How to Take Care of Your Air-conditioner – Part 1
Congratulations, you have finally installed the air-conditioner but wait! There is still the matter of maintenance ahead of you. Read on as we suss out the common problems and tips to keep your air-conditioners in tiptop condition.
1. Problem: Leakage
You’re happily sitting under your air-conditioner when a single drop of ice cold water drips onto your head. Then another, and another! In no time at all, the floor below is soaking wet. Bad news: your air-conditioner is facing a water leakage problem. Such a problem, if left untreated, will cause mildew and mould to grow on affected parts.
Reason: Poor installation
The air-conditioner may have been installed poorly, resulting in the following defects:
- Faulty or cracked condensation pan
- Blocked drainage pipe or the pipe was not installed in a gradient that allows water to flow from your
- air-conditioner to the toilet
- The insulation has split open or is missing; it’s the ‘sponge’ that absorbs the condensation from your copper pipes.
Solution: You may think you’re saving money by hiring a fly-by-night company to install your air-conditioner, but it’s crucial to choose an installer who is BCA-trained. Make sure the installation materials used are quality ones as well. You can visit our blog to read up on the types of materials that should be used during the air-con installation.
2. Problem: The room is not cold enough.
You bought an air-conditioner to make your room feel like winter wonderland, but it’s starting to feel more like you’re trapped in a stuffy sardine-packed train instead.
Reason: Insufficient BTU
BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the unit of energy that’s needed to cool or heat one pound of water by 1 °F. If your room is larger than what the BTU can handle, the air-conditioner cannot cool the room sufficiently. The same goes for rooms that produce a lot of heat e.g. too many lights, appliances or people staying in the same room.
Solution: Check with the salesperson to make sure you’re getting the right size for your room.
Reason: The refrigerant (coolant) is low or has leaked.
This fluid is in charge of cooling the air so if it is low, it decreases the system’s capacity to cool your room. Solution: You’ll have to contact the technician to take a look. This is why regular maintenance is so important so you can nip the problem in the bud before it gets out of hand.
Reason: The condenser or evaporator coil is dirty.
In order to cool the air, the refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil and changes from liquid to gas as it extracts heat from the air. After this, the refrigerant will be pumped through the condenser coil so it can give up the heat it collected and change back to liquid again. If the condenser coil has an additional coat of dirt, it will affect system efficiency and eventually cause the compressor to burn out.
Solution: You can try cleaning the evaporator coil by using a vacuum cleaner with a brush head attachment. Give it a light clean in the same direction the aluminium fins are running. If you’re not sure how to go about doing it, then engage a specialist to do it for you. Don’t forget to replace or wash the dirty air filter too.
Reason: The condenser or evaporator coil is frozen.
A frozen condenser or evaporator coil is yet another common problem. In fact, any one of the following can interfere with air-flow and cause the coils to freeze:
- Faulty or clogged fan blades
- Low refrigerant level, which causes the pressure to decrease and the temperature to drop below freezing point. At this stage, moisture in the air will freeze and it will continue doing so until the coils are frozen over. A low refrigerant level could be due to leaks or it had been undercharged during installation.
- Clogged air filters
- The outdoor condenser coil is dirty due to a dusty or foliage-filled environment.
- The aluminium foils or fins on the evaporator and condenser coils are bent, thus blocking air-flow. A “fin comb” sold by air-conditioning wholesalers can usually fix it, but you can also get a technician to help you straighten out the aluminium foils.
- The air vent grilles are closed.
Solution: Get a technician to conduct regular maintenance to prevent such problems from cropping up.
Reason: The thermostat is no longer working.
Its primary job is to measure temperature of the air entering the coil so if it’s faulty or misaligned, room temperatures will be erratic or the air-conditioner won’t turn on.
Solution: Before calling in the technician to check on the thermostat, make sure that:
- The temperature is set correctly.
- Your doors and windows are closed.
And that brings us to the end…not! Stay tuned for more problems and solutions on how to take care of your air-conditioner in the next segment.
Read the next part – How to Take Care of Your Air-conditioner – Part 2