AIR CONDITIONING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Living in a country that is sometimes so hot that we have to live underground means that air conditioning is more than a luxury in life, it’s a necessity. Over the years with the growing availability of many different types of air conditioners that are easily affordable, demand has also risen.

In fact, it’s probably impossible to some to imagine life without some kind of air conditioner, we rely on it for more than just keeping ourselves cool during summer but also to keep food and medications in our homes safe. Although these appliances seem like a lifesaver to many it also affects and contributes to Global warming.

The reason why they have such a big impact is that these units use a compound called a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). This man-made substance is made of three components- Carbon, Hydrogen and Fluorine. While this substance allows our air conditioners to work and don’t harm ourselves physically they are classified as a greenhouse gas and are far more effective in damaging our ozone layer than other substances such as carbon dioxide.

And how did we find out about this?

Well back in the late 1970’s scientists realised that we were punching a hole in the ozone layer with our liberal use of a man-made chemical called CFCs in our fridges and air conditioners. Humans heeded this warning, got together in Montreal in 1987, and agreed to stop using CFCs. The Montreal Protocol remains one of the finest examples of international collaboration to protect the environment. To replace the ozone-eating CFCs, we created replacements, HCFCs which are in turn being replaced by HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons. However, what we didn’t realise at the time was that although HFCs don’t put a hole in the ozone layer they instead are cooking us alive. Their potency as a greenhouse gas is up to 23,000 times that of carbon dioxide and their use is increasing at 10-15% per year.

However, like all major threats to our environment, there is something being done! Many Countries and Governments have come together again to help monitor and minimize the use of HFCs such as the Vienna agreement (2016)  which made amendments to the above mentioned Montreal protocol (1987). However, that’s not all!

We have also seen much more experimentation in creating healthy alternatives. One big step was actually created by Greenpeace. Aptly named GreenFreeze this new substance turns from liquid to gas at room temperature and absorbs heat in the process, this new compound is made from various hydrocarbons, propane and isobutane. It has a massively minimal effect on the environment compared to its HFC counterpart and it’s all natural!

The best thing about the Green Freeze is that’s its been proven to work and is more effective than the HFC’s. In fact, once it was approved and legalised in America in 2008 many large companies quickly jumped on board to support this new alternative. These brands include massive corporations such as Ben n’ Jerry’s, Pepsi, Unilever, Red Bull and even Coca-Cola who vowed to remove all HFC’s from their production line.

 

As air conditioning technicians ourselves we are excited to see these healthier alternatives being implemented around the world and hopefully soon in Australia as well.

BAD WEATHER AND YOUR AC: PREPARE BEFORE IT HITS!

The weather here in Aus can be pretty random and unfortunately, your air conditioner could receive the brunt force of our sometimes extreme weather. Thankfully there are a few things that you can do to protect your unit and ensure that it is in working order all throughout the year.

Here are the few common issues that affect air cons and what you can do to protect them:

Humidity

Air conditioning units are in a constant battle with humidity, and sometimes humidity gets the best of them. These systems are designed to remove moisture from the air in your home, so you can avoid that hot, sticky feeling.

However, this takes a lot of work, and if you’re using an old or poorly sized unit, the workload could be too much. This will cause wear and tear on your unit and raise your energy bill. Some warning signs that your unit is undersized for your home is a moist feeling in the air, a musty smell, or fog accumulation on windows.
If you notice any of these signs, call an air con technician to check your cooling system.

If replacing your unit isn’t in the budget, ask about a dehumidifier attachment. While this isn’t a permanent solution, it’s still beneficial to your system and can potentially lower your energy bill.

Heavy wind

 

Heavy winds can cause air conditioning problems. The damage caused by wind occurs when it throws debris at the condenser fan grill or carry small objects inside the unit, which can cause blade damage, blockage, and structural compromise.
Here are steps that you can take if you see severe winds in the forecast:

  • Have a cover for your air conditioner on hand to keep out debris (but always ensure that it is an approved cover for your unit).
  • Do not cover your unit with plastic wrap. This will cause corrosion by entrapping moisture.
  • Remove the cover after the storm passes. Don’t run the unit with the cover on.
  • Remove unsecured objects like patio furniture, tools, decorations, and toys from your yard, so the wind doesn’t throw them into your house or unit.

Flooding/heavy rain

While your air conditioning unit is designed to withstand even heavy rain, flooding can cause extensive damage to your cooling system. If rain build-up becomes higher than 6 to 8 inches, your outdoor A/C unit could be in trouble.
In these situations, it’s important to have a draining system leading water away from your home, so your air conditioner is never submerged.
While some owners prefer to apply a cover, the technique is optional. Rain can remove dirt and pollen from your unit, but you should never cover your unit with a plastic or trash bag.

After bad weather

After the bad weather has passed you should always check on our outdoor unit and ensure it is not damaged, however, if you want to be thorough we always advise that you get an air conditioner technician to just pop by and have a quick look.

 

Airconditioner-Service

7 AIR CONDITIONING MISTAKES TO AVOID

There’s nothing better on a hot day than walking into your home and feeling that refreshing blast of cool air. When it comes to buying and maintaining an air conditioner, however, the experience can be less pleasurable. It’s easy to make mistakes in selecting, using and placing your air conditioner and these mistakes can reduce the efficiency of your unit and lead to higher energy and repair costs.

Here are seven common air conditioning mistakes to avoid this spring and summer.

1. Not getting the right size unit

When it comes to air conditioners, one size does not fit all. Units that are too large will cycle on and off, leading to unwanted temperature changes and high energy bills. Those that are too small won’t adequately cool your space and will struggle to keep up with demands and wear out quickly. In both of these situations, you may have to shell out big bucks for repairs.
To find the right size air conditioning unit that delivers the correct cooling load, make sure your contractor does an accurate load calculation, measuring your square footage, layout, and insulation.

2. Not changing the air filter

Changing the air filter on your air conditioner is easy and inexpensive, yet many neglects to do this. The air filter prevents dust and debris from the air outside from entering your home; as a result, it can become clogged. Most air filters need to be changed monthly, but some high-efficiency filters can last longer. If filters aren’t changed regularly, your system won’t work as efficiently and can cause freezing.

3. Neglecting routine maintenance

Aside from changing the air filter, your AC needs routine maintenance. Have an air conditioning technician come out and check your machine for any issues at least once per cooling season. This could head off any expensive repairs down the road.

4. Using the wrong thermostat settings

Some people make the mistake of turning on the AC, then turning the thermostat way down in an attempt to cool down the room faster. Your system may just skip past the temperature you set and waste energy in the process. Generally, it’s recommended to set the thermostat at the highest temperature you’re comfortable with. For most people, this is between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius. Every degree equates to about 7% of power consumption, and this, of course, impacts your energy bill.
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5. Running the AC too much

Leaving your air conditioner on all day wastes a great deal of energy and can decrease the efficiency of your unit. Turn off the AC when you leave or turn up the thermostat when you leave in the morning and turn it down again when you get home. Your home usually only needs a few minutes to cool down anyway.

6. Not running the AC at all

If you don’t run your air conditioner for a long time, it may not work properly when you finally turn it back on. Mold can grow inside and the system can break down. To protect the air quality in your home, try to run the AC for just a few minutes each day.

7. Incorrect placement

The location of your air conditioning unit affects its energy efficiency. Place it in the shade and make sure there aren’t plants or other objects too close to it; adequate ventilation will help it run more efficiently. Also, make sure that the thermostat isn’t located too close to lamps or other heat-generating appliances.

Avoiding these common air conditioning mistakes is easy; it just requires a little knowledge and effort!

We hope you enjoy the warmer months ahead—both outside and in cool, indoor spaces.

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