Air conditioners have long been firmly established in almost every home. But, for those who have not yet had time to acquire this miracle of technology, there is a question about choosing a model and manufacturer. Next, we will consider in detail the fundamental differences in the configuration and capabilities of air conditioners of different types and try to find the best option in terms of price and quality.
Table of contents
There are several groups of climatic equipment, depending on the scope of application:
- household air conditioners (wall split systems, multi split systems, monoblock window and mobile air conditioners) with a capacity of 1.5 to 8 kW.
- commercial air conditioners (duct and cassette, column and ceiling air conditioners) with power from 5 to 30 kW,
- industrial systems (multi-zone and central air conditioners, cabinet and roof models) with power from 5 to 5000 kW.
Household air conditioners are the most frequently purchased category; they are used to create the required indoor microclimate up to 100 m2. The main attention that manufacturers pay to products is to give air conditioners a low level of noise during operation, as well as their external aesthetic design. In addition, expensive models of household air conditioners have at their disposal a wide range of additional features, for example, ionization and air humidification..
Commercial systems represent the middle solution between domestic and industrial climate control equipment, and are most suitable for equipment in public and domestic use halls. As a rule, they have the same range of offered functions, but unlike household systems, commercial systems have a significantly longer service life..
Industrial systems are designed primarily for a year-round and uninterrupted cycle of use in buildings or structures with an area of more than 300 m2. Such complexes are distinguished by their durability, but also by the complexity of operation, as well as a significant service life..
Each group has several typical representatives, but we will dwell in detail only on the main type of air conditioning systems..
Monoblock air conditioner. Buying such a unit, despite its low cost, will be a mistake, since it is much inferior to more modern counterparts. Window air conditioners (monoblocks) are gradually becoming obsolete due to their impracticality and many difficulties in operation, such as low efficiency, complexity of installation (especially in plastic frames) and a significant level of noise during operation. Mobile air conditioners, the prices of which are quite reasonable, allow you to easily create a suitable microclimate in several rooms (they can be freely rearranged from one room to another). Units of this type do not require the installation of additional units, and are immediately ready for operation. In addition, they have more functionality than budget split systems..
Split systems consist of two blocks: an external one that takes in air and removes waste liquid resulting from a temperature difference and an indoor unit, which can be a variety of wall, duct, cassette and other units.
- The wall-mounted air conditioner is most widely used in household use. It differs for the most part in an affordable price (with the exception of elite class models) and sufficient efficiency. This type of air conditioner is optimal for residential premises up to 70 m2.
- A duct air conditioner is used to cool the air inside offices or other public premises, since such a system is installed behind a false ceiling. Air vents directed to different points are supplied to the air conditioner, which allows air cooling in several unconnected rooms at once. Repair of air conditioners of this type can be somewhat difficult due to limited access to all structural elements..
- The cassette air conditioner is another effective solution for indoor public spaces. It is also placed under the ceiling, but unlike the duct one, the air conditioner grille looks out. Such a device allows for an even distribution of the air flow in all directions, which will be especially relevant for rooms with a large area.,
- The ceiling air conditioner has a shallow depth and, unlike previous models, does not require installation under a false ceiling. The disadvantage of this solution is its visibility, but it is worth noting that this unit will evenly distribute the cooled air inside those rooms that do not have false ceilings.
- The column air conditioner is used in those rooms where there are strict requirements for the degree of cooling, as a result of which aesthetics are sacrificed for efficiency. Due to their considerable weight and size, such units are placed only on the floor and in appearance most of all resemble a refrigerator..
Multi-splits are a more ramified system. In fact, the main difference is the need to bring all indoor units to a single outdoor unit, and not each indoor unit to a separate outdoor unit, as in simple split systems. Such a scheme will save space on the outside wall and raise the level of aesthetics, but it is worth remembering that in case of failure of the outdoor unit, all indoor units will also be inactive. In addition, the total cost of the finished kit and the costs of its installation are not inferior to the installation of individual split systems. Similar air conditioners, with the installation of which a large number of difficulties can arise, are not often used in domestic use.
Some people may decide that since the purpose and degree of obtaining the desired effect are more or less the same for both budget and expensive models, then there is no point in overpaying for a brighter package or a better-known brand. However, it is not. The differences between the models are significant, and it will not be correct to start only from the basic principles of work..
The main differences are:
- The level of background noise generated by operating equipment. Expensive air conditioners use high-quality and well-debugged components that can operate almost silently. This is a noticeable difference, as air conditioners that are priced at low prices tend to be quite noisy.,
- Effective maintenance of the set indoor temperature. Quite often, cheap models of air conditioners are not able to maintain a given level of cooling, as a result of which there are quite noticeable temperature drops even inside one small room, when the temperature zones differ from each other by several degrees. This difference is enough for a person to feel some discomfort..
- Possibility to regulate the direction of the cooled air. Inexpensive air conditioners, unlike efficient split systems, are often not able to provide the owner with the ability to adjust the direction of flow, as a result of which there is inconvenience when installing the air conditioner and choosing a place for its operation..
- Reliability and durability. For obvious reasons, you should not expect an air conditioner bought for little money to work forever and without interruption, the quality costs money.
- The presence of a package of protective functions and additional settings. Expensive models are equipped with temperature control sensors, frost protection when using low-temperature modes and other useful functionality that allows you to raise the level of comfort.
- As strange as it may seem, they often do not think about their appearance. Budget models are not distinguished by an exquisite attractive design..
- Failure and overvoltage protection. This problem is just more relevant for the residents of standard apartments. A sharp power surge negatively affects inexpensive air conditioners, up to the burnout of their electronic boards. Expensive models have good protection and, moreover, are capable of operating at reduced voltage.
These differences represent a basic, but far from complete list of features that you should pay attention to before buying an air conditioner..
Among the companies that produce the most advanced and high-quality models of air conditioners, the leading positions have been occupied for many years:
The four leaders from Japan are followed by equally well-known brands:
All models of these manufacturers are of high quality workmanship, only slightly inferior to the leaders in terms of the effectiveness of protective systems and service life.
It would be reasonable to choose climate products from manufacturers LG, Samsung, Hyundai and Chinese brands that have a strong position in the market..
But which air conditioner to choose and which models to build on. To do this, we will divide the entire model range into three subcategories and name the obvious favorites in them..
- Elite air conditioners, reviews of which are always positive, are Mitsubishi. The best choice is the HEAVY SRK20HG-S. With an average cost of $ 600, this model has a number of undeniable advantages:
- noise level during operation – only 26 dB (which is quieter than a human whisper),
- filtration of cooled air through four filter systems,
- automatic adjustment of the direction of the flow of cooled air horizontally and vertically using louvers,
- maximum performance is achieved in just 15 minutes.
- Among the middle class air conditioners, the best choice is the HHF 009-N11 model from the still little-known manufacturer Airwell. Despite the absence of a large-scale advertising campaign, this model has proven itself well due to its characteristics. At $ 400, the air conditioner has a two-level filtration system at its disposal, including even antibacterial protection. An additional self-diagnosis and self-cleaning module will be an important additional plus when choosing this model.
- The world famous manufacturer LG has released a line of models of inexpensive air conditioners, which nevertheless have the advantages of more expensive climate systems. LG’s G07LHS uses ozone-safe CFCs, automatic sleep mode, antibacterial protection and a triple air filter. Average price of the specified model is $ 360.
It is worth remembering that even the most reliable and expensive air conditioner can fail due to improper handling. Here are some tips to help you avoid common mistakes:
- the use of maximum cooling modes is not recommended (especially for household wall-mounted air conditioners),
- the air conditioner must be charged before the refrigerant is completely worn out,
- keep all windows closed to prevent air from outside. This will reduce the load on the compressor and increase the overall operating efficiency.,
- split-system filters require constant cleaning, at least once every two weeks. It is enough to rinse the filter mesh with warm water or vacuum,
- the climate system must be directly powered or connected from power cables, without the use of carrying,
- avoid direct sunlight on the external elements of the air conditioner (more precisely, the internal block of systems),
- air conditioners of any type should not be used in rooms with a high degree of humidity,
- Before use, you should carefully read the instructions and observe the correctness of the installation and start-up of the system.