HVAC systems are so common that we often fail to recognize their presence. It is an attitude that assumes that the air cools or heats all by itself. The engineering behind an Air Conditioner is so fascinating that we wonder why Engineers are not given their due compared with their Scientist counterparts.
Lets see how an Air Conditioner works in a nutshell. A typical Split AC has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. At the heart of an AC is a compressor. The job of this compressor is to compress a magic gas called Freon, a refrigerant. This Freon gas has a unique quality that when it is compressed, it becomes liquid loosing heat in the process. The liquid Freon is really cold. Due to this property of Freon, refrigeration and air conditioning is possible.
The liquid Freon is circulated through evaporator coil or cooling compartment inside the indoor unit. A fan fitted inside the indoor unit sucks in the hot air from indoors and circulates it around the evaporator coil containing liquid Freon. The hot air exchanges the heat with liquid Freon, becomes cold and circulated back into the room. Freon has now acquired this heat from the air and changes back to its gaseous form. It is then taken out into the outdoor unit where it is again compressed and this process repeats, keeping the room cool.
It is an ingenuous device. A perfect example of science finding an application in solving a real life problem. But any device, if left unattended to, can develop some snags and an air conditioner is no exception. In this matter car manufacturers are lucky. People think it is only a car that needs regular maintenance and obediently take their cars for regular service. Only because they see their car daily, touch it and sit inside too. Just because an AC is often not noticed is no reason to say that they don’t need any servicing!
If left unattended to, an air conditioner can develop some snags. This is the age of DIY. DIY enthusiasts try to fix anything and everything by themselves. Half-Knowledge is worse than ignorance! In the process one may end up spending more than calling a professional.
When an Air Conditioner develops a snag, it can be due to any of the following reasons –
- Poor Air Filter Quality – Over time air filters can accumulate dust, dirt and mould. They clog the system resulting in reduced efficiency. It is also a health concern as this dirt can get circulated through the indoor air.
- Central Thermostat – A fault in a thermostat can arise due to loose wiring, dust buildup, blown fuses, tripped breakers or dead batteries.
- Evaporator and Condenser Coils – When the coils are damaged they can’t effectively exchange heat between air and the refrigerant. One feels that AC isn’t cooling enough.
- Refrigerant Leaking – Refrigerant can sometimes leak. It not only reduces cooling, but is a major health hazard as the refrigerant is a toxic gas.
- Clogged Drain Lines – Every air conditioner has a drain pan and an outlet. Over time there is a chance it getting clogged due to the buildup of mould or growing of algae. One feels a musty, mouldy smell coming from air conditioning unit.
- Compressor Unit Issue – As compressor is at the heart of an AC, a broken compressor may mean replacing entire air conditioning system.
Fix My Air Con is a professional HVAC service, repair and maintenance company, employing qualified AC technicians. They serve the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia.