Rising temperatures, low prices, improved efficiency are making window air conditioners a very attractive proposition. Of course, the manufacturers also realize this and so have bombarded you with dozens of models to pick from. Clearly you're spoilt for choices. Hopefully, this guide will help you make an informed choice.
Before you get into the brand or company you want to buy an AC from, you need to have figured out basics like how much cooling you will want (capacity), how much you are willing to invest on this (budget) and what else you would like your AC to have (additional features - remote control, display, etc).
Most air conditioners are rated in BTU per hour (British Thermal Unit) or by tonnage. One ton is equal to 12,000 BTU per hour. The cooling capacity that you need would depends on a number of factors like number of people in the room, number of appliances in the room, etc. The average ambient temperature of your area during the year: Higher the average temperature of the outside air, the more will be the cooling capacity required. If you live in a cities which have scorching hot summers, you will need an AC with higher cooling capacity.
The cooling capacity required is proportional to the area of the room you wish to cool. A bigger room will naturally require a higher ton AC as compared to a smaller room. Also if you have a bigger family, five or more people and everyone will crowd into one room, then the capacity will have to be higher even though the room may be small. Also, your capacity will need to be higher if any of your walls gets a direct blast of sunlight, so as to negate the heat from the sun. The hottest room in your house is your kitchen, so if the AC room is next to the kitchen then a higher cooling capacity is advisable.
A one ton window AC starts from as low as Rs 9,700 and can go up to Rs 31,490. You may already have a budget in mind as to how much you would like to spend. Window Air Conditioners range from Rs 9,700 to Rs 31,490. The cooling capacity and features affect the price.
TYPE OF COMPRESSORS
There are two important components of the window AC - the compressor and the Fan motor. The Compressor consumes 90 percent of the electricity whereas the fan motor consumption is only 10 percent. The compressor is backbone of the air conditioner as this is the component that causes cooling. It compresses the gas causing it to become hot, which is then condensed into a liquid through a set of coils. This cools the air around it. There are two types of compressors used in window ACs - reciprocating and rotary.
It compresses the air by sliding the piston over the cylinder. Air conditioners fitted with a reciprocating compressor are generally less expensive but are not as efficient and silent as the ACs with the rotary compressor.
This compresses air by centrifugal action of high-speed impeller in a confined space. This method reduces the loss in pressure of the refrigerator gas. Rotary compressors are more efficient and silent. Buying an energy efficient compressor will save on your electric bills in the long run.
The rotary compressor is expensive as compared to a reciprocating compressor, however, it makes up for that cost by saving more on power as compared to a reciprocating compressor.
Energy efficiency ratio (EER)
Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner as compared to the power it consumes. It is the ratio of the cooling capacity in BTU/hr to its electricity consumption in watts. Models with a higher EER save on your electricity bills but are priced a little higher than ones with lower EER. An EER of nine and above is considered good.
BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency also comes out with Star Ratings for ACs. A higher rating means less power consumption and more savings. The higher star ratings cost higher to the pocket while purchasing those ACs compared to a lower rated one.
A filter purifies the air that goes through the air conditioner. There are different types of filters that remove dust, germs, bacteria, odour, etc. Deodorising filters remove dust particles and dirt; anti-fungal filters clean the air and remove germs and bacteria thus reducing respiratory problems. The Electrostatic filter releases positive ions, which ionise the negative ions of dust and static electricity giving you a clean, dust free environment. Slide-in and Slide-out filters allow easy maintenance as they can be removed for cleaning without opening or dismantling the entire machine. If you smoke or live in an air-polluted area that is prone to dust, this would be an important feature to consider.
Anti corrosion body
The body and framework of air conditioners is prone to corrosion especially as one part of it is outside and is exposed to rain, moisture, dust, etc. However, if the exterior is made of galvanised steel or is powder coated it helps in protecting the unit from corrosion and extends the life of the body.
If there is a power failure or if the air conditioner has been disconnected, you may have to reset and programme all the cooling functions and features that you originally had. An air conditioner with the auto restart facility starts automatically and restores the original settings when the power is restored. This feature is beneficial in areas where power supply is irregular.
Don't need to go into why this is useful but it becomes a must-have if your AC is placed at a height. Of course, most of us cannot imagine an appliance without a remote control, as it would mean having to get up each time to change settings.
The timer lets you to set the air conditioner to begin cooling at any time, whether you are home or not. It is also helpful to shut off during the middle of the night when it gets very cold. Sensors which can monitior room temperature can be located in the remote control unit.
Air conditioners with rotary compressors generally make less noise than a reciprocating compressor. The noise level in a window AC ranges fro 40 to 60 db. The lower the better, however, higher the capacity of the air-conditioner, more the decibels.
The AC should be stable when being installed and has to be tightly sealed in order to keep its cooling effect inside; thermocoal can be used to fill the gap in window if any.
The AC should not be under direct sun else the efficieny might suffer.
The filters and the coils should be kept clean and replaced in the indicated periods.
You should take care to narrow down on the appropriate window ac by looking at the product design, quality and its performance. Also, consider the installation cost, running costs like power and maintenance while buying your AC.
You can check the price and feature comparison and Window AC brands websites listed above for an idea of the price and features of various Window ACs available.