Inverter ACs are the latest addition to the refrigerator market. Both window and split air conditioners these days come with an inverter variant. These ACs are marketed as highly effective and energy efficient as they decrease your electricity bill and give optimum coolness.
As they are relatively new to the market, many different misconceptions are floating around about their abilities which are being exaggerated to influence sales. Today, we will discuss inverter ACs and their disadvantages. Stay with us till the end to find out whether or not this AC is suitable for your household.
What is an Inverter AC?
Inverter AC and non-inverter type AC have one significant difference, which is the compressor.
The compressor of both these ACs is quite different from one another. A regular non-inverter AC has a compressor that shuts down every time the desired room temperature is achieved and restarts when the room temperature rises.
For example, if you set the temperature of 21 degrees then the compressor will work till the room achieves the temperature of 21 degrees and then it will shut down and restart only when the temperature increases to 23 or 24 degrees.
However, in an inverter AC the compressor never shuts down completely, the compressor can adjust its speed. It runs at a constant speed till the desired temperature is reached, and once that is achieved, it continues running at a slower speed. When the temperature increases even a single degree, the compressor gradually brings it back to the desired temperature.
The inverter ACs are popular in the market because they are energy efficient. The constant starting and shutting down of a compressor in a regular AC takes up to 3 times more energy than when the compressor keeps running the entire time.
Even though inverter ACs have multiple benefits such as energy efficiency, low noise production etc, there are some significant disadvantages of these ACs as well.
Following are some of the major disadvantages of an inverter AC.
Disadvantages of Inverter AC
1. High Upfront Cost:
The inverter ACs are usually more expensive than normal non-inverter AC. An inverter AC can cost Rs.9,000 – 10,000 more than a non-inverter AC. This, when added with the initial installation charges, can make the AC out of your budget. This extra cost is only recoverable if you use your AC for long hours. If you use your AC for a shorter period (2-3 hours every day) then the decrease in power consumption will not be significant enough to recover the cost.
2. High Maintenance Cost:
Inverter ACs use DC (Direct Current) components instead of AC (Alternating Current) components like regular air conditioners. These DC components are more expensive than the normal AC components. They are also not easily available in smaller cities. In case of any repair or replacement, the inverter AC will require a higher cost than a regular AC.
3. High Operation Cost:
As the compressor never stops and continuously operates to maintain the optimum temperature any leakage in the room will have an adverse effect. For example, if the room door is being opened and closed frequently, this will cause frequent leaks in the room and the compressor has to continuously work at a higher capacity to maintain the optimum temperature. This will increase the total power consumption instead of decreasing it.
4. Inadequate Dehumidification:
In a regular AC, when the gaseous refrigerant condenses into liquid, it also condenses the warm air that comes in contact with it, this draws out the moisture in the air. In the case of an inverter AC, this is difficult as the surrounding temperature of the room never increases significantly compared to the inside the AC, so even when the refrigerant condenses, the surrounding air is not warm enough to condense with it. This makes dehumidification difficult.
5. Initial Cooling Delays:
The compressor of an inverter AC operates continuously but at a lower power. Therefore it does not give instant cooling when you first switch the AC on. It gradually cools down the room to the desired temperature. This is different from a regular AC which operates at higher power and can instantly cool down the room when it starts working.
6. The Over and Under Capacity Effectiveness:
It is very important to get the exact capacity of AC that is suitable for the room. Otherwise, if the AC is of a lower capacity than required, then it will work at a higher power to keep the room cooled. This will increase the power consumption and defeat the purpose of buying an inverter AC in the first place. Similarly, if the AC has a higher capacity than the one that is needed, then it will not be used optimally and make the room too cold and humid. This will be uneasy and uncomfortable.
7. Specialized Technician Required:
Inverter AC uses an advanced compressor and a complicated circuit system. This requires highly professional expert technicians to repair in case of any damage. Locally available regular technicians might not be skilled enough to service the AC. This will reduce the servicing and maintenance expenses as these skilled technicians will charge a higher cost.
8. Inadequate Cooling on Very Hot Days:
Since the inverter AC works gradually and continuously. On a very hot day, the AC will not be effective. This is because insulating the room perfectly is a difficult task and any amount of leakage will cause the AC to work at a higher capacity for a long duration and increase power consumption.
9. Uncommon Refrigerant:
Due to the harmful environmental impact of the previous refrigerant variants, the inverter AC uses the R410A refrigerant variant which is relatively safe for the environment. But, as this is a new variant it is largely unavailable in many places, especially smaller cities. In case you need to replace the refrigerant at any point, it will be difficult and pricey to do so.
Inverter ACs are beneficial but only if used correctly. If you use your AC for long hours i.e more than 10 hours per day then you will see a significant difference in power consumption by switching to an inverter AC. However, if you use AC less frequently the difference in power consumption will not be significant enough. While you are looking for your next AC, keep all the above factors in your mind and make an informed decision that will be beneficial for you in the long run.