Inverter ACs cool better, last longer, and are quieter than normal, non-inverter ones. Although their price is higher, inverter ACs save you money in the long run by consuming less energy. Keep reading to find out whether these differences really matter or not.
When comparing inverter ACs and normal ACs, what do you think is the best mode of action? I could only come up with one— first-hand experience.
Comparing both ACs became easier as my family already had a non-inverter split AC in the bedroom. And we had recently bought an inverter split AC for the living room. After a month of experiencing both ACs (in the heat of May), I found myself spending more time in the living room.
Want to know what other factors I noticed? Well, just scroll below.
Comparing inverter and normal AC
After using both types of ACs this summer, I can confidently tell you what life will be like with either of the 2 types of Air conditioners.
Both inverter and normal ACs look the same from outside, except for the ‘inverter’ tag on the AC’s body.
Technically, the difference between inverter and normal AC is only that the former uses inverter compressor while normal AC uses non-inverter compressor. But in terms of performance, the difference is significant!
Cooling Performance of a normal (non-inverter) AC
When using the non-inverter AC in my bedroom, I always kept the remote beside me. This is because the room either turned too cold or hot and I had to frequently change the temperature to be at ease.
Non-inverter ACs use a compressor that turns ‘on’ and ‘off’ many times to cool the room. Every time it turns on and starts cooling the air, the room can get ‘too cold’. When it turns off, you feel pleasant for a while and then it gets ‘less cool’ and uncomfortable.
Cooling Performance of an inverter AC
Inverter AC doesn’t have the above problem at all! Once you turn on the AC, the inverter compressor also turns on. It switches off only when you turn the AC off.
An Inverter compressor’s speed depends on the workload. It can change its speed by detecting how hot or cool the air is.
For example, the inverter compressor runs at full speed when the AC is turned on, so as to quickly cool the room. Then it runs at different or a lower speed to maintain the set temperature.
This is why an inverter AC is able superior to normal one in case of uniform cooling. Its ‘variable speed’ compressor doesn’t let the room get too hot or cold. What you get, is thus a comfortably cool temperature which remains that way till you change the settings.
Noise output of a normal AC
Every time the compressor of a non-inverter AC turns on or off it creates a motor-like sound. Now, you may not notice this sound during the day (as there’s already a lot of noise coming from outside).
But in the quiet of the night, you may end up waking up if you’re a light sleeper.
However, the ‘noise’ factor may not be as important for every user. So, consider this only if you’re sensitive to noise or prefer a silent atmosphere.
Noise output of an inverter AC
Inverter ACs use a ‘variable speed’ compressor. That means, once the compressor switches ‘on’ it stops only when you turn off the AC.
As there is no repeated starting and stopping of compressor involved, Inverter ACs have the lowest noise output. In fact, even if the AC is right outside the window near your bed (or a spot you frequently use), you won’t hear the compressor working hard to cool your room, outside.
At most you might hear a slight whirring noise (which comes from the fan not the compressor) if you’re sitting too close the window containing the AC’s external unit.
Normal or non-inverter ACs use a ‘fixed speed’ inverter that turns ‘on’ and ‘off’ multiple times when the AC is on. If your daily AC usage runs into hours then the compressor has to turn on and off all the more to cool the room.
Usually this shouldn’t be a problem. The compressor of a normal AC is expected to work well even with heavy use. But sudden voltage fluctuations, external environment and rough use can cause the compressor to breakdown early.
Although compressors are covered by a 5 to 10 year warranty period, getting a replacement can be a hassle. Also, the numerous ‘starts’ keep the non-inverter compressor from being an energy efficient AC when compared to an inverter one.
In contrast, Inverter compressors once on, only stop after the AC is turned off. They also run at different speeds by detecting the temperature thus consuming less electricity, overall.
Both points make the inverter compressor more durable and energy efficient when compared to a normal AC.
With so many benefits lined up, its obvious that inverter ACs cost more than normal ones. The most basic inverter ACs start from 25000 Rupees whereas normal ones start from 20000 Rupees.
Inverter ACs are only a few thousand Rupees dearer than non-inverter ones. But their benefits are far greater. Unless you’re on a tight budget, you should really consider buying an inverter AC to get your money’s worth.
Understanding Inverter AC technology
Before beginning to understand the difference between inverter and normal (non-inverter) ACs, let me clear a common misunderstanding— ‘inverter AC’ DOES NOT mean that the AC will work when there’s no electricity.
‘Inverter’ technology has connection to the ‘compressor’, which is an important part of the AC unit. An Air conditioner’s compressor is a small cylinder-like component, located in the external unit of a split AC or the outer part of a window AC.
The compressor’s job is to compress the ‘coolant’ or ‘refrigerant’ that carries the heat from inside the room to outside.
The coolant picks up heat from within the room and travels through different parts of the AC. As it travels, the coolant releases the heat outside, and comes back to its starting position (to pick up the next batch of hot air from the room).
Compressor is one such station the coolant goes through. 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 next stop— condenser coil.
A normal, non-inverter compressor operates only in two modes— ON and OFF. Every time the hot coolant gas comes in to get compressed, the compressor turns ‘On’. After it does its job, the compressor turns ‘Off’.
So, if you use a non-inverter AC for an hour, the compressor will turn on and off multiple times during that time. On the other hand, an inverter compressor 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 use 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 speed at your comfort level. This is how an inverter AC works. It can control the flow rate of the coolant thereby giving a more consistent cooling.
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.
The non-inverter AC’s compressor turns off on reaching the desired temperature and starts only after the temperature rises significantly.
In contrast, inverter compressors are more sensitive to temperature changes in the room and thus better at quick response to these changes. This makes inverter ACs efficient, at power saving and uniform cooling for longer periods of time.