Air conditioners are a blessing. Without these marvelous appliances, life would have been so much more difficult. Due to reduced prices, air conditioners are witnessing huge demand and are finding their way into the lives of middle-class families.
An air conditioner that provides essential cooling, but no fancy features may not be acceptable to all users. There are a lot of features that manufacturers offer. Some of them add immensely to the comfort and convenience, while others may be marketing gimmicks meant to compete with another manufacturer.
MCL, Aircon servicing company based in Singapore, present to you a detailed list of features provided by modern air conditioners.
- Economy Mode: This, as the name suggests, is meant for a better energy economy. The air conditioner consumes significantly less power and hence provides lesser cooling capacity.
This feature may be used at any time. However, the best time this feature comes handy is when there is a power cut, and you’re running the aircon on a generator, or peak electricity pricing is in effect. Using economy mode cuts down energy consumption, which may help you manage the electrical load.
- Quiet Operation: The noise produced by the indoor unit’s blower may be bothersome in certain situations like studying or attending a meeting. Quiet operation slows the speed of the blower. Less speed produces a significantly reduced noise level.
- Air Filter: The air in your room may have a lot of dust and allergy-causing particles. This situation is rectified using air filters. The air filter is placed in front of the evaporator coil. The cold air coming from the evaporator coil is cleaned when it passes through the air filter before being circulated to your room.
Filters come in different variants according to the size of particles they can filter. PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5 microns) are tiny particles that may travel deep into the lungs, eyes, and throat, causing irritation. Filters are rated up to 0.1 microns.
Specialized filters called HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) may remove the odor inside the room.
- Antimicrobial System: Many aircons have an antimicrobial system built it. It is usually part of the filtration system. The filters have a coating of silver or other nanoparticles that can neutralize these pathogens. ACs with antimicrobial filters are especially useful for infants’ and kids’ rooms.
- Human Sensing / Intelligent Eye: Aircons built with a human-sensing mechanism use built-in infrared sensors to detect whether the room is vacant. Human body emits heat, which is recognized by these sensors. If the room is vacant, the aircon reduces cooling to decrease power consumption.
Conversely, if there is a significant infrared signature in the room (many individuals), the aircon may increase cooling to compensate for the extra heat being produced in the room.
- Self-Diagnosis: An air conditioner could stop functioning if any significant component is faulty or malfunctioning. The self-diagnosis feature uses a set of sensors to detect which part is defective and indicates an error code that can be used to pinpoint failure.
Low Refrigerant Detection: This is a type of self-diagnosis feature. The refrigerant inside the AC system needs to be at an adequate pressure for the unit to function correctly. If refrigerant level drops due to a leak, pressure sensors inside the system indicate loss of refrigerant. This feature can prevent wear and tear to the system by facilitating early maintenance.
- Coanda Airflow/3D Airflow: You may not like a draft of air hitting you directly. 3D airflow indicates that the air conditioner blows air uniformly in all directions. Typically, 3D airflow is characteristic of cassette air conditioners.
Coanda airflow is used in Daikin air conditioners, where the unit blows air upward. Since heat rises upward, the cold air displaces it, and relatively heated air rises up. This leads to a uniform cooling effect.
- Power Chill: It takes a few minutes after switching on the aircon before the temperature inside a room stabilizes. Power chill (named different by manufacturers) is a feature that runs the AC compressor at its maximum speed.
This feature is very effective in the case of inverter ACs. Since the inverter AC can cool beyond its rated capacity for a small duration, the power chill feature can be used to decrease the amount of time it takes to stabilize the temperature.
- Anti-Corrosion Treatment: The components in an AC may be treated with chemicals that form an anti-corrosive layer. This layer protects the core components. It is useful in areas with perennial high humidity.
- Air-Swing: ACs that support the swing function have horizontal and vertical louvers that move and distribute the air in the left-right and up-down directions.
- Mosquito-Away: Mosquitoes can create a lot of nuisance and deadly diseases. Air conditioners built with the mosquito-away feature use ultrasonic soundwaves that repel the mosquitoes from the room. Humans can’t hear ultrasonic frequencies. You won’t hear a sound but will get free of mosquitoes.
- Hot and Cold: Some air conditioners are built specifically for areas that have extreme temperatures. Some air conditioners offer both cooling and heating. Since the AC is essentially a heat-pump transferring heat from one place to the other, a cycle reversal causes it to heat the room. Hot and cold ACs take care of the sweltering summers and chilling winters.
- Smart Control Features: Modern appliances are incomplete if they don’t speak about Wi-Fi and the Internet. Smart air conditioners may have a built-in Wi-Fi feature that facilitates operating the aircon with a smartphone app. No more dead remote batteries or lost remotes.
Along the same lines, ACs come with in-built Alexa integration. Alexa is Amazon’s voice-controlled smart assistant. Once paired with the AC, you could use voice control to instruct Alexa to set the temperature on the AC.
- Stabilizer Free Operation: Air conditioners are more resilient against voltage fluctuations. Heavy-duty components and in-built protection mechanisms negate the need for a stabilizer. This reduces the need to buy a separate appliance. It saves cost and space.
- Colors and Graphics: Manufacturers have been paying a lot of attention to the colors and looks of the air conditioner. While most aircons are sold in the traditional white or off-white color, there is an attractive palette of colors available. If you want patterns or graphics, those too are available in the market.
The air conditioner is no longer just an air-chiller. It has evolved to offer greater flexibility and versatility. The latest technological advancements allow for useful features like human sensing, protection from pathogens, hot and cold, and many more filters. It is needless to mention that these advances have also increased energy efficiency leading to broader adoption of the air conditioner.