The complete guide to buying air-con in Singapore [Infographic]

by Vincent Wee

Battling the hot and humid weather in Singapore without the aid of air-con can be brutal. Air-conditioning accounts for up to 40 percent of the electricity bill for an average household, according to recent research from Singapore’s National Environment Agency.

The key to home comfort and savings is finding the right unit that fits your space. An air-con that isn’t powerful enough won’t effectively cool your home and could end up inflating your electricity bill. One that is overpowerful will work too quickly, shutting off before most of the humidity in the room has been removed, leaving your place cool but clammy. Moreover, all that cycling on and off can stress the equipment and shorten its life span.

In recent years, home-owners have also added smart air-con to the mix; you can control these units using your smart devices, and they can also connect to other smart home systems. So, for instance, you could program your smart home system to turn on the air-con, lower your blinds and turn on your lights at a particular time or when the temperature inside gets too warm.

This guide focuses on things you should consider when buying an air-con system in Singapore and what you should take note of.

The complete guide to buying air-con in Singapore

3 key things you should know

Air-con specifications and terms can sound complicated, but they are actually quite simple to understand. For most home-owners, you just have to understand the 3 key terms when looking for the right air-con for your home.

  1. BTU (British Thermal Unit) – The British thermal unit is a traditional unit of heat. It represents the amount of heat that can be removed from a given space per hour. A bigger BTU will mean a more powerful cooling.
  2. EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) – The amount of BTUs per hour used up for every watt of energy. It shows how efficient at cooling an air-con is.
  3. dB (Decibels) – The decibel is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. An average model will usually emit around 60 dBs – a loud as a face to face conversation.

4 things to consider when choosing an air-con

Choose the right BTU

A bigger BTU means better cooling power, but more doesn’t always mean better in this case. The size of your home will determine the air-con BTU required. Choosing the right BTU is crucial as oversized ones will waste energy, while undersized ones will not cool the room sufficiently.

Choose your preferred type of air-con

Single Split System (System 1) – Comprises of 2 parts: the outdoor unit (condenser) and indoor unit (fan coil)

Multi Split System * – 1 outdoor unit that can connect up to 4 indoor units simultaneously

Portable Air-Con – A simple solution if you are on a budget or living in a rental property

Casement Air-Con – A self-contained unit installed on the window

*The most popular type of air-con in Singapore

Consider the extra features that are important to you

Air Purification System
Air purifying technology in air-con to protect air environments in the home and office. Some air-con comes equiped with unique propertiery technology such as nanoe-G by Panasonic to help ensure the fast cleaning of the air while also neutralises odours to provide a more pleasant and healthy environment.

Eco sensors
High-precision sensor technology in air-con to allow efficient, automatic operation to match the room conditions. This feature keeps you comfortable while saving energy such as ECONAVI by Panasonic.

Smart control
This feature allows you to seamlessly control your air-con from your smartphone. This technology is one that is featured in Daikin’s SMILE series.

Programmable timer
Most air-conditioners have a feature that is a 24-hour timer. This control allows you to set the number of hours you want the unit to run. To turn it on, press the timer to display the number of hours you desire the unit to run.

Energy Label
In Singapore, all air-con systems, refrigerators, dryers, televisions and lamps need to be registered under NEA’s ‘Tick-Rating system’. The ratings range from 1-tick being the least energy efficient, to 5-ticks which is the highest energy efficiency rating available. Most air-con systems fall under the 3-tick rating with a few models getting a 4-tick accreditation.

Motion-detector sensors
This technology detects changes in activity levels and reduces the waste of cooling with unnecessary power. When human is not detected in the room and it reduces the waste of cooling an empty room.

Samsung’s built-in Smart Wi-Fi air-con system allows you to operate your system when you are on the go. Wi-fi-enabled system is needed for any smart control.

Auto cleaning
LG’s auto cleaning function prevents the forming of mold and bacteria on the heat exchanger and thus offers a more pleasant and comfortable environment for you.

Anti-allergy filter
The anti-allergy filter of the air-con makes your skin feel fresh and clean. It removes invisible dust and bacteria, resulting in helping you avert allergy problems associated with such allergens.

Check the air-con’s energy efficiency

The easiest way to compare EER is to use the given Energy Label Ticks ranging from 1 to 5. The more ticks there are, the more energy efficient the air-con is.

5 reasons why it’s better to choose an efficient air-con

The air-con’s Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) measures how efficiently it uses electricity. A higher EER is better as it costs less to operate but units with high EER are generally more expensive. All air-cons made after 2000 have an EER of at least 9.7. An air-con that receives an Energy Efficiency rating has an EER of at least 10.7. An increase in EER by one point can save you approximately 10% on your energy bill.

Therefore, a more expensive model with a higher EER will actually save you money in the long run.

How to choose the right system

Now that you understand the basic concepts and different types of air-con in Singapore, it’s now time to cover one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an air-con system – which system is right for you and how much BTU do you actually need?

The rule of thumb is the larger the size of the room, the higher the BTU of the air-con should be. For example, a typical HDB flat’s room usually requires about 9,000 BTU worth of cooling capacity.

Use the following formula to determine the optimum BTU for your space:

Total area (in sqft) of HDB , 4-room, master bedroom

Example: 10ft x 16ft=160sqft

Total area (in sqft) to be cooled x 65 = Correct cooling capacity (BTU)

Example: 160 sqft x 65 =10,400 BTU

Common types of air-con servicing

Air-con is an important equipment in our home. It plays a significant role in maintaining the desired temperature in our house and also helps our lives to become better and more comfortable.

Aircon servicing is done to ensure your air-con system is functioning at its best condition with the optimal efficiency, so that you will be able to save more money in the long run.

For you to get the best air-con servicing for your air-con at home, you need to be aware of the types of air-con servicing. Below is a list of the common types of air-con servicing.

  • Normal servicing
  • Chemical wash
  • Chemical overhaul
  • Gas topping

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