In a country where the summer lasts from six to eight months, there can be no doubt that the demand for air conditioning for the home is high. But when the demand is high – so is the supply and when the supply is high, the confusion starts – how can we cool the house or apartment in the most economical way?
Electric appliance stores offer us a huge range of air conditioners in all sizes and designed for different spaces. They also use terminology that can be confusing such as “energy efficiency” or “BTU”. So, how can we really make the right decision, a decision that won’t leave you sweating on the couch and with a huge debt to the electricity supplier?
It’s simple! Here are some terms that it’s important you know before buying a new air conditioner:
A window unit involves making an opening in the wall. The external part of the unit sits outside of the house and the internal part, is inside the room. Everything is contained in one unit. The advantages of a window air conditioner include the relatively low cost of purchase and installation. However today this type of air condition is seen less and less.
Split air conditioner is, as its name suggests, divided into two parts. The internal section (condenser) which is separate from the external section (the engine or compressor). Separating the two parts allows for significantly quieter air conditioning. Split air conditioning units can be divided into two types:
An overhead air conditioner is installed on the wall, close to the room’s ceiling. This is the most common type of air condition in Israel since it location, in terms of cooling, is ideal. As cold air always sinks down the room will cool faster and more efficiently. Also its height saves space in the room. Installation is usually more expensive and there are restrictions as to the distance between the internal unit and the external compressor.
The floor air conditioner is installed close to the floor. The air vents are on the top of the internal unit and it is also efficient when heating a room. It takes longer to cool the room but cooling ability is generally greater making it suitable for larger spaces. The drawback is the space it takes. The floor air conditioner is popular in institutions and less so in private homes and apartments.
Mini Central Air Conditioning System (duct) has just one, external unit (compressor) and one internal unit that is connected to a number of air ducts through which the air conditioning is distributed to the various spaces. This a relatively quiet system and has the advantage of being able to cool a number of rooms. Its drawback is its high price and installation costs plus the fact that if it break down, there is no air conditioning throughout the home.
The first term relates to the air conditioner’s output, its cooling factor. This is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU).
Some 650 to 750 BTU are needed per square meter of space.
There are other factors that have to be considered such as the amount of furniture, the number of people generally in the room, how exposed the room is to sunlight, ceiling and floor insulation and more. In general, for a small to medium sized room an air conditioner with a 5000 – 10000 BTU rating should be sufficient.
Another important term is the air conditioners power usage index. Energy efficiency is registered on a scale from A to G with A being the most energy efficient and G the least. Air conditioners with an energy rating below D should not be purchased.
Then there is the term “inverter”. This is a technology that works according to the air conditioners output.
The colder the room, the less the compressor works and you enjoy significant savings in electricity. Inverter technology is 10 times more economical that that of regular air conditioners but the cost of an inverter air conditioner can be a lot higher.