First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Buying an air conditioner
- — 17 August, 2011 08:29
A typical wall-mounted air conditioner.
Portable: Portable air conditioners can be moved around and are much cheaper than other air conditioners. However, because of their small size and lower power output, they are not as good at cooling you down.
An air conditioner with an inverter can alter the fan and motor speed to cool down rooms quickly and more efficiently. An inverter works by continuously changing the fan and motor speed of the air conditioner so it can reach the required temperature quicker. Once the desired temperature is reached, the air conditioner adjusts itself up and down to maintain a constant temperature.
Air conditioners that don't have an inverter operate the motor and fan system at a fixed speed and automatically switch off when the required temperature is reached. Because of this, the air conditioner cannot maintain a steady temperature so it must continually be stopped and started to get the desired temperature.
One downside to air conditioners with inverters is that they are not as energy efficient as air conditioners without inverters when operating at full load. However, air conditioners with invertors tend to be very efficient at part load operation, which is a more common mode in a typical household.
Manufacturers claim that although air conditioners with inverters cost more money to buy, they can be 30 per cent more energy efficient than air conditioners without inverters and will save money in the long run.
Air conditioners with reverse cycle can both cool you down and warm you up, so you can factor into the cost not having to purchase heaters.
Costs and energy efficiency
To make sure you are getting the most cost-effective and energy efficient air conditioner, check the energy rating label on the unit. It's always a good idea to look for one with as many stars as possible – it will save money on your energy bill and helps to protect the environment.