With average global temperatures set to rise by 2°C in the next 50 years or so compared to pre-industrial levels, it would appear that air conditioning may become a fact of life, both at home and at work. Air conditioning systems themselves consume valuable energy – in the form of electricity – and an inefficient or ailing system may well be wasting energy alarmingly before it exhibits any sign of failure. In addition, such a system may actually adversely affect human health so routine preventative maintenance and servicing of an air conditioning system makes sound economic, environmental, and personal sense.
Air Conditioning Service & Maintenance
One of the most common causes of inefficiency in an air conditioning system is blocked filters. Blocked filters means that air cannot circulate through the system by the normal route and air carrying dust and other impurities may contaminate and impair the efficiency of the evaporator coil. This can result in increased energy consumption of up to 30% so filters should be cleaned regularly and replaced every 12 months approximately, along with the evaporator coil.
External condensing units should also be checked for dirt and obstructions on a regular basis. Special chemicals are required for the cleaning of a condensing coil but this can usually be incorporated into an annual maintenance contract. Indeed an annual maintenance contract, with an emphasis on operating your air conditioning system at maximum efficiency, may prove to be a highly cost-effective solution. You can, of course, periodically check that air conditioning is working correctly by taking the temperature – with an accurate thermometer – at a supply and return register while the unit is in operation. The temperature difference should be at least 15° and, if not, your system may need to be inspected by a professional engineer.
An efficient well maintained air conditioning system can have numerous health benefits – for example, for the elderly, and sufferers of asthma, other respiratory ailments and allergies – and can be life-saving in extreme cases. These benefits may, however, dwindle away – and air conditioning may in fact become a health hazard – if a system is not properly maintained.
Poorly maintained cooling towers and evaporation units may promote the growth and proliferation of bacteria and viruses – Legionnaires’ Disease and SARS (“Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”) being high-profile examples – which can be harmful to health or even fatal. Equally too powerful an air conditioning system can cause the air in a room to become damp – the air is cooled quickly but the thermostat switches the unit off before sufficient moisture is removed – which promotes the growth of mould. This may be in the unit itself or elsewhere but, in any case, can cause or aggravate respiratory ailments.