ISLAMABAD: With temperature refusing to come down from 40 degrees in Pakistani federal capital Islamabad, continuous humidity and soaring electricity rates the sale of air coolers, especially metal desert coolers (Lahori coolers) has picked up momentum in Islamabad.
As the hot and dry weather persists since the start of June, the condition ideally suits the use of room coolers, which also provide a comfortable humidity inside houses by spraying a small amount of water into the air.
Room cooler sellers said that people are showing special interest in room coolers, preferring them to air-conditioners mainly because of continuously rising electricity tariff, which has made it almost impossible for the middle class to afford air conditioners. People prefer room coolers also because they can run on UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).
Shopkeepers here say that the ongoing loadshedding and exorbitant tariff of electricity had compelled the citizens to look for an alternative of split air conditioners. A visit to different city markets revealed that now a new range of plastic-body air-coolers was in high demand as compared to the traditional desert air-coolers, which are also called Lahori Coolers.
“Plastic-made air coolers are more durable and create low noise due to which buyers prefer them over Lahori Coolers,” said Tahir Mehmood, a manufacturer of desert air-coolers at Aabpara Market. Over the last five years, inflation has increased manifold resulting in considerable increase in the cost of desert-coolers since most of the parts are made of imported material, he maintained.
“Consequently, the demand for desert coolers has decreased and many shops have also been closed down due to slow business. Now there are only few shops in different sectors of desert air coolers but few years ago there were so many shops of these coolers at different markets of federal capital,” he said.
A snapshot survey also revealed that manufacturers are using substandard material in desert air-coolers to keep its prices within the reach of buyers. One of the manufacturers at I-9 Market, Azam Khan, said the quality of material used in desert coolers had reduced a lot and now local material was being used instead of imported sheets and other parts.
The prices of air coolers vary from Rs5,000 to Rs12,000 according to its size, market survey showed. Several traders of Blue Area, Aabpara, and Melody Market, claimed that the electricity consumption of both a room air-cooler and of split unit is 8 to 8.5 ampere per hour.
They said in normal circumstances, split air conditioners tripped twice or thrice in an hour while room cooler constantly runs. They claimed that on average an air-cooler consumed less electricity due to which it worked better on UPS.
Another cooler manufacturer, Kashif Pervaiz, who runs his business at Blue Area, said, “A decrease in temperature affects business negatively. I have been manufacturing desert coolers for past 10 years and have noted an increase in their sales.”
He said desert coolers were replacing air conditioners because of their low cost and easy maintenance. When asked about the coolers’ prices, he said the price depended on the cooler’s size and ranged from Rs4,000 to Rs8000.
He said different fans were used for coolers of different sizes and a normal cooler had a four-winged fan whereas a larger cooler had a six-winged fan. He said a fan’s size also depended on the size of the cooler’s opening.