All air conditioners collect a small amount of moisture as part of their normal operation. Aircons cool by passing air through an evaporator coil. As the air cools it loses some of its ability to hold humidity and just like a cold drink left sitting on a warm day water droplets form. When everything is running properly these are collected in a drip pan and depending on the type of air conditioner you have are either pumped safely outdoors or flow down a drain-line.Read more...
The majority of people think of their heating and air conditioning systems on only two occasions; when they receive their monthly power bills and when the A/C quits working properly. This is understandable because many Australian households spend upward of 27 percent of their total yearly energy budget on air-conditioning and repairing A/C system failures is rarely cheap.
What many fail to realise is that much of this expense is completely unnecessary. This expense can be reduced or avoided altogether by implementing a preventive maintenance programme for their HVAC system.
Direct costs of avoiding HVAC maintenance
Studies have found that dirty or damaged A/C evaporator coils can increase energy costs by about 5 percent; dirty blower wheels and fan blades can reduce air flow by as much as 30 percent, and undercharged refrigerant in an air conditioner can more than double a unit’s energy use. These are just the direct costs associated with not having PM performed on your air conditioning system. An added advantage of maintenance is that small problems can be discovered before they evolve into major issues such as a total system failure.
Scheduling professional maintenance on your AC system
Just as you have yearly medical check-ups to help assure your good health, your car serviced according to a set schedule keep it running smoothly and safely, you should have your air conditioning checked regularly to avoid a situation where it quits on you and to minimise power usage.
You should have a full inspection performed by a licensed air conditioning technician on at least an annual basis and preferably each spring and Autumn. Scheduling your air conditioner maintenance with the seasonal changes helps assure that you won’t have to face the summer heat without cool air blowing in your home or your system suffering damage when the winter chill sets in.
Some of the services they can perform for you include:
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Deep cleaning of coils
- Inspecting electrical components for signs of excessive heat or damage
- Tightening electrical connections
- Checking and cleaning ductwork
- Flushing drains and checking evaporate pumps
- Looking for leaks and breaks
- Checking all mechanical components for signs of wear
- Checking airflow and system efficiency
- Air conditioning maintenance you can perform yourself
While there is no replacement for a professional, know there are a few things that you can do yourself to help assure that your air conditioner is in top condition. Taking just a few minutes each, these simple tasks can have a major impact on the life of your unit, your monthly utility costs and your comfort.
1. Cleaning and/or replacing your air conditioners filters
One of the simplest and most important jobs you can perform to help assure your aircon keeps running efficiently is to take care of its air filters. Filters do more than just protect your system from dust and debris they help keep the air in your home clean and protect your health.
When filters become clogged, they put your entire system under a strain which costs you money. Worse though is that they can begin to let dust filter into your ductwork where it can create a breeding ground for allergy and asthma, triggering moulds and mildew.
Some units use disposable filters while others have filters that can be washed and reused. If your AC has a washable filter, it can be rinsed with clear water and then left to dry before placing it back in the system. You should never but a damp filter back in service and you should never use a vacuum cleaner to clean the filter. Either one can jeopardise the safety of your system.
The majority of disposable filters simply sit or slide into place. They are found most often directly behind your air conditioners intake register.
They can be purchased at most hardware stores and come in a wide variety of sizes and types. It is best to always check with the manufacturer of your system for their recommendation on the proper filter for your unit.
Most manufacturers recommend cleaning or replacing the filter every 200 running hours. For the majority of homes in Australia with a properly sized air conditioner unit, this equates to approximately two months. If the weather has been unusually hot it never hurts to perform this type of maintenance more often.
2. Clean around your air conditioner unit
Just like people air conditioners need room to breathe. When the airflow around them is restricted, work is harder for the A/C which increases their energy use and your utility bill. It also leads to greater wear on their parts, meaning you get to pay for repairs sooner (thanks!)
For a split system, the unit inside the house should be kept dusted so air can flow easily throughout the system. Make sure furniture and curtains are not placed too close and take time to wipe down the air conditioning case occasionally.
With an outside unit, don’t let plants grow too close or branches hang too low around it. Keep checking to make sure leaves, paper or other types of debris haven’t piled up around its casing.
In today’s world it is difficult for most to imagine living without air conditioning. Thankfully, a small time investment can go a long way towards making sure you never have to experience an Australian summer without your AC working, and to save money.
1. How Much Power Do You Need?
As a rough guide, we recommend around 120 watts of power per square metre for bedrooms and around 150 watts per square metre for more open areas such as living rooms and office spaces.
2. What Air Conditioning Features Do You Need?
One of the most fun, yet confusing parts of buying a new air conditioner is the vast array of advanced features that are now on offer. Depending on your lifestyle, and where you live on the Sunshine Coast, like on the beach or inland, you’ll need to do your research and work our what feature as best for you.
If you live on the Sunshine Coast there is a good chance that you will be the owner of an Air-conditioning system. Those that don’t yet have an air-conditioning system installed surly will have thought about doing so on one of our hot humid summer days.
The sunshine coast in summer can be very humid, interestingly the sunshine coast is actually classified as a humid subtropical climate falling short of being a tropical climate only because of the cool nights we experience during our winters.
With average humidity on the sunshine coast sitting around 70% for a large part of the year, it’s worth considering the affects of humidity on residential and commercial air-conditioning systems when making the choice of which air-conditioning system you would like to implement in the home or office.
The most important factor to understand about humidity and air-conditioning is that extra humidity in the air will make the temperature feel warmer than it really is. Knowing this simple fact it is easy to see that humidity plays a large part in the effectiveness and efficiency of an air-conditioning system.
An air-conditioning system works by both removing heat and humidity in the air. The hotter and more humid the air, the harder the unit will have to work. If a system fails in either cooling air, or removing humidity the result will be that your home or office may never truly feel comfortable. If your air-conditioning fails in removing humidity from the air, you might find your skin always feeling clammy, your windows may fog, and you might even experience excessive mould or a musty odour due to the extra water in the air.
The best way to keep your house or office comfortable in humid climates is with a Dehumidifier/air-cooling system. The more humid the climate, the more important the dehumidifying system will be on the total efficiency of your air-conditioning system. On the Sunshine Coast, especially in summer, it will be very important that your air-conditioning system can control the humidity levels we experience. With the correct system installed you will feel cooler more refreshed and as a great bonus you will be consuming less energy and therefore saving money on your electricity bill.
At Atkinson air we have more than 20 years experience cooling homes, offices, and commercial spaces throughout the Sunshine Coast. We understand the climate we live in and enjoy and we understand the requirements of the perfect air-conditioning system for the humid coastal climate.
If you would like advice on the perfect air-conditioning system for you don’t hesitate to get into contact with us. We have a sunshine coast air-conditioning specialist ready and waiting to answer all questions. We look forward to hearing from you!