(Image: Daikin)

Know these terms

1) Indoor/Outdoor units – Indoor units are the physical aircon units themselves, which house the fan and evaporator coil. The outdoor unit, often called the compressor, works outside the home.

2) Systems 2 to 5 – Think of systems like package – if you purchase a System 4, you'll be paying for four aircon units (indoor units) and one compressor (outdoor unit). Pick the systen according to how many rooms you want cooled. For example, to cool three bedrooms and one living room, pick System 4.

3) Inverter aircons – Inverter aircons are equipped with a compressor which operates at a range o speeds, from slow to fast, to meet the selected temperature. This means the aircon cools only what is needed and is more energy-efficient, compared to conventional units which operate at only one speed. The latter overworks the aircon and wastes energy. 

4) R410A – Aircons use chemicals called refrigerants to effectively cool the room. R410A is a type of refrigerant, which is more eco-friendly and efficient compared to the previously popular refrigerant, R22.

5) Cooling capacity – This refers to how much cooling load is required for a particular room or area, and is measured by the British Thermal Unit (BTU). An aircon with 9,000 BTU/hr is sufficient for a standard HDB master bedroom. To prevent hefty bill, choose the right BTU for each room so you can cool without overworking your aircon. You can also install blinds or window films to prevent sunlight from heating the room.

How to maintain

– Common problems include aircons that leak or do not produce cool air efficiently. A leaking vent means the temperature is too cold (which causes condensation), so turn up the temperature or increase the fan speed. Leaking on the unit itself might mean the drainage is blocked, and requires servicing.

– The easiest way to improve the output of cool air is to clean the filters! Dirty filters also force the aircon unit to use more energy and can shorten its lifespan. Soak the filter in soapy water for five to ten minutes, gently rinse and let it dry. Replace the filter if dirt can no longer be washed or brushed off, or if it has holes. 

Information provided by LG electronics, Johnson Controls, Ambi Labs, and Daikin Air-Conditioning.