Monday, June 11, 2007
3 TOP SECRETS Your Air Conditioning Contractor Don’t Want You To Know
For those of us who live in the hotter climates, air conditioning has become such as integral part of our lives. Although we do not give much thought to it, we will find ourselves in desperate situations when it is very hot and we are left without the usual air conditioning that we are so used to. Hence, this is a key driving factor which some air conditioning contractors can use to carve their strategies to maximize their profits which unfortunately is sometimes done in a not so ethical way. So here are 3 secret tricks that aircon servicemen will use to get more money out of you, and of course we provide the solutions to foil them as well.
1. Brushing and vacuuming your split air conditioner is really bad for your health. Do you know that there can be harmful mold growing in your air conditioning fan coils? Each time the service person cleans your air conditioning with a brush or vacuum, they loosen these spores from the fan coil units. These loosened mold spores will be blown into the air and breathed into your lungs. Cleaning it the right way would require the right types of cleaning chemical (Google: concaire) which they may not be willing to use just to maintain their bottom line. Also, this is part of strategy for them to milk more service jobs out of you.
Solution: Ask for lab certified chemicals to be used.
2. For split unit air conditioning, always insist on at least a ½” drain pipe. If they tell you otherwise to try to discourage you, then beware of this contractor. The typical trick is to give you a small and undersized drain pipe so that the pipe will choke and the air conditioner will leak easily thus requiring you to call for service technicians a lot quicker. So insist on a large enough drain pipe diameter.
Solution: Always insist on a larger diameter drain pipe, at least ½”.
3. Another trick that contractors use is to offer relatively low cost annual servicing contracts which they will use brushing and vacuuming method to service each job. As brushing and vacuuming is an inadequate process (look at Trick 1 above), by the 2nd job, you’ll complain about the low performance of the air conditioner; upon which he will recommend a full chemical service. This usually involves tearing down the entire coil. This full service is expensive but since you are already committed to the contractor’s annual contract, you will agree to the full service in order to get back the strong clean air as before. As if this is not enough, there is an added downside to this! Full chemical cleaning usually involves soaking the entire cooling coil into an alkaline based caustic chemical such as sodium hydroxide mixed in with other cleaning agents. These chemicals clean by eating into the aluminum metal of the cooling coils to free the dirt. Regular (bi-annual or annually) cleaning using this method will greatly reduce the life of your cooling coil thus increasing frequency with which you need to replace your air conditioning split unit system with them.
Solution: Clean with the right methods to preserve the useful lifespan of your aircon.
To find out the right way to clean, just do some research and become more aware of what’s available in the market today. New technologies (Google: concaire) are surfacing all the time. So you should keep yourself up to date so that you do not fall victims into these no choice situations.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
In Asia, a typical household will pay up to 70% of their energy bill for their house air conditioning all year round. In summer, the average American family pays around 40%? To reduce or optimize this high energy cost, just follow these simple tips to help you keep your house cool and significantly reduce your energy bills during the hot months.
1. If you need to cool only one room, don't use your central air conditioning. Use Split air conditioner, instead. Modern split units have a very high energy efficiency rating, so it will cool your room effectively and save you a lot more money. This is the reason why mini split air conditioners are gaining popularity as they allow you to selectively cool certain rooms only.
2. Install mini-blinds or use sunshade screen or solar film on your windows to cut down the sunlight getting indoors. Mini-blinds can be very effective and can reduce heat gain from direct sunlight by 40-50 percent. You can also hang bamboo shades or tightly woven screens outside your windows. This will stop up to 80 percent of the sun's heat from getting through your windows.
3. For those who live in houses, use of sidings can greatly reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the walls. Keep all windows closed during the day. At night you can open them for ventilation and switch on a fan instead of an air conditioner.
4. If you are using a mini split air conditioner, make sure that the outside compressor is well shaded and ventilated. Do not place objects or plants next to the compressor; it needs some room for air flow. Clean the cooling fins regularly to keep them free from dust and leaves from blocking its airflow.
5. It is best to clean your air conditioner filter at least once a month (Weekly or Bi-weekly cleaning is recommended if air conditioner is used on a daily basis). Dust build-ups can significantly reduce air flow. Chemical washing of your cooling coils and blower blades should be done every three month. However there is an easier way to keep your family safe.
6. When buying an air conditioner unit, make sure that it is the right size for your room. A unit that is too small will not cool your room effectively, and an A/C that is too large will consume much more energy than necessary. But under sizing your air conditioner will also cause your energy bills to increase as the compressor will always be running since the room does not get cool enough to trigger the thermostat to cutoff. Make sure you get a reliable air conditioning dealer to size your air conditioning unit.
7. If you use central air conditioning, seal all A/C ducts. Insulate ducts that run through rooms that don't need cooling, like the basement or the attic.
8. If your air conditioner is old, consider replacing it with a modern high efficiency unit. Older A/C systems have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of only 6 or 7, while the best air conditioners on the market today offer SEER as high as 13. That means that it will consume almost 50% less energy.
9. Cooking, drying cloth or dishwashing generates a lot of heat. Try to delay these activities until the evening, when it gets cooler.
10. Use roller blinds to partition your rooms especially the spacious rooms such as your master bedroom. When you sleep at night, you do not need a huge space but you cool that space anyway because it is part of the room. You should partition that off. In some case where your air conditioner airflow is weak or the cooling capacity has dropped, partitioning will reduce the cooling space, enabling the room to become cooler.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Air health and wellness is important to healthy living. Today, we live in a world constantly threatened with airborne sickness and pollution. In Asia alone, SARS, Bird Flu, Influenza, Legionella not only threaten the region but also brought fear, awareness and action to the rest of the world.
It is thus imperative that we look closely into how indoor air quality can be achieved with a properly maintained aircon, at home and at work.
The home air conditioner unit basically recirculates the air within the confines of the room, air is not exchanged from the outside. The aircon unit typically consists of the fancoil that does the job of cooling the air and a blower which pushes the cool air into the room. Over time, both the fancoil and the blower will collect dirt and grime. This build up can be manifested anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on your frequency of use of your aircon.
When dirt builds up, it is a hotbed for other bacterial and fungal activity to grow. For example, a person who is sick with influenza may enter the room and the virus may get transmitted to the aircon unit, remain there and ultimately get redistributed throughout the room, making others using this room prone and exposed to the virus.
The same dirt buildup will also impair the functions of the aircon, the dirt acts as an insulative layer over the fancoil making it not cool as efficiently. This effect ultimately will drive up energy bills as the aircon would have to work harder to reach the preset temperature. Dirt also laden down the blower and weakens the airflow into the room.
What can we do? under such circumstances, an aircon wash is necessary. You can contact a aircon serviceman to do the job or do the job yourself with a reputable DIY product. But make sure that whatever you do, ask the following questions:
- Is the chemical you use certified?
- Does the chemical have anti fungi and anti bacterial functions?
- Can you clean the blower unit?
Make sure your aircon service personnel DO NOT simply clean the aircon with a vacuum and brush. This will agitate the bacteria and virus and might make you sick.