Air Conditioners: A Beginner’s Guide to Buying One
Heat is synonymous with the weather in Malaysia and having your own personal air conditioner installed inside your room has become a need, more than a luxury.
Like most home appliances, shopping for an AC without prior knowledge of its specifications can be tricky—there’s a chance you might purchase an air-con that has a horsepower that overcools or even undercools!
First: Know the Horsepower Needed
What is an AC’s horsepower and why is it important?
Generally, horsepower for an AC is a measurement to determine its cooling capacity. The common horsepower for air-cons are 1 HP, 1.5HP, 2 HP, 2.5 HP and 3.0 HP.
So, why is the horsepower so crucial when it comes to air-con selection?
The main reason why you would want to get a suitable horsepower is because you want the air-con to properly cool your room—not too cold and have an optimal speed when it’s cooling your surroundings.
How do you calculate horsepower?
One of the easiest ways for an average person to estimate the right horsepower is through the room size.
Here is a table of the most used estimation for the right horsepower, relative to your room’s square feet. Let’s assume that the rooms in your house have a normal height of less than 10ft (3m).
12 x 12 ft
< 1.0 HP
14 x 14 ft
1 - 1.5 HP
14 x 16 ft
15 x 16 ft
1.5 – 2.0 HP
18 x 18 ft
2.0 – 2.5 HP
21 x 21 ft
2.5 – 3.0 HP
That said, the above estimation is only a recommended estimation. Hence, if you’re seeking professional advice, we suggest calling industry experts like your preferred air-conditioning brand for a more in-depth explanation.
Second: Choose your AC Type
After determining the right horsepower, the next step would be to know which type of AC is the best fit for your place.
The wall-mounted AC is arguably the most common one among household users. This AC is recommended for rooms that are about 7-8 feet high.
If you have decided on this model of AC, be sure to check whether there is ample space on the upper part of the wall.
Cassette ceiling AC
Uncommon among households, the cassette ceiling AC is usually only viable when your rooms have a height of 10 feet and above.
Given the minimum ceiling height, the cassette ceiling AC is only practical if you’re installing it in a large living room, where aesthetic is a must (due to the concealed piping). It’s also ideal for users who are seeking a minimalistic design for their homes.
The portable AC definitely loses out when it comes to raw cooling power but has one selling point that is a deal clincher—it’s portable without the need of installation.
If you’re not looking forward to breaking the bank, a portable AC might be the right choice for you, if you don’t mind a slower cooling process.
It is low maintenance and is extremely simple to use as well.
Other Factors to Consider
• The Plan & Orientation of the Room
Even with the same room size, different room plans and orientations require different cooling capacity, hence a different type of AC. For example, rooms where they face the sun (east and west) will require higher cooling power.
• Number of Occupants in the Room
The number of people and the activities in the room will affect the type of AC required as well. For example, if it’s your bedroom and you’re staying alone, you can consider a portable AC instead.
Third: Do You Need An Inverter System?
An inverter system can give you savings up to 50%, but your lifestyle and the rooms you have also influences the decision of getting one. Here are some factors to consider:
• Long Usage Time (More than 4 hours).
An inverter system will help you to save on electricity, but if you are not planning to use your AC for very long hours, a non-inverter system will do.
• Open Space or Enclosed Space?
In order for an inverter system to stabilise, an enclosed space is a must, which means it will work better in bedrooms, rather than a living room that shares its space with the kitchen.
• Comfort Level
An inverter system can provide you better temperature control. If you are very sensitive to temperature changes, you should get an inverter system for the bedroom.
Fourth: Don’t Forget the BTU!
BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the international measurement of energy. A BTU measures the amount of heat an AC unit can remove from the room. Therefore, the right value is essential to make sure that your AC is working at peak efficiency to cool down a room.
But how do you calculate the BTU you need? There are only two rules to this:
• Not Too Big
If you have a 12 x 12 ft room, you will not need a 14,000 BTU AC as it will cause waste of electricity.
• Not Too Small
If you have a 1000 sq ft apartment, having a 600 BTU portable AC will definitely not be enough at all.
As a general calculation, your AC will need to have 20 BTU for every square foot of living space that you need to cool down. You can even search for BTU calculators online to help you with calculating the BTU needed too!
Remember! As the BTU rating increases, so does the size, weight and cost of the AC. Room ACs are generally 5,000 to 24,000 BTU.
All in all, just remember to take note at the pointers above when purchasing an AC—especially if this is the first time you’re installing one.
If you’re still unconvinced on which AC to buy, there is no shame in contacting the AC’s manufacturer for an expert’s recommendation. Or just drop by any of our nearest showrooms to contact our sales partners for more information!