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The ABCs of Aircon Servicing: What Is It, Why Do You Need It And How To Do It
How do you survive without an aircon in Singapore? The answer: you probably can’t. In Singapore’s hot and humid weather, an aircon is more a necessity than a luxury. If we spend the day at home, we are most likely chilling out in the comfort of an air-conditioned room. If we are not at home, we are most likely chilling out in the comfort of an air-conditioned shopping mall. Even our public bus fleet is 100% air-conditioned. Essentially, we can’t live without aircon.
How do we, then, enjoy a long-lasting relationship with our aircon? The answer: regular aircon servicing. In this article, we will look at the importance of regular aircon servicing, common aircon problems and how an expert can help you extend the lifespan of your aircon.
Why Do I Need To Service The Aircon?
If you take care of your appliances, your appliances will take care of you. Just as you would bring your car to the workshop for routine servicing or clean your kitchen appliances after whipping up a big meal, you should regularly check and clean your aircon. Still not convinced? Here are five other reasons.
1. You Can’t Live Without It
Your aircon keeps you comfortable from the sweltering heat and helps you sleep through the night. But we often take the aircon for granted and only realise its importance when it’s gone. The only justification you need is to think of what will happen if your aircon was no more. That should spur you into action.
2. A Good Start Is Half the Battle Won
You might think your aircon doesn’t need servicing since it’s new. Actually, it is important to start the servicing routine right from the get-go to maintain your aircon in tip-top condition. Just like it is easy to take care of yourself when you are in good health, the same logic applies to your aircon. Don’t wait till the symptoms show before you start routine servicing. It might be too late then.
3. Keeps the Bills Down
Regular cleaning ensures that your aircon operates in optimal condition. This prevents the aircon from working too hard to achieve the same output. A more efficient aircon translates to energy savings.
4. Cleaner and Fresher Air
An aircon works by drawing in hot air and blowing out cold air. This causes it to collect dust and bacteria on the air filter. You may not realise it, but when you close the windows and doors to prevent the cold air from escaping, you are creating a closed-off space. Which means your aircon is circling the same air around the room. Cleaning your aircon frequently will ensure that the air that comes out of it is always clean and smells fresh.
5. A Hassle to Replace
An aircon is not as easily replaceable as, say, your fridge or TV when they reach their end-of-life. You can’t just throw out an old aircon and bring home a new one. It is often mounted onto the wall or ceiling and some drilling and patching might have been done to conceal the drainage pipes in the walls. To prevent the hassle of replacing a faulty aircon, it is a better idea to keep it in good condition and extend its lifespan.
Don't Ignore These Aircon Problems
Imagine this: you come home after a long day running around under the hot sun. Just when you crave a blast of cold air, your aircon sputters and comes to a stop. You press the buttons on the remote control frantically, off and on the main power, but nothing works. As you stare at your lifeless aircon, regret fills you. You knew you should have checked out that noise in the aircon long ago.
If you don’t want such a doomsday scenario to happen, take note of the following tell-tale signs from your aircon.
1. The Air Is Not Cold
You feel the air coming out of the aircon, but the air is not cold. Worse still, it spews out hot air. This could be due to a clogged air filter or dirty fan coil. Time to do some spring cleaning.
2. The Aircon Is Making Noises
Noise in any electrical appliance cannot be a good thing. Especially if it’s not part of the design. You might have loose parts in your aircon or a faulty motor. Get an expert to check it out.
3. There Is Water Leaking
Water is supposed to drain out of your house, not onto your bedroom floor. If that happens, your aircon drainage is probably clogged. You’ll need help to clean it out.
What Can An Expert Do To Help?
There are easy instructions on the Internet to clean your aircon, such as washing the air filter and vacuuming the aircon parts. But anything more than surface cleaning requires dismantling the aircon. And if you are not familiar with the aircon parts, putting it back together might be a challenge.
If the thought of that stresses you out, the best alternative is to get expert help. Retailers and manufacturers often offer aircon servicing for units under warranty. But besides these two options, there are also independent aircon servicing companies that provide comprehensive aircon services. These specialised outfits have years of experience and can service multiple brands of aircons. Plus, some accommodate late hours so you need not take leave for the servicing appointment.
In general, there are three categories of works:
General servicing is good enough if your aircon is in good working condition. It usually involves a check and wash of the aircon parts, such as the air filter, fan coil, drip tray and drainage pipe. The technician will wash the aircon parts with water, dry them and put them back.
Advanced servicing involves a more complete check and cleaning of the aircon parts. The technician will dismantle the aircon and scrutinise each component for faults or cracks. The technician may also do a chemical wash by soaking the parts in a chemical solution to get rid of bacteria. Refrigerant gas will also be topped up if required.
Aircon Repair and Overhaul
This is when you call in the cavalry to save your aircon. The technician will first troubleshoot where the problem is coming from and replace the faulty parts if required. If that doesn’t work, a major overhaul might be the only way to save your aircon.
The Money Question
Aircon servicing can cost anything from $20 to hundreds of dollars, depending on what needs to be done. That said, regular maintenance of your aircon is definitely cheaper than constantly repairing and changing new aircons. You’ll also be glad to know that most aircon servicing companies offer packages that are more value-for-money compared to one-time servicing costs.
Some other factors that affect the servicing price:
- The Number of Aircons in the House. Needless to say, the more aircons you need serviced, the higher the cost.
- The Type of Aircon. A powerful aircon with more fan coils will cost more to be serviced.
- The Frequency of Usage. Running the aircon accumulates dust and wears down the parts. On average, you should service the aircon about 3 to 4 times a year. If you use it all day long, best to get it serviced at least once every 2 months.
- The Location of the Aircon. Some companies charge extra for aircons that are mounted more than 3m above the ground or on the ceiling. So ask first before engaging.
- Emergency Repair Services. Well, you can’t expect them to run over to your house and not pay extra, right? But you probably wouldn’t even notice the price; you’d just be glad they were available.
Aircons need our tender loving care just like any other appliance. And considering that we can’t live (or sleep through the night) without it, it is definitely worth our investment. Leave your most prized appliance to the experts to ensure you enjoy cool comfort all year long.
8 Essentials To Know Before Buying An Aircon Unit
When the temperature starts to rise, keeping your space cool becomes a top priority. In a tropical climate, the air conditioner is a common fixture in many households either masked behind a cohesive design scheme or perched discreetly high up to keep humidity at bay. Before investing in a unit, get up to speed with the basic terms to make an informed purchase.
1. Indoor unit
The unit consists of a coil box that contains what is called an evaporator. The evaporator allows for the refrigerant, a cooling fluid inside the coil piping to evaporate and absorb heat. Once the heat is absorbed from inside your home, it leaves nothing but cool air to be sent back into your home.
2. Outdoor unit
The heat absorbed from your home’s air is transferred to the refrigerant and then pumped to the outdoor unit, which contains the compressor, condenser coil and a fan.
The compressor moves the refrigerant throughout the system, compressed the liquid to a higher pressure, and then through the outdoor coil known as the condenser. As the refrigerant passes through the condenser, a fan delivers ambient air across the condenser coil causing it to cool. The process completes with the heat from inside is dispersed to the air outside. The refrigerant is then pumped back indoors and the whole process repeats.
The chemicals called refrigerants in aircons used to effectively cool the room. R410A and R32 are types of refrigerants, which are more efficient and eco-friendly.
4. Cooling capacity
The British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating is basically the number that tells you how quickly a unit can cool a room. The right BTU will help prevent a hefty bill and ensure you get the most efficient cooling system for your needs.
The following list suggests suitable BTU ratings based on floor areas:
|9 000||15 sqm – 18 sqm|
|12 000||20 sqm – 24 sqm|
|18 000||30 sqm – 36 sqm|
|Up to 24 000||40 sqm – 44 sqm|
5. Energy efficiency rating
The rating system by Singapore National Environment Agency NEA range refers to 5 ticks as the highest energy efficiency rating available. A higher tick rating means that the system draws less power to perform a similar task and therefore lower monthly bills.
6. Multi-split system
This refers to an aircon system which cools 2 to 9 rooms with only one outdoor unit, but allows individual control in each room.
7. System (2, 3, 4, or, 5)
The system which works like a package deal depends on the number of rooms you want cooled. For example a System 4, refers to three indoor aircon units and one outdoor compressor unit. If you want 4 bedrooms and a living room cooled, pick system 5.
8. Inverter aircons
An inverter aircon unit is made up of a variable speed compressor compared to a conventional unit which operates on one speed. The variable speed prevents the compressor from running at full power all the time rather and to continuously regulate temperature as needed thus a more energy efficient choice in the long run.