Monday, April 10, 2017

The future of Airconditioning...!

Let's face it, airconditioning systems are not the most environmentally friendly thing on earth. But we can't live without it...

So some nice R&D peeps have decided that they will do something nice for Earth - by using other means to provide cool air. And this is with magnets!

In this system, HCFCs will not be required as alloys will be used as the 'refrigerant' and water will be used for heat transfer. Electricity will still be required but it will be much more efficient than the compressor we are using today. 

The not so good news is, this will take years to develop for residential use... 

Resources: http://home.howstuffworks.com/magnetic-air-conditioner.htm
https://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=slick-sheet-project/air-conditioning-magnetic-refrigeration


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

HAZE

Since the smoky mysterious haze will be all we are talking about for the next few weeks (hopefully not months) let’s find out more about it
What is the HAZE we talk about every year?

The Southeast Asian Haze is a fire-related large-scale air pollution problem that occurs regularly. These haze events have caused adverse health and economic impact on Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and to a lesser degree, the Philippines and Thailand. The problem flares up every dry season, in varying degrees. Transboundary haze in Southeast Asia has been recorded since 1972.
The haze is largely caused by illegal agricultural fires due to industrial-scale slash-and-burn practices in Indonesia, especially from the provinces of South Sumatra and Riau in Indonesia’s Sumatra island, and Kalimantan on Indonesian Borneo. Burned land can be sold at a higher price illegally, and eventually used for activities including oil palm and pulpwood production. Burning is also cheaper and faster compared to cutting and clearing using excavators or other machines.

The health effects of haze are mainly caused by the irritant effects of fine dust particles on the nose, throat, airways, skin and eyes. The health effects of haze will depend on its severity as measured by the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI). There is also individual variation regarding the ability to tolerate air pollution. Most people would at most experience sneezing, running nose, eye irritation, dry throat and dry cough from the pollutants. They are mild and pose no danger to the health of the general population.
However, persons with medical problems like asthma, chronic lung disease, chronic sinusitis and allergic skin conditions are likely to be more affected by the haze and they may experience more severe symptoms. Children and the elderly in general are more likely to be affected. For some, symptoms may worsen with physical activities.

What can we do about it? 
Wikipedia mentioned the health impacts of haze on people. Not to mention the impact on environment, the animals that live in the forests (orang utans for example) and the humans living within the burnings who suffered the direct devastating damage. SEA countries affected by the haze yearly have been putting pressure on Indonesia to work on a solution, including Singapore and Malaysia. The economical, social, environmental and medical  impact of the haze on these countries and their people have been enormous.

What about the general public?
There are public lobbying of not supporting food that use Palm oil (one of the biggest production that come out of these illegal lan.-burning activities), or buy from manufacturers who use only sustainable palm oil Check the ingredients on the product before you check them out at the supermarket. You will be surprised how many things contain Palm oil – from oil to chips to soap…!!
You can spread the word, inform the others (like Aunties and Uncles who may not be so updated) of the ongoings and what they can do to not support the burning and to protect themselves.
  • Why are the illegal burning happening?
  • What food or items contain such products that come out of these burning?
  • What can we do to protect ourselves from the haze?
Remember we are smart and informed consumers!

Cheers!

TOP 5 PROBLEMS OF AN AIRCONDITIONING SYSTEM

Airconditioning system is an electrical appliance that is becoming a necessity in Singapore, rather than a luxury. So, it will be good to be aware, what are the most common problems of an AC system.
– leaking problem
– AC not cold
– Noisy AC
– Smelly AC
– Low on Refrigerant
Many a times all problems have a simple root cause – you don’t take care or maintain your AC frequently! If the problem has not manifest to a big one over a long time, usually a good clean such as a chemical overhaul will do the job.
It would be wise not to wait too long to do a cleaning. The simple rule of thumb for electronics problem solving – The longer you wait, the more it will cost you…
Cheers!

LOW ON REFRIGERANT?

Here are the ‘symptoms’ that your AC is low on refrigerant
1) The room is taking a long time to get cold. This happens because the refrigerant is a critical component that regulate the temperature of the room by removing the heat from the hot air. So without sufficient amount of this liquid, your room will take a long time to cool down.
2) Hot air is released from the AC unit. Reason being the refrigerant is insufficient to cool the air down!
3) $$$ at the end of the month – The AC will operate longer to make the room colder. Longer the AC is on, the more electricity is used, and so you pay more
4) Bubbling or hissing sound – there is a significant leak going on, and the refrigerant is escaping from the hole.
How do you resolve this issue then?
The most probable cause why the refrigerant was low in the first place is because there is a leak. The other reason why the refrigerant was low could be the amount was not enough when it was installed. The technician needs to find out the location of the leaking to solve the problem once and for all.
– The leak is in the valve or port, such parts will then need to be replaced
– The leak is in the refrigerant line copper tubing, then soldering of the part will be necessary.
– The leak is in the condensing coil or in the evaporator coil, soldering is a possible repair option but this is more tricky.. some conditions may render repair not likely such as the part is too old and rusty etc
These repairs require a well-trained AC technician to perform and the cost may not be cheap. Usually topping up the gas to make the AC operate again is the solution provided. If you are like to resolve to the end, give us a call and we can provide the right technician to advice accordingly.
As usual, we hope this will not happen to your AC!
 
Cheers!

Circuit Board issues



Hello all!
One of the issues our clients have faced and alsoI have faced personally (refrigerator, not aircon. Same same but different as some would say!) is on circuit board (aka motherboard) problems. What would have been the cause of it?
– Too old, the circuit board is fragile
– When there is a current surge and the circuit board cannot take the surge
– Wrong voltage input
– Wrong wiring/ wires that are damaged or spoilt
– Pests inside the aircon units that interfere with the circuit board
Repairing is not a common method as it takes skilled technicians to do that. Usually replacing the whole circuit board is a more common solution by most AC servicers. Replacement of this part can cost a few hundred SG dollars.
There are many reasons why the circuit board will be faulty. Again, a trained technician can diagnose the issue. As for the fixing, there is no way to escape the cost (unless the technician can promise to repair the circuit board. Repairing will definitely be cheaper)
Hope this doesn’t happen to your AC unit though!
 
Cheers!

COMPRESSOR OF AC SYSTEM

I would like to think the compressor is like the heart of the airconditioning system. It circulates the hot and cold air to keep the room cold. 
So when it is spoiled.. what do you do?
It is not cheap to do a 'heart' operation - it can easily cost SGD1000 or more, depending on the brand, model and system of your AC.
So how do you decide?
First you got to be sure it is a compressor system. The findings of the technician is likened to a doctor's diagnosis - you may want to seek a 2nd (or even 3rd!) opinion or asked for a well qualified technician to confirm the evaluation. So to be sure that the compressor is the problem and not something else. You won't be too happy to know that you have spent thousands for a wrong diagnosis.
So once you have confirmed it is the compressor issue, is it still under warranty? Usually compressor are under warranty for a few good years. Check your receipt / guarantee card. 
And sometimes, you can change only the compressor, though you may want to consider changing the full outdoor unit (ie the condenser unit). You would want to have the expert's advice. And what about the cost of changing just the compressor vs the whole outdoor unit?
Then with all the cost in, you may also want to consider changing the wall mounted units as well - this will be a full AC replacement. First the cost might not differ than much between just changing the outdoor unit vs changing the full AC system. 2ndly the compressor may not operate at a optimized level with a different AC unit it was created for. This will affect the efficiency and the performance of the whole AC as a system. 
So all in all, you may want to compare the costs after getting a full diagnosis from a well qualified technician. This is not an easy decision to make, but with the steps above, hopefully we have been of help!

Good luck!

A NEW TRICK?

A friend told me this trick that she read online which will help to keep the room cold without lowering the temperature.
The tip is to use the ‘DRY’ functionality in your airconditioning system!
One of the options on your remote under ‘Mode’ is the DRY function, as shown in the picture of the Panasonic aircon at my own place. By making the room dry, the airconditioner is actually set to remove the moisture through dehumidification. This process also lowers the temperature of the room, without having to set it at 16DegC.
This is similar to the basic principle that was applied in Carrier’s invention of the first commercial airconditioning system
By keeping the set temperature at a reasonable 25DegC and in the DRY function, this apparently will enable the airconditioner to run more efficiently without using more energy.

I personally haven’t tried yet.. but I do not like the dry feeling, it makes me thirsty as the air will be dry and my throat will start itching! It is up to individual so why don’t you give it a try, and it may work for you!

Cheers!

DIFFERENT KIND OF AIRCON SERVICING – WHICH WOULD BE THE ONE FOR YOUR AIRCONDITIONERS?

We have been getting questions – what are the differences between the 3 products we are offering? When do I do a regular servicing or a chemical wash? My aircon is not cold – can a regular servicing help?
There is a reason for different offers – because they serve different needs of your aircon!
What are the services provided by Aircon.guru? 
We provide the following basic servicing of air conditioners:
Maintenance servicing
1.         Cleaning of cover, clean air-filter, drain-pan and other parts
2.         Cleaning of drainage pipe to prevent water leakage
3.         Checking of air conditioner’s operating conditions (operation of motor, blower fan, evaporator coil, fan coil, condensing coil condition)
4.         Cleaning of air filter and covers
5.         Checking of gas pressure
6.         Checking of water leakage
7.         Clearing of evaporating coil
Any work not described above such as top up of refrigerant is additional and will be paid to Servicer directly. 
AG Recommends: This should be performed every 3 months, not only to keep the aircon untis healthy but to check for any possible or potential issues as well. 
Chemical Wash
Heavy duty servicing that includes the removal of the cover of the airconditioner unit and flushing of the unit with approriate chemical products. For this there is no dismantling of the fancoil, all the cleaning will be done in-situ with a tray to collect the residue.
AG Recommends: The chemicals will be used for tougher grim and dirt that normal servicing is not able to get rid of. Usually recommended to do it once yearly to maintain the airconditioner in good condition. Do note that no dismantling of the airconditioner from their mount on the wall except for the cover. 
Chemical Overhaul
1.         Dismantle aircon unit for chemical cleaning
2.         Chemical cleaning of evaporator coil and filter
3.         Chemical Cleaning of condenser coil 
4.         Chemical Cleaning of condensate drain pan 
5.         Chemical Cleaning of condensate water drainage system 
6.         Chemical Cleaning of blower, wheel and blade 
7.         Checking of all electrical component 
8.         Checking of all setting including thermostats and controls
9.         Lubricating of all moving parts 
10.      Checking of refrigerant system 
11.      Top up of refrigerant
12.      Re-installation of aircon unit
AG Recommends: Serious cleaning of the units that will include full dismantling from their mount. This is usually done when chemical wash is not able to remove the built-up in the airconditioners over years of usage and no regular maintenance was performed.
So in general
  • Regular Maintenance Servicing should be done on a quarterly basis, just to make sure the dirt doesn’t accumulate and choke the system. This servicing also does a quick checkup to ensure there is no operational issue.
  • Chemical Wash is recommended once in a while (yearly) for your airconditioners, this is to give the system a good cleanse and clear up all the dirt that the regular servicing might have missed.
  • Chemical Overhaul is like the Spring Cleaning of airconditioner system. This usually is recommended when the units have accumulated too much dirt and the above 2 wouldn’t have solved the issue.
So take home lesson – do the regular maintenance servicing religiously and your aircon will be in a tip top condition for most of its lifetime! You save money and headache as well, just come visitAircon.guru for your aircon needs 
Cheers!

GREENHOUSE EFFECT OF THE AIRCONDITIONING SYSTEM

Here at Aircon.guru, we are environmentally and health conscious – we try to minimize the carbon footprints and make recycling a habit. We are trying to eat cleaner as well and even try to grow our own food (though we haven’t been very successful – but I give ourselves credit for trying!)

So I am thinking, what is it about Airconditioning that makes such an impact on energy consumption and global warming?
Do you know that everytime you turn on the airconditioner, carbon is released into the air? Carbon is the element that insulates our planet and this very act contributes to global warming.
When using electrical products, we use electrical energy and the convention way to get this energy is by burning fossil fuels. As airconditioner consumes alot of energy, doing the maths, more fossil fuels will be used. Burning fuels releases CO2 (Carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gases which contributes to global warming…
With economy of scale in production of airconditioning systems, making it more affordable to many households, there are airconditioners in almost everyone’s home. Thus it makes it so easy for us, without batting an eyelid, to switch on the aircon once we get sticky with sweat.
So the world is getting hotter as we use the aircon. This puts us in a vicious cycle  -the hotter it is, the more airconditioning we will use. And so the globe will only get hotter…
The world has gotten hotter by an average of 1 Deg F since the last century – this is not alot, you might think. However we have massively installed more aircons for the last 30 years throughout the globe that it won’t take long for us to up the temperature by 1 or more Deg F.
Let’s take a look at our surroundings, everywhere in Singapore is equipped with airconditioning system, even if we do not see or hear themm. Is there a public or private building you know that does not have one installed somewhere? While we may not live without this essential system, we should minimise the use, and purchase an energy efficient system for long term benefits.

Cheers!

Monday, January 23, 2017

AIRCONDITIONERS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

These days we have been pondering about the carbon footprint, the lack of recycle stations, cheap veges and meat (which meant non organic or Non-hormone/ antibiotics free.. as these would be more expensive) here in Singapore.
What about the impact of Airconditioners on our environment? Besides, we have only 1 planet that we can live in (for now). We should be aware of the damages we are causing it and try to reverse them.. or heal the world before it is too late..
Taken from “http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/green-guide/buying-guide/air-conditioner/environmental-impact/”

Environmental Impact
Energy Use
The electricity generated to power air conditioning carries both global and personal health consequences. In burning fossil fuels such as coal to supply electricity to homes and workplaces, power plants discharge clouds of soot and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Among these are mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2). Air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year.
HCFCs
Formerly used as cooling agents, ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been replaced by hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which deplete 95 percent less ozone. However, booming demand for air conditioners in hot climates such as India and China has upped the chemical’s output in developing countries 20 to 35 percent each year, causing damage at an alarming rate and possibly setting back ozone recovery by 25 years. In industrial countries, HCFCs are being replaced with ozone-safe cooling agents and would be banned in the U.S. by 2010. But HCFCs will be allowed in developing countries through 2040, and because they’re still cheaper to use than ozone-safe chemicals, production in developing countries is expected to increase fivefold by 2010.
Disposal
Federal law requires that HCFCs be recovered from air conditioners and other appliances before they are dismantled for recycling or tossed in landfills, and the EPA is authorized to impose fines of up to $25,000 for failure to comply with regulations. Before discarding your old unit, search for a company that is EPA-certified to recover HCFCs. Share the Air has certified companies listed by region.
Personal Health
In the midst of sweltering heat waves, air conditioning can be a lifesaver, protecting against heat stroke and hyperthermia. But, without proper maintenance, air conditioners can also be a health hazardDirty filters can allow allergens, pesticides and other particulate matter to enter your home from the outside, posing threats to indoor air quality. Exposure to those pollutants can trigger a host of health problems, including allergies and asthma and eye, nose and throat irritation.
Not only we should get a good airconditioner that is with the latest green technology, maintaining it is critical for users as well!
Now, when was the last time your airconditioners had a good cleaning?
Cheers!

SMELLY AIRCONS?

The cold air coming out of your aircon isn’t exactly smelling as fresh as you would have imagined. Once you are sure it is the aircon air that is smelly and not other causes (dirty and wet carpet, moldy items, dead rats etc) these maybe the reasons for such unpleasant odour from the aircon:
Dirt and grim on filters, coils and grilles that has built up
Airconditioner drain that is clogged
As you can see these clogging makes mold and algae grow and they usually give off a musty odour.
So lesson learnt? Clean your airconditioners regularly! Aircon.guru offers various pricing for different servicing needs for your airconditioners
Not only these smell makes one sick, who knows the long term health impact of breathing such microorganisms into your lungs!
Cheers!

DIFFERENT KINDS OF AIRCONDITIONING IN SINGAPORE RESIDENCE

Airconditioner sytems can be complicated. Do you know the different types?
Window Aircon
Window Aircon is an airconditioner system that has all the parts in one encasement.  Means the following are all contained within the unit: compressor, condenser, expansion valve or coil, evaporator and cooling coil.

This is one of the first generation of airconditioners to hit Singapore market. Thus in the older HDB flats, a wall opening was created on purpose so residents can put it up if they wanted to.
Portable Aircon
This is like the window airconditioner system where all parts are inside a box, except that this is a movable box that sits on the ground.
Principle of airconditioning still applies, thus one will need to remove the hot air produced out of the room (via window).  The advantage of this is that it is portable, the downside is that it is much louder than the Window airconditioner.
Split Aircon
Split Aircon is the latest model that is purchased by most in Singapore. There is a indoor (unit fixed on the wall) and outdoor unit (compressor) which involves ducting and pipework around the apartment.
Main advantage of Split Aircon is that it is quieter, and looks much presentable than the above 2 kinds. Though it is also much more costly, and  it takes up much more work to relocate it after installation.
Thus one must consider many factors when buying a airconditioner system – cost, location, no of units, sustainability etc.
Cheers!


WHY IS YOUR AIRCONDITIONER NOT BLOWING COLD AIR?

You have noticed a while but just thought, it’s just a one-off case, or ‘let’s see tomorrow’ But if your airconditioner is just not blowing cold air, you shouldn’t leave it to chances…
The obvious – Dirty air filter
If you use your airconditioner everyday, the poor fella is cleaning your air in the apartment tirelessly.  If the filter is not changed or cleaned at least once every month, the dirt will accumulate and affect the cool air coming out.
The less obvious – Blocked condenser
All parts of the aircon plays an important role to work efffectively, and condenser is no less important. Once it is choked with grim and dirt, you will feel the impact with no cool air coming out of the units in the room. If possible, condenser should be cleaned once a month.

Leaking of refrigerant
One of the checks in regular maintenance servicing is to check on the refrigerant. This is a very important liquid that plays a critical role in the cooling function. So if this liquid is leaking and not able to flow consistently throughout the system to cool the air, it explains why the air coming out of the aircon is not cooled.
Filthy evaporator
Another important component of airconditioning system is the evaporator. You would know by the time you read to this part that dirt and grim and dust will affect the cooling process.
Broken thermostat
Thermostat works as the controller of the temperature of your airconditioner. If this component is malfunctioning, the airconditioner will not work according to your set temperature.
Wrong size airconditioner system for the room
This principle works for any other things.. For example, a small engine for a big car size. If you have chosen a small airconditioner system for a room too big, then your aircon may not be very effective.
Take home lesson:
Do regular servicing to keep it in good condition! Treat your aircon well and it will repay the favor by doing its job efficiently and breaking down less often.
Cheers!

MAIN CAUSES OF LEAKING AIRCONDITIONERS

We have been encountering cases raised by Customers on leaking airconditioners. What could be the main cause of them?
1. Drain Hole or Pipe or Trap floor blockage
The condensed residue water will be removed via a drain hole to a trap floor. This drain or trap floor can be chocked with dirt or some debris and so the water is not able to flow through well. The pipes need to be needs to be checked to see if there is any blockage and that needs to be removed to enable the drainage to the condenser pan to occur properly.
As the pipes are encased, this usually calls for a professional/
You may not know but many modern A/C units comes with a water-overflow cutoff switch, which will shuts down the airconditioning system if the switch locates a blocked drainage line. The function helps to minimise water damage, but then, many aircon owners will then have to call a servicer as they are clueles why their aircon shuts down.
 1Leaking of air
A      Another reason for leaking is when warm air is able to go into the airconditioner system by means of a leak. In these cases, the air-con will have cooler and dryer air, and condensation will occur. One way of determining that is by checking if there is any water dripping from the front part of your aircon unit.

1.Error in installation of drainage pipe
Drainage pipe should be installed such that it is slightly tilted with a small gradient to ensure good water flow to push out dirt and debris when water flows. Some installation is done such that it is too horizontal, thus clogging happens easily.

These are the few reasons why you can have raining airconditioners.
Lesson to take home – regular servicing will help to reduce the likelihood of these issues but if they do happen, call up a professional for help! Come visit Aircon.guru for such solutions!
Cheers!

MOZZIES AND AIRCON…

It’s the rainy season and there have been a few persistent mozzies at home. TheseLocation
 mozzies are like Rambo.. no matter how much ammunition I use (electric swipe, bare hands, mozzie spray, essential oil diffuser etc) they won’t leave and they won’t die..
Besides the usual suspects of clearing all the still water away in your residence, you should also note that aircondition units do retain water and you should take care of this area as well!
The following are recommendations with regards to airconditioning units from National Environment Agency (NEA):
Once a week – Clear any stagnant water in your air cooler unit.
At all times – No tray or receptacles should be placed beneath and/or on top of any air-conditioning unit so as not to create a condition favourable for mosquito breeding.
And you have no idea where these nasties can breed, I found them in an area no one at home could have imagined it…!!
Take care this holiday season, folks!
Cheers!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

CHEAP AIRCON BILLS…?

Well almost!
While it is very unlikely to have free aircon at home, here are some ways to keep yourself from getting a shock at your monthly electricity bills.
Whether your air conditioner is energy efficient, there are still methods to save your pennies by keeping these guidelines in mind:
1.         The room size matters* – measurements should be quite accurate so that you can decide on the cooling capacity of the air conditioner you want to purchase. We will go into how to calculate the size of the air conditioning system for optimal cooling.
2.         When the air conditioner is on, ensure that the rooms are well enclosed – meaning doors and winders should be well shut. This is to prevent heat from coming in the room.
3.         Utilize the ‘economy mode’ of your air conditioner if there is such an option, or set a timer if necessary.
4.         It is always better to be patient and wait for the room to climatise than to set a higher temperature (than the desired degree) to cool down and readjust the temperature later on.
5.         You can minimise the usage of airconditioner. For example you can cool the room before you go to sleep for 1-2 hours, then off the airconditioner and use the fan instead while you are sleeping.
6.         Recommended temperature is at a comfortable 25degC. Each degree higher, the more you have to pay as the cooler it is, the more energy is utilized.
It is critical that the air conditioning systems are regularly serviced so as to maximize the air conditioner’s efficiency and lifespan. This would prevent and reduce the risk of breaking down and having to replace costly components.
So, you still want to reduce your bill even lower. Let’s see the other means of keeping cool without the use of aircon…
  • The obvious – choose the fan instead of the airconditioner if cost is your concern.
  • Well ventilated apartment (by opening the windows and doors to create a criss-cross breeze) helps to cool the apartment.
  • Invest in an energy-efficient window covering that allow natural light to come into the room while minimizing the solar heat absorption.
Other means to reduce $$$ on your electrical bill,
  • All electrical appliances should be switched off instead of putting on standby mode.
  • Own energy labeled appliance, as the more ticks, the better energy saving properties it has.
Lets consolidate more ideas and make this world a greener place without sweating too much! (while keeping the wallet fatter as well   )
*Don’t forget to check out our website on how to calculate roomsize: https://aircon.guru
Cheers!