Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Air Conditioner.
Best Buyers Guide: You surely don’t want to buy an air conditioner that won’t last long or could raise your electricity bills by a huge amount? Here’s a list of things that’ll help you figure out what should matter and help you find the perfect AC for your needs!
At this stage, we are more or less sure that you know much more about how an air conditioner works than a salesperson ever will. Time has come for you to learn about the small print that carries important information about an air conditioner.
Buying an AC in India is a tidy investment. Most of them are the second most expensive thing you will buy, after a car. In this section of the article, we attempt to demystify the art of buying an air conditioner.
At a typical shopping mall or mega electronics store, the salespeople are remarkably pushy and will throw around jargon with no meaning, such as “grooved copper coil”, “R-32 gas” which makes little sense to someone who is not an engineer.
A modern air conditioner can operate in various modes as under.
Cool Mode: The usual mode where the air conditioner cools the room to the preset temperature. Suppose on a hot day you have set it to 23°C and turned it on. The machine will cool the air till it reaches 23°C and maintains it close to that temperature.
Power Cool/Chill Mode: Newer ACs have this feature. When you first turn it on regardless of what temperature you have set it at, the AC cools at 100% capacity as if cooling for 16°C. As the room grows cooler it gives up this mode and reverts to normal Cool Mode mentioned above.
Dry Mode: In the dry mode, the air conditioner removes excess humidity and is used mostly during monsoons. The fan is on constantly at low speeds and the compressor works in short bursts. The air conditioner in effect works as a dehumidifier.
Power Save Mode: This is an extension of the Cool Mode but even the fan switches off to save electricity. When the air heats the fan switches on first and cools the room slightly. When the air warms up further the compressor switches on.
Sleep Mode: This is the most ingenious mode and details vary slightly across brands. It increases the temperature by 1°C every hour for two hours and then switches the air conditioner off after 6 hours.
6th Sense: The proprietary technology of Whirlpool air conditioners which can adjust the fan speed depending on the room temperature.
1 Ton here implies the amount of heat required to melt a ton of ice in a day (which happens to be 288,000 British Thermal Units or BTU).
A one-ton AC takes away 288,000/24 = 12,000 BTU of heat from your room in an hour and a two-ton AC takes away double that or 24,000 BTU in an hour and so on.
But much depends on ambient temperature if the surrounding air. In Indian conditions, it is considered that a one-ton AC can cool a small room (10 ft by 10 ft) with 2 people in it and a 1.5 ton AC can cool a larger room 12 ft by 13ft with 4 people in it satisfactorily from 35°C to 22° C. Most large office rooms (80 ft by 100 ft) use ten 2 ton AC units.
In colder climates, the tonnage needed is much less. In Germany where average summer temperature is about 25° C you would need half the tonnage to take the temperature down to a comfortable 19° C (of course in such a climate, heating that is more important for most of the year).
Factors that affecting tonnage
The temperature of the city – A place like Jaipur where the summer peak reaches 45° C would require much more tonnage than say Shimla or Ooty.
The volume of the room – The bigger the room, the more is the volume of air that needs to be cooled and kept cool. This affects tonnage.
The quantity of furniture and fittings – Heat is trapped not only in the air but also in things inside the room. An empty room requires less tonnage. A room chock full of carpets and sofas needs more cooling.
Also, the presence of a desktop computer can make the room dramatically warmer. That is why you will find bank branches are never very cold even though a dozen air conditioners are running.
It is also important to note that apartments on the topmost floor are far hotter than those below. This is because they not only become hot due to warm air. But also heat transfer by conduction from the roof.
Any flat on the top floor will need a larger AC. If you just wish for a summary. Then for an average room a 1.5 ton AC is sufficient and a 2 ton AC is more than enough. For small rooms, guest bedrooms, doctor’s chamber, small shops a one-ton AC is enough.
This is a hugely important piece of technology since the compressor is the engine of your AC unit. The compressors in use till a decade back used a piston.
There is an inlet valve through which gas entered the piston cylinder (much in the same way as a car cylinder) and the piston would push the gas into a more confined space thus compressing it into a liquid.
In the case of a rotary compressor, it is the force generated by a screw shape that creates the pressure (much like the water pump at your home).
The chief advantage of a piston-type or reciprocating compressor is that it is slightly more efficient (since it pushes) than a rotary compressor (which in effect squeezes).
But a rotary compressor has a lesser number of moving parts, which means a fewer number of components which can fail, less maintenance, greater durability. This is why rotary compressor AC’s are preferred in homes and small offices.
Inverter And Non-Inverter Technology
Probably many of the ACs you see around you have a non-inverter compressor (though they are on the whole on the way out).
The sole problem is they are binary – either on or off. This means they cannot step down their performance once the room is cool.
What does it mean in real terms? The room has to be allowed to warm once it is cool and the compressor will again work and take away the heat.
This is sort of a wave with highs and lows of temperature throughout the day. Ideally should not an AC maintain more or less the same temperature it is preset to?
This is what happens with an inverter compressor. Instead of switching off when a temperature is reached it just idles down a bit. An inverter compressor continues to work but at a slower pace.
An inverter compressor is designed to work at speeds from 1100 to 4500 rpm (revolutions per minute). It never switches off unless the AC unit power is switched off.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Headphone.
Best Headphones Buying Guide: For music lovers, it can be a daunting task to choose the perfect set of headphones. Or earphones from among the many available today. Whether your favorite music is hip hop, alternative, punk, metal. EDM, jazz or IDM this guide will help you find the perfect headphones. That are best suited for the genre of music you prefer. Finding the right headphone has never been easier. So, here is the top 4 thing to know before buying any pair of headphones. Just read full Headphones Buying Guide.
Type and Fit
There are two types of earphones – Canal-phone and Earbuds. Canal-phones are designed to rest just inside the ear canal while earbuds rest just outside the canal. There are two types of headphones – On the Ear and Over the Ear. On-the-ear headphones don’t cover the ear entirely. They sit on the ear and are also called supra-aural. They are available in behind-the-neck and over-the-head designs. Over-the-ear headphones cover the entire ear and are generally considered to be the best in terms of sound quality.
In-ear Headphones (Canalphone and Earbuds)
They have foam or rubber tips in different sizes for improved comfort. Compact and lightweight. Ideal for smartphones and portable players. Has passive noise isolation. Both types are also available in Ear-clip and Behind-the-neck designs. Ideal for sports and fitness enthusiasts and frequent travelers.
Portable: Due to their size and weight, in-ears are the most portable of the three kinds of headphones. You can easily stash them in your pockets when not in use and if that’s too much. Even dangling them around your neck isn’t too intrusive.
Noise isolation: Earbuds tend to have excellent noise isolation since they get placed directly in your ear. If you’re not sure exactly what noise isolation is, we go more into detail in this guide.
Great for exercise: This kind of ties back into portability but goes a step further. Earbuds are pretty much the headphones of choice when it comes to working out. Sure people still use other kinds of headphones. But these are by far the most popular because of how lightweight they are.
Sound Quality: For the most part, the sound isn’t the strong point of earbuds, particularly in the low end. Larger headphones can reproduce a more pleasing sound simply because they’re able to. Bigger drivers generally mean better sound, and earbuds use tiny drivers to maintain their portable form factor.
Wires get easily tangled: Again, this doesn’t apply to all in-ears, but for the most part. The wires get tangled all the time. Like, all the time and it can be annoying.
The ear-pads are usually flat. Cushioned for comfort. Good sound quality. Some models are foldable for easy storage and portability. Ideal for home and office use.
Also portable: Though they’re not as easy to stuff in your pocket as in-ears are, these are also fairly portable. They’re usually for people who want a step up in sound quality, but don’t want anything too big or bulky. Many of them also have hinges that help them fold to half of their original footprint.
Bigger batteries: Along with a bigger size comes more room to fit a larger capacity battery. The more listening time, the better.
Better sound: These aren’t intended to fit in your pocket. So, many on-ears use larger drivers that provide better overall sound.
Harder to carry: Yes, on-ears are still portable but they’re not as portable as earbuds. Throwing them in a backpack is easy, but good luck trying to stash them in your jacket pocket.
Not the best noise isolation: Because they sit on your ear and not in or around them. They usually allow some outside noise to enter.
Larger in size than on-the-ear headphones. Earcup design fully encloses your ears. Suitable for use at home rather than on the move as they are bulky. Excellent bass and treble response. Enhanced loudness and noise Isolation. Generally considered to be the best in terms of sound quality. Good for gaming, DJing, studio-quality experience. “Headphones Buying Guide”
Best sound: Again, this isn’t always the case. But in general large over-ears tend to sound the best because they have the largest drivers in the ear cups. Some manufacturers lean into the bulkiness and create headphones that are built for sound quality above all other concerns.
Biggest batteries: Noticing a trend here? It all comes back to size. Having more real estate to work with gives manufacturers. The freedom to stuff large batteries in these to make them last a long time.
Comfort: Larger ear cups mean more even weight distribution. Additionally, many manufacturers take advantage of the size to add materials such as memory foam, leatherette, and velour.
Hardest to carry: Since they’re larger, over-ears tend to be more difficult to carry. Some come with carrying cases to protect them during travel. But they’re still not nearly as easy to carry around as the other two types of headphones.
Price: This varies depending on how good any given pair of headphones are. But since over-ears tend to have the best sound quality. They also tend to be the most expensive.
Power: While this is an extremely rare issue, sometimes the high-end headphones you buy require the use of an amp. This is generally reserved for enthusiasts and headphones that are extremely specialized.
Easily the most controversial headphones here at Sound-guys, Bluetooth has taken the market by storm in 2017. Along with Apple’s unceremonious abandonment of the headphone jack, Android phones have also followed suit; driving up demand for this type of connection. Like other connection types, there’s no “better” or “worse” when it comes to Bluetooth, just trade-offs. However, Bluetooth adds another layer of Pros and Cons to your buying decisions, so it’s worth going over. “Headphones Buying Guide”
Wireless listening: Get your headphone cable caught on things all the time? Bluetooth headphones don’t have that issue.
Sound quality is better than it was 5 years ago. Bluetooth codecs If you have an up-to-date phone, have come a long way in the last few years. Even so much as to be able to compete in quality to some wired headsets. Of course, both your phone and your headphones have to support the same standards, so be sure to research this before you buy it.
Battery: Where you once could listen without having yet another thing to charge, now your headphones rely on a battery. It’s a pain with the smaller form-factor items like truly wireless earbuds, but the larger the headphones, the better battery life you typically get.
Wireless signals have inherent weaknesses: Wireless listening is all cool and good, but you may notice that sometimes you suffer from interference. It’s becoming more and rarer, but it can still happen.
Compatibility: While the whole sound quality issue is in a far better place than it used to be. Issues can remain when you don’t have equipment that can talk to each other. Newer headphones will have trouble with older phones, and older headphones generally don’t support decent codecs like aptX and LDAC.
Wired headphones & earphones: Excellent sound quality. They don’t require any power source – no batteries needed. Lightweight design.
Wireless headphones: These have buttons to control the audio playback directly from the headphones. Needs a power source of their own – rechargeable built-in batteries or replaceable ones. Usually heavier than wired headphones. It does not have to be physically connected to the audio device – connects through Bluetooth typically. True wireless headphones are also available which do not have any physical connection between the left and the right earpiece.
Wired with a Wireless Option: These are wired headphones which can also be used wirelessly. They connect to compatible devices via the 3.5 mm jack – or wirelessly through Bluetooth.
Things to know: There’s a lot of technical jargon when it comes to headphones, but they’re worth knowing if you’re looking to invest in a pair for yourself. These are some of the most common terms that get thrown around when talking about audio in headphones.
This is the spec that tells you the range of sound that the product is capable of producing measured in Hertz (Hz). If you look on the box of any audio product this number is usually around 20Hz – 20,000Hz, with the first number representing the lowest frequency and the second representing the highest. This number varies depending on the product, but for reference, humans can only hear between 20Hz – 20,000Hz which is why that’s the range most products aim for.
Some people say that products that produce sound above or below those frequencies are pointless, but that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, you won’t be able to hear those extreme frequencies unless you’re a bat, but when products have a slightly wider frequency response, l5Hz – 25,000Hz for example, it gives the sounds at the two extreme ends a little more room to breathe. In other words, what you can hear will sound a little better. That said, most people can’t even hear the difference if they’re looking for it, so it’s not the most important aspect of headphones to the average consumer.
There’s also the problem that no headphones on the market output each frequency at the same volume as all the others. Every set of headphones out there will emphasize certain notes over others, and that will have consequences for your music. Sometimes it will make things sound less clear, or it will all but mute some of the instruments in a song. These are things you can’t divine from a number on a spec sheet.