R5,499 can still buy you an aircon before Joburg’s next heatwave hits on Wednesday

  • Johannesburg is due another heatwave this week.
  • There is one sure-fire way to keep your home cool: air-conditioning. Assuming you have the electricity to run it.
  • The hardware won’t be a problem; stock seems to be moving fast, but you can still find decently-priced units.

The next heatwave is set to hit the north of the country from Wednesday, but – assuming you have electricity – you don’t have to suffer its full effects. For a couple of thousand rand, several retailers will sell you decent air-conditioning units right now, a survey by Business Insider South Africa has found.

With a quick bit of homework before heading for the shops, you can get the coolest, most energy-efficient deal for your home size.

To invert or not to invert

Inverter air conditioners are more pricy, but they save a lot of energy by slowing the motor down when the desired temperature is reached. This lowers the energy consumption needed to maintain the temperature in the room. Non-inverters run the motor at the same speed regardless for as long as it is switched on.

Inverter aircons are about 30% more expensive than the non-inverter kind – but can save 30% to 80% in operating cost in the long run.

But how much BTU?

Buying a unit that doesn’t have enough punch to cool your home is going to bring you no joy, so measure the space you need to cool and use this guide:

  • 10 to 15 square metres – 9,000 BTU
  • 16 to 20 square metres – 12,000 BTU
  • 21 to 30 square metres – 18,000 BTU
  • 31 to 40 square metres – 24,000 BTU
  • 41 to 50 square metres – 30,000 BTU

(The British Thermal Unit is a unit of heat. It is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.)

Specials across the board

Many retailers have come to the party with aircon specials, but be warned that the better ones seem to be selling out fast.

Builders Warehouse has many cool deals that run until November.

At the top of the range, R29,999 will get you a 24,000 BTU wall-mounted LG in dark grey. The cheapest wall unit is a 12,000 BTU Goldair Split model for R6,499.

The portable units at Builders range from R399 for a desk model to R5,999 for a 12,000 BTU Goldair.

Makro has the same Goldair on special for R5,499.  If you need a bigger output, Makro has a number of 30,0000 to 32,000 BTU non-inverter models for R18,999.

AC Direct has specials of up to 42% on their wall split units. You can get a Daikin Sensira 12,000 BTU for R9,499 with free delivery, and their Neocool By Alliance Wall Split 9000 TU non-inverter is marked down to R5999.90.

Takealot still has a wide range in stock for quick delivery.  The Russell Hobbs 10000BTU Portable Aircon is available for R7,687, and there is a sweet deal on a Defy Split inverter 18,000 BTU R410A unit for R8,839.

Keep in mind that non-portable units should be installed by professionals, and that will set you back around R1,500 to R3,000.

If this is too rich for your budget, you can get a second-hand fan for under R300 at Cash Converters and sleep under a damp towel.

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