For many Singaporeans, adding an air conditioning unit to the list of your home appliances translates to an increase in the electricity bills. However, did you know that technology has availed cost effective power-saving air conditioners? Well, this is why we have the inverter aircon and the non-inverter aircon. Whether you are familiar with these technologies or not, every air conditioner in the market uses one of the technologies mentioned above.
How they work
Most people think that once you set the desired temperature values, the aircon functions by throwing out cold air into your surroundings. The underlying process, however, is that the air-conditioning unit takes in air and passes it through an evaporating system before blowing the cool air back to you. The old coolers used to move the cold air through water before releasing it into the room. Today’s technology uses compressors which work on the internal air, regardless of its state, and turns it into clean fresh air.
Inverter technology and how it works
You could think of the inverter like the accelerator of your car. In a car, when the engine needs more power, the accelerator does just that. The inverter pumps power to the compressor as and when the need arises. When it needs more power, the inverter does the necessary. When it needs less power, the inverter withdraws the power.
You need to know that the compressor of the air conditioner with inverter technology is always on. When you set the desired room temperature, the data is transferred to the thermostat which balances that temperature with the room temperature. Depending on the prevailing temperature of the surroundings, the inverter enables the compressor to draw less power or more power to suit the appropriate settings. Initially used in Japan, the technology has spread and is also mainly used in refrigerators for cooling.
Non inverter technology and how it works
The non inverter air conditioners have their compressors in the “On” or “Off” mode. In essence, this means that when the compressor is on, it works full capacity and consumes the amount of power that it has been designed to use. The compressor remains on until the air temperature that has been set in the thermostat is achieved. From here, the compressor goes off but the fan continues to operate. After some time, the temperature rises again. The thermostat initiates the process by powering the compressor and the cycle goes on and on.
So, what are the benefits/demerits of one over the other? In what way will their differences impact the buying choice of the customer?
The Inverter aircon
Indeed, if you did understand their functioning, then you already know that the inverter aircon is a better technology in terms of efficiency. Once again to bring back the car analogy, you would most likely prefer a car technology that does not consume excess fuel as the burning capacity is regulated. Similarly, an aircon that uses inverter technology is the real deal because it conserves electricity. This is made possible only by the inverter which draws power as and when it is needed.
The compressor makes noise that results from its operation. You may have probably heard it when your aircon or the fridge is functioning at full capacity. It gets even worse if your compressor is old and has parts that are worn out. With an inverter in place, your air conditioner is quieter. Instead of them being on or off at stipulated periods, they slow down their functioning to correspond to the power drawn by the inverter. Since the inverter is very efficient, it uses power only when it is required. Consequently, the compressor works less. Further, the lifetime of your compressor increases due to reduced hours of operation at full throttle.
Perhaps this is a sophisticated point but it has to be mentioned anyway. Air conditioners that come with inverters operate with a compressor that has variable speeds. The traditional compressors were either on or off which rendered them inefficient as they would work at full speed even if less cooling power was required. This concept is complicated, but the idea behind it is that the compressor should only work at reasonable speeds and not at full power at all times. In fact, the variable compressor speed means that you can attain some cool temperatures that were previously not possible with the unvaried compressors.
The non-inverter aircon
The air conditioning units that do not utilize the inverter are a noisy lot. At any time of operation, the compressor has to emit sound. It gets even worse if your air conditioner is old. If you have other appliances that use compressors, then you are acutely aware of how disappointing it is. One minute the machines are quiet. Before you even know it, they are back to their noisy ways. It can be irritating and perhaps a distraction when you want to have silence around the house.
As compared to air conditioning units that use inverters, those that do not use inverter technology are much cheaper. You would expect this considering that an inverter is an extra component that is added to the cooling technology. Additionally, the cost is high due to the variable speed of the compressor. These additions and more tweaking to the technology is what makes the price of the inverter technology quite high.
However, looking at the long term advantage on the consumers’ part, it is accurate to say they stand to benefit immensely. Inverters reduce the electricity consumption of your cooling appliance by approximately 30- 50%. From a financial standpoint, this is a significant amount that you get to save.
To sum it up, the inverter technology is what makes the difference between a perfectly comfortable interior condition and a bad one. A smartly convenient technology, you enjoy an air conditioning system that functions exceptionally well to give you the temperature that you need. The flexibility in technology has also paved way for a design process that has come up with a high-performance, aerodynamic finish that gives you a product that is your money’s worth. With an air conditioner that works smart and saves energy, you are on your way to a happy, healthy living!