Buying an air conditioner is a considerable investment.
Nowadays, the inverter air conditioners are much talked about, because they can save 30-50% more electricity as compared to normal air conditioners.
Inverter ACs are a little costlier than normal ACs and if you are planning to buy an air conditioner, you should have a clear understanding of whether or not the investment is worth it.
We are often asked about whether one should buy an inverter AC or a normal AC and why.
This post will clear all your doubts and by the end of this post, you shall be able to make a clear decision.
Let us first find out what an Inverter AC is and how it is different from a normal AC.
What is an Inverter AC?
An inverter AC works on the principle of variable speed compressor. What this means is unlike a non-inverter AC which switches on/off the compressor as per the room temperature, an inverter AC never switches off the compressor but changes the speed of the compressor.
When the Inverter AC senses a high heat load it automatically runs the compressor at higher speed by drawing more power and increasing the refrigerant flow. And when the heat load is low, the compressor runs at minimal speed and draws minimum power and restricts the refrigerant flow.
How an Inverter AC is Different from a Normal AC – Benefits of Inverter AC?
The game is all about being energy efficient. Now the question is which one is more energy efficient, so let’s understand the difference between the two.
Technology and Power Consumption
Suppose you have a normal AC and you set your AC at 23 degree Celsius and the current temperature of the room is 32 degree Celsius. In this case, the compressor of your normal AC will run full-fledged and consume maximum electricity to bring down the temperature of the room to 23 degrees. After that, the compressor will automatically stop because of thermostat cut off. Again when the room temperature increases, the compressor starts to work again but all this while the fan of the AC continues to operate.
In short, in case of a non-inverter AC, the compressor either works at full speed or doesn’t work at all.
Now, in an inverter AC, the technology is such that when the compressor requires more power, more power is provided and vice versa. This technology makes sure that the compressor doesn’t stop but draws less or more power depending upon the temperature of the room and the temperature that is set. This effective and intelligent technology has ensured less power consumption so that your electricity bill doesn’t become a nightmare for you. In case of an inverter ac, the compressor never stops, but changes its speed according to the heat load.
Therefore it can be said that an inverter AC will always keep the temperature of the room stable and doesn’t consume as much electricity. If we go by the BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) convention of defining power consumption then the 3-star inverter air conditioners consume approximately 30 to 40% less electricity than 3 star normal or non-inverter air conditioners.
Winner: Non-inverter AC
A normal AC tends to over cool whereas an inverter AC maintains the optimum temperature of the room or the temperature at which the AC is set.
Let’s see why?
In an air conditioner, the heat of the incoming air helps the refrigerant to turn from liquid to gas then the compressor compresses it to turn into a liquid from the gas. As non-inverter ACs are sized for peak summer heat load, most of the times they are over-sized. This often results in overcooling.
For example, if you set your AC at 23 degree Celsius, then a non-inverter AC will bring the temperature of the room down to 20 or 21 thereby overcooling the room. But what is the use of thermostat then? Well the thermostat, in case of a non-inverter AC, switches off the compressor when the outside temperature reaches 23.
Since non-inverter ACs are mostly over-sized, there is more refrigerant whereas the heat required to turn that much amount of refrigerant into gas is not enough. So the refrigerant keeps on moving as liquid and even when the thermostat cuts off the refrigerant still tries to take heat from the room to turn itself into gas. It thereby brings the temperature of the room two to three notches down than the actual temperature that was set.
On the other hand, an inverter AC automatically adjusts the refrigerant flow based on the heat of the room. When the room temperature is high, more refrigerant flows, when the room temperature is less, less refrigerant flows. And as we have seen above, the compressor never switches off in an inverter ac. If you have set 23 degree Celsius temperature then the Inverter AC will maintain the room temperature at that level.
So, all this boils down to a simple understanding that while non-inverter ACs generally result in overcooling, inverter ACs do not over cool and maintain an optimum temperature.
If you are using a non-inverter ACs then you must have felt overcooling when the compressor is on and poor cooling when the compressor switches off. Inverter air conditioners eliminate this limitation and therefore provide more consistent and efficient cooling.
Winner: Non-inverter AC
If we talk about noise then the inverter AC is more efficient than a regular one since it operates smoothly. An inverter air conditioner runs continuously unlike normal air conditioners that make noise because the compressor starts and stops. Inverter air conditioners are so silent that you will not even know that the air conditioner is on.
Winner: Non-inverter AC
Inverter Vs Non-Inverter AC – Comparison Table
|Specification||Inverter AC||Non-Inverter AC|
|Energy Efficiency||Highly energy efficient||Not as efficient as inverter ACs|
|Noise Level||Silent operation||Comparatively noisy|
|Initial Cost||Higher||Comparatively lower|
|Compressor Type||Variable speed compressor||Fixed speed compressor|
|Cost of Maintenance & Operation||Lower||Higher|
|Durability||With the lesser load on the compressor, you can expect a longer lifespan||Consistent switching on and off of the compressor results in more wear and tear which reduces the lifespan.|
Yes, the cost of an inverter AC is slightly on the higher side but as mentioned above Inverter ACs offer more benefits as compared to a normal AC. Inverter ACs are more cost-effective in the long run as they consume less electricity by maintaining the room temperature evenly.
However, if you plan to use the AC once in a while only, then buying an Inverter AC may not be the best decision because then you’ll not be able to recover the initial price difference.
So, whenever you are in doubt, always choose an air conditioner that best matches your requirements. Always make sure you get the best value for your investment.