Popular Type of Air-Conditioners in Singapore

Popular Type of Air-Conditioners in Singapore

Air-conditioning has become an increasingly common household item in Singapore given our tropical climate. So along with your decision whether to purchase an inverter or non-inverter air-con, single-split or multi-split units, do also consider the brand of the air-conditioner. Most of the commonly available brands of air-conditioners in Singapore are listed below. If you notice, a significant number hails from the land of the rising sun. It is hardly surprising given their proximity and being an electronics powerhouse. However, do take special note that not all air-conditioners make in their brand’s country.

With rising crude oil prices, comes rising electrical costs. The Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme officially kicked off on 1st January 2008, though most manufacturers’ have been scrambling before that to get their products tested and labelled.

It has become a common sight in electrical stores to see these labels stuck on air-conditioners and refrigerators. Personally, I think the labels look garish and are a pain to peel off. However, they do serve their purpose admirably. The four tick system allows for a fast and easy comparison between models, with zero to four ticks (four ticks being the most energy-efficient). But do keep in mind that the ratings are relative. Simply put, a 9000 BTU air-conditioner with one tick will still consume less energy than a 24000 BTU air-conditioner with four ticks. So do take an extra moment to look at the small print, i.e. the energy consumption per kW-hr at full load and part load when making your purchase.

All-in-One Air-Conditioners

Choosing an air-conditioner these days is starting to get confusing with the numerous choices that are available to us. Though with growing Singapore affluence and housing restrictions, the trend seems to be leaning strongly towards the split system air-cons. However, you do have other options available.

Window Air-Con

A window air-con is the all-in-one unit for home air-conditioning with the components fitted and interconnected into a small neat package. Installation is relatively fuss-free if you are handy with tools. Otherwise, you’re better off paying someone $50 to install this. The window air-con is installed through an opening in the wall with no piping connection required. Just plug in the power and you’re good-to-go. However, do note that HDB has a series of guidelines about installing this type of units.

Casement Air-Con

Another all-in-one option is the casement air-con. Despite the confusing in the naming of this unit and the previous one. The casement air-con is actually the one installed on your window. Just slide back your windows, put in the bracket supplied and slip the casement unit in. Might involve a little more sweat, but essentially, the installation is not unmanageable.

Portable Air-Con

Last in our line-up is the portable aircon. This little cooling package is mounted on wheels and can be pushed around the house. Just need to make sure there’s a suitable power supply and window nearby. Though not shown in this picture, or any other you are likely to see, portable air conditioners come with a thick flexible hose. The hose is connected to the back of the unit and used to channel the hot air out.

Typically, these air-conditioners cost between $250 to $1000 and don’t require professional training to install. They are a cheap solution to your cooling needs. But they are neither quiet nor energy-efficient when compared to the popular split systems. However, if you are looking for a low-cost air-conditioner for those unbearably hot afternoons, this might just be up your alley.

Watch this great buying guide:

R22 versus R410A Refrigerant

R22 versus R410A Refrigerant

If you have been looking for an air-conditioner, you will invariably be plagued by the R22 and R410A dilemma. The R410A refrigerant is the new poster boy of air-conditioning while R22 is going into retirement. However, the main reason for this turn of events is not attributed to any real advantages or disadvantages of the two as a refrigerant. In fact, R22 is much cheaper to produce and simpler to implement than R410A. The reason is simply the environment.

R22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) which potentially contributes to ozone depletion and global warming. As part of the Montreal Protocol, all CFCs and HCFCs will be phased out in an effort to preserve the ozone layer. In Singapore, the sale of new R22 refrigerant and R22 products will cease as of 1st January 2016. But the supply of recycled R22 will continue till 2040. To the consumer, this means you can buy an R22 air-con before 2016 and still top-up the gas till 2040 if needed. But I seriously doubt any air-con is going to last for 25 years.

So what’s the benefit of buying an R410A air-conditioner? Ideally, the basic cliche is you will be doing your part to save the ozone. Practically, however, R410A is more efficient than R22 in cooling and hence saves you $$$ in the long run. Also, as more countries around the world start to use R410A for their air-cons, the cost will invariably fall. On the flip side, R22 is gradually becoming more scarce, and I’m sure you are well aware of what happens to price when the item becomes a rarity. Up!

So before you decide on R22 or R410A, I have compiled a short list of pros and cons for quick reference.

R22 Refrigerant

Pros:

  • Less expensive equipment
  • Easier to install
  • Much cheaper to refill gas
  • Lower operating pressure

Cons:

  • Not ozone friendly
  • Old technology
  • Lower efficiency

R410A Refrigerant

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Higher heat carrying capacity
  • Better efficiency
  • New technology

Cons:

  • Higher capital outlay
  • Stricter installation procedures, ie. higher-cost
  • Almost twice the cost to refill gas