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Buying an Air Conditioner

Factors to Consider

When buying an air conditioner you will need to consider several factors.

The most important is the size of the air conditioner you will need which is determined by the size or your room and how well insulated it is.

You will need to consider the type of air conditioner.

You will need to carefully consider the brand which will dictate how reliable the machine is and how long it will last.

Finally the price must suit your budget.

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Buying an Air Conditioner

Daikin split air conditioner

How do we know which air conditioner to buy?

For people living in hot climates one of the important investments we will make is in our air conditioners. We expect them to run continuously for many years with very little maintenance and to not let us down particularly on those occasional very hot days.

So what do we buy? There are so many to choose from and things are changing year by year. Let us look at some recent developments to help us make that choice.

Type of Air conditioner

You need to consider the type of air conditioner you will need.

For most places these days a domestic split machine wis the best option. Efficient, easy to maintain and inexpensive even hotels are replacing the old centralised large systems with individual split units in each room.

Size - How big an air conditioner do you need?

It is important to get the size right, too small and your air conditioner will be working hard and never getting cool enough, too large and you will be paying a lot in electricity bills. To check the size you need you can go to our online air conditioner calculator.

Note that the level of insulation of your room make a big difference to the size of air conditioner you will need.

Inverter Air Conditioners

Inverter air conditioners are more efficient than standard air conditioners and offer significant benefits. The inverter converts the AC (alternating current) electrical supply to DC (Direct Current) so the speed of the electric motors that drive them can be adjusted according to the amount of cooling you need. This yields savings in power consumption and reduces wear and tear by avoiding the shock loads of switching the compressor on and off.

Inverter air conditioners are more complex than standard machines and have been particularly prone to damage from unstable voltages, so much so that some people have been reluctant to install them.


Make sure your air conditioner will be using the latest rrefrigerants, R-32 is the preffered gas these days although R-410a is still acceptable. Other refrigerants (most notably R-22) are being phased out.

Quality of Air Conditioners

One of the most important questions these days it what brand should we buy? Sadly the quality of many air conditioners that used to be very popular has fallen, probably a result of manufacturing operations progressively moving overseas. These days large factories produce many different brands under the same roof, methods of manufacture and quality has become standardised across brands and, as a result, there is little to choose between them.

An example of this standardisation is the fact that, to save costs, aluminium is replacing copper for parts of the cooling coils. Unfortunately aluminium does not resist corrosion as well as copper does and, unlike copper, is difficult to repair if there is a leak.

Voltage fluctuations and compressor damage

an important question these days is how well your air conditioner can cope with voltage fluctuations.

In Indonesia we often suffer from unstable voltages in our electrical supply which should, of course, be 220 volts. In our work we have recorded voltages as low as 140 volts which can damage electrical equipment and electronic circuits. Air conditioners that in the past were found to be reliable have increasingly been failing due to damaged electronic control circuits and burned out compressors.

Electronic circuit boards can be repaired or replaced easily however, burned out compressors are a different matter for two reasons:

  1. Replacement compressors are usually non genuine spare parts and so are not as reliable and
  2. They are generally so expensive you might just as well buy a new air conditioner.


Price is obviously very important and better quality air conditioners tend to be more expensive, you get what you pay for.

When asking for a price you need to make sure you know exactly what you are getting. On top of the basic price of the air conditioner there will be the cost of installation, the materials needed such as pipes and cables, the cost of the refrigerant and any extra cost if the distance between the indoor unit and the outdoor compressorunit is a long way. Copper pipe is used and copper is expensive. Make sure there is a plug and socket installation included.

A Daikin 1 HP inverter air conditioner will cost you around Rp5,650,000.

Reliable Brands

So now we know what we want, how do we decide with so many brands to choose from? When you maintain and service air conditioners you quickly find out which ones are the most reliable and the best performers. In our hunt for new air conditioners that will provide affordable, long term, reliable service for our customers we have identified some brands stand out above the rest.


The first is Daikin which manufactures air conditioners in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Daikin are generally regarded as higher quality machines and are more reliable when compared with other offerings.

Prices - the Thailand made machines are generally regarded as being higher quality than the Malaysian made ones and so are slightly more expensive. For example a standard (non inverter) 1HP (746 watt or 9,600 BTU) machine made in Malaysia will cost you around Rp4,250,000 while a similar machine made in Thailand will cost around Rp4,750,000.

Note that prices are at May 2021 and include installation but material costs may be more if long connecting pipes are required.

Daikin has now adopted R-32 as their standard refrigerant.


A second is Gree - which are all made in China. Gree have been working hard to compete with the other brands, they have extensive manufacturing and research facilities and are gaining a reputation for reliability. They are also willing to match their reliability claims and offer a five (5) year guarantee on parts and a ten (10) year guarantee on the compressor unit (considering item 2 above this is very significant).

Gree uses R-32 as their standard refrigerant.

Prices - a standard 1 HP Gree air conditioner will cost you around Rp3,750,000.

Both Daikin and Gree appear to have addressed the problem of voltage fluctuations and are making machines that can withstand power surges and voltage drops.

Voltage Stabilisers can protect your air conditioners

To protect your expensive air conditioners and other expensive equipment you might consider installing a voltage stabiliser particularly in areas such as Ubud and Jimbaran that are noted for voltage fluctuations.

Some Air Conditioning Tips

  1. If you have an old air conditioner (say more than 3 years old) that is still working well I advise that you keep it and make sure it is well maintained.
  2. Air conditioners lose efficiency as the cooling fins in the compressor unit and the internal unit become dirty. Clean them regularly to keep them efficient, a room in normal use would probably need cleaning every 3 months, this can be less if the room is not used very much but should be increased if there are losts of people in the room or if it is in a dusty environment. Make sure the technician cleans both the internal and external units.
  3. if you find your air conditioner doesn't seem as cold as it should be, get checked, it may be that you are losing the refrigerant from a leak somewhere. Refrigerant can be expensive so make sure you have an air conditioner technician that you can trust.
  4. Don't set your air conditioner temperature too low. If you set the temperature at say 16 degrees C the room will never get that cool so the air conditioner will never stop running which will cost you a lot of money. Also note that an air conditioner will not cool the room down any quicker if you set the temperature lower, the rate of cooling stays the same regardless of the temperature setting. 24 degrees is probably cool enough.
  5. Something we don't realise is that air conditioners dramatically reduce the humidity of the air in a room and this makes a huge difference as to how cool you feel. The drier the air the more effectively your body's natural perspiration cooling works. Drier air also reduces condensation, mould and mildew. It is also a good idea to run a ceiling fan with the air conditioner on to improve the circulation of dry air.
  6. Air conditioner efficiency is seriously impaired by drafts so it is important to prevent the free flow of air in and out of a room. Sealing doors, windows and vents will considerably reduce air conditioning costs.
  7. Before you install an air conditioner think carefully where you will install both the indoor and outdoor air conditioning units. Unfortunately architects often don't plan for the placement of air conditioners. Avoid long connecting pipes, if you can keep them short the machine will run more efficiently.
  8. Make sure that the outdoor unit is accessible for servicing or you will may find that it won't get cleaned very often.
  9. When you book a technician to come to service your air conditioner make sure that he cleans BOTH the indoor unit and the outdoor compressor unit.
  10. When installing an air conditioner make sure that the drain for the indoor unit is correctly installed or you will have an endless problem with condensation leaks.

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