The temperature is rising and sweat begins to bead at your brow. You wipe it with the collar of your shirt as you reach for the air conditioning remote . You breathe a premature sigh of relief in anticipation of the cool crisp air soon to fill every corner of the room. You press the big orange button, glance up at the unit on the wall and … nothing. No beep, no light. Nothing. When the heat of summer hits and your air conditioner isn’t maintained and working, it’s not only a nuisance but could mean major issues with the unit and potentially be harmful to your health. Air con emergencies are not cool and are preventable.
The dangers of leaking refrigerant
If your air conditioner is not producing cool or hot air when on the relevant settings or if it is low on refrigerant, it usually means there’s a refrigerant leak. Put your DIY thoughts aside, though. Don’t even attempt to fix this yourself. It is a job for a fully trained technician who needs to test the repair and decipher the correct amount of refrigerant to charge the unit with. If this issue is not dealt with correctly you could be up for all sorts of problems and not just with the air conditioning unit itself. Refrigerant evaporates into gas form and if inhaled can be extremely harmful to your health causing nausea, headaches and potentially asphyxiation. Extreme care must be taken, as it can be potentially dangerous for the environment also with just one kilogram of leakage causing equivalent damage to the atmosphere, say, operating a car for six months straight. In addition to this, if you don’t take action to rectify this leak immediately, the performance and efficiency of the air conditioner is compromised. Undue stress is placed on the compressor subsequently damaging every part of the unit—and repairs are not cheap.
Just as you should check your smoke alarms when daylight savings ticks over, you should also make the time to clean the HVAC air filter in your air conditioner. Air ducts are simply not doing their job if they’re dirty. Outside air will be pushed through these filters affecting the quality of the air you breathe inside. Essentially, you’re pumping your home with allergens and dust. Not a nice environment to live in. Have you been feeling a bit off lately? Dirty filters cannot control allergens that subsequently promote fatigue, headaches, colds and flu, and tightness in your chest. Dirty filters affect the efficiency and operation of the air conditioner, which has to operate with a specific amount of internal airflow. Without this, it will malfunction or fail causing your energy bill to rise significantly. Dirt also allows frost to build up on coils and fans, acting as insulation—which means the unit has to work so much harder to run efficiently, which pushes up your power bill. Seriously, cleaning or changing an air filter takes mere minutes, so at a bare minimum schedule in time to do it twice a year when you change your clocks.
That all-round even temperature throughout your home is a result of complex and intricate electrical relays, mechanical parts and pressurised liquid in your air conditioner. But when the sensor plays up, this harmony is thrown into chaos with rooms heating or cooling at different temperatures or not working in an area at all. Perhaps all it needs is a quick adjustment, but don’t get too excited just yet. The sensor may be touching or bending away from the coil and you may be able to just bend it back into place. However, if this doesn’t rectify the issue and the temperature is still erratic, there could be a number of other more serious issues going on with the unit, which will need to be assessed by a qualified HVAC professional.
Maintenance is key
With the change of the seasons it’s so important to ensure your air conditioner is prepared to handle the change in temperatures. Industry research has proven that regular maintenance and check-ups prevent most air conditioning performance issues. Ensure the drain line is checked, clean the outside unit and make sure you get a professional service done to identify any potential issues with the unit before an air con emergency arises. You’ll see a difference in your power bill also.
To maintain your air conditioner sufficiently you need to ensure the following areas are assessed and repaired as required: filters, coils, coil fins, condensate drains, and fan scrolls. The best, most thorough, maintenance is done by a qualified technician.
When your air conditioning unit won’t turn on, it’s a good sign there may be an issue with the thermostat, or perhaps there’s no power connected to it. Thermostats sometimes require calibration, which will need to be done by a professional.
Insects just love building their nests in the drain line causing it to become clogged up. A drip pan is designated to collect any water if the drain line does become blocked, but you will need to hire a fully trained technician to clear the drain sufficiently to ensure the best productivity from the air conditioner. Be sure that your room air conditioner is mounted level otherwise it may not drain properly.
Take heed specifically to the following three factors discussed earlier that if left undone will, without a doubt, cause your air conditioner to overheat and will also send you into a mental meltdown:
- Clean the dirty filters—this is a must. No excuses.
- Remove all debris- (Rubbish away from the outdoor unit that may restrict airflow and create overheating and increase your running cost.