Keeping your air conditioner running

Keeping your air conditioner running

The African region is emerging as a key potential region for commercial air conditioners market. According to Hennie Traut of WP manufacturing one of South Africa’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of all types of heating, ventilation air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, the African market is very lucrative. This is due to the increase in constructions coupled with global warming and urbanization, thus there is a growing need for energy efficient air conditioners for cooling as well as improving the quality of indoor air.

Rodney Taylor the Managing Director at Carel a leader in the evolution of control technology and humidification for air conditioning and refrigeration; mentions that, air conditioning technology continues to move toward an ideal home cooling solution; customers are now able to control the air conditioners and other home appliances with their mobile phones.

According to Christo Vermeulen the Managing Director of Thermacold one of the leading suppliers of air conditioners in South Africa, more people are becoming aware of energy usage and running efficiency of the machines. “This has pushed up the demand for 2 types of energy efficient and cost effective systems. The first is VRV systems and secondly the Ice storage system whereby energy is stored in Ice in off-peak hours, and then reused during peak hours. Cutting up to 30% in energy costs. Most definitely the biggest shift has been towards greater energy efficiency, reducing operational costs, and ensuring sustainability through quality products,” he adds.

Like all equipment air conditioners need good care and attention in order to last long and run efficiently. There are some basic things that you can do to ensure that you get the best from your air conditioner. Other than reducing the lifespan of your air-conditioner, lack of proper maintenance will result in a fall in performance and a rise in energy costs.

30 tons air conditioner
30 tons air conditioner

Filters fins and coils

For instance filters, fins and coils need regular maintenance. Ensure you routinely replace or clean filters. If the filters get clogged by dust or other debris airflow becomes restricted reducing efficiency and do not think of running the air-conditioner with a worn out filter either because air will carry dust which will settle on the evaporator coil and will cause it to loose its heat absorbing capacity. Replacing filters is probably the most important maintenance task because done properly, this task alone can improve the efficiency of your air conditioner by about 10%.

Filters are located in the grill that faces into the room though for central air conditioners these can be located in walls or ceilings.

Also Read: Fire safety in buildings

Evaporator coils

Evaporator coils also need to be cared for. Despite the best efforts of the filters, some dirt will deposit on the coils and form an insulating film which will impair the coils heat absorption properties. Checking these out is by simple visual inspection and depending on the environment should be done at least once a year. Coil fins that are located on the coils as the name suggests act to improve the heat absorption qualities of the coil by increasing the surface area. They can get bent by accident and so should be checked and repaired as need be.

Condensate drain pipes

Lastly you can also check the condensate drain pipes which get clogged over time. If this happens it results in higher humidity in the room and discoloration of the walls and carpets. Simply stick a stiff wire in the drain to unclog.

There are other checks that are required but this may need the assistance of a trained technician. The obvious place to go for this is to the dealer who sold you the air conditioner so ensure you purchase from a credible supplier. The technician will check such things as the motors, belts and electrical connections. He will also test the thermostat, airflow and refrigerant.

If you maintain your air conditioner well you stand to have it for a longer time and save on both energy costs and repairs.

According to Mr. A. Joubert from Chabo & Joubert Air Conditioning a dealer of air conditioners in South Africa, there are far too much untrained and uncontrolled contractors in the African market. It is all about need and supply. There is a huge need for this kind of service and there are also a vast amount of ‘chancers’ out there seeing that there is no proper regulation. The uncontrolled cheap imports from China are making matters worse.  Customers easily fall victim to these ‘fly by night’ companies and ‘substandard products’. “Once the market is properly controlled and regulated the Air Conditioning Industry in Africa would take up its deserved place in the world market,” he adds.

Moreover, according to Vincent Laidet of Systemair a manufacturer and marketer of high-quality ventilation products, Africa is a specific market where manufacturers needs to face several challenges such as power stability and availability as well as several difficult environmental conditions. “Where the African market has most often been looking at simple and robust products we definitely see an increased interest in the overall reduction of energy consumption in HVAC systems,” he says. “Systemair is constantly investing in research and development to be able to provide reliable and energy efficient products matching with the highest energy consumption standards,” he adds.


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