This post is a guide that contains some useful information you might need should you decide to get an air conditioner (A/C). Air conditioners are of different types and serve to suit different conditions. This implies that there are certain necessary considerations you must make before you go ahead to get an air conditioning unit.
1. WHAT TYPE OF AIR CONDITIONER?
This is the first consideration you should make. There are different types of air conditioners available but they are grouped into three main types based on use.
I. Window unit air conditioner
This type of air conditioner is suitable for cooling small rooms. Its a type of single unit air conditioner that has all its components including the compressor, cooling coil, evaporator and all encased in a box that is mounted on a window. It can also be fitted into a slot made on the wall of the room, but in most cases it is usually mounted on a window will.
II. Split unit air conditioner
This type of air conditioner can be used to cool two or more rooms. It comprises of two units, the outdoor and indoor units. The outdoor unit houses the compressor, condenser and expansion valve and is fitted outside, the indoor unit stays inside and comprises of the evaporator, cooling fan and air vents. A standing air conditioner is a good example.
III. Central air conditioning system
This is air conditioner can cool whole gyms, halls, factories etc. It is the best option when there are so many rooms to be cooled and installing individual units could be expensive. You may not be interested in this if you live in a flat or duplex.
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2. ROOM SPACE AND SIZE
The room space and size should be factored in when shopping for an air conditioner. The bigger the room space to be cooled, the bigger the unit needed. A small air conditioner would struggle to cool a much larger room and the effect of a big air conditioner could be difficult to control if used in a much smaller room. It is a good practice to measure the dimensions of the room space and take it to a professional. Or you could do it on your own by using the general formulae: multiply the dimensions of the room by 5, the answer in BTU(a unit of air conditioner capacity) will give you a rough estimate of the needed capacity. For example, 15ft x 22ft x 13tf x 5= 21450 BTU.
Another thing to consider is the space to be occupied by the air conditioner, the space has to be carved out and dimensions taken to a professional. For example, a window air conditioner should be fitted into a window or wall slot of the right size without much physical effort.
3. AIR CONDITIONER CAPACITY
The capacity of the air conditioner is a principal determining factor in choosing a good air conditioner. An air conditioner with a capacity larger than needed will meet its target too soon and keep on going off and on frequently, which could wear it out. An air conditioner with a too small capacity will struggle to cool a big room.
Air conditioner capacity is measured in BTU, a measurement unit for how much heat the air conditioner can pull out from a given space. But in Nigeria, the more frequently used unit is the horse power. Which refers to how much cooling force the A/C compressor can generate.
Small rooms of about 100-180 square meters need 1 horsepower air cons, while larger rooms of 200-300+ square meters need up to 1.5-2.0 horsepower air con’s for effective cooling.
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4. RUNNING COSTS AND POWER REQUIREMENTS
The EER(Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a rating that determines the power efficiency of the air con. It points to how much heat is removed by the A/C per watt consumed. Air conditioners with higher EER have lower running costs(accumulate lesser power bills at the end of the month). But high EER A/Cs are expensive, far more expensive than low EER A/Cs.
Power requirements refers to the power needs of the A/C. That is how much power the A/C can demand from an outlet. It is always better to get a separate power outlet to suit the power needs of the air con. A/Cs consume a lot of power and in Nigeria, they are built to work with the standard 220-240 volts, max 250 volts.
Other factors to consider:
Odours/germ elimination/air cleaning
Variable fan speed and variable airflow direction
Sleep/auto on-off settings
Sensitivity to high voltage
Air conditioners are of different types with different price tags. But generally higher grade air cons , equipped with huge capacity/horsepower, and other features are more expensive. As said before EER can also make an A/C expensive too, even when it may be lacking some features.
You can get a good air con from trusted dealers around you, you could also get a second hand one, but be careful to buy a tokunbo A/C that still has years of life in it. You could also shop for air conditioners online on konga or jumia.
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