What is an inverter air conditioner and how does it differ from ordinary

Evgenia Kravchenko
Checked by a specialist: Evgenia Kravchenko
Author: Mikhail Yashin
Last update: October 2019

To create a comfortable microclimate in the premises, various devices that regulate the parameters of the air environment are used. A modern inverter air conditioner or split system is designed to provide the necessary indicators of temperature and humidity in the room.

Understanding the principles of operation, internal structure and technical nuances will make the right choice when purchasing an air conditioning system. Let's understand these subtleties together.

Comparison of inverter and conventional type devices

When choosing between systems of classical and inverter type, it is necessary to rely on a clear idea of ​​the desired result, an understanding of the principles of operation of such air conditioners and the technical feasibility of their use.

The principle of operation of various air conditioning systems

Consider the principle of operation of an ordinary air conditioner in the mode of maintaining a given air temperature in a certain range.

So, when working on cooling, the device operates until the minimum temperature range is reached, after which it is turned off. As soon as the temperature sensor detects the temperature reaches the upper limit of the range, the air conditioner is turned on.

The temperature range for all devices of the classical type is from three to five degrees, otherwise frequent switching on and off will quickly disable it. Simpler and cheaper systems include manual or timer.

The inverter system when it reaches the required temperature starts to work in the mode of its support. This is expressed in a decrease in the number of revolutions of the compressor engine, which pump freon to the evaporator, which leads to a decrease in heat exchange. And about how the cooler is refilled in the air conditioning system, read this stuff.

Schedule of inverter and conventional system
Inverter systems, unlike on / off models, operate continuously and provide a smaller range of temperature fluctuations. Their work is almost invisible to the user

Thus, the principle of operation of ordinary air conditioners consists in alternating operation with constant power. And inverter devices operate in constant mode with variable power.

For the consumer, this is expressed in the following:

  • the flow of cold during cooling or warm when heating air in ordinary systems during their operation is more powerful, which can cause discomfort;
  • inverter systems more precisely maintain the set temperature;
  • conventional systems create more noise, especially when turned on and off.

Therefore, from the standpoint of creating a suitable microclimate in the room, the new type of air conditioners clearly outperform their classic predecessors.

Pros and cons of the technical plan

As with any innovation, inverter systems have positive and negative sides of the technical plan in comparison with models made using the previous technology.

One of the main criteria by which the user selects equipment is the cost of both the device itself and its maintenance and repair. As a rule, for recently launched products, the price significantly exceeds the performance of outdated models. This situation has developed in the air conditioning market.

The comparative cost of air conditioners
The recommended retail price for Toshiba air conditioners shows that the presence of an inverter increases the price of a household model from 7 to 19 thousand rubles

In addition, the cost of service, repair or replacement of spare parts for inverter systems is much higher. The price of the electronic board of the frequency converter costs almost as much as the other nodes of the device.

There are practically no third-party parts on the market, while for older models there is a large selection of compatible components.

The second problem is that monoblock devices and split systems of the new inverter type are complex electronic devices. Therefore, in spite of the presence of integrated safety components, it is necessary to provide high-quality power supply in order to avoid breakage.

The third problem is the risk of failure of expensive electronics. Even with normal power supply, aging and the loss of volume by capacitors, thermal breakdown of power elements and other problems typical for circuit boards can occur over time.

Electronic filling inverter split system
Modern inverter devices, unlike their classic predecessors, have sophisticated electronics, so you need to handle them carefully

From the standpoint of energy saving, there is no single answer. According to the manufacturers, during normal operation, inverter systems are more economical than classic ones, which at startup start up consume a lot of resources with low efficiency. This is true, but the savings are not so large that we can talk about quick compensation of the price difference.

If we compare the operation of the models at constant maximum power, then, with the same technical indicators, the new models lose the classic ones due to the fact that when the current is double-converted, thermal energy is released. Therefore, this mode of use of inverter systems is impractical.

But in terms of the impact of the device on the electric network, inverter devices are definitely better. They consume electricity evenly, so the maximum load is less than when the classic air conditioner is running.

In addition, each time a start-up occurs, a peak load occurs and a voltage drop occurs. With insufficient cross-section of power cables, this is especially noticeable and negatively affects the quality and safety of other devices in the circuit.

Over time, the shortcomings of the new technology will be eliminated or they will have to be reconciled with because of a significant improvement in comfort compared to using devices of the previous generation.

We also recommend reading the article on the most frequent split system malfunctions and how to eliminate them.

Air conditioner electronics filter
The standard noise filter of the inverter cooling circuit board includes high-voltage varistors, noise filtering capacitors and chokes

Split system device

Externally, air conditioners of both types of action do not differ from each other. The technical difference is that the inverter relay in the inverter version is replaced by a frequency converter, which is a power electronics unit.

It includes:

  • rectifierconverting standard alternating current to direct current;
  • inverterconverting direct current into alternating current of required frequency.

The inverter is controlled by a special controller integrated into the electronic control unit of the system. It determines the frequency of the current flowing to the generator, thus controlling the speed of rotation of the compressor motor.

The split cooling system consists of two units, one of which is located indoors and the other outside.

The outdoor unit block of inverter type includes the following main elements:

  • capacitor (usually in the form of a radiator with a fan), in which there is cooling and phase transition of freon;
  • compressorcompressing freon or other refrigerant and providing movement along the circuit;
  • freon filterprotecting the compressor from dirt;
  • four way valveperforming reverse flow of freon when changing the cooling mode to heating and vice versa;
  • a frequency converter;
  • control board external unit.

For ordinary air conditioners, all electronics are usually located in the indoor unit and are less susceptible to dust and temperature extremes. The reason for removing the power electronics board to the outside is the heat from the inverter.

Protecting the outdoor unit from rain
Since there is an expensive frequency converter board in the external unit of the inverter system, it is necessary to provide additional protection against the effects of precipitation

The indoor unit includes the following devices:

  • evaporator (radiator with fan), in which the refrigerant is heated by cooling the incoming air;
  • coarse filterdesigned to trap large suspensions, such as dust, animal hair or fluff;
  • fine filter system (coal, antibacterial, electrostatic, etc.);
  • control board indoor unit;
  • Front Panelthrough which air enters the unit;
  • horizontal and vertical blindsdesigned to adjust the direction of the output stream;
  • display panel.

The copper tubes connecting the indoor and outdoor units are connected using a special fitting connection.

Scope of typical cooling systems

For new models, it is best to use the reduced power mode for as long as possible, because this allows you to ensure the inverter air conditioner operates in such a way that its best qualities are used.And when operating at maximum power, inverter devices are no better than their outdated counterparts, but more expensive both in price and in maintenance.

In the reduced power mode in the room, the air conditioner compensates for the temperature change due to heat exchange between the air and the walls, floor, ceiling, and also as a result of a slight influx of air from the outside.

If the replacement of the air mass occurs frequently and the temperature difference inside and outside is significant, then the economical mode is ineffective.

Designation of technology on the air conditioner housing
Air conditioners using Digital Scroll technology have stepless power control, and those using DC Invertor technology (pictured) are discrete. Before purchasing them, you need to know the minimum power values ​​to avoid frequent system shutdowns

Thus, inverter systems are mainly used for living rooms and offices, where it is necessary to create a favorable microclimate and there is no significant influx of air.

There is no need to use inverter systems for the following objects:

  • living quarters where air conditioning is rarely used, such as a summer residence;
  • kitchens and other technical objects, in which temperature changes often occur due to the operation of devices located there.

It is better to equip with a classic version of the cooling system those rooms where frequent air replacement occurs: offices, shops, halls and other public places where you can observe a large flow of people through the front doors, warehouses, hangars and other objects with a large entrance gate area.

Technical rooms where there is uniform heat generation due to the equipment located there (for example, a server room) are better equipped with several inverter cooling systems. The use of ordinary air conditioners at such facilities is impossible, since they cannot work around the clock.

Purchase nuances and popular manufacturers

Choosing an invertor cooling system, you need to make sure that it is able to provide the required microclimate of the room, working in low power mode.

For this you need to know the parameters of the room, such as floor area and ceiling height. There are more complex calculations for air conditioners from different manufacturers, but as a rule the result is not much different from a simple model.

Table for calculating the required power of the air conditioner
The table for determining the maximum power of the device required to ensure high-quality air conditioning in the room, depending on the floor area and ceiling height

The lack of compatible components for electronic circuits of inverter split systems leads to a problem in case of their breakdown. Service centers do not repair electronics. In case of replacing the board, in addition to the high price, the problem is the waiting time for the spare part.

Sometimes the reason why the board crashes is elementary from the standpoint of eliminating it. Replacing 3-5 swollen capacitors will cost 700 - 1,000 rubles with the cost of the entire unit about 10,000, and the time spent on repair will take 1-2 hours.

Almost any computer and mobile phone repair company can provide such a service. However, this requires documentation on the electronic board, and on the device itself, all details must be marked. This must be checked before buying an air conditioner.

A fragment of the air conditioning control board
Air conditioning control board with clear marking of all parts indicates the high-quality production of the electronic device in the factory and allows, if necessary, the replacement of failed components

Due to the high cost and technological innovations, when purchasing an inverter-type cooling system, it is better to opt for models of well-known manufacturers.

Devices of the following companies are popular:

  • japanese Mitsubishi electric and Daikin produce very high-quality products, which are somewhat more expensive than analogues of other manufacturers;
  • japanese Mitsubishi heavy, Panasonic, Fuji, Fujitsu, Hitachi and Toshibaas well as South Korean LG, Samsung and Hyundai also in good standing with consumers;
  • Turkish Koc Holding produces air conditioners and other equipment under the brand name “Beko“Which is being assembled in China;
  • swedish corporation Electrolux It is the flagship among European companies producing household appliances, although the assembly of their air conditioners is also carried out in China;
  • chinese Ballu, Haier and Midea produces enough quality products, and at a very affordable price.

Models of air conditioners of the Russian assembly can be attributed to the budget options. They have no significant differences from their foreign counterparts in terms of price / quality ratio.

With the TOP-8 inverted air conditioners, which according to users are the most efficient, and according to sellers, they’re sold out with a bang, the following photo gallery will familiarize you:

Our site also has an article in which models are analyzed in detail and a rating of the best split systems is presented in the opinion of users, we recommend that you read it. More details - go to the link.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Comparison of ordinary and inverter systems, tips on the need for the proposed options:

The purchase of inverter systems will help create a suitable microclimate and ensure a comfortable stay at home or in the office.

In order for the air conditioner to function for a long time and function properly, it is necessary to responsibly approach the choice of the manufacturer, the required power and ensure the technical conditions for the system to work.

Want to ask a question about inverter air conditioning systems? Please leave your comments in the block under the article. Here you can report an interesting fact on the topic of the article or supplement the material with your observations.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Valery

    With the onset of summer, many families are thinking about buying air conditioning systems. We were no exception and chose an inverter-type split system. Firstly, the equipment operates in an economical mode: when it is necessary to cool the air by only 1 degree, the inverter air conditioner will not plow at full capacity. In fact, it makes it possible to reduce energy costs, works quieter, there are no surges in the network at startup. Wiring in the house is old, powerful current consumers are a problem.

  2. Semen

    When we chose an air conditioner for our apartment, we decided to take only an inverter type. Firstly, after all, it saves energy: the engine runs at low speeds, maintains a constant temperature. If it starts to rise, then it will start again in work. Secondly, there is no jump in electricity consumption. Thirdly, it is quieter because the compressor rattles less. Of course, his price will be more expensive, but the question of price did not bother me.