Over the years, Air Conditioner technology has evolved to ensure smooth use of the appliance. Since the Bureau of Energy Efficiency started analysing and rating Air Conditioners, it is easier to decide which air conditioner would suit your needs better. In the long list of technological innovations, inverter technology is on the rise. These have been designed to reduce power consumption by 20-40%. According to BEE, inverter air-conditioners with 3 star ratings are almost 7% more energy efficient than a BEE 5 star non-inverter air-conditioner. Hence, when buying an air-conditioner ensure you take every aspect into consideration.
Let’s understand how these rating systems work and have an impact on your purchasing decision.
How does an air-conditioner work?
Air-conditioners aren’t coolers that bring down the temperature of the room. In reality, they cool the indoor air by passing it through an evaporator. Along with the evaporator, air –conditioner houses a compressor, which cools the AC with the help of gas. Thus, cooling the room.
Let’s breakdown the process further.
The warm air is sucked in from the grille at the base of the machine. After which, the air pulled in from the room flows to the chiller pipes which has a cooling fluid. This serves a similar function to the freezer in the refrigerator. This mechanism not only cools the air, but also rids the air of any moisture. After which, the air flows through a heating vent that warms the room on a cold winters day (if you switched the heat mode on).
A fan at the front of the AC, releases the air through another grille. If the heating feature is on then, hot air is thrown out and if the cooling feature is on then it cools the room.
If you have noticed, when you stand near the rear end of the AC, you will always feel hot air. This happens as the compressor re-circulates the air and throws out the hot air. However, ACs are major power guzzlers and make your electricity bills skyrocket. In order to reduce costs and electricity bills most companies use inverter technology.
A recommendation - in places like Delhi, Punjab and other northern regions, ACs with the heating feature could be a blessing since, you need not buy an AC and heater separately. However this heating function is available in select AC models only.
Why use inverter technology?
Inverter technology enables your air-conditioner to become more energy efficient as compared to non-inverter air-conditioners. Plus, the extended shelf life of their parts, along with reduced fluctuations in the room-temperature. Inverter air conditioners have an elastic tonnage, so they can cover extra area if the room is not too hot. For instance, a 1 ton air conditioner can cover a range of an additional 0.2 ton depending on the heat in the room.
In a regular air-conditioner, the compressor is either switched on or off. When the thermostat reaches its set temperature, the compressor switches to fan mode. Also, when the thermostat senses a change in temperature, the compressor turns on. This on-off feature pulls in more energy. This is just like your car where the mileage is impacted if there are many on-offs. On the other hand, in inverter air-conditioners, when the compressor needs more power, it pulls more power and when the need the power reduces, it only consumes how much is needed. In inverter technology, the compressor is always on but consumes less power. The speed and the power of the compressor are regulated as needed. However, currently this technology is only being adopted by spilt air-conditioners.
Although an air conditioner with inverter technology regulates itself, buying the right size is important to cool the room effectively. Also, take your budget into consideration and the kind of air conditioner you want, as this determines the model you will need to purchase. For example, if you live an apartment that doesn’t have too much wall space, a split AC would be a better option than a window AC. As the AC vent can be fitted outside the apartment and won’t take any space in the house.
By January 2018, the BEE is proposing to make the new star rating mandatory. This move will ensure that all ACs including inverter ACs will be rated depending on their capability to increase their energy saving features. AC makers have applauded this move and are hoping the inclusion of inverter ACs in the list will boost sales and also give the consumers a better idea of what is available in the market.
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