Currently, the market is filled with various air conditioners of different types. As such, buying one can prove to be extremely difficult. Merely choosing an office aircon or home aircon with popular features isn’t enough since you also need to consider many other factors and terms. Thus, here are some important things you should know when purchasing an aircon.
Basic Aircon Concepts Which You Should Know
Before canvassing for well-functioning aircon units, it’s vital to first understand some basic aircon-related concepts. This will help guide you not only in searching for an aircon, but also in ensuring that it fulfills your standards and needs.
- British Thermal Unit (BTU) Rating
- BTUs are essential in estimating the cooling capacity of an aircon. Moreover, it measures the amount of heat which your aircon unit can dissipate in an hour. The higher the BTU of your aircon, the more powerful its cooling capacity. This means that if you intend to air-condition a wide room or area, you’ll need an aircon unit with a high BTU level.If your aircon’s cooling capacity doesn’t appear to function properly, you may be in need of aircon not cold servicing.
- Energy Efficiency Rating (EER)
- EER refers to the BTU amount your aircon produces using just 1 watt of energy per hour (10 being the minimum legal amount in Singapore). Having a higher EER level means more energy savings over the long term, but also a greater initial cost. A high EER is more likely to benefit those who use an aircon every night as opposed to those who only use it a few times per week. See our tips for aircon energy savings in case you want to ensure a high EER as much as possible.
- The refrigerant refers to the working fluid for the aircon. This component is tasked to facilitate heat removal by way of changing gas to liquid and then back into gas. There are two types of refrigerants which are popularly used in Singapore: R22 and R410A. Among the two, R410A is more commonly used since it is more nature-friendly and efficient.Refrigerants tend to leak once they become damaged. Should you happen to experience this problem, immediately seek the help of our aircon leaking water services.
- An inverter aircon type (such as those from the Daikin iSmile Series) is one of the most preferred options in Singapore and consists of a speed compressor. What this essentially means is that the aircon’s speed is lowered once it reaches the desired temperature. Moreover, this aircon type enables you to gain at least 30 to 50 percent in energy savings as compared to non-inverter types.
- Indoor Unit or Fan Coil Unit (FCU)
- This type of aircon unit is one that is most commonly used indoors. If you wish to have one installed, contact professional aircon installation services.
- Outdoor Condensing Unit (CDU)
- A CDU is a rectangular-shaped aircon unit which is installed outdoors and is often confused for the compressor.
- This acts as the aircon unit’s primary component and can be located within the outdoor unit.
- Single Split (System 1)
- A Single Split (System 1) type of air conditioner (such as Mitsubishi Electric’s MUY-GN10VA / MSY-GN10VA model) consists of both an indoor and outdoor unit connected to each other.
- Multi-Splits (System 2, 3, or 4)
- This type of air conditioner consists of one outdoor unit connected to a certain number of indoor units. For example, a System 3 aircon includes an outdoor unit connected to two indoor units.
Different Types of Aircons
Although multi-split aircons are more common in Singapore households, many other types of aircons are also used in other areas and include the following:
- Casement Aircon (Room Air Conditioner)
- This type of aircon unit usually lasts for only 10 to 15 years. Nonetheless, it is still highly popular since no further piping is required during the aircon installation process, thereby making it extremely affordable.
- Portable Aircon
- Having a portable aircon is a highly suitable choice for those who are either attempting to save or are residing on rental property. Not only is this aircon type easy to install, but it is portable as well. That said, it also has some disadvantages such as a weaker cooling capacity and its bulky size which can make it difficult to move.
- Inverter Split System
- This type of aircon is also known as a single split aircon or System 1 and can be set up near a window unlike a casement aircon. Because this aircon consists of both an outdoor unit and indoor unit, it is best to have a professional install it for you.
- Inverter Multi-Split System
- This aircon is considered to be the most cost-efficient out of all the aircon types discussed. It consists of one outdoor unit which can simultaneously connect to up to four indoor units including systems 2, 3, 4, and even 5. This specific type of aircon requires a professional aircon installation which may be somewhat expensive. Nevertheless, it should ensure that your aircon doesn’t need much maintenance over the long term.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing An Aircon
Now that you’re aware of the basic aircon-related concepts and aircon types, it’s now time to explore some vital factors which you need to keep in mind when purchasing aircon products.
- Room Quantity
- Single room: If it’s your intention to air-condition only one room, then a casement aircon or portable aircon might be your best option.
- Multiple rooms: If your plan is to air-condition two or more rooms, then it would be best to opt for an inverter multi-split aircon. Installing this type of aircon may be more difficult so make sure to call professional aircon services for assistance.
- Room/Area Size
- As stated earlier, the cooling capacity for an aircon is dependent on its BTU rating. In order to determine how much BTUs are required for a specific room, simply multiply the room’s total square feet by 35. For example, a typical HBD flat bedroom in Singapore usually requires about 9,000 BTU in cooling capacity. To calculate your own room’s BTU rating, use the following chart as a basis:
- How Much Space You Have
- Though knowing how much space you want to air-condition is vital, it is also important to know whether you possess enough space to house the unit. Often, an inverter aircon is more preferable in case of limited space as opposed to a heavier unit such as a casement aircon.
- Level of Noise Produced
- If you intend to use your aircon mostly in the evening, then it would be best to purchase an inverter aircon such as a Mitsubishi Electric MUY-GN10VA / MSY-GN10VA model. This is because it only produces 19dB, thereby making it extremely quiet even while operating.
- Energy Label
- Besides being aware of what an EER is, it is important to familiarize yourself with the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Energy Label. This label uses a Tick-Rating System where 1-tick means “least energy efficient” and 5-tick means “most energy efficient”. This means that the higher the ticks an aircon has, the less power it uses to operate. At the same time, less greenhouse gases are emitted thereby ensuring more energy savings and lower electric bills. One example of an aircon with a 5-tick rating is a Panasonic CU-3XS27UKZ / CS-MXS9UKZ X3.To know more about how to read an NEA Energy Label, see the following illustration from the NEA’s official site:
Choosing Additional Features to Suit Your Needs
With so many aircon brands and models existing in the market, you can easily choose aircon products with enhanced features which are suitable to your needs. These features include the following:
- Programme Timer
- This feature allows you to power on your aircon about half an hour before you get home as well as turn it off while you’re asleep. Some programme timers even include sleep/energy saver settings.
- Slide-out Filter
- Having an aircon with a slide-out filter can prove highly convenient since it would make your unit easier to clean.
- Dirty Filter Indicator
- This feature ensures that you’re alerted in case your filters are in need of cleaning.
- Air Purifying Function
- Certain aircon models consist of an air purifying feature which can lessen microscopic bacteria and dust being produced from within your aircon. If you wish to purchase an aircon with this feature, consider buying a Mitsubishi Electric Starmex model.
- Motion-detector Sensors
- Most modern aircon models include motion-detector sensors which can adjust power consumption based on the amount of room movement. For an aircon with this feature, consider a Panasonic INVERTER XS model which uses ECONAVI technology for its intelligent eco sensors.
- Forgetting to turn off the aircon before leaving the house is a common occurrence. But with wifi-enabled aircons, you can now ensure that this doesn’t happen by controlling your aircon from outside through your smartphone.
Now that you have better awareness of what factors are vital when purchasing an aircon, you can now start canvassing for a model suitable to your needs. However, in case you experience difficulty in determining when it requires maintenance, don’t hesitate to read our guide on when your aircon needs servicing.
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This article is reproduced from DW Aircon Singapore.