Thursday, 23 October 2014

What Does Your Air Conditioner Expect From You?

If you are someone who cannot imagine spending time indoors without the air conditioner, you need to look after your cooling system, just as you would take care of your pet.

The air conditioning system is a unit that has some expectations from you. If you want it to work well, work with efficiency and keep you comfortable, you need to do a few things to keep it in good shape.

Periodic Professional Maintenance: When you get your system installed for the first time, you can speak to your technician to undertake periodic maintenance and cleaning. A routine cleaning and maintenance once in every quarter is recommended. However, if you would rather not do so every quarter, an annual maintenance is a must. The checks conducted by the technician must include adjusting or replacing fan belts; inspecting coils and cleaning them; checking blowers and fans for any repairs and cleaning them; lubricating the bearings and motors; refrigerant and pressures and checking if they are right; inspecting all controls; and verifying operating temperatures. This will help to detect repairs early and save you a lot of trouble by preventing a complete shutdown.

Clean Dirty Filters: The filter needs the most attention. It is fixed in the front portion of the system thus exposed to air coming in and going out. Cleaning the filters every month will ensure that there are no clogs. Clogged filters can seriously affect your air conditioner’s working efficiency. Either clean it every month, if it is the washable type or replace it every month if it is not a washable filter. Keep checks on the filter’s MREV which should range from 1-12 for units at home. The AC’s performance will be better if the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is high.

Program the Cooling: If your preference is to keep the air conditioner at low temperature, go ahead and do so - but only when you are at home. When you are away at work, there is no need to have the air conditioning on. But if you prefer to keep it on, program it in such a way that it is set at a higher temperature if you are away and lower when you are in. A programmable thermostat will help you do so. The recent models have built in timers which will help you set the required temperature for the period when you in and also for when your away.

Clean the Ducts:If theducts, through which the air moves, are dirty, it will affect the efficiency of the unit. Dirty ducts can be responsible for upto 30% loss of the airflow, especially in window air conditioners. Ensure that the ducts are well sealed with foil tape. This will prevent air leaks. For window units, use stuffing foam or similar materials between the system and the window frame to keep it secure.

Ensure the SEER is right: The seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) and the energy-efficiency ratio (EER) are two measurements recommended by the federal law for air conditioning efficiency. The law makes it mandatory that the SEER for a central air conditioner be 13 and the EER for a window should be 8.

Draw Blinds, Run the Fan: Keeping the blinds drawn during the day will keep the indoors cooler and facilitate less work for the air conditioner. For optimum cooling efficiency, keep the ceiling fan running. This helps air circulation inside the room and less work for the air conditioning system too.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Know Your Air Conditioner

“Why should I know my air conditioner?”

“All I need is cool air inside my home and office and there is a machine that provides just that. Isn’t that enough?”

“I don’t need to know how the stuff works and what is inside it.”

“This knowledge is for the techies! After all they are always there when I need them.”

Do any of these lines sound familiar? Have any of these thoughts come to your mind? If you said yes to even one of them, you must read on.

Everyone likes a peaceful haven that a cool, dry house offers during summer. Like kids and pets, your air conditioner also needs a little love and care. For this, you need to know a little about your air conditioning system. Here are ten most important things you need to know about your air conditioner.
  • Basically, an air conditioner moves the heat from inside your home to the outside. It pulls out the hot air and brings in cool air.
  • There is an evaporator coil which is filled with a liquid known as the refrigerant. This refrigerant changes from liquid to gas in the process of absorbing heat from the air.
  • When you start the air conditioner, the refrigerant is pumped out of the house and into another coil. Here it releases its heat and changes back into its liquid form.
  • The coil that is outside is called the condenser as condensation (cooling of gas and changing into liquid) takes place here, just like moisture that forms on a cold window.
  • The energy for all this activity comes from a pump, the compressor. It provides the energy to move the refrigerant from one coil to the other and change the refrigerant pressure. This is how the refrigerant evaporates or condenses in the coils.
  • All air conditioning systems have a filter upstream of the evaporator coil. The work of this filter is to remove particles from the air stream. This keeps the air conditioner clean and the air indoors also clean.
  • The coils, also called ducts, need to be clog-free. Leakage of the duct can sap 20-40% of the energy from your air conditioner.
  • The thermostat displays the room temperature and a few other adjustments you can make to monitor indoor cooling comfort. A programmable thermostat is very useful as it saves energy. 
  • Your air conditioner needs to be maintained periodically. Filters need to be cleaned and the duct kept free of clogs. Depending on the usage, a service by a professional may be required.
  • Last, but not the least, ensure you have a voltage stabilizer if you live in a hot region. Places with tropical heat typically suffer from power fluctuations. A stabilizer adjusts the flow of energy thereby reducing or increasing it so that the compressor does not get affected.
These air conditioning maintenance tips will help you understand the working of your system. It is a good idea to clean the filters, brush the dirt and obstructions that get caked onto the coils and also clean the drains at the beginning of every warm season.