluminium counterparts.
  • Also, the durability and efficiency of Copper coils is hampered due to the flooding of thinner and less efficient Copper coils in the market. (Hence buy Copper condenser ACs only from reliable brands and manufacturers.)

Hybrid Condensers (Copper + Aluminium)

Hybrid condensers use Copper for line sets and Aluminium for fins. But when two dissimilar metals are joined together, they become vulnerable to galvanic corrosion. It is thus better to stick with all Copper or all Aluminium condenser

There have been some latest advancements in condenser design due to the rising Copper prices but economical Aluminium.

Blue fin condenser

In this, the condenser coil is coated with epoxy/hydrophilic anti-corrosive materials in order to protect it from environmental degradation. Especially in coastal areas where humidity in the air is high, condensers may corrode easily lowering their efficiency and life span.

Many popular and premium brands like BlueStar, Panasonic, Voltas and so on, have already incorporated blue fin condensers in their AC line-up.

Multi-jet or microchannel condenser

Samsung’s flagship technology in AC condensers, these involve the use of modified Aluminium coils in making condensers.

It consists of tiny flat tubes of Aluminium containing microchannels or jets through which the refrigerant flows. The flat tubes eliminate the need for any Copper in the condenser, thus cutting out chances of galvanic corrosion.

Gold fin condenser

Just like Blue fin condenser, Gold fin condenser are coated with anti-corrosive, anti-rust and anti-leakage coating. However, Gold fin condensers are superior to blue fin condensers as they don’t just protect the condenser but also improve its heat exchanging ability.

Thus, Gold fin condensers can cool better than blue fin ones while lasting a long time. Many popular brands like LG, Daikin and so on use this coating in their newer models.

Features and modes

Now-a-days Air conditioners come with so many different modes and additional features that you can have a personalized experience according to the needs of you and your family.

Also, it’s hard to imagine ACs without a remote these days. After all who wants to get up and walk up to the AC every time you need to turn it On/Off or change the temperature.

The most basic of the remotes let you set the temperature and the fan speed while some may even come with a digital display screen.

Although all split ACs and some windows ACs come with remote control, it is better to make sure you will be getting one, especially if you’re buying a window AC.

But many times, we are hardly aware of what the modes or settings can do for us that we miss out on a curated experience. This is why I’ve studied the modes and features of top brands and picked out the noteworthy and most useful features that will help enhance any user’s cooling experience:

  • Fan speed

Some AC models let you choose between 2 or 3 fan speeds viz. low and high or low, medium and high respectively. The speed of the fan affects you in two ways.

How fast the fan runs determines how fast your room will cool down. For example, keeping the fan speed high is preferable in summers or when there’s a crowd in the room.

Another aspect is the noise. Control over the fan speed doesn’t just let you control the rate at which the room cools down, but also lets you select a quieter low speed (especially useful at nights if the AC is in the bedroom). The button assigned to this function is usually named ‘speed’, ‘fan’ or ‘fan speed’.

  • Timer

Having a programmable timer is quite useful as you can avoid overusing the AC and thus save up on your electricity bills. Using the AC for a specific time also helps you prolong its life, by reducing the load of running it for an entire night or hours.

Timers let you select how long the AC should run for (in hours). Some ACs, however, even let you set delayed start or stop time, making time setting more convenient. Timers may be available as single or dual buttons named ‘timer’, or ‘timer on’ and ‘timer off’.

  • Direction of air flow

The blades of the AC that let out the air can move in two directions— horizontally and vertically. By controlling the direction of the air flow, you can direct the cool air to a specific part of the room or away from a spot.

For example, during daytime when temperature is high you could direct the air flow towards the bed while taking a nap. Or you could direct the air flow away from the bed to avoid getting ‘too cold’ especially at night.

Different brands offer control over the air flow direction under different names like ‘swing’, ‘H swing’ and ‘V swing’ or in the form of symbols.

  • Sleep mode

Almost every AC remote comes with a button with ‘sleep’ or a sleepy symbol printed on it. This mode serves two purposes— it helps save power and increases comfort while sleeping.

Useful during night and more so, if the AC stays on for the entire night, this mode keeps you from getting too cold.

The principle behind this mode comes from the fact that temperature drops significantly during the night (more in winters) and the temperature of the human body too falls during deep sleep. Sleep mode increases the AC’s temperature by about a degree every hour. This keeps you comfortably asleep and prevents any energy wastage.

  • Turbo

Just like the name indicates, ‘turbo’ or ‘super turbo’ (in Carrier ACs) feature, activates the max settings in the air conditioner. This ensures super-fast cooling as compared to normal cooling speed of the AC. It is also called as ‘quick cool’ mode in some brands.

  • Display

Most split ACs emit or display the set temperature in an LED digital format. Although very helpful to quickly check what temperature the AC’s been set on, it can be a nuisance while sleeping at night.

For users who are light sleepers and who are sensitive to any little stimulation like noise or unwanted light, most ACs makers have added a button on the remote control. This button called ‘display’, ‘screen’, ‘light’ or ‘led’ lets you turn the temperature display on/off.

  • WiFi

In the age of smart TVs and other smart gadgets why should ACs lag behind?

Many popular brands like Llyod, Whirlpool, Godrej and so on offer in-built WiFi in the AC which you can connect by downloading its relevant App. By successfully registering your AC on the App and connecting it to WiFi, you can control the AC from anywhere within and outside your home.

Whether you’re coming home from a tiring day at the office or a sweaty shopping afternoon, you can remotely turn on the AC and come back to the welcoming & cool comfort of your home! Additionally, you can keep track of your AC’s dust filters and other status reports along with easy scheduling of AC servicing.

  • Energy saver

This feature helps save energy and your electricity bills by controlling the two fans in your AC. One fan is located in the external unit of split ACs or on the outer part of window ACs and it turns on/off with the compressor.

The other fan called circulation fan, is located in the internal unit of split ACs and window ACs and helps with taking in hot air & circulating cold air. It, however, runs continuously.

The ‘power saver’ or ‘energy saver’ feature turns off both these fans when the compressor turns off. This saves electricity used to power the circulation fan and also increases the intervals between the on/off cycles of the compressor, producing the ‘energy saving’ outcome.

  • Auto clean

‘Auto clean’, ‘clean’ or ‘self-clean’ feature is crucial to prevent the rusting of the evaporator coil in the internal unit of the split AC and to prevent the growth of harmful pathogens.

This feature can be used either when the AC is off or on and should be repeated preferably every 15 days (especially during monsoon). Pressing the button once will turn it ‘on’ and you can press it again to turn it off once the self-cleaning is done after half an hour.

However, this feature does not replace the need to get servicing done i.e. the filters need to be cleaned manually every month.

  • Air conditioner Modes
  1. Cool mode

The default mode for most air conditioners, ‘cool mode’ cools your room at the temperature and fan speed of your choice. 

  1. Quiet mode

Available in some models, this mode works hand-in-hand with the cool mode. Quiet mode ensures the AC produces minimum possible noise when running on cool mode. This mode is especially useful during night-time or for light sleepers.

  1. Fan mode

If you want the AC to just ventilate the room and not cool it, then fan mode is the ideal mode for you. However, it is one of the least used modes in Indian homes as the ventilation job is already handled quite well by ceiling fans.

  1. Auto mode

In the auto mode it is the air conditioner that automatically selects the temperature and fan speed by detecting the room temperature.

  1. Dry mode

Useful in monsoon or coastal cities like Mumbai, dry mode helps take out the moisture from the air. In this, it acts like a dehumidifier and keeps the room from feeling damp and smelly.

This mode can also be useful if the room air becomes damp due to drying wet clothes in the room.

  1. Heat mode

Air conditioners are called air conditioners because they can both heat and cool the air as required. The purpose of heat mode is to heat up the room air when the temperature has fallen (for example in winter or during night-time).

However, the use of ACs in India is synonymous with air cooling and there is hardly ever any need to use AC for heating the room’s air.

Eco-friendly Refrigerant

Have you wondered why it suddenly starts raining even when it’s not monsoon? or Why the summers are getting hotter and winters seem like mild summers?

And what if I told you your AC could be one of the many culprits responsible for this climate change?

Well, the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘ozone depletion’ are not new to us but they’re never on top of our minds. And why should they be? After all, there’s nothing we can do about it………

Or is there?

Here’s your chance to give back to mother nature. You don’t have to do much, just be a conscious buyer. By being aware of which refrigerant is safe, you can ensure the AC you buy won’t hurt the environment and you.

As explained at the beginning of my buying guide in ‘How does the AC work’, refrigerant is the core of the AC’s cooling circuit. Without the refrigerant there would be no cool air to comfort you after a stressful day.

Refrigerant is a fluid that keeps going from liquid state to gaseous state and back to liquid state again & again. Its job is to absorb heat from the room and throw it outside via the condenser in the external unit. It then comes back to collect another round of heat and the cycle repeats.

Back in the 20th century it was CFCs or ChloroFluoroCarbons— a class of chemicals having chlorine, fluorine and carbon, that were widely used as refrigerants along with HCFCs (HydroChloroFluoroCarbons).

However, when the Chlorine in these classes of refrigerants was found to be responsible for the depletion of the Ozone layer, Montreal protocol was signed by 180 countries to phase out the use of CFCs by 1995 and HCFCs by 2030.

And rightly so, most developed countries and some developing nations have already phased out CFCs including India. The process of phasing out HCFCs is ongoing.

As replacements for the CFCs and HCFCs, the refrigerants from the class of HFCs (HydroFluoroCarbons) and Refrigerant blends are being used. But, even HFCs contribute to global warming, although not Ozone depletion. Hence India has set an ambitious goal of 15 years to phase down the use of HFCs in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foams.

If you’re even slightly familiar with Refrigerants, you will know that they are named with an ‘R’ in the prefix followed by a number which may be followed by a suffix, for example R-410a. But such naming of refrigerants makes it impossible to know which you should go for and which you should reject.

So, I’ve made this simpler for you. There are a few commonly used refrigerants in Air conditioners in India. They are:

  • R-22

Belonging to the family of HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) refrigerants, R-22 was the refrigerant of choice to replace the CFCs. Today, it is one the most widely available refrigerants in the market, which will soon change.

HCFCs were found to be a suitable replacement as they were less harmful than CFCs. But HCFCs (chemical formula- CHClF2) still contain methane or ethane in combination with Chlorine and Fluorine, all of which have significant Global Warming Potential (GWP) and medium Ozone depletion potential (ODP).

R-22— commonly found HCFC refrigerant in India, itself has GWP of 1810. This means the Global Warming Potential of R-22 is 1810 times that of Carbon dioxide. Its Ozone Depletion Potential, on the other hand, is ‘medium’.

R-22 was a good temporary solution to CFCs but its production and use has already been brought under strict limitations and it’s been set to be totally phased out by 2030 along with other HCFCs.

However, older AC models of various brands like LG, Voltas, Godrej, Whirlpool etc. still come with R-22 as the refrigerant in some units. But even these brands have already begun phasing out R-22 gradually and started incorporating the other eco-friendly refrigerants like R-410a and R-32 into their newer models.

Hence, as a conscious buyer, check for the refrigerant name in the specifications. Do not buy Air conditioners that use an HCFC like R-22 as a refrigerant.

  • R-410a

As an alternative for HCFC class of refrigerants, HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) entered the picture and the market in the 21st century. R-410a is a refrigerant from this class and is also a zeotropic mixture (a mixture with components having different boiling points).

Both refrigerants blended to make R-410a (i.e. CH2F2 and CHF2CH3) are free of Chlorine. Hence, R-410a has zero effect on the Ozone layer that protects us from the Sun’s harmful rays.

But its Global Warming Potential is 2088 times that of Carbon dioxide and significantly higher than R-22. Inspite of this R-410a is preferred over R-22 because of its high energy efficiency ratings.

This is why R-410a is a popular refrigerant used in many AC models of brands like Voltas, LG, Samsung, Mitashi, Hitachi, Llyod, BlueStar, Godrej and Whirlpool.

Although HFCs too are set to be phased out in the future, buying an AC with R-410a refrigerant won’t be a problem. This is because the average life span of an AC is 6-10 years while the phase out target is 15 years.

  • R-32

Another refrigerant from the HFC family, R-32, is the trending star refrigerant in the air conditioner sector. The rising popularity of R-32 refrigerant is due to two main reasons— its eco-friendliness and superior performance.

Daikin, one of the first AC brands to offer R-32 refrigerant models, aptly explains the benefits of R-32 over other HFC and HCFC refrigerants. With zero Ozone depletion potential and modified Global Warming Potential of 472, R-32 is one of the eco-friendliest refrigerants out there and its also easy to recycle.

Being a single component refrigerant also contributes to its superior performance in the form of better cooling and energy efficiency. This has made R-32 a favourite among air conditioner manufacturers.

As most AC makers shift towards environment friendly refrigerants, you can find R-32 in newer models of brands like LG, Whirlpool, Mitashi, Llyod, BlueStar and Onida. Daikin, one of the premium category AC brands has completely phased out the use of R-22 refrigerant. Daikin proudly advertises the fact that all its ACs are equipped with R-32 refrigerant unlike other brands.

So, is R-32 the eco-friendliest refrigerant right now? Not exactly.

R-32 is definitely a good choice if you’re looking to buy an eco-friendly AC. However, its slightly high Global Warming Potential (of 675) keeps it from getting the gold medal in the eco-friendly category.

  • R-290

Godrej ACs lead the eco-friendly race by introducing R-290 refrigerant, commonly called propane. Just like R-32, R-290 has zero ozone depleting potential and a very low global warming potential (GWP).

R-290’s GWP is only 3 times greater than the GWP of Carbon dioxide compared to R-32’s GWP of 675. However, this upside of R-290 is dwarfed by a downside— propane (R-290) is highly flammable in nature.

As long as R-290 is used in systems suited to its high flammability, it can be considered to be a refrigerant of choice to replace R-22, R-134a and even R-410a. Godrej has already introduced R-290 AC models in its inverter and non-inverter Split AC range in limited models.

The bottom-line

Out of the four commonly used refrigerants in India, R-22, R-410a, R-32 and R-290 (only in Godrej ACs) are eco-friendly refrigerants in the following order

R-290 > R-32 > R-410a > R-22 (least eco-friendly)

If you’re going to buy an Air conditioner anyways, why not go eco-friendly?

Things to consider before buying an AC (Air conditioner)

  • Room and the spot

The Room

If it’s your first AC then selecting the right room to install the AC becomes important for maximum utility and minimum regret.

For most, bedroom is the room of choice, especially if it’s their first AC. For others looking for a second AC for their home, its usually the living room.

The most important factor in selecting the room to put your AC in is ‘usage’. The use of AC is synonymous with comfort and relaxation hence the AC should be put in a room you’re most comfortable in and the room you spend most of your time in.

If most of your ‘in-house’ hours are spent in the living room, including sleep-time, then the living room is the right room for you to install your AC in.

However, using only the number of hours you spend in a room as the basis for your decision is not enough. Because, you may spend your day in the living room and the kitchen, but you may need the AC only while sleeping, in the bedroom.

In that case, even if you spend less time in the bedroom, usage wins over the time factor. Both split and window ACs are suitable for bedrooms or study-rooms, but its better to get a split AC only in case of the living room.

 The Spot

If you’re going for a window AC, look for a spot in a centrally located window in the room. This will ensure good circulation of the cool air and not create any ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ zones in the room.

However, if you don’t have the liberty to choose the perfect position because of a corner window, fret not. You can make use of the ‘swing’ feature and adjust the AC blades such that they direct the air to where you need it the most.

If its split AC you’ve set your heart on, then choose a spot that’s away from any heavy electronics like Microwave oven, TV, Washing machine or the fridge. Avoid letting any hurdles that could distort the air flow, come in front of the AC, like curtain rods and showpieces.

Another important consideration is the distance of the internal unit from the external one. It is recommended by most manufacturers not to exceed the distance between the internal and external unit, more than 6metres. This ensures smooth operation and optimum performance of the split AC.

Also, try to keep the external unit of the split AC protected from exposure to extreme heat, rains and dust. And make sure it is in an accessible spot to carry out servicing and maintenance work easily.

  • Connections (Installation related considerations)

Window ACs are not very complex to install. They just need two things— a window and an electric point.

There is, however, one point that may demand your attention, i.e. the framework around the window AC. Gaps between the AC unit and the window frame could lead to improper cooling and a higher load on your AC.

Installing Split ACs, on the other hand could demand for complicated pre-installation work, especially if its your first one.

Pre-installation considerations for split AC includes, a three phase electrical supply, a mapped route for the ducting between internal & external unit and an adequate space for the external unit. (However, these may only be applicable if you don’t already own a split AC).

A suitable electrical point will require the services of an electrician and is not as effortful as the other two considerations can be.

The AC duct that carries the refrigerant (to and from the external unit) and condensed water outside your home, is usually not longer than 6 metres in length. Hence the internal and external unit of the split AC can’t be too far from each other.

Also, for aesthetic reasons, its preferable to hide the ductwork inside the walls (like concealed wiring) or to paint over it in the colour of your wall. This may require drilling into walls which is only suitable if you’re renovating the room or repainting it.

If you don’t have that option, then try to find the shortest route for the ducting so that not much will be visible.

For the third consideration, take measurements of the space available in your window (between the window and grill) and compare it with your shortlisted AC’s dimensions of the external unit. The external unit needs a sturdy cement base to stand on which is preferably away from direct heat and rains.

If you don’t have such space outside your window, you will have to get one built with the help of metallic stands or grill brackets that are grilled into the wall from outside. However, accessing the external unit for servicing and maintenance then becomes difficult.

FAQs

  • What is the average life span of an AC (air conditioner)?

If an AC is properly installed, maintained and regularly serviced, it should last for about six to ten years.

  • Which are the best AC (air conditioner) brands in India?

Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Carrier and so on are considered premium AC brands in the Indian market according to a market analysis report by Motilal Oswal. The same report names Voltas, LG, BlueStar, Daikin, Whirlpool, Panasonic and Llyod as the most loved AC brands. LG has the best value inverter ACs to offer while Voltas is a trusted brand among consumers being a Tata brand.

  • Which AC (air conditioner) brand offers the best after-sales service?

Motilal Oswal’s market analysis report states that LG has more than 1000 service centres across India making it a highly reliable brand in terms of after-sales service. Other brands like Voltas, Daikin, Hitachi and BlueStar have 300 to 400 service centres. Lesser players in the AC market like Godrej and so on, offer after-sales service by tying up with third party service providers. Because of this reason the quality of after-sales service of these brands varies from place to place.

  • What is the frequency of AC (air conditioner) servicing required?

The air conditioner’s filters should be cleaned every 15 to 30 days. This can either be done by the consumer himself or by scheduling a dry or wet servicing from the service centre. In case of winter or long periods when the AC has not been in much use, this time interval can be extended to 2-3 months.

  • What energy star rating should you go for?

According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) India, air conditioners are rated in one to five stars based on the India Seasonal Energy Efficiency ratio or ISEER ratings. From a buyer’s perspective, an AC of three star rating and above offers significant energy savings thus helping you save up on your electricity bills.

  • Which air conditioner (AC) is better, inverter AC or non-inverter AC?

In terms of price, inverter ACs are costlier than non-inverter ACs only by a small margin of 2000 to 3000 Rupees. The cost saving benefits of the inverter ACs, however, are much higher in the long run. Unless you’re on a very tight budget, inverters ACs are a better option over non-inverter ACs as they cool better and are also more energy efficient.

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