Is there a suggested period for re-gassing my air conditioning?
Using your air-conditioning system does not use up the refrigerant gas inside it. In fact, if conditions were ideal it would never need re-gassing. During servicing and maintenance, the level of gas is checked to comply with F Gas Legislation, and a low level means that in all likelihood there is a minute leak in the air-con system. Most recently manufactured air conditioning units have connections which are welded to minimise leaks but older units used to have mechanically connected fittings which, over the years, can vibrate or loosen with expansion and contraction of the flare fittings as these become loose this causes a leak, and the air conditioning system will be inefficient and eventually fail, as well as being illegal in accordance with F gas legislation.
The effects of a gas leak are as follows:
- The efficiency of the air conditioner is reduced considerably.
- The refrigerant cools the compressor and over time a low level of gas can cause the compressor to overheat and
breakdown. This would require a complete replacement of the compressor and sometimes the condensing unit as well. These are both very expensive repairs.
- Low gas levels can also cause the evaporator coil to freeze up. When the air conditioning unit defrosts, it will normally restart and
then freeze again.
- The refrigerant gas is a “controlled substance” in terms of environmental hazard. It must therefore not be released into the
atmosphere, which is what happens if your system is leaking.
Should I take my installer’s advice and arrange regular check ups for my air-conditioning systems?
We do recommend at least annual air-conditioning system checkups and these should be done in the spring. (F Gas legislation requires an annual leak test on any piece of equipment with more than 3KG of refrigerant within the system). By undertaking this programme of maintenance, you will minimise the risk of expensive repairs later on. Also, the main advantage is that your system should function efficiently during the summer months.
What actions are carried out to the air-conditioning system during the service?
- Filters are checked and cleaned.
- The evaporator and condenser coils are cleaned.
- All motors are oiled where required.
- The condenser is checked.
- The thermostat is checked.
- All electrical fittings and test controls are checked.
- Refrigerant levels are checked. If found to be low, possible leaks are investigated and repairs made before adding further gas.
What can I do to maintain my air-conditioning unit?
Ensure that the condensing unit, which is located outside of your premises, is not covered or blocked in any way. The efficient operation of your system depends on the condenser unit drawing air into the system so that it can be cooled and expelled inside. If the condenser is blocked in any way then it will not be able to pull through enough air from outside. An air-conditioning unit needs to breath the same as humans do.
Look out for the following symptoms – they are the classic indicators of a poorly maintained air-conditioning system?
- Poor airflow
- Stale odours
- Loss of performance
- Dirty appearance
- Sludge in drain line
- Increased energy bills
- Prone to freezing
- Leaking water
- Nuisance high pressure and low pressure alarms