Maintaining your air conditioning unit

While most commercial and domestic establishments in the UK invest in air-conditioning systems in order to tackle the temperate climatic conditions, not many give due importance to preventive maintenance programs. Getting into a routine maintenance program for your aircon comes with good reason, the most significant benefit being saving in power expenses over the lifespan of the unit. In this article, let us look at why maintenance is a necessity and what activities go into ensuring an efficient and well-rounded maintenance cycle.

Why is Preventive Maintenance Important?

Routine maintenance can help maintain and uphold operational efficiency levels of your aircon unit to its original levels at the time of purchase and installation. Aside from this, preventive measures also ensure:

  • Better energy efficiency by clearing out clogged filters and condenser coils. These impurities seep more energy for the aircon to function, contributing to the rise in your electricity bill

  • Increase in the lifespan of your aircon unit by way of regular servicing and maintenance

  • Elimination of health risks that are associated with poor air quality

  • Low repair and replacements costs as any malfunctions or faulty parts are identified at early stages during maintenance cycles and fixed immediately reducing stress on other components which can otherwise increase your replacement costs

  • Through regular maintenance and early identification of any possible malfunction, replacements can often be done under the warranty period, resulting of little or no outlay from the user’s end

  • Lesser emergency repairs and sudden breakdowns in periods of heavy usage making sure your aircon system doesn’t let you down when you need it the most

What Constitutes a Comprehensive Maintenance System?

An aircon unit’s filters, coils and fins require regular attention and cleaning in order to reduce the load on power consumption and supply clean fresh air to the establishment. This is particularly important if the unit is installed in factories or commercial establishments that are prone to dust and debris. It strongly advisable to engage a service provider to check your unit on a monthly basis making sure it is operating efficiently by focusing on the following areas:

  • Air Conditioner Filters: Clogged and dusty filters block normal airflow denting the efficiency of the system significantly and blocking normal airflow. This, in turn, increases the stress on the evaporator coil and its ability to absorb heat. While some filters are reusable, some other require regular replacement every few months. It is advisable to run this task every month or two, more so if you have any furry pets at home or have installed the unit in a dust prone area.

  • Air Conditioner Coils: The evaporator coils and condenser coils collect dust over the period of its runtime thereby insulating the coil and its ability to absorb heat. These coils require your attention every 8-12 months for efficient functioning

  • Clogged Drains:It makes good sense to run a stiff wire down your aircon unit’s drain channels as clogged drains prevent efficient humidity control which may discolour walls and carpets in a domestic establishment due to water leaks and moisture collection and may dampen metal equipment in a factory set up over time. Conduct this exercise once every six months and more in rainy and humid weather conditions

  • Aluminium Fins: Over time, the aluminium fins on the condenser coils bend and block the air flow. Good news is that these fins can easily be brought back to shape through a service routine that includes a tool called the fin bomb that is retailed by many aircon wholesalers. A good practice is to make sure no smoking areas are situated around the unit to prevent any damage to the fins

  • Thermostat Control: Never run your thermostat on a colder setting just to cool your room sooner. This is a myth and it simply won’t cool your room any faster; it will only increase your power consumption

  • Window Seals: At the start of every heavy usage season, inspect the seal between the aircon and the window frame to make sure it is in contact with the unit’s metal case. Poor contact can result in seepage of cool air from the system to the outside environment

  • Inverter Driven units: Always make sure you invest in inverter driven units as opposed to conventional units that work on 100% capacity and power usage at all times. Inverter-driven units start incrementally and when the room reaches the desired temperature, they slowly reduce power consumption levels to merely maintain temperatures.

A good power saving practice would be to install ceiling fans that operate in a counterclockwise direction that facilitate the upward movement of hot air accumulated in a room. Industry experts also recommend covering the exterior unit of your air-conditioner in months of non-usage in order to prevent external factors such as fallen leaves, snow and other debris to clog or harm it. Other specialised maintenance activities that service engineers can execute for you include:

  • Inspecting the overall system for correct functioning

  • Checking moving parts for wear and tare

  • Checking and adjusting gas pressures and possible gas leaks

  • Inspecting pipe works and other connections within the aircon

  • Cleaning and adjusting the thermostat

  • Provide a refill for any lubrication agents required in the system

It is strongly advisable to engage the professional services of maintenance engineers in order to ensure your appliance is at its optimal functioning capacity. They are also aware of any statutory and regulatory requirements with regard to aircon systems in the UK and ensure you are compliant. For example, the recent revision in the F-gas legislation that has come into effect from 1st January 2015 has held the owner/operator of the aircon equipment legally responsible to have their aircon systems checked at least once a year in order to avoid environmental hazards if they fall under the category of a certain level of gas leak.

We are Subcooled would be glad to partner with you for all your air conditioning maintenance and service requirements. Get in touch with us today and places all your aircon concerns in our able hands.