If you are thinking of buying an air conditioner, the latest and the most efficient technology that is available in market today is the Inverter Technology for AC. Inverter technology is designed in such a way that it can save 30-50% of electricity (units consumed) over a regular air conditioner. And since 2016, BEE has started give star ratings to inverter technology AC as well. And in 2018 BEE has merged the star rating levels of inverter and non inverter ACs. However, let’s look at what is inverter technology and how is it different from a non inverter ACs.
What is Inverter AC?
The inverter technology works like an accelerator in a car. When compressor needs more power, it gives it more power. When it needs less power, it gives less power. With this technology, the compressor is always on, but draws less power or more power depending on the temperature of the incoming air and the level set in the thermostat. The speed and power of the compressor is adjusted appropriately. This technology was developed in Japan and is being used there successfully for air conditioners and refrigerators. This technology is currently available only in split air conditioners.
What is the advantage of Inverter AC?
Every air conditioner is designed for a maximum peak load. So a 1.5ton AC is designed for a certain size of room and 1 ton for a different size. But not all rooms are of same size. A regular air conditioner of 1.5ton capacity will always run at peak power requirement when the compressor is running. An air conditioner with inverter technology will run continuously but will draw only that much power that is required to keep the temperature stable at the level desired. So it kind of automatically adjusts its capacity based on the requirement of the room it is cooling. Thus drawing much less power and consuming lesser units of electricity.
Although air conditioner with Inverter Technology adjusts its capacity based on the room requirement, it is very important to install a right sized air conditioner in a room. Please make sure that you evaluate the room and air conditioner capacity before you make a purchase.
What’s the difference between Inverter AC and 5 Star AC (non inverter)?
Inverter technology air conditioners are variable speed/ variable tonnage air conditioners and thus operationally they are quite different from regular air conditioners that have single speed compressors and single tonnage.
Inverter technology air conditioners adjust their speed/tonnage depending on heat load of a room. Whereas regular air conditioners do not.
Every room has a different heat load, even if they are of the same size. The heat load depends on various factors as we have listed on our article: Things that impact electricity consumption in air conditioners. To give you an analogy, every human being is different; even then the waist sizes of most trousers available in the market are fixed (leaving the ones with elastic). Inverter Technology AC is just like a trouser with an elastic waist that can adjust to the size. The other benefit is that even if the waist size increases or decreases, the trouser with elastic will adjust accordingly. Regular Air Conditioners are fixed size.
Based on the data on power consumption by BEE, Inverter ACs of BEE 3 star ratings are about 7% more energy efficient than BEE 3 star rated non inverter ACs.
The heat load in a room does not remain constant and it varies from seasons, varies based on number of people, varies between day and night, varies based on climate profiles of your location. To take the same analogy we mentioned above, the waist size increases or decreases with the amount of food one eats or the amount of exercise one does. So as a trouser with elastic waist can work well, an air conditioner with inverter tech can work well.
Power Consumption of Inverter and non inverter air conditioners.
Based on data from BEE in 2018, below is the representative (median) sample of power consumption of Air Conditioners of various tonnage and star ratings: