Skip to main content

Advice on air purification, installation and energy efficiency of split-type air-conditioners - CHOICE # 332

  • 2004.06.15

Manufacturers of air-conditioners have put forth an amazing array of claims for air purification in the wake of the public's concern over SARS.

A recent Consumer Council survey on 38 models of split-type air-conditioners has found a proliferation of exotic air purification claims: photocatalytic, bio-enzyme, high-efficiency particulate, anti-smell filters, plus ion generators, anti-bacteria devices by ultra-violet radiation, to name but a few.

Faced with this seemingly abundance of choice, consumers will do well to consider this carefully - the ease of cleaning or replacement of the filters, the cost and frequency of replacement, the availability of the accessories, etc.

Another important issue borne out of the survey on the samples ranging in price from $1,290 to $6,780, concerns installation charges. Split-type air-conditioners are more complicated to install and the fee is therefore higher than that for the traditional window type.

Consumers should be aware that the price quoted by the retailer on a split-type may or may not include the installation fee which could run from $800 to $1,900, depending on the pricing of the company and the complexity of the job.

Second, even if the price is inclusive of installation, consumers should find out to what extent the installation will cover. The price may exclude certain aspects of work or items in installation.

Third, if possible, obtain an accurate quotation after an onsite pre-installation inspection of the location, which is usually free of charge.

The survey found that chain or department stores are more likely to quote the price inclusive of basic installation. Lower prices on the product can be found in some other shops with separate installation charges to follow.

With regard to energy efficiency, existing data has shown that in general the traditional split-type is slightly more energy efficient than the window-type split models. Some tips for energy saving:

  • Do not set too low a temperature; an air temperature of 23-26 degrees Celsius is generally regarded as comfortable.
  • Close the windows and use curtains to block direct sunlight into the room.
  • Clean the air filters regularly to ensure best operation.

The Consumer Council reserves all its right (including copyright) in respect of CHOICE Magazine and Online CHOICE ( ).