Summers in Asia are hotter as compared to other continents except for Africa. Scorching heat, humid weather, and dry spells make it unbearable and unhealthy. That’s why Asia is the hub of some of the world’s biggest electronic manufacturers. The same holds for a country like Pakistan, which is blessed with all four seasons, but the summers, are particularly harsh, especially in provinces like Punjab and Sindh. For the past 15 years, the highest temperatures have been recorded in these provinces, resulting in increased usage of air conditioning units. In the ’80s and ’90s, these cooling machines were considered a luxury, but now they have become a necessity. Now you can buy electronics online in Islamabad and Rawalpindi without moving from your couches; AC is not only delivered to your doorstep but also installed within few hours.
However, there is one debate every new time buyer is sucked in to, Inverter AC or Non-Inverter AC. Although one of these is a clear winner, the debate continues; both have their pros and cons depending on the usage and budget. If you are looking to buy a new air conditioning unit, the following discussion may be of great help to you.
How do they work?
Before getting into which one’s better, it’s important to learn how both classes work. The basic principle of how AC works is, it sucks out the warm air from the room, cools the air from the outside with a refrigerating liquid, and then releases the air back into the room. It sounds simple, but the whole process is a bit complex. The air that is sucked out from the room is cooled in specially designed cooling rods. This whole process of throwing out the warm air and converting outside air into a cold one is called Phase Conversion.
An AC always comes with two-unit, one is external, and the other one is internal. The internal unit is installed in the room where it sucks out the warm air and sends it to the external unit. The external unit is usually placed outside the room and houses the compressor, which controls the temperature. The hot air is released from the external unit, and the outside air is then passed through the cooling rods and thrown back into the room via fans in the internal unit. All ACs, whether used for domestic or commercial use, follow the same rule. However, that is where the similarities between Inverter and Non-Inverter air conditioner ends.
Difference between Inverter AC and Normal AC:
The difference is not just only how they work but also how they eventually affect your electricity bills, buying costs, and maintenance expenses. The following points will give you a better understanding of why one is better than the other.
Non-Inverter AC is pretty basic, you set a temperature, and it maintains that. The compressor works so that when the desired temperature is reached, it automatically shuts down and restarts when the temperature increases. The compressor completely shuts down and only restarts if the temperature increases. The refrigerant used in the compressor is called R-22, containing hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC).
Inverter AC, although similar in principle to normal AC, but differs in how its compressor acts and the refrigerant is used. The compressor will bring the temperature down to the required level but not shut down. Instead, it reduces its speed and the amount of refrigerant used in cooling down. When the temperature increases again, the compressor slowly speeds up and repeats the process. The compressor in the Inverter never completely shuts down. The refrigerant used in its compressors is R-32.
While on the surface, the above differences don’t look much, but it affects the cost of both the units. Non-Inverter AC is cheaper as compared to Inverter; this is because the prior has a pretty basic function and the refrigerant used is cheap and commonly used. Whereas, Inverter AC is made from new technology and the gas used is also a bit expensive. This does not mean that non-Inverter ones are made from substandard or cheap parts. Proper care and effort are made while making both. Non-Inverter ACs have been around for a while, and since they are cheap, they are more commonly used and purchased than Inverter AC.
3. Maintenance Cost
Another difference between the two comes from the maintenance cost. Inverter ACs have a high maintenance cost as compared to Non-Inverter ones. This is because the Inverter compressors run for a longer duration without stopping making them more susceptible to wear and tear. At the same time, the compressors in normal ACs don’t run continuously and therefore need less maintenance. Also, the fact that Inverter ACs and their parts are made with modern technology, not everyone is qualified to carry out its maintenance, making it a costly choice. The refrigerant used also contributes to the cost; normal ACs run on R-22, which, as discussed above, is cheap and commonly used. R-32 is an expensive refrigerant and is only used in Inverter air conditioners.
4. Electricity Cost
If you were to compare the workings of both the units, it’s easy to mistake normal ones to be more energy efficient. However, the truth is quite surprising; the Inverter saves you 30% to 50% on your electricity bill. How will it manage to do that even when the compressor never shutdowns? Well, the answer to this is the speed and amount of liquid released in the cooling rods. When the required temperature is reached, Inverters simply slow down the speed of the compressor. This results in a low amount of liquid released in the cooling rods. Whereas the compressors in the normal ACs completely shut down and restart when required. This start and stop cycle consumes a lot of electricity which results in high electricity bills. However, because the compressor never stops in Inverters, they don’t need a spike in energy, resulting in energy saving and low electricity bills.
5. Environment Cost
This is also a huge factor while choosing a class for your AC. As discussed above, Non-Inverter AC’s have HCFC; this is very harmful to the ozone layer that protects our earth from harmful radiations of the sun. However, Inverter ACs come with R-32, which is environment friendly and helps filter the air of the room.
Which one is better? Inverter AC or Non-Inverter AC
The above points give an edge to Inverter ACs clearly, but people are still confused as to which one should be bought. The confusion is because of the consumption and its after-effects. Non-Inverter ACs have the best results when they are run for a short time, preferably for 4-5 hours. This would not affect your electricity bill and would also save energy. However, using them for a long duration means it would start and stop the compressor more often using more electricity. Inverter ACs on the other hand, are effective when they are used for more than 5 hours. This is because their compressor never restarts, and the only time it needs more energy is when it starts. This results in low consumption and electricity bills.
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The cost is also a pretty important factor that might affect your decision. Normal ACs are cheaper and easy to maintain as compared to Inverters. Its price will put most people off, but if they were to analyze everything smartly, they would understand why Inverters are always a good investment. The amount they can save you in a single summer season will almost cover the difference between a normal AC price. Their high maintenance cost is also far less than what they can save you in two months. Another fact that goes in favor of Inverters is their long life. Most Inverters come with a two-year warranty, and the initial two years never require any maintenance as well. At the same time, a normal AC has a year’s warranty and, therefore, the additional maintenance cost.
Considering all the facts and reasons, it looks like a smart choice to buy an Inverter. Although costly, but it makes it up with low maintenance and electricity consumption, 30% to 50% energy saving, and a manageable utility bill. Remember, Inverters should only be bought if they are to be used for longer duration; if not, then it will prove a costly choice. If your consumption is not much, then going for a normal one is a good choice. Also, make your decisions depending upon where you live. For example, if you live in Sindh, where summers are almost 7 months long, buying an Inverter is a smart choice. However, if you live in Islamabad or KPK, where extreme temperatures are for a maximum of 3 months, buying a Non-Inverter AC should not be a tough decision.
The reason why this debate can never be settled is because of its properties under different circumstances. However, Inverter is a smarter choice since it is also eco-friendly and will save you a lot of money during its life.
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