Friday, 17 August 2012

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Why does your Air Conditioner leak?

Air Conditioner water leak is the most common problem that people experience with their room air conditioners. So what causes your air conditioner leak?

Air conditioners will discharge out water from the indoor unit to the toilet through a drainage pipe. Over time, the indoor unit absorbed dust from the room. While the water from the indoor unit mixed with the dust, it forms a dirt. These dirt might choke the drainage pipe while flowing to the toilet. This causes the water to back flow and that is the main reason why your air conditioner water leak.

The mistake that most people made was their air conditioner position being installed. Some are underneath the study table, some placed above the television. The worst position is to placed it above the bed.

So what is the best position?

The best positioning is above the door as nobody will definitely places any things on the doorway.

Two other reasons that causes the drainage pipe to choked.

1. Your drainage pipe might not had installed with gradient which allow the water to flow from your air-conditioner to the toilet.

2. The insulation behind the air conditioner indoor unit might be worn off. The insulation act as a sponge to absorb condensing water from the copper pipes.

So how do you solve it yourself?

First of all, be informed that this is only to stop air conditioner leak problem temporarily.

Item needed: A vacuum cleaner which is able to suck water.


1. Go and locate the drainage pipe, usually in your toilet inside the drainage pan.

2. Using your vacuum cleaner, suck out all the dirt from the drainage pipe. It may take up some time if your air conditioner is badly choked.

This way it clears up almost all the dirt that is clog inside the drainage pipe. But it is only temporary as your fan coil unit is still covered with dust. Sooner or later your drainage pipe will be clog again and lead to water leaking.

The best method is simply call up any air conditioning contractor to book an appointment with them for air conditioning service to solve air conditioner water leak problem.

There are 3 common types of air conditioning servicing.
• General Servicing
• Chemical Servicing / flushing without dismantle
• Overhaul Servicing

These air conditioning services are usually not named the same for all air conditioning companies and also the way they do it. So it is best to ask your air conditioning contractor to briefly describe how they are going to service it.

1. General Service- Clean air filter
- Clean blower wheels and blades
- Clean indoor evaporator coil
- Vacuuming of drainage system
- Test and commission system
General Service is for air conditioner units that has just undergo servicing in the last 3 months. Consist of minor touch-ups and cleaning. This helps to maintain its cleanliness and freshness of air.

2. Chemical Flushing/Wash (Without dismantle)
- Chemical Flushing of fan coil fins with heavy chemical
- Cleaning of air filter
- Flushing of blower wheel
- Flushing of drainage system

Air Conditioning Service (Chemical Flushing) is best for air conditioner units that has been unserviced for more than 1 year. Chemical Flushing can flush out long-time dirt to revive and refresh your tired-out air-conditioner. I would highly recommend doing this service every half a year

3. Overhaul Service (Dismantle)
- Dismantle down the air-con unit
- Dismantle every air-con components
- Clean every components with chemical and wash it will water
- Install the air-con unit to its original place.

This service is needed for extremely use of air-con. Dismantle every components out and wash it to ensure 100% cleanness.


The two main purposes of wrapping the Air Conditioning Insulation around the copper pipe:

1. It acts as a protective layer for the copper pipe.
2. It helps to absorb condense water from the copper pipe. When the air-conditioner is running, the compressor will starts to compress the gas to liquid which causes the copper pipe to be cold which form condensation. Just image a cup of cold beer, the condense water form outside of the cup due to the cold beer. This is what happening to the copper pipe.

So where the condense water goes to?

The insulation act like a sponge which absorb the condense water forms on the copper pipe. When times goes by, the insulation could not hold any more water. The copper pipe that is located right behind the fan coil unit will starts to leak whenever you switch ON your air conditioner. It will starts to drip water when it reaches its water capacity limit


Some of the services might be named differently, so it is best to check with the air conditioning companies to briefly describe the job scope of each of their air conditioning services.

Air-cond saving tips:

Tips #1 - Every find professional to inspect and clean your air-conditioner. A well-maintained unit uses less electricity.
Tips #2 - Keep your condenser (outdoor) unit clean by removing grass, leaves and other debris that are stuck on the coil. Also do not place any things such as laundry near to the condenser. Every month, uses a vacuum cleaner connection with a brush, lightly sweep in the direction of the condenser's coil or uses a low pressure water and spray on the coil during raining times.
Tips #3 - Set your air-conditioner not cooler than 25*C. These can save your electricity by 40%.
Tips #4 - When buying a room air-conditioner, make sure it is properly sized. A larger than needed air-conditioner cycles on and off more frequently, reducing its efficiency. Frequent cycling make indoor temperatures fluctuate more and creates a less comfortable environment

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1. Why is the aircon operating but there isn't any cold air (aircon not cold)? - The air conditioning system basically comprises of 2 sections. The indoor fancoil and the outdoor condenser. The indoor fancoil simply act as a blower to dissipate the cooling generated by the outdoor condenser. If there is no cool air blowing out from the indoor fancoil, the outdoor condenser might not be working. A qualified technician is needed to troubleshoot on the outdoor condenser.

2. Why is the aircon leaking water? - A normal air conditioner will have water condensate in the indoor fancoil and discharge through a draining pipe to the nearest drain. Air Conditioner will start to leak water when the drainage piping is clogged / choked.

3. Why is the room not cold enough even after the aircon been running for few hours? - There are a number of causes to this air conditioner not cold situation

Reason 1: The indoor fancoil is dirty resulting in weak dissipation of cool air.
Reason 2: The outdoor condenser is dirty resulting in incapable of producing cooling refrigerant.
Reason 3: There may not be enough refrigerant in the air conditioning system.
Reason 4: There might be some problem with the air conditioning system resulting in non-continuous operation of he system.
Reason 5: The desired operating temperature is set too high.
Reason 6: The air conditioner installed is under-sized.

4. Why is the aircon not working? - One common reason is that the electrical power is not supply to the air conditioner. Perform an initial check on your electrical panel making sure that the electrical supply to the air conditioner has not trip. Upon confirmation of the availability of electrical supply, a qualified technician should be engaged to have the air conditioner repair.

5. What is the advantage of regular aircon service? - Regular service of your air conditioning equipments will provide the following benefits:

Benefit 1: The air conditioner will cool better.
Benefit 2: The electrical consumption of the air conditioning equipments will be lower.
Benefit 3: Aircon leaking will be minimize.
Benefit 4: There will be less need for aircon repair.
Benefit 5: The air con equipment lifespan will be prolong.

6. How often should I have the air con service? - In general, it is recommended that residential air conditioner is to be service and check every 3 months and every month for commercial air conditioner. The duration varies with different usage pattern and other environmental factors. Please seek the assessment of a qualified technician.

7. Can I do my own air con maintenance? - The basic maintenance that is recommended is the cleaning of the air filter and outer panel of the air conditioner every 2 weeks. This will helps to improve the air conditioning of the room.

8. Why is the air con noisy? - Noise is normally generated from:

a. Vibration noise resulted from dirty indoor fancoil/ outdoor condenser.
b. Noisy draft resulted from dirty indoor fancoil.
c. Loose mounting of component in the air conditioning system.
d. Faulty parts in the air conditioning system.

9. Why is the air con smelly? - The smell comes from bacteria formed by microbes in the warm dark humid environment in the indoor fancoil unit. Sometimes when the smell is very bad you may need a more intensive chemical treatment to rectify this problem.

10. Why does the air con needs chemical cleaning / chemical washing? - Chemical overhaul/cleaning is a very thorough way of cleaning the air conditioner. When an air conditioner is badly clogged/ choked and a general service can't improve the condition, an overhaul is necessary. In an overhaul, the air conditioner is dismantle part by part and chemically wash.

11. Why must the fancoil unit be dismantle for chemical cleaning / chemical washing instead of inserting a water tray to wash away the chemical? - By dismantling the fan coil unit, the air conditioning individual components can be washed thoroughly. This will help better clean the unit and also not leaving behind chemical residue that may leas to the corrosion of the fan coil.

12. What types of air con do your company service? - We provide services for different types and brands of air conditioner. The following are some example:

1.Window air conditioner
2.Casement air conditioner
3.Residential split air conditioner
4.Commercial air conditioner (Daikin VRV system)

13. What type of air con services do your company provide? - We provide a full range of air con service. The following are the list:

1.Aircon servicing / Aircon maintenance
2.Regular contract maintenance
3.Chemical overhaul
4.Chemical cleaning / Chemical flushing
5.Installation of air conditioning system
6.Aircon repair
7.Evaluate and advice

Please refer to our Services for more information.

14 What should I look for when engaging an air con company (aircon contractor)? - When engaging an air conditioning company (air conditioning contractor), you should go for a company that is established and reliable. Find out their profile and experience and their after service warranty.

AireControl is established since 1999 and we have a strong fleet of 10 servicing teams. We provide a 30 days of after service warranty for all jobs rendered. Please click here for more information.

15. What should be done if there is a refrigerant leakage problem? - If your air conditioning system has a refrigerant leak problem, simply adding of refrigerant (R22 / R410) is not a solution. A trained technician should perform test to trace and repair the leak. Upon completion of leakage repair, a correct amount of refrigerant should be top up.

16. What is the advantage of Air Purifying Filter and how often do we have to replace it? - Most new model of air conditioner comes with air purifying filter. Air Purifying Filter can remove smoking odour, human smell, impurities and harmful particles in the air condition space. Its recommended that the purifying filter is replaced every three to six months. Or the color of purifying filter (originally white color) is changed to dark brown or black. Leaving dirty air purifying filter in the air conditioning system will affect its cooling performance.

17. Do we need to service the Condenser (outdoors) ? If, yes, how often? - You need to service the condenser (outdoor air conditioning unit) at least once a year to make sure the air circulation of the unit is not blocked. It can affect the cooling efficiency, a shorter compressor life and higher electrical consumption. Sometimes, it is subjected to environmental condition, which requires a qualified technician to give recommendations.

18. Why does ice-forms on the copper pipes of the condenser (outdoor)? - There are 2 possibilities. Ice-forming on the discharged pipe is due to insufficient gas in the system. Ice-formation on the suction pipe could be caused by a dirty fancoil unit or, a dirty filter or, the indoor unit blower is not rotating.

19. Why is the air con switches OFF by itself and the aircon indicator light is blinking / flashing? - The blinking / flashing of indicator light indicate that there is a fault with the air conditioning system. Hence the air conditioner switches off by itself. A qualified technician is needed to diagnose and repair the fault. As this is a protective function to prevent the air conditioner from further damage, it is not advisable to do a electrical power reset to get the aircon temporary working. Continue operation might further damage the air conditioning system.

20. Why is the air con switches ON and OFF by itself? - There is a fault with the indoor electronic circuit board. The circuit board control the operation of the indoor fancoil and a damage cause it to lost its operational control. A repair or replacement of the circuit board is necessary.

21. Why is the air conditioner cannot be switch ON using the remote control? - The fault might lies in the remote controller or the indoor printed circuit board. Try the remote controller on other fancoil and if it work, your remote controller is fine. If the fault lies in the printed circuit board, you need to engage a qualified technician to do repair on the printed circuit board.

22. What is pressure testing of air conditioning system and why it is needed? - When the refrigerant gas in an air conditioning system depletes away and the air conditioner needs to regularly top up refrigerant gas, we can suspect that there is a refrigerant leakage in the air conditioning system. Pressure testing work will help to identify which is the leakage area. Normally high pressure is induced into the condenser, fancoil and refrigerant piping to identify where is the leakage. Further repair work will be quoted upon identifying the leakage area.

Note: Pressure testing work is a testing process (not repair work) to identify the leakage area. This work will not be able to rectify the fault but it’s a necessary process to definite the scope of repair deriving from the result of the testing work. The leakage area defined above is an indicative section of the refrigerant system. The pressure test are unable to pinpoint leakage location.

23. Can faulty aircon printed circuit board (PCB) be repair instead of replacing new circuit board? - Faulty circuit board can be repair in many cases. Many companies lack the knoweldge as well as do not want to waste time and effort on checking, repairing and testing of the circuit board. Its less time consuming to replace a new circuit board however the cost of replacing new circuit board is much more expensive. AireControl is the only few company in Singapore that provide circuit board repair service. We are committed to cost saving for our customer.

Installation Questions:

1. What should I consider when choosing an air conditioner for my premise? - The following are some factors you should consider when choosing an air conditioning system.

a.Determine the size of the area for which the air conditioner is require to cool.
b.Determine the cooling capacity required (refer to question 2 under this section).
c.Determine the brands and types of air condition you prefer.
d.Workout and compare your budget.

2. How to determine the cooling capacity (aircon BTU) require for a room? - An estimate calculation of cooling capacity for a room:

Area of Room [ Length (ft) x Width (ft) ] x 65 = "Cooling Capacity" BTU/Hr

Example: Room size is 12ft by 12ft. Cooling Capacity = (12ft x 12ft) x 65 = 9,360 BTU/hr

3. What are the brands that your company carry? - Our company carries a range of air conditioning brands. The following are some:

1.Daikin Air Conditioner
2.Mitsubishi Air Conditioner
3.Carrier Air Conditioner
4.Sanyo Air Conditioner
5.Panasonic Air Conditioner
6.National Air Conditioner
7.Toshiba Air Conditioner
8.Fujitsu Air Conditioner
9.Fuji Electric Air Conditioner
10.LG Air Conditioner
11.Samsung Air Conditioner
12.Sharp Air Conditioner
13.Hitachi Air Conditioner
14.Aikira Air Conditioner
15.Fuji Air Air Conditioner
16.York Air Conditioner
17.Mc Quay Air Conditioner
18.General Air Conditioner

4. What is an inverter air conditioner? - An inverter air conditioning system has a variable speed compressor as compare to non-inverter air conditioning system. The rotation speed frequency is regulated intelligently to meet specific cooling load requirement. Power consumption is thus more efficient.

5.What is the warranty on a new air conditioning system? - The general warranty given by most manufactures are one (1) year on general parts and five (5) years on compressor.

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Aircon service

The box and filters look so clean, but when the tech opened it the picture looks awful.

They are here now cleaning up our system. The last service was in October. Their sup show me the sticky residue in the system and realized it must be from the tea lights. I think I am going to quit using them.

Didn't think we use the system often enough to warrant more frequent service. Guess I was wrong
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Note on aircon service

Aircon system being serviced today. Another one would be due in six months time. I had hoped to only ask them come only in early December. The system is so new, less than a year old. I assumed it was safe to skip the first six-month service. Problem is one of the units began to drip water a few days ago, but has since stopped.

The unit doesn't look very dirty at all, and except for the first couple of months I haven't bothered with cleaning it myself.

I have not seen this in my previous system. They practically gutted the unit and took it to the bathroom for a thorough bath! Only the electronics remain.

One of the tech told me he was here last year to install the Starmex! My apologies I couldn't recognize him. All these slender young men from China look the same to me.

And when does one call them in to service the aircon? The manuals recommend half yearly service. A lot of assumptions about use go into producing that advice. I think it is when the you need to set the temp lower by up to two degrees to get the same cooling as when it was newly cleaned. Trust your instinct, develop the gut feel. We are not machines.

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