Saturday, May 25, 2013

Croma Portable AirCon - a good solution for AC-proof homes

Our family home in Pune is almost entirely AC proof. It has a large living room, an open plan kitchen and long passages. Of course, we installed a window AC in the master bedroom, but till now, we have postponed the installation of a split AC in any of the rooms. We would have required at least a 2 Tonne AC, but the inability to seal off the room would have made the cooling impractical and infeasible. Pune is blessed with a good climate and the old-style thick walled construction kept the interiors fairly cool. But climate change is real and the last two summers have been cruel and uncomfortably hot. This year, we had to install an aircon in summer and we came up with a decent solution - the Croma Portable Air Conditioner. It's a 3-in-1 airconditioner, air cooler and dehumidifier.





It may look like an air cooler but it is a proper aircon with a rotary compressor. As you can see it's a compact device, roughly 3 feet in height, and with a 16X16 inch footprint. It will not occupy too much floor space when not in use. 





You need to attach this large pipe at the back to expel hot air, and a smaller pipe for the water overflow. This is needed only if you use the compressor/ AC mode.

There is a neat window attachment through which the pipes can be let outside the window. These pictures are of usage inside the spare bedroom. When we use it in the hall, we just let the pipes exit into the spare bathroom.











The cooling is like a real aircon but I would describe it as 'spot cooling'. You need to sit in front of it to really feel it. This is exactly why it works for AC-proof rooms however. The cool air is not dissipating away and getting lost in a large space. I was reminded of my childhood when me and my cousins would come in sweaty from playing and jostle each other to stand right in front of the air conditioner. We found ourseleves doing the same again! But rest assured, it does cool well. 


At Rs. 24,000, this one-tonne device is the perfect solution for large rooms and for rented residences where you do not want to invest in AC installation (which costs a minimum of Rs. 2000 and in many cases, at least Rs. 4000). Above all, if you are prepared to endure the slight inconvenience of wheeling it from one room to the next, it saves you from investing in two separate  units. Bear in mind that this is a huge saving, considering that after the one year warranty expires, you need to take an annual AMC for each aircon. There is a substantial saving in buying one instead of two units AND saving on the installation for each one.

The folks at Croma told me that they had a tremendous response after launching this product and I am not surprised. Indians are quick to embrace anything that offers Paisa Vasool, and this device certainly does. It has saved us at least Rs. 30,000 down payment (the price of one additional AC + installation of two ACs).