Buying Guide for Split Air Conditioners in India

Published 5 March 2023

As the temperatures in India reach soaring highs, air conditioners have evolved from being a luxury to a necessity in many households. Particularly popular are split air conditioners, which consist of two parts: an indoor unit that disperses cool air into the room, and an outdoor unit that expels the heat.

If you’re considering buying a split AC, this practical guide from the HNK team will walk you through everything you need to know.

Understanding Split Air Conditioners

The first step towards buying a split air conditioner is understanding how it works.

A split AC, as the name suggests, consists of two separate units: an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit is installed outside or on the terrace and contains components such as the compressor, condenser coil, and expansion coil. The indoor unit is installed inside the room and includes the cooling coil, air filter, and blower.

The outdoor and indoor units are connected through a pipe, through which the refrigerant flows. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the room and is then passed to the outdoor unit where it’s cooled down and returned to the indoor unit to cool the room.

The design of split air conditioners makes them aesthetically pleasing, less noisy, and easy to install. Plus, they don’t require a window to be installed, which makes them versatile for all types of room settings.

What to Consider When Buying a Split Air Conditioner

Room Size

The size of the AC is one of the most important factors that can affect its cooling capacity and energy efficiency.

The size of an AC is determined by its tonnage. The tonnage of an AC refers to the amount of heat it can remove from a room in one hour. For instance, a 1-ton AC can remove 12,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat in an hour.

The right size depends on the size of the room where the AC will be installed.

Here’s a basic guideline:

  • For a room up to 150 sq. ft., a 1-ton AC is adequate.
  • For a room between 150 and 250 sq. ft., opt for a 1.5-ton AC.
  • For a room above 250 sq. ft., a 2-ton AC or higher would be ideal.

However, the tonnage also depends on other factors such as the number of windows, amount of sunlight the room receives, the number of electrical appliances in the room, and the number of occupants. It’s recommended to consult an HVAC professional to determine the appropriate tonnage.

Energy Efficiency Rating (EER)

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in India has introduced the EER or BEE star rating to provide consumers with a standard way of comparing the energy efficiency of different ACs.

ACs with a higher star rating are more energy efficient, meaning they use less power to cool the room, resulting in lower electricity bills. Therefore, while an AC with a higher star rating might be more expensive initially, it could save you money in the long run.

Inverter AC vs Non-Inverter AC

There are two main types of split ACs: inverter and non-inverter.

Inverter ACs come with a variable speed compressor that adjusts power depending on the heat load. This not only saves energy but also ensures a more comfortable environment as it maintains a consistent temperature. Inverter ACs are also quieter than non-inverter ACs. However, they are also more expensive.

Non-inverter ACs, on the other hand, have a fixed speed compressor that’s either on or off. When it’s on, it runs at full speed and consumes full electricity. When the desired temperature is achieved, it turns off, and then turns back on when the temperature rises. This cycle uses more power and results in fluctuating temperatures, making non-inverter ACs less energy-efficient. However, they are cheaper upfront.

Compressor Type

The compressor is the heart of an air conditioner. There are two main types of compressors: reciprocating and rotary.

Reciprocating compressors are generally found in smaller split ACs due to their lower cost. They use a piston to compress the refrigerant. However, they are noisier, less efficient, and have a shorter lifespan than rotary compressors.

Rotary compressors, on the other hand, use a roller rotating eccentrically inside a cylinder to compress the refrigerant. They are quieter, more efficient, and last longer than reciprocating compressors. They are typically found in larger, more expensive split ACs.

Coil Material

The coil is another crucial part of an AC. It’s where the refrigerant evaporates to absorb heat from the room. The two most common materials used for coils are copper and aluminium.

Copper coils are generally considered superior due to their high heat transfer rate, durability, and ease of maintenance. However, they are also more expensive.

Aluminium coils are cheaper, but they have a lower heat transfer rate, are less durable, and are more difficult to repair. Some manufacturers have started using alloy coils that combine the advantages of both copper and aluminium.

Smart Features

The latest split ACs come packed with an array of features for enhanced comfort and convenience.

Some of these include:

  • Sleep mode: This feature adjusts the temperature throughout the night to ensure a comfortable sleep environment and save energy.
  • Quick cool mode: Also known as Turbo mode, this setting allows the AC to cool the room quickly by operating at maximum speed for a short period.
  • Auto clean feature: This feature helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mould by drying the heat exchanger. This not only ensures clean and healthy air but also prolongs the lifespan of the AC.
  • Wi-Fi and smart home compatibility: With this feature, you can control your AC from anywhere using your smartphone. Some ACs can also be integrated with smart home systems, allowing you to control them with voice commands.
  • Dehumidifier: This feature is particularly useful in areas with high humidity levels. It reduces the moisture level in the air, making the room more comfortable.
  • Air purifier: Some ACs come with built-in air purifiers that remove pollutants from the air, ensuring you breathe clean and healthy air.
  • Heater: Some ACs come with a heating feature, making them useful for both summer and winter.
  • Eco mode: This energy-saving mode reduces power consumption by limiting the cooling or heating power.

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and regular maintenance are crucial for your AC’s performance and lifespan.

Ensure that the brand you choose provides professional installation service. Poor installation can result in inefficient operation, higher energy costs, and shorter lifespan.

Consider the after-sales service and the availability of spare parts provided by the brand.

Regular maintenance, which includes cleaning or replacing filters, cleaning coils, and checking for leaks, is essential to keep your AC running efficiently.

Warranty and Service

Always check the warranty provided by the brand. A longer warranty period can protect you from unexpected repair costs. Make sure to read the warranty terms carefully and understand what’s covered and what’s not.

Price and Brand

The price of a split AC depends on various factors including its size, energy efficiency rating, type of compressor, coil material, brand, and features. It’s always a good idea to compare prices from different sellers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

However, don’t compromise on quality just to save a few bucks. An AC is a long-term investment, and buying a high-quality product can save you money on repairs and electricity bills in the long run.

Popular Split AC Brands in India

Some of the most popular AC brands in India include Daikin, Voltas, LG, Samsung, Hitachi, and Blue Star.

When it comes to buying ACs, consider the reputation of the brand. Established brands with a good reputation often provide better quality products and after-sales service. They also have a wider service network, which can be beneficial for installation and maintenance.

Discover the Best Split Air Conditioners in India

Purchasing a split AC is a significant investment, but it’s also an investment in your comfort. By considering all the factors outlined in this guide, you can ensure you’re making the right choice, one that will keep your home cool during the sweltering Indian summers.

Next step, see our reviews of the best air conditioners in India.

Happy shopping, and stay cool!

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