A look at the use of Inverter technology in air conditioning and the benefits that this brings end users

Innovation is what keeps any industry moving forward, and the air conditioning industry is no different. Since the first ‘modern’ air conditioning unit was introduced in 1902, in Buffalo, New York, the way we control the temperature in our homes and offices has been overhauled again and again, and that shows no sign of slowing down.

What is Inverter technology?
One of the most recent advancements in air conditioning is the advent of Inverter technology. Created in Japan, Inverter technology is the method of controlling the speed of the compressor motor, enabling continuous regulation of temperature. The units have a variable-frequency drive, which controls the speed of the electromotor, which in turn manages the cooling and heating output of the system.

Using this technology has yielded a number of benefits for the owners of these air conditioning units, with one of the most attractive being cost and savings. The purchase and installation costs of these Inverter units are higher than traditional machines, but the money saved on the lower energy bills will ensure that the initial disparity is negated by the lower monthly expenditure.

Benefits of Inverter technology
For some units, noise is an unfortunate byproduct of its function, which can be distracting in certain environments. Inverter technology, however, is much quieter, meaning perfect air temperature can be enjoyed without any humming or whirring in the background, making it ideal for offices or other environments where concentration must be maintained.

The efficiency of Inverter technology is not to be taken lightly – when compared against air conditioning that does not use Inverter technology, the former costs at least 30 per cent less to run, an amount, which can rise to 50 per cent.

The speed at which it reaches the desired temperature – 30 per cent quicker than non-Inverter technology – helps consolidate this efficiency – there is no time or energy wasted waiting for the temperature to be adjusted. Once your desired temperature has been reached, that is where it will stay – there will be no fluctuations, no need for you to re-adjust the settings unless you want to. Normal air conditioning units are designed for the peak of summer, which means that all other times of the year, they are over-sized, as they always run at peak power requirement. Inverter air conditioning units are constantly turned on, but only ever use the exact amount of power required – no more, no less.

A slightly lesser-known benefit of these air conditioning units is the way they work with solar panels and photovoltaic technology. As these units use less electricity than their counterparts, the size of the photovoltaic panels required is smaller, as is the required size of the inverter.

How do Inverters work?
In all air conditioning units, the amount of heating or cooling required from the unit is dictated by the temperature of the room it is in. In traditional units, the compressor motor will operate at a high speed in order to increase the amount of refrigerant flow to increase the heating or cooling capacity of the unit. When the outside temperature is lower, the compressor will slow down and the amount of refrigerant is decreased. The on-and-off nature of traditional units, when compared to the always-on Inverter units, is much less efficient, wasting precious energy by powering up and powering down at different times, as opposed to maintaining its ‘on’ status but lowering the speed when the ideal temperature is reached.

Inverter air conditioning works differently. The compressor starts working at high speed as soon as the unit is switched on, and does so until the set temperature is reached. Once it has been reached, the compressor slows down, saving energy and maintaining the temperature. If the outdoor temperature changes, however slightly, the unit senses it and adjusts accordingly. This entire process uses 30-50 per cent less energy than traditional units, and at 12p/kwH, it will save a lot of money over time.

Japan, the country of the system’s origin, has the highest ratio of Inverter products, but exports to Europe and Latin America are increasing as Inverter air conditioning becomes more and more popular. Certain manufacturers have taken the technology one step further, incorporating sleep-state technology. This technology detects when the user has fallen asleep, and adjusts the temperature. This not only maximises comfort, but it also helps to maintain the efficiency levels that the technology is renowned for.

When considering an Inverter air conditioner, the size of the room it will be based in must be taken into account. This is because the Inverter technology adjusts its cooling and heating capacity based on the size of the room it is installed in.

The onset of Inverter technology and the speed at which it is being picked up by consumers around the world shows no signs of slowing down, and as it becomes more commonplace, it is safe to assume there may be even more efficiency innovations around the corner.

Airway Air Conditioning
Airway Air Conditioning is a leading supplier of air conditioning units for customers throughout Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire. Working with the leading manufacturers of air conditioning units, including Daikin, Mitsubishi, Toshiba and Fujitsu, it is an excellent choice for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioning units