image0403 206 094
image 02 4991 7772

Call Us Today!

image0403 206 094
image02 4991 7772

Call Us Today!

Air Conditioning Advice

Air conditioning tips

Thermostats should be set between 25–27°C. Every 1°C lower can increase running costs by up to 15% or cost you for extra repairs if not maintained properly.

If there is a hot day forecast, then pre-cool your house the night before. This is especially effective if your house has a high thermal mass such as solid brick. This will allow your air conditioner to work at its optimum during the cool evening, saving power and wear and tear on the unit. It also allows the unit to keep on top of the heat load as it begins to warm up during the heat of the day.

Why Service Your Air Conditioner?

After twelve months of usage your efficiency may have reduced by as much as 50% and can also cause a health hazard for your home and family.

An unserviced system means:

  • Increased power consumption
  • Loss of cooling and heating capacity
  • Reduction in the life of your air conditioner
  • Increased chance of your system failing
  • Increased possibility of air contamination and health issues

Keeping your Air Conditioning Clean is critically important for your families health

One cause of indoor air contamination is due to bacterial and fungal contamination of air filters, heat transfer coils and ductwork within airconditioning systems that are poorly designed and maintained. Air passes through dust filters prior to being cooled at the cooling coil and blown out from the air conditioner. Dust filters are usually intended to remove larger particles that would foul the cooling coil and aren't effective at removing small (respirable) airborne particles. As the larger particles are trapped by the filter, they form a layer that Improves the removal of respirable particles, but at the same time they reduce the air flow and (If they become wet) provide nutrients for fungi and mould to grow inside the air conditioner. Also, when air cools at the coil, It drops Its moisture to the coil surface and If this Is not allowed to drain away, fungi and bacteria can grow there too. Since the building air Is being circulated through this system, fungi and mould spores and bacteria and odorous VOCs are released through the use of the air conditioner and contaminate the air.

Regular maintenance of air-conditioning systems should detect and prevent these problems

Air conditioning ducts should be regularly inspected to ensure there is no excessive dust buildup on surfaces (airborne dust will deposit to these surfaces over time). Fungi and mould growths can occur In ducts where condensation occurs. If these Can be seen, call an air conditioner specialist to fix the cause of the condensation and to clean or remediate the air conditioner. Ideally, this will prevent mould and fungi from continuing to grow.

If you find large amounts fungi or mould growing in the air conditioner ducts, first you need to fix the cause of moisture that's supporting the growths. Fungi and moulds won't grow without moisture/condensation. If you clean them without fixing the moisture problem, they'll re-occur. Do not try and remove large quantities yourself and/or clean them in bleach. Mould can be highly toxic and if in large quantities should always be handled by a professional. Bleach doesn't kill mould, but make it invisible whilst also feeding it. For small amounts of mould,use an 80%-20% white vinegar solution. Cleaning ducts requires specialised equipment to get along the long duct lengths and most importantly to capture and contain the dust released so that it doesn't contaminate your home. Make sure you use a reputable professional cleaner and ask them questions about these things. If you do nothing your air conditioner will continue to release odorous gases and fungal spores, which can impact respiratory health, such as flu-like symptoms, asthma, respiratory tract infections, allergic reactions and toxic reaction.

Legionella Risks

Legionnaires disease has been overblown by the media and it is not something you can contract from domestic air conditioning. The majority of cases are caused by incorrect cooling tower maintenance. Cooling towers are primarily used in commercial air conditioning to cool water cooled condensers and industry to cool recirculated water. They provide an ideal place for Legionella bacteria to grow (temps between 28 to 40°C) and the operation of the towers causes drift which aerosols the bacteria allowing people to breathe it in. There’s probably more danger handling potting mix than from a cooling tower because by law all towers have to be maintained and treated with biocide. Evaporative coolers have been suggested but not verified as potential disease transmitters. Modern evaporative coolers also have dump valves which further lessen the risk. The disease does not affect everyone who comes into contact with the bacteria. The groups most at risk are:

  • People over 50 years of age (predominantly males)
  • Heavy smokers
  • Heavy drinkers
  • Diabetics
  • People with chronic lung disease
  • People with impaired immune systems (ie body defence mechanisms)

Power kilowatts and Refrigeration kilowatts

Electrical input wattage or Hp, and refrigeration wattage are two different things.

A unit drawing 746W (1Hp) of electricity may move 2 to 3.5 times that in cooling or heating wattage. Only the latter refrigeration kilowatt (kW) rating will give an accurate representation of unit size.

Input Power Conversions

To convert from Hp to kW multiply by 0.746 To convert from kW to Hp multiply by 1.34

Refrigerant Types R22, R410a, R407c, R417a

Older hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) based refrigerants are in the process of being phased out due to their ozone depleting potential (ODP). That means the current air conditioning refrigerant R22 has a phased reduction until 2015. Import levels at 2009 equate to ~1800 metric tonnes dropping to 1350 in 2010, 720 in 2012 and 180 tonnes in 2014. From 2015 to 2030 approximately 45 metric tonnes will be available per year to service existing equipment and none by 2030. Alternative refrigerants (drop ins) will most likely be available for older equipment so you will still be able to repair them using these.

The main replacement that is being introduced is hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R410a which has an ODP of zero. Unfortunately it has a higher direct greenhouse warming potential (GWP) than R22 but indirectly it’s less damaging. R22 manufacturing by-products caused a far higher total GWP. R407c is another of the R22 replacements that requires polyol ester oil. R417a is a drop in replacement for R22 systems that requires no changes and uses the existing mineral oil. Will become the simplest replacement as R22 is phased out.

If you are considering purchasing a new air conditioner, it’s worth shopping for an R410a or R407c unit. They’re marginally more efficient, better for the environment and will be more future proof in terms of servicing Another benefit is reduced unit size relative to an R22 unit. Systems using R410A refrigerant run at a pressure of approximately 1.6 times that of similar systems using R22 so it can’t be used in existing systems due to different components such as compressors and the pipe wall thickness needing to be higher for R410a.

Call or email us today for further advice or to request an Air Conditioning Health Check