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Which Aircon should I choose? Comparison of local air-conditioner brands

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For new homemakers and those looking to replace their existing air-con sets, deciding on a particular brand may be difficult, especially with a variety of models in the market. Choosing a brand ultimately boils down to consumer choice and preference, but before you commit, here are some basic and essential features that each air-con set needs to have. Do ensure that the model you are purchasing covers most, if not all, of these features:
Energy savings
The NEA’s Energy Efficiency Ratings are not foreign to many of us. The rating system applies to air-con sets, refrigerators, clothing dryers, televisions, and lamps. The more ticks an electronic appliance has, the more energy saving it is, with five ticks being the most energy saving for air-con sets. Energy efficient air-con sets will yield cheaper costs of use in the long run.
Availability of spare parts
Spare parts are always crucial for future repairs. With prolonged use, the components of the air-con unit will be subject to wear and tear, and may be defective or less efficient. If you pick a less popular brand, it is less likely that spare parts will be widely available. It is ideal to ensure that the brand you choose provides a comprehensive range of replacement parts.
Warranty
Most air-con units will come with a warranty. However, authorised dealers may occasionally offer an additional extended warranty above the original warranty by the air-con brand. After considering the size, price, and energy efficiency of the air-con, it would be best to ensure that the air-con you intend to purchase has a reasonable warranty to protect yourself from further costs if the air-con becomes defective within the warranty period.
Next, it is important to compare more advanced features between local air-con brands.The table below features the more popular air-con models of Panasonic, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, and Daikin.
panasonic
Panasonic Deluxe Inverter XS Series (Multi-Split)
Description Featuring nanoe-G dust removal technology that eliminates PM 2.5 particles from the air, and Aerowings technology which is controlled by two motors and flaps that delivers cold air further and more quickly. Also makes use of the Inverter system.
Cooling capacity Dual split: 20,000 BTU
Triple split: 27,000 BTU
Quadruple split: 30,000 BTU
Energy savings ✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of cleaning Standard.
Operating noise level 23 – 45 dB
Warranty Generally 1 year installation, spare parts and workmanship; 5 years for compressor.
hitachi
Hitachi RAM – 24Q3JY Series
Description This new model comes with a triple air purification system (UV Fresh Sanitizing Filter, Wasabi Filter, and a stainless steel filter) that is anti-bacterial and odour-neutralising. The Vector DC Inverter System adjusts the rotation speed of the compressor to allow for energy savings.
Cooling capacity 3 x 9,000 BTU (System 3 Inverter)
Energy savings ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cleaning The stainless steel filter prevents dust from accumulating, and UV light is released to kill bacteria on the filter.
Operating noise level -
Warranty Generally 1 year installation, spare parts and workmanship; 5 years for compressor.
mitsubishi
Mitsubishi Electric Starmex FN Series
Description This model performs the dual function of energy saving and air purifying. It has an in-built PM 2.5 filter, purifying the air from tiny particulate matter which may be hazardous to inhale.
Cooling capacity 4 x 9,000 BTU (System 4 Inverter)
Energy savings ✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of cleaning Easy-clean design, with a detachable panel that snaps back to its original position, and its vents can be opened without requiring special tools. A dual barrier coating also prevents grime and dirt from accumulating on the air-con.
Operating noise level 19 dB
Warranty Generally 1 year installation, spare parts and workmanship; 5 years for compressor.
daikin
Daikin Smile Series
Description Utilising the Inverter system, this air-con unit is packed with an intelligent eye sensor, the Smile Series is energy saving by detecting movement and adjusting the temperature and airflow to ensure proper cooling. Also comes with smart controls.
Cooling capacity 3 x 9,000 BTU (System 3 Inverter)
Energy savings ✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of cleaning Standard.
Operating noise level 19 dB
Warranty Generally 1 year installation, spare parts and workmanship; 5 years for compressor.
Inverter vs non-inverter air-con units
What is the difference between an inverter and a non-inverter air-con?
The largest difference is that air-con units with inverters run the compressor at variable speeds, adjusting the speed according to the temperature of the room. This helps greatly in reducing energy consumption, and results in quieter operation. However, a non-inverter system runs the compressor at a fixed speed, thus expending more electricity.
Residential homes tend to use inverter systems. More specifically, many tend to use multi-split inverter systems, ranging from System 2 to System 5: such a setup connects multiple indoor air-con sets to a single outdoor condenser. The number of the System (e.g. System 2) indicates the number of rooms you need to cool (2 rooms). Other more unique split systems (e.g. 2+2, 3+1) are also available to ensure cost efficiency.
Size of air-con unit
Lastly, what size of air-con should you be considering? In general, the larger the area, the larger the air-con size capacity should be. According to Gain City, a typical master bedroom requires an air-con with a cooling capacity of 9,000 to 12,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs are a measure for the cooling capacity of an air-con unit. For communal areas which are much larger, an average of 18,000 BTUs is required for a 3-room HBD flat, and an average of 24,000 BTUs for a 5-room flat.
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