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I come from a middle-class family. My dad used to work for the state government and I am the only son in the house. Since we did not have a lot of demands, we never faced problems with money. But I have to say that for a large part of my life, we were not living in extreme comfort either. An example of this is the fact that we did not have an AC in our house up until very recently when I got my first job and my dad retired.

When my dad decided to buy a new AC, I was delighted! My mom had always complained about the extreme temperature we had to go through in summers. As soon as my dad told me to look for models, I visited a nearby electrical appliances store. The sales executive showed me a ton of ACs. I was intrigued when I found out that two ACs of the same capacity, offered by the same brand had different prices – all because of their individual star ratings. The five stars rated AC was much more expensive than the three-star rated one.

The sales executive explained to me that five-star AC’s will help me save more money in the long run since they consume less electricity. I was happy to know the information. But I did not understand the mechanism they use to arrive at the star rating. After all, what’s stopping a brand from just putting any star rating on its ACs?

That was when I decided to conduct my own research on this matter. Here is everything you will need to know, in order to understand whether you should worry about the AC star ratings or not:

Star ratings are a globally standardized mechanism to grade the energy efficiency of ACs 

As soon as I started with my research, I got to know that star rating is a standardized process across the globe. The key principle is the same – what is the cooling capacity of an AC in British Thermal Units for a total input of energy in watts, per hour? The answer you will get would be in the form of a ratio which is commonly referred to as the Energy Efficiency Ratio. To clear any skepticism around the validity and authenticity of these ratios, based on which the star rating is given – there is a standard body in India which gives out these ratings. The body is called the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

How do you understand whether the star rating is worth the extra money?

The difference in price between a three-star AC of a certain brand with a certain capacity and a five-star AC of the same brand with the same capacity will be around 30% the price of the five-star AC. This is an estimated figure that will differ only by a few percentage points here or there. So, if a five-star one-ton AC is priced at ₹30,000, a three-star one-ton AC from the same brand will be somewhere around ₹20,000.

So, the ultimate question you are asking is – does it matter to spend the extra ₹10,000 rupees on a better rated AC? My dad did not see the value in doing this. So I had to research more on the savings of a better rated AC. On an everyday basis, you will save up to ₹10 by using the five-star AC. By that metric, you will save ₹300 in a month and in three years – the five-star rated AC would’ve paid for its own extra cost.

The servicing and installation charges of both the ACs are same.

So, do the AC star ratings matter?

From my own analysis – yes, ac star ratings do matter. They help you understand the electricity bill savings that you can have on your AC. With my analysis, I was able to convince my father to buy the five-star rated AC. In almost all situations, I have found the five-star rated ACs are better than three-star rated ones because they help you save more in the usable life of the AC. If you will use the AC for more than three years, which you ideally should, the AC will give you great savings from day one. After the third year, the savings become more valuable since now you have covered the extra price you paid for buying a better rated AC.

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