Whoever was interested in getting an air conditioner for the summer, surely, already did it and was informed of which would be the most suitable for their needs.
Of course, there are cases in which everything is left for the last moment or is performed on impulse after the first week of suffocating heat.
Summer is the time when we remember the air conditioning. The air conditioning is an excellent ally of well-being in interior spaces.
For this to happen, when buying an AC, it is necessary to take into account a series of factors so that the choice is appropriate.
Things you need to know before buying an Air Conditioner (AC)
Below we share a selection of tips you should keep in mind that we hope will be useful if you are thinking of purchasing an air conditioner.
On the one hand, it is necessary to take into account the climate of the area in which you live. For example, a wet city will require a different type of air conditioner than that needed in drier latitudes.
On the other hand (super fundamental aspect!) It is necessary to know what capacity is needed for each cubic meter of the environment in which it will be installed. The general calculation establishes about 50 BTU per cubic meter.
Making the account in square meters can be misleading since not all environments have the same height, variable that will modify the performance of the equipment.
Of course, for this, you can ask the technician who will install the air conditioner before the purchase to make a visit to the environment and perform the calculation.
As we have said, requesting the help of a specialist before buying an AC is a brilliant decision, since the simple calculation is sometimes not enough to reach a successful conclusion.
He will know how to contemplate other important factors to know what kind of AC you should buy. Factors such as the impact of sunlight on the environment, the volume of artificial lighting, the number of people that inhabit the space, the thickness of the walls, the type and number of windows and doors, etc.
On the other hand, specialists advise that if it is desired to refrigerate different environments, the most advisable thing is to install air conditioners in each room and not a monumental one in a central position.
BTUs Needed by an AC
A frigoria is a unit of measurement of the cold, symbol fg, which is equivalent to the amount of energy necessary to reduce the temperature of 1g of water by 1ºC.
To find out how many frigorias you need, know how many m² the room or rooms where the device is to be installed.
Once we know the m², we must apply a simple rule that consists of multiplying by 100 the m² that the room has. We will obtain the approximate result of the frigorias that are necessary to obtain a comfortable solution.
Although it is obvious, it never hurts to say it. The installation of an air conditioning must be carried out by a specialist technician.
It is always advisable to approach installation companies that are recognized and have registered technicians.
Opt for the most energy-efficient equipment within your pocket. In general, the most efficient air conditioning equipment (rating A on your energy label) is somewhat more expensive. Still, that extra money in the initial outlay will compensate you in the electricity bills during the useful life of the appliance.
In fact, according to experts, the price difference between high and low energy efficiency AC has decreased, and sometimes the most efficient models are not more expensive than those that are not.
With precise data well written down in a notebook, it is always advisable to buy the air conditioner from a trustworthy store, in which you know that you have good advice about the differences between the brands, in addition to a good warranty.
Sometimes paying a little more money, you can avoid several headaches! As for the air conditioner itself, it is good to choose those that have a known origin, verify that they use ecological gases, and contemplate their efficiency levels, written on a label on the front of the product.
Power Consumption of AC
An air conditioner will consume depending on your needs because, when it reaches the set temperature, it switches off automatically.
Buying a more powerful AC does not mean that the spending on consumption will be higher, but that it will reach the temperature you want before.
The power of the air conditioner is determined by the square meters of the room.
This classification refers to the efficiency of the device; that is, it classifies the machines according to their greater or lesser consumption. The order in terms of energy classification is specified in the following image:
Right Time to Buy an AC
If it is possible and it is not an emergency, it is good to buy the air conditioning during the winter. On the one hand, you will see that in the winter the prices will be lower compared to the summer.
On the other hand, it will be easier to get a technician, since during the summer period their agendas are really loaded.
With time and tranquility, the work will be more efficient than when you should finish your work and run to another site.
Type of Air Conditioner to Buy
First, it should be noted that, despite what most people think, there are many types of air conditioners available.
- Window AC
- Wall or Split Type AC
- Portable AC
- Floor/Ceiling Console Air Conditioning
- Central Air Conditioning etc.
A few years ago, the window ACs were the predominant ones in the domestic market, but now what commands are the split or wall systems, which consist of one or more indoor units and an outdoor unit where the compressor is located.
The window air conditioner is formed by a square frame that integrates all the necessary elements. Therefore, to install it, a hole must be made in the façade enclosure, so that the device is between the inside and the outside.
The part that remains outside is where the compressor is housed.
As advantages, we can point out the ease of installation and the low cost of maintenance, but, on the contrary, they are generally noisier than the wall units, and have higher electrical consumption.
Finally, there are neighboring communities that do not allow their installation because it deteriorates the visual aspect of the facade.
Wall or Split Type AC
The wall or split AC is in most demands these days. The fundamental reason is that the unit that contains the compressor of the building is on the outside and can be placed in any area that does not damage the aesthetics of the facade as much as those of the window.
Also, they are much quieter than window ACs. At first, this may seem like it’s not important, but, in the long run, a team that does not cause headaches is welcome.
Finally and as arguments against is the cost of this system, since the installation and the price of the ACs are somewhat higher than in the wall.
Another point to emphasize in this type of AC is that it is only necessary to practice a small drill to connect the split and the outdoor unit with electrical power and with the coolant ducts.
Floor/Ceiling Console Air Conditioning
The disadvantage of this AC is that it considerably increases the associated installation costs due, fundamentally, to its volume and weight.
In addition, it must be flush with the ceiling, so it is sometimes necessary to install a false ceiling so that the unit is perfectly integrated.
On the other hand, due to the weight of the AC, it is sometimes necessary to perform a calculation to estimate if the floor is capable of resisting said load.
Central Air Conditioning
The central air conditioners are air conditioners that use compact or split type AC and also fan coils.
The complexity of the installation is much higher because the air conditioning is distributed through ducts that guide the air conditioning throughout the house.
Therefore, the installation cost is very high, but it increases the added value of the home, and, aesthetically, it is better since the splits disappear from view.
In principle, the necessary characteristics to be demanded of an air conditioning equipment are a thermostat, regulation of the airflow, control of the speed of the diffuser grilles and an energy efficiency system that stops the fan when the AC is not cooling.
On the other hand, it must be demanded that the filters are easily accessible so that they can be cleaned regularly by the user. However, this need for maintenance is tending to disappear with the addition of electrostatic filters.
Noise is a factor to be taken into account since nobody likes the device to disturb you and your family.
Between 20 and 25 decibels (dB) would be the interval that I would determine to have a device that does not disturb the moments of maximum silence.
The outdoor units or compressors are usually noisy, so it is recommended to keep them away from windows and rooms.
AC Types According to the Technology
Non-Inverter AC (Air Conditioner)
In no-inverter ACs, the compressor starts working at 100% to reach a set temperature. Once obtained, it keeps it starting and stopping, which generates peaks of consumption and excess of heat or cold.
Its use is recommended for rooms where we do not usually turn on the machine, because being more economical than the inverter system, the difference in machine consumption may be insignificant in terms of economy.
Inverter AC (Air Conditioner)
It is recommended that you go with inverter AC since it works much better and maximizes its performance. Basically, it focuses on keeping the refrigeration constant, thus saving consumption and avoiding drastic temperature changes.
The compressor is ready to work at a higher capacity (up to 120%) at startup so that the desired temperature is reached before.
Inverter technology allows to always maintain the stable temperature, without peaks, and achieve a more efficient consumption (less expense).
The inverter ACs consume less electricity than the non-inverter air conditioning machines, are more eco-friendly, are less noisy, and have variable power peaks. This allows them to have a more powerful start as well as to reduce power utilization when It is no longer necessary.
Take into account the EER
The EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio is used to measure the efficiency of a specific unit of air conditioning. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency and the lower the cost of operating the device.
Small units currently have an EER of 11, while the most efficient units usually have an EER of 13. Do not worry if your unit does not reach the maximum value mentioned.
Air Conditioner’s Capacity
The power of the AC that we must install is determined based on a series of parameters that, in general, are: the size of the house, number of electrical devices, occupation of the house, level of isolation of the house, the orientation of the house, number and size of windows.
The capacity of an air conditioning system is measured in BTUs/h (British Thermal Units per hour). A greater number indicates a greater power.
For a room of about 40 square meters would be enough with 5000 BTU/h, while for a room of 300 square meters would require about 19,000 BTU/h, a really high value.
However, as said before, the size of the room is not the only factor that contributes to the calculation of capacity, other elements must also be taken into account, and that are important:
- The number and size of the windows
- The orientation of the room to be cooled
- The amount of light that enters the room
- The level of insulation with respect to cold or heat
- How many people use the room habitually
- The number of computers or electrical appliances, if any
Sellers usually have small sheets indicating the necessary capacity based on a few small factors, but in most cases, they are not very suitable.
The best thing is for the installer to make an exact study of where the machine is going to be placed. It is vital to choose the correct capacity.
A small unit will not have enough power to cool the room on a hot day, and a large unit will cool the room too quickly and raise the humidity in the place.
Maintenance of Air Conditioner
Your air conditioner should be easy to clean. The area of the filters, especially, should be washed with soap and water every few months.
If it is not done, bacteria and particles will accumulate that reduce efficiency and can cause bad odors. It is important to ask the seller how to remove those filters and see if it can be done quickly or not.
Cost of Maintenance
In most places, when you go to buy an air conditioner, they indicate a kilowatt-hour cost that is not usually true. There are guides that estimate the expenditure of the device according to different parameters.
You usually enter the cost of electricity in your place of residence and the EER of the appliance. Print the result and take it to the store when buying your air conditioner.
Air Conditioner Brand
Buying a device with less EER and cheaper is usually not a very advantageous option.
Do not trust the offers and always look for a brand of trust and quality. Of course, common sense is the best rule to apply although there are some basic guidelines:
- Check different prices and opinions on the internet
- Compare between different models from different brands
- Check the manufacturer’s website and check the EER and BTU/h values
- Ensure the existence of a technical service network
Many modern air conditioners can include exciting options, in addition to the usual ones. For example, some also serve as heaters or dehumidifiers.
Some even include features such as Wi-Fi control and integration in home automation systems. Of course, all these supplemental features will increase the final price.
Therefore, we recommend you look at features you’re really going to use. It is useless to purchase an expensive high-end product that you won’t use some of its functions in the long run.
Once in the store, you should ask about things like noise, cleaning, inverter technology, and any additional features.
Knowing all that, you can start choosing according to the price. When you have it installed at home, remember that you should not put it to the least temperature. The ideal is between 24 and 26 degrees.
With all these indications, we hope that you have a clearer idea of what is available in the market and what are the characteristics that we must study and demand based on the air conditioning needs of our home.