How To Buy An Air Conditioner - An AC Buying Guide

  • The summer season in the Indian sub-continent is an uncomfortable experience due to scorching heat. But with the help of air conditioners, you can continue your daily routine comfortably even during these scorching summer months, be it study or attending important corporate meetings.

    Air conditioners are truly an inherent part of any household with summers getting hotter. You should always consider your needs and do ample research before finalizing the one you want to purchase.  Sulekha can aid you in this selection. Here, you can find the most trusted ac dealers who will not only provide you with a wide range of air conditioners from top brands but also help you choose the right one according to your requirements and budget. Go through this buying guide to make an informed decision:

    Different types of air conditioners

    1. Portable air-conditioners

    These air conditioners can be moved from room to room and they use the same heat-exchange principles as the built-in models.

    Pros

    • Can be conveniently moved from room to room
    • Can be plugged into any normal power point - no need to call a professional for installation

    Cons

    • Some portable air conditioners are only suitable as personal cooling device rather than room coolers

    2. Window models

    These air conditioners can be installed in a window or on any external wall.

    Pros

    • Can cool a single room efficiently
    • Smaller ac units can be plugged into any existing power point
    • Require less upfront cost as the installation is simple

    Cons

    • Noisy from outside
    • Not suitable for very spacious rooms

    3. Split systems

    These systems are generally used to cool one or more rooms, or an open area. An outdoor compressor unit is installed from where one or two outlets are positioned indoors.

    Pros

    • Offers more flexibility than the window models
    • Can efficiently cool open-plan areas as well
    • Have a quiet operation
    • Attractive and aesthetic designs
    • Excellent distribution of air

    Cons

    • Won't be able to cool more than a couple of rooms
    • More expensive than the window or portable units.
    • Has separate indoor and outdoor units which need to be joined with the help of drilling and permanent fixing.

    4. Ducted air-conditioners

    These units can be installed on the roof or on the ground. The cool air is then ducted through the house with various outlets.

    Pros

    • Can be designed with several zones so you can cool the entire home or some specific areas
    • Energy efficient
    • Offers a choice as to where the noise-generating equipment shall be located

    Cons

    • Must be installed by an expert professional.
    • The air-conditioner must be custom-made according to the house.
    • Doesn't work well in very damp areas
    • More expensive than the split systems and the window systems

    5. Reverse-cycle air-conditioners

    These air conditioners are available in any of the above types. They can be used for both cooling as well as heating.

    Pros

    • One system is for heating and one for cooling
    • Cheapest form of heating system
    • Creates least amount of carbon dioxide

    Cons

    • More expensive as compared to the cooling-only models
    • Features of air conditioners

     Features of air conditioners

    Size / Capacity

    The size of the air conditioner is very important. Before selecting the size, you need to see whether you are cooling a single room, a set of rooms or the entire home or office. If the air conditioner is too small in size, it won't cool the space and you'll waste electricity unnecessarily running it on high all the time. If, on the other hand, you buy an air conditioner that's too large for your cooling requirements, you'll have to switch off the unit regularly when it becomes too cold. Switching it on and off will also waste a lot of energy.

    The Ton of air conditioning specifies the cooling capacity of the air conditioner. The actual capacity of the AC is not fixed and changes based on the outdoor or indoor temperature. Depending on the size of the room, you can decide the capacity of the air conditioner in the following way: 

    Area in square feet

    Tonnage of AC

    Less than 90

    0.8

    90-120

    1.0

    120-180

    1.5

    Greater than 180

    2.0

    • Energy efficiency: Check the energy rating of the ac you are considering. All air conditioners have an energy-rating label which has stars to rate the ac efficiency. The more stars on the label, the better will be the efficiency. Also on the label, you can find an energy consumption box. The lower the number, the less will be the cost to run. If you are going to run the air conditioner for few hours daily, then 3-star rated AC can be good enough but if your AC usage is over eight hours, you will need the costlier but less energy consuming 5-star rated AC.
    • Airflow: The air conditioner circulates cool air around the room evenly instead of one place. The ACs now come with many options in airflow settings and swing as well.
    • Antibacterial filter: An inbuilt filter that eliminates invisible substances like dust mites, bacteria, pollen and other allergens. Overall, it refreshes the room environment.
    • Dust Filter: These mesh filters remove dust mites from the incoming air. For better performance of ac, the users should clean these filters with plain water once a month, depending upon the usage.
    • Dehumidifier: Dehumidification removes excess moisture from the room especially in rainy season, the room covers with high level of moisture, and causes stickiness, creating bacteria growing environment. Dehumidifier removes this excess moisture and provides comfortable feeling.
    • Sensors: Sensors monitor the room temperature. They can be located in the ac unit and also in the remote control unit.
    • Ionisers: Ionisers emit a stream of clean and fresh, negatively charged air. They reduce the airborne odours by creating traces of ozone that re-energize the environment.
    • Room heater: Built-in room heaters in the AC give a cozy feeling in winter. There is no need to purchase and maintain a separate room heater in winter. With just a button press, the air conditioner can start the cooling mode or heating mode.
    • Auto clean function: It prevents formation of mould and bacteria on internal parts which affect the AC cooling functionality and adds to its longevity.
    • Auto detect: AC has the option of storing user-preferred temperature settings in its memory chip and make adjustments in temperature itself to change the temperature or humidity. An advanced technology in air conditioner also detects the number of persons in a room based on their body temperature and adjusts the cooling temperature.
    • AC On from mobile: Usually, an air conditioner takes 10 to 15 minutes to cool up the room. This feature lets you cool your room even before you reach home from your office by sending an SMS to the air conditioner’s selected number. When you reach home, you get cool and refreshing environment without taking any time.
    • Timer: The timer allows you to switch your air conditioner at specific times even when you are not at home.
    • Noise level: Noise level is an important point to consider when buying an AC. An AC with a lot of irritating noise can ruin your sleep.
    • Aesthetics: You can consider the look of the air conditioner. You may choose the one which matches with your walls and blends in with your home decor. 
    • INVERTER BASED TECHNOLOGY: Inverter based air conditioners provide a significant reduction in the power consumption by adjusting compressor's running speed and controlling its voltage and current frequency.
    • REFRIGERANTS: Since energy-efficient and environment-friendly ACs are on rising, the trend is shifting from R-22 refrigerants to others like R-410a, R-290, etc. with use of microchannel PFC.
    • VOLTAGE STABILIZER FOR AC: These are related to the starting voltage of the stabilizer and can be used as an indication of the voltage stabilizer to be used: 

    Capacity of AC(Ton)

    Stabilizer (KVA)

    0.5 to 0.8 Ton

    2 KVA

    1.0 to 1.2 Ton

    3 KVA

    1.2 to 1.6 Ton

    4 KVA

    2.0 to 2.5 Ton

    5 KVA

    3 Ton

    6 KVA

    Major Brands

    • Voltas: Voltas comes with all-weather utility that heats in winter and cools in summers, therefore have an all year-round utility.
    • LG: LG has an inverter V range of air conditioners which boast BDLC compressor technology and skew fan design, giving a low noise level of 19 db. The LG inverter compressor is very fast, energy efficient and more powerful than the conventional ACs.
    • Samsung: Samsung gives clean and uninterrupted cool breeze with its special cutting-edge technology, stabilizer free operations and UTR plus compressor. They only make split ACs.
    • Bluestar: Bluestar offers inverter based ACs with R-410A refrigerant. They also have energy efficient scroll compressor in their new AC systems.
    • Daikin: Daikin has patented streamer discharge technology and VRV technology along with inverter technology.
    • Onida: Onida has a range of Multiflow ACs having 4-way airflow technology and multipoint refrigerant injection technology to provide uniform and powerful cooling.
    • Hitachi: Hitachi offers some of the most energy efficient air conditioners. They come with various features like anti-bacterial koukin filter and auto climate technology. 
    • Haier: Haier ACs are known for their excellent cooling, superior performance, longevity and low energy consumption
    • O General: Bureau of Energy Efficiency has honoured O General with five stars for its energy saving features. The ACs ensure excellent cooling service on a consistent basis.

    Top 5 Air Conditioners in India

    Daikin Inverter AC (JTKG60)

    When it comes to air conditioners, Daikin is considered to be the most trusted brands. If you have a large room and you are looking for a good air conditioner which can cool it easily then this is a good option. This ac is 1.8 TR and comes with R32 refrigerant type, which is better than the R22 type. The air conditioner comes with airflow technology in which the air does not fall on you directly, but it is steered upwards for a cozy ambience. The AC has very low noise level and there is an intelligent eye that uses an infrared sensor for the temperature and controls the settings accordingly. If there is no human movement then it adjusts the temperature by up to 2-degree that conserves energy. There is streamer discharge feature in the ac that removes unpleasant smell and microbes from the room. 

    Other than this, the AC comes with a power chill operation. It can run on an inverter, and comes with a BEE 5 star rating. The ac comes with a price tag of Rs. 66, 900, that makes it one of the best options available in the market. 

    LG Inverter Split AC (JS-Q18ZUZD)

    This AC comes with many unique features. It features a dual inverter compressor having a varied speed rotary motor that saves energy and also provides faster cooling. It has 100 percent copper with special black protection applied to both indoor and outdoor units to prevent the entry of sand, salt, industrial smoke and pollutants. The ac comes with LG Smart ThinQ platform, through which users can easily control the AC function. It also comes loaded with Mosquito Away technology, which sends ultrasonic waves that mosquitos are unable to stand. The AC comes equipped with eco-friendly R-401A refrigerant gas, which is considered to be a good standard for cooling. It also features anti-bacterial and 3M micro protection filters along with Himalaya Cool technology and Monsoon comfort feature. The AC comes with a 5 star rating and has an ISEER vale of 4.73. With a price tag of Rs 63,490, this ac can be considered as a good option.

    Samsung Inverter Split AC (AR18NV5HLTR)

    This AC from Samsung comes with Triple Protector Plus technology that prevents overloads without any separate voltage stabiliser, has an anti-corrosive coating and can tolerate extreme heat. There is also an auto clean mode in the ac that automatically runs the fan even after the ac is turned off, keeping everything dry and odour-free, thus, preventing germs from spreading. The AC also features a dehumidification feature that removes excess moisture from the environment. It consumes very low power to give high cooling output. Priced at Rs 42,999, the AC includes many other features as antibacterial coating, turbo cooling mode, BEE 5 Star Rating and environment friendly R401-A refrigerant type, making it a great option.

    Voltas Window AC (185DZA)

    Although split air conditioners have become a trend these days, windows ACs are here to stay. From a wide range of options, the window AC from the house of Voltas has something interesting to offer. It has a capacity of 1.5 tonne, which is more than sufficient for a normal room. It has a cooling capacity of 5100 W and features R22 refrigerant type, which you can find in most of the air conditioners nowadays. This AC has the potential to cool up to 50-degree Celsius. The unit comes with fresh air ventilation and an easily removable panel that is coupled with dust filter so that you get clean air for your room. The device also comes with turbo mode, auto swing, a large LED display, timer as well as sleep mode, which gives you enough options to choose from. It has a large LED display, which is a welcome move. The window AC has a star rating of 5, which makes it energy efficient and has a low sound level of 54dB. With a price tag of Rs 27,850, it is one of the cheapest window ACs available in the market. 

    Hitachi Window AC (RAW511KUD)

    For those who don’t want a split AC and are looking for a good Window AC, then this BEE 5 star rated AC from Hitachi is a good option for you. The unit comes with a 1 TR capacity, which is enough for a small room. It boasts a cooling capacity of 3500 W and has different modes including Powerful Mode, Auto Power Save Mode, Dry Mode, etc. The Koukin Filter in the AC prevents bacterial growth within the unit. It comes with an indicator which shows when this filter should be cleaned. There is a memory back up feature which auto-restarts with your previous settings in case of power failures. Other than this there is an on/off timer with advanced start-up, LCD wireless remote controller, selectable fan speeds, low noise level of 50 dB and extra heat exchanger. With a price tag of Rs 25,999, this window ac can be considered as a good option.

    Service and Maintenance of air conditioners

    Air conditioners require yearly service to maintain proper performance. With regular service and maintenance, your air conditioning equipment will work more economically and be more dependable for many years to come. With some easy and routine procedures, you can keep your AC unit at peak performance and get the maximum amount of comfort.

    A trained ac technician can inspect your heating and/or cooling system by performing a full inspection and cleaning of the parts, including:

    Thermostat – To ensure that the thermostat is working properly, the technician calibrates the thermostat and makes sure that it is installed properly. It should be located away from the heat sources, such as light bulbs and other heat-producing appliances.

    Check/Tighten Electrical Connections – Technicians inspect the electrical connections to ensure that they are operating safely. This can help in improving the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems.

    Lubricate Moving Parts – This ensures that no unnecessary damage is caused to the moving parts due to friction. Lack of lubrication can cause the components of the system to break down quickly, requiring frequent repairs and/or replacements.

    Check and Clear Condensate Drain Line – Clearing your air conditioner condensate line will ensure that your ac can properly drain the liquid condensate. If your drain line gets clogged, this can cause water leakage and other moisture problems. With condensate drain cleanings, you can get rid of any moulds and bacteria around the drain line. Your ac technician will also check any cracked condensate drain pipe and repair or replace any leaking condensate drain lines that you may have.

    Check System Controls – This ensures proper cycling and safe operation for your AC system. It’s important to check if your system is starting, operating, and shutting off properly.

    Change or Clean Change Air Filter – This makes sure that you have a working and well-maintained air filter which is suitable for your existing AC unit. Although you can clean your filter yourself, your AC service contractor might point out a better air filter or filtration system that you should be using.

    With regular maintenance and service, your air conditioning unit will keep up to 96 percent of its cooling efficiency. Also, an ac unit working at its full capacity will keep your home or workplace more comfortable by controlling humidity and maximizing the cooling.

    There are a variety of ACs that can be installed and the list is endless. Some of the popular places where ACs are installed are homes and offices. From VRF/VRV ACs to Central ACs, you can also buy and sell with the best AC dealers in town.


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