What is an Inverter air conditioner?
What is an Inverter air conditioner?
All current split system air conditioners run on alternating current (AC) electricity.
Electricity can be generated by renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal) or by supplied by an electrical grid.
As electricity supplied is an 'alternating current', Toshiba invented and were the first to install an 'inverter' into an air conditioner, which inverts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), which enables all components inside the air conditioner to run on more stable direct current.
Direct current allows the unidirectional flow of the electrical charge - and enables the fans, motors and compressors to run at variable speeds instead of constantly alternating (starting and stopping) which enables higher reliability of the fans, motors and compressors.
As it takes a high electrical load to turn a motor on (it is more efficient to keep the motor running at a fraction of it's total capacity, rather than having starting and stopping infinitely as the temperature is regulated inside the space changes constantly) so inverter systems are a complex, yet simple soloution to achieving a high energy efficiencies in air conditioning systems.
A good example of a traditional (or non inverter) refrigeration system is an old refrigerator, which may seem to sit dormant for an hour, then turns on, the compressor runs flat out for a period of time (to bring the temperature inside the fridge down) and as as innocuously as it started, turns off - but then goes on to repeat the same process up to 10x per hour.
Further benefits of inverter technology is highly precise temperature control (comfort) and a reduction in noise pressure.
With regards to noise pressure - DC compressors, motors and fans run at a very low frequency (instead of turning on and off multiple times per hour) which results in a consistently low operating cycle.
With regards to precise temperature control, split systems with inverters are able to vary the flow of refrigerant quickly in response to a thermal change.
For example: If the air conditioner is maintaining the target temp of 21°c (in cooling mode) - and a heat load is introduced into the space (such as the sun coming out from behind the clouds, or a number of people entering the space) the air conditioner will raise the frequency of the compressor and fans to quickly and efficiently maintain the target temp, without forcing the system to run from 0% to 100% in a short period of time.
(To read more about the 'Co-efficient of Performance' in heating, and 'Energy Efficiency Ratio' in cooling, please click the link here.)
By far, the most important advantage of an inverter system is human comfort, which is explained below:
If a non inverter system had a target of 21°c, the temperature inside the space must to reach 22°c before the thermostat instructs the compressor to turn on - and continue to cool the space until the temperature reaches 20°c, which turns the system off - and as illustrated above, is highly inefficient - and uncomfortable.
This constant cycle would equate to a 3°c temperature differential (target being 21°c with triggers at 22° and 20°) which equates to more than a 10% variation to the desired target and is would result in a human in comfort in an office, lounge room or bedroom being too cold one moment, then too hot the next, which is unacceptable.
So, what are the advantages of an inverter air conditioner?
- High Energy Efficiency.
- Precise Temperature Control.
- Better Human Comfort.
- Low Noise Pressure.
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