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How to save with inverter technology

Inverter technology has established itself in air conditioning systems. The arguments for this type of technology are overwhelming: lower energy consumption, eco-friendly, less noise. But if you still do not understand how it works, you may be using it incorrectly and therefore spending more than you are saving.

The first air conditioning units with inverter technology appeared at the beginning of the 1980s as an efficient response to the petrol crisis of the 1970s. After a few year, they became essential items. They appeared in Spain in the 1990s and today it is hard to find an air conditioner without inverter technology.

At the heart of every air conditioner is a compressor that circulates the refrigerant. Inverter technology changes the way in which this heart works. The best way to understand this is to compare a non-inverter and an inverter.


Before:"Jerking" air conditioner

Until the introduction of inverter technology, this was the normal scenario:

Graph of operating intensity of a non-inverter air conditioner

The air conditioner motor would always operate at the same speed. If you touched the thermostat to lower the temperature, it would start working and not stop until it reached the desired temperature. When it stopped, it stopped completely until the temperature went up. Then the motor would start up again to work at the only speed it knows.

“A “classic” air conditioner follows the ON / OFF logic: it works or it is dormant.”

Now: the "smart" air conditioner

The inverter revolution changed everything:

Image: smart air conditioning behavior

The motor knows how to work at different speeds. At the beginning, when it receives the thermostat order, it will begin working at full capacity. Then, as the target temperature is reached, it will slow down until it maintains a constant and stable speed. This will use less electricity.

If we compare both, it is easy to see that one can self-regulate and the other can't

“An inverter air conditioner works with greater or lesser intensity depending on the requirements.”

Benefits of inverter technology

SAVINGS: it consumes between 25% and 50% less energy. Why? Because as with a car, the starting process requires more energy. With a classic air conditioner, although the device is on, the motor has to stop and then start up again a number of times. With an inverter air conditioner, the motor normally does not go off until you decide to switch the device off.

“The less the motor has to start up, the less power it will require.”

FASTER: do not be fooled by its efficiency or self-regulation. Inverters reach the target temperature before non-inverters.

STABLE TEMPERATURE: as they do not have the ON/OFF transitions of non-inverters, the room will not end up being cooler or hotter than desired.

LESS NOISE: obviously, a self-regulating motor that rarely functions at full capacity is quieter than one that only knows how to function at full capacity.

ECO-FRIENDLY: although air conditioning do not cause direct contamination, the electricity that fees them is obtained from a number of ways and some are associated with contaminating gases.


Disadvantages of inverter technology

IT COSTS MORE TO REPAIR: components are more complex and expensive(mainly the electronic parts), therefore if you do have a problem you will not get away with a botch job.

MORE EXPENSIVE: although it is hard now to find an air conditioning unit without inverter technology, some years ago the non-inverter units were around 100 or 200 euros cheaper.

INCORRECT USE: if inverter units are used correctly, they are so efficient that they more than amortize the price difference with regard to non-inverter units.  However, when used incorrectly, the difference is non-existent and they consume the same as a non-inverter unit.

What is the worst way of using an inverter system? Using it as if it were a non-inverter system. I.e.: setting an extremely low temperature (18ºC), switching the machine off when you feel cooler and then switching it back on at 18ºC when you get warm again.

If you do this, you will be wasting the efficiency of the inverter and making it work in a jerking manner. The correct way of using an inverter is to set a reasonable temperature (26ºC) and leave it alone, only switching off the device when you are going to go out.do te vuelves a calentar.

“The correct way of using an inverter is to set it at 26ºC and leave it alone.”
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