Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) is a significant cost to any home or business. This is especially true when it comes to commercial buildings and offices, where HVAC systems account for up to 50% of the energy usage and costs!
In today’s business-world, owners are trying to (and managers are expected to) do far more with far less. That is, less money, less time, and less resources. Business concepts like Return On Investment (ROI) and Value for Money (WFM) are more important now than ever before.
With such high costs involved and such a demand for cost-savings, how can we get smart with the HVAC&R systems in our businesses? There are 2 key ways; Routine HVAC&R Maintenance and Steril-Aire Installation.
There are many options available to a business when it comes to saving money with a heating and cooling system. However, it’s important to be aware that not all available options are equal, nor is there a one-size-fits-all solution.
It is a common misconception that a business will save money by reducing the frequency of their commercial HVAC services. For example, reducing from monthly servicing as per Australian Standards down to say quarterly or less. The short-term savings of decreased HVAC maintenance are far outweighed by the long-term implications and expenses, including but not limited to:
- Decreased efficiency of the heating and cooling equipment,
- Increased running cost of such equipment,
- Decreased compliance with acceptable Building Standards,
- Decreased compliance with tenancy agreement (where applicable),
- Decreased efficiency of other business equipment if not cooled correctly (e.g. IT equipment),
- Increased running costs of other business and mechanical equipment,
- Decreased lifespan of all equipment due to wearing out prematurely,
- Increased equipment replacement costs,
- Increased down time due to damaged or underperforming equipment,
- Decreased worker satisfaction and team morale due to such issues,
- Decreased productivity from people and equipment,
- Decreased HVAC system-related indoor air quality,
- Increased viral and bacterial spread in the workplace,
- Decreased compliance with health regulations,
- Increased number of sick days taken,
- Decreased health of employees in general, including poorer health outcomes,
- Increased incidence of chronic disease,
- Decreased compliance with Workplace Health and Safety requirements,
- Decreased customer satisfaction and repeat business,
- Decreased sales due to customer dissatisfaction and reduced productivity, and,
- Increased business risk due to all points listed above.
One of the most powerful solutions is to engage a commercial HVAC&R specialist to perform routine maintenance of all relevant equipment onsite. This way, the maintenance is set-and-forget; you can rest easy knowing that one major area of your business is under control without requiring constant attention.
Another powerful solution to ensure commercial HVAC&R systems are clean and healthy is UVC light installation. Again, the options available are certainly not all created equally.
The most powerful, effective, high quality, and evidence-supported UVC lamp on the market is Steril-Aire. Steril-Aire was founded in 1994 and is a global leader in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) improvement and energy savings when it comes to HVAC&R systems.
This cleaning and maintenance solution could save you thousands, with return on investment (ROI) typically seen within 2 years (often within just 1 year!). The use of ultra-violet C (UVC) sterilisation in the Cairns Regional Council heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is a prime example.
Steri-Aire is a single-ended, very high output germicidal ultraviolet-C (UVC) light emitter that can be installed in new and existing HVAC&R systems. It is designed to improve business operations and profits in countless ways, including but not limited to:
- Improved energy efficiency,
- Improved system operations,
- Improved indoor air quality,
- Improved human productivity,
- Improved mechanical productivity,
- Decreased energy costs by up to 15%,
- Decreased water usage,
- Decreased maintenance costs,
- Decreased need for AC chemical cleaning, and,
- Decreased sick-leave and down-time costs.
There are many UVC products on the market, but only Steri-Aire devices are engineered to work within HVAC systems in the presence of cold, moving air. It has also been independently tested to deliver up to 6 times greater output compared to other ultraviolet devices.
As a UVC sterilizer suitable for use in food and refrigeration settings, Steri-Aire can help manage mould and bacterial growth with major implications. This application improves the bottom line of such businesses in many ways, including but not limited to:
- Improved food safety,
- Improved quality,
- Increased production yields,
- Increased shelf-life,
- Decreased wastage, and,
- Decreased incidence of food poisoning.
How does Steril-Aire Work?
The C wavelength on the UV light spectrum attacks microbial DNA, destroys their cells, and prevents replication. By preventing reproduction, the microorganisms are inactivated and become harmless. The resulting matter simply washes away with the condensate (water) produced within the system.
Steri-Aire UVC light energy breaks down and inactivates biofilm, which otherwise causes significant HVAC&R operational issues and indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns. Biofilm is a slimy, sticky matrix of microorganisms and matter that builds up on coils, drain trays, and anywhere else where moisture is present.
Biofilm can be made up of many different forms of bacteria (often antibiotic-resistant), mould, fungi, and debris. It’s no wonder why it’s a major cause of health and operational issues in most HVAC&R systems.
The UVC emitter germicidal lamps also destroy viruses and bacteria that pass through an HVAC indoor unit. If not destroyed, these recirculate and spread throughout the indoor environment.
The high energy output of the Steril-Aire UVC devices, combined with the recirculating air in a typical HVAC system, facilitates the deactivation of large volumes of airborne microorganisms. This makes it an extremely powerful method of improving the health of both the HVAC system and people being exposed to it.
Where can you use Steril-Aire?
For these reasons, and many more, Steril-Aire UVC lamps are most suitable for use in, but not limited to, the following commercial and residential settings:
- Food processing,
- Agricultural product storage,
- Manufacturing warehouses,
- Research laboratories,
- Pharmaceutical production,
- Medical storage,
- Medical centres,
- Aged care facilities,
- Childcare centres,
- Schools and educational buildings,
- Shopping centres,
- Government facilities,
- Office blocks,
- Dirty work environments,
- Sites serviced infrequently and/or in an ad hoc fashion,
- Sites where access to unit, coil, and/or drainage is limited,
- Sites containing sick and/or vulnerable populations,
- Sites containing allergy suffers, including asthma, and,
- Any home or business where improved IAQ is desired.
As you can see, Steril-Aire is suitable in a wide range of settings for a wide range of applications in both homes and businesses. It’s high output, specifically engineered UVC lamps enable significant improvements in health and cost savings.
Return on investment and value for money are 2 key concepts that every smart business owner understands and seeks out in the current commercial climate. Routine HVAC&R maintenance and Steril-Aire represent investments that tick just about every box.
For a quote on commercial AC servicing and/or Sterile-Aire supply and installation, it is recommended to contact a commercial HVAC&R specialist. Ice Blast is a wholesale provider of Steril-Aire devices that can work with you to find the most suitable solutions for your needs.
Would you be surprised to learn that aircon servicing can actually save you more money than you spend? Well, read on to find out more.
Cost can vary significantly from one company to the next, one service type to the next, and is dependent on the number and type of air conditioning system/s you have. There are many other factors involved that determine the cost of servicing air conditioning that we will explore here.
By paying more, are you getting a better service? Not necessarily. It’s more about finding the commercial air conditioning servicing arrangement that best suits your business requirements.
We’ll explore the cost of servicing commercial air conditioning in this article. Hopefully this will help you weigh up the array of service options available and find the best solution for you.
Is AC servicing necessary?
Air conditioning servicing is designed to support heating and cooling systems in place and ensure they are operating correctly, now and into the future. It is designed to help extend the functional life of the air conditioning units. In turn, fully operational and well-maintained AC systems are designed to provide comfortable conditions for occupants within the building.
Maintenance is particularly important for commercial air conditioning. Commercial AC is typically designed to function as a larger Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. HVAC systems support business operations, systems, equipment, and heavily impacts the health and wellness of all occupants. Such occupants can include:
- Family members,
- Vulnerable populations, and,
- Anyone who enters the indoor environment.
Adequate air conditioning servicing is required to help reduce the spread of germs in the workplace. Furthermore, AC units can actually be a source of disease themselves if not properly maintained.
Condensate (moisture) within an air conditioner is a normal part of air conditioner operations. Dust and matter also enter the unit as part of the standard flow of air. This dark, moist, nutrient-rich environment within the AC creates the perfect home for bacteria, mould, fungi, and other organic matter to thrive.
Filters are designed to help filter out dust and other particles that otherwise serve as fuel for microorganisms and reduce matter build up on the internal heat exchanger coil. However, regular internal maintenance is also required to effectively manage the air conditioning system. Air blown out of an air conditioner is only as healthy as the internal environment of the unit.
HVAC systems impact the health of building occupants in many ways, including but not limited to:
- Temperature management,
- Humidity regulation,
- Moisture control,
- Air filtration,
- Fresh air provision/intake,
- Exhaust ventilation,
- Air purification,
- Pollutant removal,
- Ozone removal, and,
- Indoor air quality (IAQ) improvement.
What is done in AC Servicing?
It is a requirement of Australian Standards (3666.2.2011, 1851.6.1997, 2467.13.1997, HB32:1995) and the Workplace Health and Safety Act that commercial air conditioning equipment and plant be inspected on a monthly basis to maintain an acceptable commercial environment.
Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) also calls for monthly maintenance of commercial heating and cooling equipment. Some aircon servicing tasks are recommended monthly (e,g. checking/clearing drains, checking/adjusting major components, etc), while a combination of other service tasks are prescribed at three, six, and 12 month intervals.
Some of the checks on an annual level service visit include but are not limited to:
- Full inspection of the AC equipment,
- Remove, clean and re-install filters where required,
- Check/clear condensate drain,
- Check/clear drain tray,
- Check/clear safety drain where required.
- Flush drains where required,
- Place condensate tablet/s in tray of main drain,
- Check for signs of oil or refrigerant leaks,
- Check refrigerant charge where required,
- Check for signs of animal/vermin damage,
- Check condition of evaporator coil,
- Check condition of condenser coil,
- Check belts,
- Tighten/realign belts where required,
- Check bearings,
- Check motors and mechanical components,
- Check pipework for damage to insulation,
- Check operation of reversing valve where required,
- Check electrical terminals,
- Tighten/adjust terminals where required,
- Check air flow,
- Check air temperatures,
- Check for fault codes,
- Check thermostat/sensors,
- Adjust/calibrate sensors where required,
- Check voltage reading,
- Check full load amps reading,
- Check general operation and condition of unit,
- Make minor adjustments where required,
- Report on and/or rectify any issues found, and,
- Complete life cycle assessment on equipment.
How much does AC service cost?
Commercial air conditioning service costs are often worked out by calculating the number of hours required over the year, times by the hourly labour rate, then divide it by the service frequency.
- 36 hours of servicing required over the year,
- x $100 per hour,
- = $3,600,
- ÷ by 12 months of the year,
- = $300 per month.
To calculate the hours of servicing required, a good AC company will use Australian Standards to work out all the tasks required for all equipment over the year. The hours and subsequent cost of servicing depends will depend on many factors, including but not limited to:
- Complexity of components,
- Access to equipment,
- Type of equipment,
- Size of units (physically and capacity),
- Nature of controls system,
- Skill level of technician/s required, and,
- Frequency of visits.
In a direct sense, commercial air conditioning servicing may be more expensive compared to home air conditioner servicing over the course of a year. However, the indirect costs (or rather cost savings) make commercial AC servicing an overall positive return on investment (ROI)
What happens if AC has no service?
There are many benefits of air conditioning, IF the systems are maintained correctly. If not, the list of possible issues is endless.
Failure to implement adequate commercial HVAC maintenance has a range of negative outcomes. For example, lack of routine aircon servicing can have extensive impact on business equipment preservation, including but not limited to:
- Increased operating costs as equipment works harder when not cooled sufficiently,
- Decreased efficiency of operational equipment,
- Decreased lifespan of equipment due to working harder and burning out quicker,
- Increased power costs,
- Increased equipment replacement costs,
- Increased unreliability of equipment,
- Increased down time due to failing, faulty, or completely broken equipment,
- Decreased satisfaction of workers due to issues with equipment,
- Decreased production and output,
- Decreased sales due to time spent dealing with equipment, rather than sales activities, and,
- Increased risk to business operations.
As you can see, lack of air conditioning servicing creates costs, reduces returns, and introduces unnecessary risk into business operations. The impact of aircon serving on business equipment is just one example!
The health of building occupants is a major focus of air conditioning servicing. As discussed, lack of commercial aircon servicing results in negative staff and customer outcomes, including but not limited to:
- Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ),
- Increased illness and disease,
- Poorer health outcomes,
- Increased staff sick days,
- Decreased productivity,
- Decreased sales,
- Decreased staff satisfaction,
- Negative customer experiences, and,
- Decreased repeat business.
Routine scheduled maintenance is key to ensuring HVAC equipment is managed in the most appropriate way. Failure to maintain commercial air conditioning can have a wide range of compliance implications, including but not limited to:
- Failure to comply with Australian Standards,
- Failure to comply with Building Standards,
- Failure to comply with Workplace Health and Safety Requirements,
- Failure to comply with Health Regulations,
- Failure to comply with Lease Agreement (where applicable), and
- Failure to provide an acceptable commercial environment.
As you can see, there is certainly a direct cost involved in implementing and continuing commercial air conditioning servicing. However, the indirect costs of failing to implement such critical maintenance into a business far outweigh the direct costs involved.
Hopefully this article helps highlight the importance of aircon servicing and benefits to a business far beyond the obvious costs involved. For an obligation-free air conditioning maintenance proposal, please do not hesitate to contact our commercial HVAC servicing team today.
If we tell you that you can save money and take care of the environment while having an air conditioner at home, would you believe us? Well, the truth is that it is possible, if you choose an energy-efficient air conditioner.
You can find energy-efficient appliances including air conditioners in almost all their forms. It may be a higher investment at the beginning compared to a regular air conditioner, however the long-term savings can make up for it.
What is energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency refers to the optimization of resources to achieve a goal. This means using less energy than normal for an appliance to work but achieving the same results. Thus, energy efficiency includes all those actions that aim to save energy without representing an impact on your qualify of life.
Using energy efficiently also means not using it in unnecessary ways and doing what you require with the minimum possible consumption. To achieve this, it is essential to explore new technologies and systems that save energy to achieve a sustainable life.
The efficient use of energy contributes to protecting natural resources and reducing environmental impact. For this reason, it is not only necessary to have efficient technologies, but also responsible for consumers like you.
How to measure energy efficiency?
To make sure that you are truly increasing energy efficiency throughout your home, optimizing the performance of your appliances, and achieving your objectives it is essential to measure energy consumption.
The easiest way to measure your energy savings is through the annual cost of electricity. If your power bill is small/smaller, it means that the energy efficiency in your home is high.
The importance of energy-efficiency
The energy efficiency of the air conditioning is measured based on the amount of energy generated for each kW of energy consumption. The higher the energy generated for each kW spent, the more efficient your system will be.
Furthermore, all appliances have a label that explains their energy efficiency. This efficiency is measured with different letters, from “A” to “G”, with “A” being the most efficient and “F” and “G” the least efficient.
Remember that energy efficiency is one of the main saving factors that must be taken into consideration if you want to ensure optimal use of your air conditioning.
How to choose an energy-efficient air conditioner?
To choose an energy-efficient air conditioner you need to think about your own needs but also identify the models that consume less energy.
For you to make sure to invest in an air conditioner that doesn’t consume too much energy you need to look at its label, which can range from A +++ to B depending on kW rating.
You should have a higher budget to install your air conditioner because cheaper alternatives often offer low performance and high electricity consumption.
The EER rate
To measure the true efficiency of an air conditioner, it is essential to compare the EER rate or Energy Efficiency Rating of each model. This refers to the amount of electricity needed to obtain a defined cooling capacity.
To sum it up, the more energy it takes to reach the desired objective, the more power the device uses.
Energy consumption is an excellent indicator to anticipate the impact of air conditioning on the annual electricity bill. It is measured in kWh and you can simply compare the information for each model to make an informed decision.
Sound of the air conditioning system
The sound of an air conditioner varies between 45 and 60 dB. What you should do to not have any problems with your air conditioner is looking for the ones with the lower levels.
The good news is that energy-efficient air conditioners possess high-level technology with hardly any sound.
How to optimize your energy-efficient air conditioner
Look at the label
An energy-efficient air conditioner can save up to 60% more than a conventional one. For this reason, as we stated before, there are appliances that are cheaper but they are not energy-savers but in the long run. You will pay for them eventually!
Always keep your appliance in good condition
Performing regular maintenance on your air conditioner is key to extending its lifespan. Also, avoiding dirty aircon filters is essential for the proper functioning of your air conditioner. It also keeps away all the mould and bacteria that may affect your health and the health of your family.
Having habits to minimize the heat in your home
The best tip that we can give you to minimize the heat in your house is to ventilate your home at night, so this will cool down the environment in the morning. For the rest of the day, it is better to keep the windows closed so this will avoid increasing the temperature of your home.
Keep in mind that if you are going to leave the house, you should turn off your air conditioner and turn it on when you come back. In this way you will be saving energy and money.
Monitor and regulate the temperature
The main reason to buy an air conditioner is to be comfortable at home. However, it is a great idea to make your air conditioner work as efficiently as possible. For this reason, we recommend you set your aircon at 22-24ºC. For each degree you adjust beyond that, you can increase the cost of your bill up to 10%.
Help yourself with other elements
When the heat is not suffocating, having ceiling or portable fans installed can help you save energy and money as you will not be using the air conditioner as frequently.
Even when you do have the aircon on, fans can further enhance the cooling effect and reduce demand on the air conditioner. This leads to further energy savings and comfort.
Get advice from a specialists
It is not the same to cool down a small place vs a large place or design an air conditioner system for a room vs a whole house with several rooms. There are many other factors that effects which size of air conditioner you need to have greater energy-efficiency. For this reason, it is better to get advice from a specialist.
Remember that being more efficient does not mean giving up a degree of well-being and quality of life. It is simply a matter of adopting a series of responsible habits, measures, and investments at a technological and decision-making level.
When you invest in a new air conditioner, it’s common to be focused on the cost of the system upfront, the energy efficiency of the aircon, and when can it be installed. Once these initial concerns are resolved, it’s time to start thinking about the lifespan of your air conditioning system.
There are many different factors that impact how long an air conditioner unit will last. These includes but are not limited to installation quality, how your use the system, strategies in place to assist the aircon, type of maintenance carried out, the nature of repairs, and paperwork in place from start to finish.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ensure your new air conditioning system reaches its full potential. For this reason, the article will go through 7 key areas worth focusing on. For each area, we will narrow-down information into 4 main points that can make or break your aircon’s expected lifespan.
Before you even install your air conditioner, there are things that can be done to ensure the air conditioning equipment reaches its full potential and lifespan.
Before installing any air conditioner units, you want to ensure they form part of the most suitable, well designed AC system for any given application. For a floor, ceiling or wall mounted split system, position and associated components installed are vital. For a ducted system, layout and quality materials can seriously impact the longevity of your air conditioning system.
For a ducted AC system, with a network of ductwork in the ceiling space, it’s important that the system is designed and installed by an experienced ducted aircon installer. Many factors impact the ongoing efficiency of the system, including zoning type and layout, ductwork size and insulation rating, supply/return air outlet size and number, and wall controller/thermostat/sensor location.
Poor design, inferior materials, and poor workmanship will cause the system to struggle and wear out faster as a result. It will also cause endless issues and excessive power usage along the way. This is true for ALL air conditioning unit types.
As a result of sub-standard design, you will need replace the air conditioning system sooner than you would with a higher quality and suitably designed system. For the sake of a few dollars saved upfront, you can easily end up paying far more in the long run.
Before installing an air conditioner, it’s important to ensure that it is a suitable size for the area it will serve. This refers to the capacity, typically measured in kilowatts (kW). Just like Goldilocks and her run in with the Three Bears, an aircon can be too big, too small, or just right.
If you put in an air conditioner that is too big, it will cycle on and off more frequently as it tends to overshoot the desired temperature, detect this, stop, wait for temperature to go the other way, and then blast out hot/cold air again. This constant on/off and short cycling damages the internals of the AC units as they are designed for run for longer periods of time and complete certain cycles. This means the internal components will fail earlier than designed.
If you put in an air conditioner that is too small, it will tend to have to run for longer and complete more cycles before it turns off. It may not even reach the desired set point, meaning it continues to run non-stop! This will cause the internal components to wear out much sooner as they never get a break, except when the system is not in use. This is why server room aircons (running 24/7) only come with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, rather than a standard 5-year warranty.
If you are not sure what design and kW rating air conditioner you need, it’s best to chat to an experience AC installer about what sized air conditioning system would be best for a certain space. There are many factors to consider, such as the size of the area (m2), heat load/activities conducted indoors, insulation/materials used in the building, and building/window/door orientation.
Before getting air conditioning units installed, you want to make sure they are going in the right location. Otherwise, the system can be compromised and lifespan reduced as a result.
For a wall split indoor unit, it’s best for the unit to be installed:
- Back-to-back with the outdoor unit. Efficiency of the system decreases as pipework length increases, so you want to prevent excessive pipe run. Decreased efficiency means increased strain on the whole air conditioning system.
- Centrally near the middle of the room without obstruction. Supporting even airflow and temperature dispersions with a central, obstacle free location reduces workload. This preserves the AC system as whole and helps extend its feasible running time.
- Up high up on the wall close to the ceiling (~2.4-3.0m off the ground). Obviously if there are cathedral ceilings or similar, then the indoor unit should be as high as reasonably practical. This recommendation is designed to complement the natural phenomenon of hot air rising and minimise demand on the aircon. It also helps support optimal performance and allow reasonable access for routine maintenance.
There are also important factors to consider when installing a ducted air conditioning system. Ducted AC units need to be installed in a position that supports ongoing efficiency, maintenance, and repairs.
For a ducted indoor unit, it’s best for the unit to be installed:
- Close to the manhole. This allows ease of access to the unit to support routine maintenance.
- Suitable distance away from the ceiling and/or beams in the roof. This also allows suitable access for a professional service, chemical coil clean, and/or repairs.
- Suitable proximity to supply and return air ductwork. This ensures efficiency is not lost through excessive flexible duct runs.
The ducted return air grille/filter that allows air back into the indoor unit is also important to consider. This critical air re-entry point must be visible and accessible in a well-ventilated part of the home or office. Otherwise, it can easily get blocked, increase pressure on the system, and lead to AC equipment failure.
Just like with the indoor unit, before getting your new air conditioner installed, you want to make sure the outdoor unit is going in the best location. Failure to do so can result in reduced AC lifespan in many ways.
The outdoor unit (i.e. condenser) is the powerhouse of an air conditioning system. The harder it has to work, the less efficient the whole system is. Running the air conditioner in a lower efficiency state causes the system to wear out faster.
To prevent this issue, it is recommended to install the outdoor unit a well-ventilated, cool, dark/shaded place. This is because heat and sunlight can increase the unit workload as well as cause certain components to wear out faster. Condenser pipework insulation is just one example of a UV-sensitive aircon component.
It’s also recommended to install the unit down on the ground, or in an easily accessible location, as opposed to a roof top or similar. Not only does this help reduce sun and heat exposure, but it also supports routine inspection and servicing as the unit is then in a suitably accessible location.
Wherever the outdoor unit is installed, it’s important for it be level, clear from obstruction, and suitably secured. If not level, the unit cannot work property and components wear out faster. If not clear, airflow is reduced, causing components to overheat and fail prematurely. If not secure, opportunist vandals or clumsy passers-by can damage the unit with a range of life-altering consequences.
To ensure your air conditioner reaches its full potential, it’s important to ensure the correct refrigeration pipework is used in conjunction with the unit install. Specifically designed pipework improves AC operating efficiency and prevents a range of issues.
Pipework used should be purposed for aircon installs; pre-insulated, UV-rated, annealed copper pair coil. It should also be of the correct size for any given air conditioner and suitable length as per AC manufacturer specifications.
- The insulation component reduces sweating of pipes. This is important as water is never a good thing to have around an electrical device such as an air conditioner unit.
- UV-Rated. The UV protection component reduces degradation in the face of UV light. Unrated/inferior pipe insulation can breakdown and reduce system efficiency in as little as a few years.
- Correct Size. Undersized pipe will prevent the system from operating at is maximum potential, meaning the system can struggle to adequately heat or cool a given indoor area. Oversized pipe can cause serious compressor damage and premature equipment failure.
- Correct Length. AC system efficiency increases as pipework length decreases, to a certain point. While it is recommended to keep pipework length as short as possible, there will still be a minimum length required depending on the unit size and manufacturer instructions. Incorrect length can also cause noise and/or vibration issues, which negatively affects aircon lifespan.
Drainage may not immediately come to mind when considering how to extend the life of your air conditioner units. However, it can certainly play a significant part in preventing unnecessary and life-reducing damage.
AC units produce condensate (i.e. water) during normal operation. That water is collected in internal drip trays and drained away as required. If your aircon is leaking water where it shouldn’t, it’s a big problem.
Excess water can promote micro-organism, fungi, and bacterial growth within an aircon unit. This can cause mould and matter to build up on the coil, fan scroll, filters, and other AC components. This reduces airflow and increases workload of an air conditioning system, impacting its expected lifespan if not resolved in a timely manner.
Failure to install a drip or safety tray, or suitable drainage, means that water may not be collected at the indoor unit and/or suitably drained away. This can result in water overflowing onto AC electrical components. As we all know, water and electrical do not mix. Modern-day aircons are heavily electrically based, so water can cause significant damage to components such as printed circuit boards, capacitors, controls, etc.
Water can also damage structural or supportive components of the air conditioning system. For example, water can compromise the structural integrity of the wall, floor, or ceiling below the unit. As a result, the aircon may become unlevel or fall completely. Unlevel units wear out faster or may fail to operate correctly at all. Meanwhile, a complete fall could see the end of that particular AC unit.
Once your air conditioner is installed, there are many ways you can preserve the equipment and extend the lifespan of the system as a whole.
Usage of an AC controller and temperature sensors can make or break the lifespan of any air conditioning system. Incorrect usage can prevent correct system operation, increase workload, and waste power. On the other hand, correct usage can extend lifespan and save you significant money in the process.
The air conditioner controller can also double as a temperature-sensing point. This is often the case for entry-level ducted systems. An increase in heat load near a temperature sensing component of the AC system will result in excessive cooling and subsequent workload for the AC system.
Once correctly installed, the area around sensors and temperature-sensing wall controllers must be considered. It is recommended to avoid placing anything producing excessive heat in close proximity. This includes common home devices such as washers, computers, TV screens, phone chargers, etc. Direct sunlight must also be monitored and managed.
Once the area around the temperature-sensing point is managed, the next consideration should be the temperature set point. Minimising excessive usage of the air conditioner helps with preservation and system longevity.
Standard home air conditioners are designed to run at full capacity or idle. They continue to work at full capacity until they detect that a given set point is reached. At this point, they can then ramp down and reduce demand on the air conditioning system as a whole.
It is recommended to set the air conditioner to a temperature as close to the outdoor temperature as possible. Some change is obviously expected, otherwise why would you use the AC, but every degree counts. Not only is the system running life extended as a result, but aircon running costs are also reduced by 10% for every degree the set point is set closer to the ambient temperature.
The modes selected when running an air conditioner can reduce or enhance the expected lifespan of that system. It is one of simplest ways to extend the life of your air conditioning units.
It is recommended to avoid Auto mode most if not all of the time. Auto mode causes the aircon to automatically switch between Cool and Heat modes with the aim of steadily maintain a given set point. This is an inefficient use of the AC system which unnecessary causes it to wear out faster. Heat mode or Cool mode is recommended to be used instead.
There are other modes that can help enhance your air conditioner and its lifespan. Dry mode increases the amount of air passing through the indoor unit, designed to remove moisture from the air rather than cooling it. This this a more efficient mode that reduces power usage and demand on the system.
Fan mode is another more efficient mode available to preserve your air conditioner. It allows air movement without inherent temperature adjustment or dehumidification. It is one of the best modes available for extending the life of your air conditioner units.
Many aircons also have a Sleep mode or Night mode which can help extend the life of both you and your air conditioning system. Sleep/Night mode increases temperature gradually by a few degrees, 0.5 – 1 degree at a time, to reduce demand on the aircon units without impacting your sleep.
Fan speed has a surprising impact on air conditioner energy efficiency and therefore system lifespan. Fan speed refers to the speed of air travelling through the indoor unit, i.e. over the internal heat exchanger coil and subsequently blown out into the room/s.
Using high fan speed is recommended to rapidly and efficiency cool down a given indoor area. This is the recommended way to bring up or down the temperature indoors to support your air conditioner and prevent unnecessary strain. Once the desired comfort level is reached, fan speed can then be adjusted down to maintain the temperature.
Overnight, low fan speed it recommended as temperature maintenance is often the goal and the outdoor temperature often decreases significantly. If it is a particularly humid day, and/or moisture removal is the primary goal, then low fan speed is also recommended for use. This allows more time for the indoor unit to remove moisture from the air before it leaves the unit and enters the indoor environment.
Timers and reminders are handy to have in an air conditioner unit as they help you manage its usage and extend its life. Not all aircons come with timers, so it’s worth ensuring your chosen system has one before making the final purchase and installation.
Timers can be basic, push-button operated, controllable over Wi-Fi, or even integrated into a complete home automation system (e.g. Google Nest). The set and forget type timers may be the most beneficial, with life being so busy these days that few of us have time to stop and think about the aircon schedule on a daily basis.
Reminders also come in various forms, from basic “filter check/wash required” reminders through to “time for professional service” reminders. These help to maintain the system overall and keep it in good working order. The key is to actually action the task prompted; there is no point having a filter check/wash reminder come up if you just clear it without touching the filter!
Once installed and familiar with, the next step is to actually use them. Timers can help manage demand on AC units at key times, such as when sleeping or out of the house. As indoor climate requirements change, so should use of the air conditioner system to match. By doing this, the system is preserved and life extended.
In a commercial setting, timers and reminders can contribute to significant life extension of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Timers can be used to switch off units out of business hours, while reminders can prevent AC system neglect and assist with routine HVAC maintenance. These benefits can significantly extend the life of any commercial system.
Timers and reminders aside, new air conditioning units come with a range additional features; some designed for convenience, some designed to enhance performance, and some designed to protect the aircon. Better yet, some features can provide a combination of these benefits.
Control over Wi-Fi, typically via a smart phone App, is one of those features that has many benefits. Convenience aside, being able to check and control an AC system remotely can support you in optimal running of the system. For example, you can pre-cool the home gradually before you get home, rather than overloading the AC when you walk in the door on a hot day. Similarly, you can check in on the teenage kids at home on school holidays and ensure they are not demanding excessive cooling or heating from the air conditioning system.
Many modern-day air conditioner units also have an Auto or Self Clean function inbuilt. This function typically involves drying out the inside of an aircon unit, which preserves the internal components in many ways. Moisture management reduces the growth of mould, mildew, fungi, and other unwanted microorganisms. It also reduces rust and corrosion that would otherwise damage key components such as the heat exchange coil.
Air conditioning units can be preserved by considering their place in the home as a whole, rather than in isolation. There are many cost-effective methods of supporting the air conditioning system in place and extending its lifespan as a result.
Air conditioning systems are best supported when used in a building environment that holds the hot or cold climate produced. Insulation and window treatments are two key factors that have a significant impact on indoor temperature retention.
Insulation can be present in the ceiling, walls, floor, or combination of these locations within a building. The impact of insulation is significant, with an insulated roof space saving you up to 50% on your home heating bill! This saving shows just how much the demand on the AC system can be reduced.
Window treatments come in all shapes and forms, including blinds, curtains, shutters, tinting, or a combination of these. Windows can allow significant heat to enter and leave an indoor space, and an imposed barrier can dramatically reduce any unwanted exchange. As a result, the air conditioning system doesn’t have to work as hard or for as long to achieve desired comfort level indoors.
Many properties have air conditioning installed without fans, thinking that fans are not required when aircon is in place. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that fans are needed, especially in hotter climates, to assist and help preserve air conditioner units. They are in fact one of the cheapest ways to extend the life your aircon. If not already installed, it would be well worth contacting a local electrician today.
Fans help to circulate air in a given space. While they may not inherently change the temperature of the air, they help people in the space feel cooler due to the cooling effect produced. As a result, demand on the AC is reduced as a higher set point can be comfortable with the presence of air movement.
Whirlybirds and other roof-mounted exhaust fans can also assist your air conditioner units in a different way. These out-of-sight fans are designed to extract heat at the top of the house, lowering the temperature in the ceiling space. As a result, the rooms below the ceiling space (i.e. indoor space) will automatically be cooler. This will subsequently reduce demand on the air conditioner, as the rooms are already closer to the desired temperature.
Heat or cooling load refers to the amount of temperature adjustment required to maintain a given temperature set point. The higher the heat load, the higher the demand on the air conditioner. Therefore, it is recommended to manage heat load in order to extend the lifespan of air conditioning equipment.
Using heat-producing devices when an aircon is already under significant pressure should be avoided wherever possible. For example, cooking sausages on the outdoor BBQ on a hot summer evening, rather than in the kitchen, helps to reduce the indoor heat load and subsequent demand on the AC system.
Running clothes and/or dish washers in the morning before the weather heats up is another way to assist your air conditioner. Further methods include turning off lights when not needed, especially non-LED ones, and putting the extraction fan on when showering/bathing.
By reducing heat load indoors, especially when the AC is working at is max, you can reduce workload required from the device. This prevents the air conditioner from being maxed out and protects the internal components. As a result, you can expect to enjoy the aircon in your life for many more years.
The area around an air conditioner unit is just as important as use of the device itself. A clear, well-ventilated space around all units is required to ensure an aircon reaches its expected age. This can be difficult as standard house block sizes are decreasing and storage space is becoming limited.
The minimum clearance zone around an outdoor condensing unit is typically 300mm, with 1000mm required in front of the unit. The area between the back of the unit and a wall may be slightly less but must still comply with manufacturer install recommendations. Failure to do this causes reduced airflow and operating efficiency. This can see an air con system over-worked, over-heated, and all over before its time.
Not only can items around the condenser impact the unit, but it can also invite unwanted flora and fauna damage. While certain greenery can protect your aircon, like a shady tree over the unit, it can also harm it if neglected and allowed to grow into the unit itself. Furthermore, animals feeding on or living in the garden can interact with the air con unit in several life-shortening or even life-ending ways (unfortunately for both parties).
DIY AC Servicing
One of the most effective ways of extending the life of your air conditioner units is servicing them. Just like your car, your aircon requires a minimum amount of maintenance to get it through an expected lifespan.
DIY maintenance starts with regular filter checking, every few weeks, and washing when dirty. It’s also recommended to check them after dirt or dust generating activities, such as spring cleaning, renovating or moving furniture. More on filters later.
Aside from filter washing, there are many other simple aircon maintenance tasks that should be carried out routinely. These tasks are designed to keep your air conditioning system working as designed, which helps it reach or even exceed predicted lifespan.
In a commercial setting, routine HVAC servicing is recommended monthly as Australian Standards. Home air conditioners could also benefit from monthly maintenance, however every four to twelve months is typically sufficient.
The basic tests, checks, and cleaning recommended to maintain your own air conditioner has many benefits. In relation to life extension, DIY aircon servicing allow for minor issues to be detected and resolved before they cause major damage. It also supports optimal AC function and efficiency, which helps preserve major internal components.
Filter maintenance is the number one service task you can do yourself to protect and preserve your air conditioning system. However, there are more to filters than you may think.
Firstly, it’s important to ensure the correct filter type is used with your AC system. Types to consider, particularly for a commercial HVAC system, include manufacturer-specific, full/half ceiling tile panel, pleated, pocket, v-form, HEPA, or carbon.
The next consideration is the media type; washable or disposable. Factors such as access, water availability (for washing), and finances (for purchasing disposable ones) impact which type is most suitable to support your particular aircon system.
Next point to consider is media/filter thickness. There are clear Australian Standards for suitable air filter design and use in Australia depending on unit type and application. To ensure correct AC operation, the filters should let air through to the indoor unit but be thick enough to suitably filter the air.
Filter cleaning is one of the most effective ways to maintain your air conditioner and ensure a long and healthy life. Dirty filters increase air conditioner workload by 15% as evidenced by power draw.
Dirty or damaged filters prevent dirt, dust, dander, and other types of matter from being filtered property. These can reach and/or build up in the indoor unit, which impacts aircons in many ways. It promotes the build-up of dust, mould, mildew, fungi, and other microorganisms that reduces heat exchange on the evaporator coil, increasing strain on the system. It also spreads dirty air, which is not only bad for your health but also for the health of your aircon system.
While it is a far less common issue, it is worth noting that filters can actually be washed too much. This is more commonly seen with commercial HVAC systems, where business owners may insist on monthly filter washing even when a system is hardly used. The media wears out over time, especially with washing. This may not be a life-impacting issue for your aircon system UNLESS you fail to replace the filter when required, which may be sooner than expected with over-washing.
When a filter has worn out, it’s important to replace it or at least the filter media. You can tell that a filter needs to be replaced when it is wearing thin in parts and/or light is more visible when you hold it up to a light source. Failure to replace a relatively inexpensive part can see major aircon repair expense due to component damage, failure, or complete AC system failure. An experienced HVAC technician can help you decide when filter replacement is due, as it can be a fine line between premature and overdue replacement.
We all know that water and electricity do not mix. The same can be said of electrically based devices such as air conditioners. Water damage to AC components such as capacitors, PC boards, and motors can have life-shortening or even life-ending consequences for the system. It can also cause corrosion and rust.
It’s not as simple as you may think, as some water is unavoidable when it comes to aircons. Condensation (water) is produced as a normal part of refrigeration cycle. It’s just a matter of managing the presence and use of water in order to maintain the air conditioning system.
As with filters, certain components of your AC system require inspection and cleaning when dirty. For an indoor unit this includes the drain pipe/tray, fascia/covers, air inlets/outlets, fan barrel/scroll, and evaporator coil. For an outdoor unit this can also include the drain, covers, coil, and area immediately around the unit.
Failure to keep these components clean can result in reduced heat transfer, reduce airflow, and reduce efficiency of air conditioner units, which shortens their life. In the drains, all manner of blockages can occur, including algae, mould, sludge, insects, and even materials such as insulation. To clean the various components, it’s recommended to use as little water as possible and the correct equipment for the job.
You also required complete knowledge of the electrical components (both directly and indirectly) involved in the area being cleaned to avoid harm to you and the air conditioner. If you are not 100% sure, it may pay to call in a professional aircon service technician for such work, to avoid damage to the AC system you are looking to preserve, as well as yourself! They also carry special chemicals and equipment designed to not only clean the system but slow future growth of mould and algae.
Visual checking is one of the safest ways to maintain and extend the life of your air conditioner units. It allows for issues to be detected while minimising the risk of physically harm. Just take extra care if need to use a ladder or similar to access the aircon units.
When looking over the air conditioner, look at all visible parts of the system. It is recommended to look for exposed electrical components, cracked insulation, water droplets or leaking in abnormal places, smoke or dust coming from the units, any signs of vibration or movement, and wearing/degradation in general. You can also listen out for any abnormal noises, including banging, whistling, humming, squealing, gurgling, buzzing, rattling, etc.
It is recommended not to insert any foreign objects into the air conditioner while checking it. This includes torches, sticks, screw drivers, brushes, and especially fingers. Otherwise, damage can occur to AC components, the whole aircon system, the item you are inserting, yourself, and/or those around you. Air conditioner damage can be as minor as a scratch or as major as complete system failure.
Professional HVAC Maintenance
While you can carry out a certain degree of maintenance yourself, there are some tasks that are best left to the experts. It also pays to invest in a professional air conditioning service on a routine basis to help extend the life of your air conditioning system.
If DIY maintenance is routinely carried out on your air conditioner, professional maintenance is typically not required as frequently as if no home servicing has been conducted. This home aircon servicing includes frequent filter maintenance, visual checking, basic cleaning, etc., as discussed. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to call in the experts to help maintain and extend the life of your aircon, and it is actually recommended to be done on a periodic basis.
Home air conditioners are recommended to receive professional maintenance every year at a minimum, and even every 4-6 months in certain situations. Commercial air conditioners are recommended to receive monthly maintenance as per Australian Standards. For anything less, it is recommended to arrange a formal inspection and proposal from a good commercial HVAC service company.
Even if the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are seemly working OK, there can be hidden issues that impact unit operation and cause the equipment to wear out faster. A professional can test technical components and resolve issues before they start to reduce air conditioner lifespan. A primary example is testing of capacitor tolerance and replacing these minor parts before they damage the associated motor and system as a whole.
Extending the life of your air conditioner not only involves maintenance, but also the correct type of servicing. There are many different AC service types that can be booked, from minor checking through to major pull apart and deep chemical cleaning. It’s recommended to arrange the highest level required to suitably maintain your aircon, otherwise you may just be wasting your time and money as well as reduce AC lifespan.
Ideally, the aircon service technician you book has the ability to upgrade the service level while onsite. For example, start with a minor/standard AC service with the potential to add on indoor unit chemical cleaning if mould is found deep within the unit. Similarly, if insulation on the outdoor pipework is cracked or UV affected, it is recommended to patch it at that time or follow up another time at a suitable add-on price.
While some professional attention is better than none, failure to fully maintain your system will severely shorten its expected lifespan. If you are going to all the effort of arranging an air conditioning technician, it pays to get the complete service done at that time. You can easily save the extra money spent with the extra life given to your air conditioning system.
There is a lot of choice when it comes to air conditioning service technicians. Many air conditioning and electrical companies promote AC servicing, although their specialties and expertise can be worlds apart.
To get the most out of your professional AC service, it is recommended to book a technician with a valid ARCTICK licence. This Refrigerant Handling Licence ensures that the tech can complete all tasks in a routine service, rather than just the electrical ones. Handling AC gas/refrigerant is an offence unless you have this specific licence in Australia.
It is also recommended to book a technician with specialized air conditioning training and qualifications. A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor is technically a “Refrigeration Mechanic”. This type of contractor is specialised in the refrigeration cycle, which is what all air conditioners are based on. To help extend the life of your air conditioning units, it’s important to book the contractor that has been specially trained to care for them.
Once you have booked the correct technician at the recommended frequency to carry out the most suitable level of AC servicing, it’s then important to consider and action as many of their recommendations as possible. Otherwise, you may not get the full life out of your air conditioner units.
Common recommendations worth actioning include set point for your system, filter cleaning frequency for your environment, chemical cleaning for your degree of mould/matter build up, clearance around the AC units for your unit location, and minor repairs for the state of your aircon.
Reputable air conditioning companies and technicians genuinely want to help you get the most out of your air conditioner. Their reputation is also on the line if the units pack up and fail sooner than expected. Therefore, a good tech will recommend ways to preserve the AC equipment. However, if recommendations are ignored, they can not be held responsible for the shortened lifespan of your air conditioner units.
Air conditioner repairs can vary from minor to major. Some are critical to system operation, while some may not impact the lifespan of an air conditioning system.
DIY vs Professional
Just like with air conditioning serving, there are tasks that you can do yourself and some that are best left to the experts. You may be wondering what to do if air conditioner is broken. Do you tackle it yourself or call in a professional?
First, the issue needs to be diagnosed correctly. Just like Dr-google for diagnosing a medical condition, home air conditioner owners can feel like an air conditioning/refrigeration mechanics after 5 minutes of research online. While you can be on the right track, error codes, noises and loss of function can be the tip of the iceberg in terms of air conditioning repairs required.
Misdiagnosis can waste time and cause further AC damage as you incorrectly think the system is still OK to use. Furthermore, if you launch into repairs, the issue can actually be made worse. This can cause great damage to an air con system. Even worst, you can cause great damage to yourself and those around you. It is recommended to call an expert to consult on your air conditioning issue/s and allow them to manage the repairs appropriately to maximise AC lifespan.
Sometimes we can’t help when our air conditioner needs fixing. However, wherever possible, it is recommended to consider the timing of your air conditioner repairs. This helps you to extend the life of your air conditioning units in many ways, but only if done correctly.
Firstly, some repairs cannot wait. For example, gas leaks should be attended to ASAP to minimise the amount of gas lost from the air conditioning system. However, if an air conditioner motor breaks down at the end of summer and the system isn’t needed until winter, it may pay to hold off repairs until the cooler months.
During the off-peak season, most air conditioning companies offer winter specials and more flexibility with when they can attend. The AC repair tech is not as busy, so you may receive longer and more focused time onsite. Aircon parts suppliers will also not be as busy, so they respond quicker with part details in order for quotes to be formed. Parts can also be dispatched faster as they are not held up with high demand.
Overall, this results in a more pleasant, cost-effect air conditioning repair experience. As a result, you are more likely to repair your air conditioner again in the future and work with the AC repair company to set up ongoing maintenance. This helps you get the most out of your air conditioner and extend its life for years to come.
To extend the life of your AC system, it’s important to be aware of normal operational sounds. By doing this, you can detect abnormal noises when they arise. You can then do something about it to preserve your air conditioning system.
There are an array of noises possible from your indoor air conditioning unit.
- Banging/Clanging – Possible loose/broken part such as fan barrel, louver, motor, or blade.
- Squealing – Possible faulty fan motor bearings or housing. Noise may travel through ductwork.
- Rattling/Chattering – Possible loose screws/bolts, faulty fan, or failing electrical contactor.
- Clicking/Humming – Possible defective electrical component (wiring or thermostat) or loose part.
- Buzzing – Possible range of issues, including dirty filters, debris in unit, rubbing/loose parts, motor/s out of balance, pipes rubbing between units, coil icing up, and/or refrigerant leak.
- Screaming/Whistling – Possible refrigerant leak or component stuck.
These issues must be resolved by an expert in order to protect your air conditioning units and ensure a suitable lifespan.
There are an array of noises possible from your outdoor air conditioning unit.
- Banging/Clanging – Possible broken condenser fan blade, motor out of balance, or compressor issue.
- Squealing – Possible failing condenser motor bearings or could be a normal start up sound.
- Rattling/Chattering – Possible faulty fan or contactor, loose screws/bolts, or general wear and tear.
- Clicking/Humming – Possible defective component (electrical or mechanical), loose component, or refrigerant piping vibration.
- Buzzing – Possible range of issues, including dirty condenser coil, motor/blade out of balance, pipework rubbing, components icing up, and/or refrigerant leak.
- Screaming/High-pitched Whistling – Possible jammed component or refrigerant leak.
All these issues should be assessed by an AC technician. If the issue is not normal, it can reduce the expected lifespan of your air conditioner unit.
A gas leak can severely impact the health of your air conditioning system, the environment, and your family. If suspected, it is recommended to book an aircon repairer ASAP to resolve the issue. The air conditioner should not be used until issue resolved, otherwise major damage can occur to components such as the compressor.
You may first suspect a gas leak when the system fails to cool down the indoor space as well as normal. If you lift the cover, you may also see ice forming on the evaporator coil. Alternatively, water may be leaking from the indoor unit (i.e. melted ice). Ice can also start to form on the outdoor coil and/or at the connection between pipework and unit. This doesn’t mean that the leak is there, it just highlights that the system may be running short of refrigerant.
You may be able to hear hissing from small leaks, and gurgling from larger ones. However, there may be no noise at all. Another way you may detect an air conditioner being short of gas is your electricity usage. If your power bill has increased significantly without another other explanation, it may be worth investigating your aircon.
A full gas leak search and repair is required to identify and fix all leaks. The leak can be anywhere on the air conditioning system; indoor unit, outdoor unit, pipework, or connection between any of the components. If the AC is less than 1 year old, it may be covered under installation warranty. If the AC is less than 5 years old, it may be covered under manufacture warranty. Either way, failure to resolve the issue will see a premature death to your air conditioning system.
Like all great things, your air conditioner will come with an array of paperwork. This paperwork is important for many reasons and can be used to extend the life of your air conditioning units.
Firstly, before purchasing any new aircon, it is recommended to get a free quote for air conditioning supply and install in writing. This sets out the inclusions and exclusions of your new air conditioner system as well as key details about the install company.
Next, it is recommended to check out the licences and qualifications of the proposing installation company. For example, do they offer AC install, but fail to have a Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) air conditioning licence? Checks like this can help ensure you are getting an air conditioner installed by an expert, which helps extend the life of the aircon.
Correct electrical licencing is also critical to ensure your air conditioner doesn’t wear out sooner than it should. Not only is incorrect and unlicensed electrical work dangerous and can cause major property damage (including fires), it can also damage your air conditioner units. Air conditioners come with electrical specifications such as power requirement, cable size, etc. Failure to adhere to these specs will see a premature failure of the AC equipment.
Having a fully licenced company also ensures warranty for the new air conditioner units is maintained. If not installed correctly, manufacturers will not honour their manufacturer warranty. If the issue is major enough, you may be looking at throwing out your new aircon before it even reaches its expected half-life!
Once you have had your air conditioner installed, it is important to obtain a copy of the purchase and/or install receipt for your records. This ensures you have important details on hand in situations that can assist with AC life extension. However, any good air conditioning company should be able to resend a copy of your receipt at any time.
Air conditioner units typically come with a 5-year manufacture warranty, on the condition that the units are installed by a fully licenced air conditioning company/technician. If any issues occur with the system within that 5-year period that is not caused by external causes, the system can typically be repaired at no cost to you.
However, if installation paperwork cannot be provided, manufacturers may not honour warranty work. Effectively, warranty is void without valid install paperwork. As a result, costs may be so significant that you find yourself throwing out the whole air conditioner and starting again with a new system. This is particularly common with cheaper brands; the units are cheap to buy, but spare parts are terribly expensive.
Aside from installation paperwork, it also pays to register your air conditioner units and associated products whenever offered. Sometime this supersedes the need for installation paperwork if a warranty repair is required, as the system details has already been registered with the manufacturer. Furthermore, some AC components have an extended warranty. For example, iZone zoning equipment comes with a 10-year parts warranty. This can help you extend the life of your air conditioning system in the most cost-effective way.
An air conditioner user manual is the ultimate guide for your air conditioning system. It is sometimes called Owner Manual, Operations Guide, or Manufacturer Instructions. Whatever it is called, it is full of useful information to help extend the life of your air conditioner units.
The manual contains operating instructions for the certain aircon model it relates to. This helps ensure that the system is used correctly to prevent early equipment failure. It also contains specific instructions for aircon maintenance and other ways to care for your units. This further assists with system preservation and life extension.
When the air conditioner is installed, ask for a copy of the user manual. If not received, just ask the installer to provide it or jump online to download a copy. The next step is to actually read the content. It’s probably no surprise that women tend to be far better at reading manuals than men.
Once your air conditioner has be supplied and installed by a fully licenced installer, paperwork is received, any registrations completed, and user manual has been referred to, the next step is to review/update your home or business insurance policy. While seemingly unrelated, this can actually end up being one of the most cost-effective ways of extending the life of your air conditioner units.
An air conditioner is a significant asset in any home or commercial building, so it should be covered by any appropriate insurance policy. It’s worth checking what is covered and also what is exclude in relation to your air conditioning. Common causes of damage relevant to your air conditioner includes motor burn out, fusion damage, storm events (including hail, water, or storm surge), electrical failure, fire, flood, animal, and accidental damage.
It’s worth weighting up the cost of some optional extras for your given situation. For example, do you live in an area where flood could damage your AC? Do you live in warmer climate where geckos (animals) wreak havoc with electrical equipment? Is the outdoor AC unit in a carport or similar where it is at risk of accidental damage?
If the cost of repairs to your air conditioner is significant, you may think twice about proceeding with them. For example, a compressor change in a ducted system can be half the cost of a new one. You may consider investing the money into a whole new system instead. However, if the repairs are related to an insured event, like a storm surge (lightening), then you are more likely to proceed with the life-extending repairs when all you have to pay is the excess.
In summary, there are many different ways to extend the life of your air conditioner units. From the design and installation, to usage and assisting, to maintenance and supportive paperwork, there are many things you can do to support your air conditioning system.
The points outlined in this article are all cost-effective ways to support optimal AC operation and preserve your aircon system for many more years. If you need help reviewing your air conditioning situation and extending the life of AC equipment, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss.
Mac vs PC. Melbourne vs Sydney. Coke vs Pepsi. These are certainly some the classic rivalries that just about everyone has an opinion on.
One such rivalry in the world of air conditioning is Daikin vs Mitsubishi Electric. While this may not get everyone fired up, it is certain a hot topic for many air conditioning providers.
Mitsubishi and Daikin are two very recognizable brands that are always in demand. They are rival companies selling much the same product and sharing a customer base. Whether it be as a home air conditioner or commercial HVAC system, Daikin and Mitsubishi are found everywhere.
There are many factors to consider before installing an air conditioner. Where considering installing a home ducted air conditioning system, or investigating whether ductless aircon may be best for your small business, there is much to consider. Once type is decided, brand is often the next major decision.
Both Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric provide top quality, reliable, durable, and high-performance cooling and reverse cycle air conditioners. However, there are some subtle differences between the brands that we will explore. The differences can affect all stages, from installation, to air filtration, to repairs.
Air conditioning has many benefits, beyond what may first come to mind. The differences between the different aircon brands may be subtle, but they can have significant impact on some of these benefits.
A small difference in one aspect may be the difference between being able to install an air conditioner or not. It can also mean the difference between an aircon system that is just OK for your home or business versus one that is perfect for the space you need to heat or cool.
Mitsubishi Air Conditioning Origin
It’s worth noting that the brand name Mitsubishi is actually only half the story, as it could refer to one of two different modern-day brands: Mitsubishi Electric or Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. It is confusing as they both share the classic Mitsubishi three red diamond logo. However, they are two completely separate companies and have been for a long time.
The origin of both Mitsubishi companies traces back to a Japanese company founded in 1870 called Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Nearly 50 years later, in 1921, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co diversified and created a range of new offset companies. This included Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Interestingly, the name arose from the converted factory in Kobe that used to manufacture electric motors for ocean vessels.
For the past 100 years, Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have also been rivals. In general, Mitsubishi Electric is considered a higher-quality product than MHI. However, that is a whole other story for another day.
When talking about rivalry or comparison with Daikin, in general and indeed in this article, Mitsubishi Electric is the brand referred to.
Daikin Air Conditioning Origin
Daikin is another Japanese manufacturing company, founded in 1924 as Osaka Kinzoku Kogyosho LP. In 1963 it was renamed Daikin Kogyo Co Ltd. In 1982 it was renamed again to the current name, Daikin Industries Ltd. Or Daikin, for short.
Unlike Mitsubishi, which manufactures a wide range of different products, Daikin was established with a sole focus on air conditioning. It pays to know what air conditioning actually is to fully appreciate their focus.
Daikin specialises in researching, designing, developing, manufacturing, and distributing air conditioners worldwide. As a result, they have led the industry with many valuable developments.
Outside of Japan, Daikin now has operations in Australia, America, Europe, Asia, India, African, and the Middle East. While Daikin has expanded its focus from purely air conditioning units, their heart is air conditioner based. The chemicals, equipment, and systems that they develop typically stem from or relate back to air conditioning.
Industry Position and Innovation
As mentioned previously when discussing the origins of Mitsubishi and Daikin, Mitsubishi has been operating for longer than Daikin as a company in general. However, Daikin is more purely focused on all things air conditioning.
Daikin Industry Position
Daikin is considered the industry leader for many reasons, including a large research and development team for one. Valuable developments Daikin have been involved in include, but is not limited to:
- Ongoing advances in chemical development, especially fluorochemicals,
- Development of R32 refrigerant, a more environmentally-friendly aircon gas,
- Invention of variable refrigerant volume (VRV) technology, which allows energy efficient simultaneous heating and cooling from units in the same system, and,
- Invention of the world’s first split system with built-in humidification technology; the US7.
These are just some of the many valuable advancements that Daikin can claim. There will no doubt be many more to come.
Mitsubishi Electric Industry Position
Mitsubishi as a broad company is involved in many different areas; tools, equipment, cars, shipbuilding, aviation, missiles, and even aerospace components. However, the 1921 spin off – Mitsubishi Electric, is focussed on household goods and electronics.
Mitsubishi Electric has been in the industry a few years longer than Daikin on the air conditioning side and has certainly cemented its place as being one of the best brands available. Mitsubishi have developed a few features of their own, like Dual Barrier Coating and Quiet Mode.
However, Mitsubishi does tend to take its lead from Daikin. Daikin technology has shown up in Mitsubishi Electric aircons, includes the use of R32 refrigerant in new AC units and Blue Fin anti-corrosion treatment on outdoor coils. Mitsubishi also uses VRV technology under the name Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF), as VRV is copyright to Daikin who invented it.
Split and Ducted System Range
Before we look at the brand differences, we need to know what units we are talking about as there are many different types of air conditioning unit. In this article, we will focus mostly on individual split systems and split ducted systems used as home air conditioners or in light commercial application.
Split Systems, or Splits for short, typically refers to AC systems with wall, floor, and even under ceiling mounted indoor units (not to be confused with a cassette unit which is visibly mounted in the ceiling). There is then a separate outdoor unit, connected by refrigerant pipework and interconnect cable. Hence the term: split system, or splits.
Split Ducted Systems, or Ducted for short, also have an indoor and outdoor unit, but also have ductwork of some description or at least the indoor unit sitting in the ceiling space. Air is then blown out into the room without the indoor unit being visible. Ducted systems differ from other split system in this way.
The Daikin air conditioner split and ducted range covers all types of small and larger homes, providing a comfortable indoor environment in varied Australian climates. Mitsubishi Electric also has a range of both split and ducted units to suit a wide range of home designs and spaces available.
Daikin Split System Air Conditioners
Daikin split system range currently consists of 8 main model types; US7 Series (FTXZ-N), Zena Series (FTXJ-T), Alira Series (FTXM-U/P), Cora Series (FTXV-U/L), Lite Series (FTXF-T), Project Series (FTXF-Q), Nexura (FVXG-K) Series, and Floor Standing Series (FTXS-R/L).
Daikin split cooling capacity ranges from 2.0kW up to 9.4kW. However, not all series include all of the sizes. You can find more information in the Daikin Split System Brochure, or the separate one for Daikin Lite Series.
The Zena Series is considered the most stylish of all the wall split systems. Daikin Zena has an aesthetically pleasing compact, rectangular design. It also comes with a choice of 2 colours; Black Wood or White Hair Line.
There are many other differences between Daikin wall split air conditioners. It’s highly recommended to review the different series and find the best Daikin wall split air conditioner for you.
Mitsubishi Electric Split System Air Conditioners
Mitsubishi Electric split system range currently consists of 5 main models; MSZ-AP Series, MSZ-LN Series, MSZ-EF Series, MSY-GN Series (cool only), and MFZ-KJ Series (floor model).
Mitsubishi splits unit may be a home designer’s dream with multiple colour choices. The MSZ-EF Series has the option of 3 different colours for the indoor unit across the range; Glossy Black, Matte Silver, and Classic White. The range contains 4 system capacity options, up to 5.0kW.
The MSZ-LN Series is similar to the Daikin Zena in design; rectangular, stylish, and compact. It comes with the option of Black, White or even Red! Red may not be the most common or popular colour, but it’s certainly a great point of difference and option in the quality wall split system range.
Daikin Ducted Air Conditioners
The Daikin ducted air conditioning range currently consists of 4 main series: Daikin Inverter Ducted Series (FDYAN/FDYQN), Daikin Premium Inverter Ducted Series (FDYA/FDYQ), Slim-Line Ducted Series (FBA), and Bulkhead Ducted System Series (FDXS). More information is available in the Daikin Ducted Systems Brochure.
Daikin ducted units have cooling ratings from 2.4kW to 24.0kW. This means that there is likely to be a unit capacity available to suit your home. If the house is double storey or particularly large, 2 (or more) systems can be installed.
Daikin Standard Inverter range comes with the option of single phase or three phase power for 6 common ducted sizes; 7.1kW, 8.5kW, 10kW, 12.5kW, 14kW and 15.5kW. Unfortunately, Daikin removed such variation in power phase from their Premium range as of 2021.
It’s worth noting that Daikin units can ramp operations up and down to vary the cooling and heating capacity of the system. With this in mind, the functional capacity range for Daikin Ducted units becomes 1.3kW to 27kW.
Ramping up is helpful to quickly cool down or heat up the indoor space. This can also provide an added boost when the outdoor temperature is extreme (very hot or very cold).
Ramping down is helpful to reduce the amount of power required to operate the system, while still achieving suitable temperature control. Ramping down also helps decrease energy usage and subsequent power bill, as it decreases the cost of running the air conditioning
Daikin Premium Inverters are better able to ramp up/down in response to demand compared to Daikin Standard Inverters. This extends the higher end of the operational kW range of the premium systems. This, along with some other technological advancements, results in a Premium Ducted System being ~10% more energy efficient than the same kW-rated Standard model.
Daikin’s slim-line range of ducted units are designed to fit into tight roof spaces. The bulkhead units are also a compact option and the most discrete option available. With only the controller, return air, and discharge grilles visible, these systems can fit in with just about any indoor décor.
Mitsubishi Electric Ducted Air Conditioners
Mitsubishi Electric ducted air conditioner range currently consists of 3 main series;
Mr Slim PEAD Series (PEAD-M-JAAD), Mr Slim PEA Series (PEA-M-GAA/WJA/HA), and SEZ Series Bulkhead (SEZ-KD-VAQ). More information can be found in the Mitsubishi Electric Ducted Systems Brochure.
Mitsubishi ducted units have cooling ratings from 2.5kW up to 22kW. Each unit comes with a capacity range, as do Daikin units. That means that the system can operate at slightly higher and lower capacities. With this in mind, the functional capacity range for Mitsubishi Electric ducted air conditioners becomes 1.4kW to 27kW.
Mitsubishi Electric offer several three phase options in the smaller ducted air con sizes, e.g. 10kW, 12.5kW and 14kW in the standard range. The units have solid features across the ranges, such as PEAD-M-JAAD models that are designed to operate quietly both day and night.
Mitsubishi ducted units are designed for tight ceiling spaces. Hence the range name; Mr Slim. Mitsubishi indoor units tent to be smaller compared with Standard Daikin ducted units of the same capacity (kW rating). This physical size difference can make or break a ducted install; some tight roof spaces may only fit a Mitsubishi unit when comparing standard ducted systems
Technology and Functionality
Like anything electronically based, technology has come along way. Air conditioners are no different. There is an incredible number of technological advancements and features backed into every single air conditioner unit in the Mitsubishi and Daikin range.
Daikin AC Technology
When it comes to air conditioning technology, there is no doubt that Daikin is the leader. With a dedicated research and development team, Daikin strives to and successfully leads the way in all things air conditioning related. Examples include chemical compounds, refrigerants, simultaneous heating/cooling, advanced fresh air, and humidification systems, just to name a few.
Daikin wall split systems come with a range of features. Energy-saving Intelligent Eye, an array of smart timers, Coanda Airflow and draft prevention, plus an extensive list of advanced technology packed into compact size. These are just some of the top features in various daikin split air conditioners across the range.
Daikin ducted air conditioners are also feature-packed. With remarkable performance, energy efficiency, flexible duct design, and the ability to retrofit premium AC units to R22 pipework, they are just about as good as it gets for ducted air conditioning.
Daikin ducted units are compact for what they contain. Next-level space saving comes in the form of bulkhead units. Bulkhead units are the perfect choice to achieve a discreet install when ceiling space is limited.
With a bulkhead system, the indoor unit sits flush to the ceiling, with only the supply and return air grilles visible indoors. This leaves plenty of space in a room for decorations, furniture, fixtures, and fittings. They are also whisper quiet, so you’ll barely notice it’s there.
Mitsubishi Electric AC Technology
Mitsubishi Electric air conditioners are also feature-packed, helping to keep them up there with Daikin as an industry leader. Many of their features are similar to the Daikin range, with a few tweaks to make them their own. Some features are different, showing that Mitsubishi Electric can stand on its own as a leading air conditioner manufacturer.
Common features of Mitsubishi split systems, similar to Daikin splits, include Blue Fin Condenser treatment, advanced modes (i-Save, EconoCool, and Night modes), constant airflow patterns, and emergency and long operations.
New Mitsubishi Electric ducted air conditioners also now come with R32 refrigerant across the range. They also come with flexible duct design and improved air flow due to high static pressure. Certain Mitsubishi units can have up to 75m max pipe run. Although it’s important to note that the longer the pipe run, the less efficient the system becomes.
Other points of difference include two-piece construction and two-way maintenance access for the PEA-M-HAA ducted range, for ease of installation, maintenance and repairs. The PEA-M-GAA ducted range also offers computerised dehumidification.
Controls and Building Management Systems
From split system remotes, to wall controllers, to complete building management systems (BMS), Daikin and Mitsubishi offer high quality control with all of their products. Their controllers have varying degrees of functionality. Smart air conditioning controllers can have programmable schedules (day, week, and some even for a year) and zoning system integration.
Daikin aircon remotes come in different shapes and sizes, from the Lite range up to the US7. Precision control of 0.5 degree Celsius temperature adjustment and convenient On/Off timers both come standard. Daikin remote controllers reflect all the features of a Daikin split system, but are also clear and easy to use.
Wi-Fi control for Daikin split systems comes as either standard or can be easily added, either during install or at a later date. Hard-wired wall controllers can also be fitted to Daikin split air conditioners. This is quite handy in offices and organisations where the remote controller is prone to going missing.
Daikin wall controllers come with a range of high-tech features. Daikin control panels include lock systems and temperature limits to reduce energy waste. As with ductless aircons, Daikin ducted controllers are easy to use and program with the Daikin Airbase App.
Daikin zone controller options include 4 zone or 8 zone control integration, including the BRC24Z4(8) and BRC230Z4(8) models. – Add Daikin zoning controller brochure to wordpress and add link to it here. They can be stand alone for zone control or integrated to run both the Daikin aircon unit and zoning system. Daikin zoning controls are one of, it not the most, popular air conditioner brands of zone controller on the market.
For Daikin large-scale commercial air conditioning controls, there is an extensive range of centralised controllers on offer to manage whole building HVAC systems. Examples include the BACNet/LonWorks Interface, iTouch Manager Centralised Controller, and Individual Control Systems.
Daikin’s design and construct team can create almost unlimited combinations of units and controllers. Systems can be designed specifically to a building layout and usage. This allows Daikin units and controls to be tailored to just about any residential or commercial project you can imagine. You just need a commercial air conditioning installation expert to attend, assess, and go from there.
Mitsubishi Electric Controllers
Mitsubishi aircon remotes also reflect the array of features offered with their ductless split systems. Common timers include 24 hour and/or weekly settings. Clear buttons and easy-to-use controls comes standard.
Mitsubishi Electric’s ducted wall controllers are also user friendly, with touch-button climate control. Like Daikin, there are also zoning controllers available in the Mitsubishi range. Similarly, Mitsubishi Wi-Fi either comes standard or can be easily added to an air conditioning system.
For Mitsubishi Electric commercial air conditioning controls, there is a wide range of controllers to suit business needs. Mitsubishi offer 8 different controllers/interfaces, including interfaces with touch screens, and allow energy data filters to be uploaded. With connection to up to 50 units, there is a controls set up to suit most buildings.
Mitsubishi Electric’s BMS and control systems can be controlled from a central point as individual area data can be managed via a browser. Individual area climate control can be achieved by monitoring and responding to this live steam of data. The Power PC Platform offered by Mitsubishi also supports the use of multiple power options.
Noise is an important factor to consider when looking to buy a new air conditioner. Air conditioner units work hard, so they will obviously make some noise. However, it is possible for this noise to be minimised in many ways; in the unit itself, installation, usage, maintenance, and repairs.
Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). Ambient noise in our everyday parks and suburbs is around 40 dB, while a whisper would be around 20 dB. It is reasonable to expect new split air conditioners to be no louder than 40 dB, depending on kW rating. For the outdoor unit, you wouldn’t want it to be more than 5 dB over the usual ambient noise, especially at night.
Daikin Air Conditioner Unit Noise
Daikin’s advanced technology has resulted in some of the quietest air conditioning units around. Such technology includes Daikin split units includes Saw Edge indoor fan motor design, Advanced Cross Flow Fan with large diameter rotor and aerofoil blade design, specially designed Coanda Airflow discharge louvers, and condenser DC fan motor, just to name a few.
Daikin aircon sound levels are included in product specifications. However, it can be confusing then there are multiple numbers involved. There will be multiple lines referring to sound, as the indoor and outdoor aircon units have different sound levels.
In Daikin split system product specification tables, noise is typically reported as Sound Level (H/SL); H = on High fan, SL = Sounds Level. The SL figure will be lower, and that is the figure you should look at when comparing to other brands to ensure you are comparing apples with apples. Daikin wall split indoor units can run as low as 19dB in heating. This is quieter than a whisper!
Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioner Unit Noise
Mitsubishi’s advanced technology has resulted in some of the quietest air conditioning units around. Such technology is often stems from or is very similar to Daikin, including specially designed indoor and outdoor fan motors, louvers and blades.
Noise reduction or quite mode in the Mitsubishi splits is a standout feature. Noise during operation can drop to as low at 18dB for the MSZ-AP25 unit while heating. This is quieter than a whisper and 1dB quieter than a comparable Daikin unit. This makes them ideal as bedroom aircons.
Mitsubishi ducted units with Night Mode drops the decibel reading of the units while maintaining indoor comfort level. The small drop in decibels actually makes a significant difference to the noise heard by occupants and neighbours. Not only can occupants sleep better, but neighbours will be grateful too.
Mitsubishi Electric also promotes the fact that its units have high static pressure fans. This helps improve airflow while noise is kept to a minimum.
There is an increasing demand for energy efficient air conditioners that save money and the environment. Most aircon brands have stepped up in response to this demand, especially Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric.
For more specific information, it’s recommended to look at the product specification for each air conditioning brand and compare the specific models you are considering. Key figures to look at include EER/COP in cooling and heating plus star rating. The greater the kW rating, the lower the efficiency by default, so be sure to compare the same kW rated units for accurate comparison.
Daikin Energy Efficient Air Conditioning
Daikin split systems have advanced technology that makes them some of the most energy efficient air conditioners in every range. Advancements and additions to achieve this includes intelligent sensors, energy saving modes, greater surface area on heat exchanger coils, DC motors, aerodynamic blades, and new louver designs.
The standout has to be the Daikin US7, with the 2.5kW model achieving 7-star super efficiency rating according to the Australian Government Energy Ratings. This system is packed full of other extras including humidification, fresh air mode, breeze simulation airflow, and advanced filtration system. The price reflects this truly advanced wall split HVAC system.
Daikin ducted air conditioners also come with advanced technology to help the environment and your hip pocket. Daikin premium ducted systems have better compressors and ability to ramp down, making them about 10% more energy efficient than standard ducted aircons.
All Daikin ducted systems exceed the Australian Government’s Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), which set out the minimum level of energy performance various products must have. Furthermore, programmable temperature limits, lock-out system, Wi-Fi controls, and timers can be used to enhance the energy saving possible.
Mitsubishi Electric Energy Efficient Air Conditioning
Mitsubishi Electric also have an impressive range of energy efficiency aircon systems on offer. The advanced technology they have adopted and incorporated into their air conditioners is to thank for this. The use of more environmentally friendly refrigerants, DC motors, inverter technology, and quality motors are just some examples. They also have some of their own features like wider and longer airflow patterns.
Mitsubishi Electric units also see energy savings through their brand-specific Econo Cool temperature control. This feature involved the adjustment of airflow into a room depending on air outlet temperature. It allows set temperatures to be raised by 2ºC without affecting room comfort, which in term providing a 20% gain in efficiency.
Mitsubishi ducted air conditioners also come with technology advancements the make them some of the most energy efficiency on the market. Mitsubishi ducted aircons also exceed Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and offer added saving through clever timers and Wi-Fi control.
Air filtration and purification is increasing in demand due to increased air pollution and a rise in allergies. Air conditioning, in part, conditions the air that we breath indoors.
This means that air conditioning can improve the indoor air quality and helps prevent us from getting sick. While this is valuable in homes, it is essential in a workplace. However, it is dependent on routine aircon servicing, otherwise the reverse can occur.
Daikin Air Filtration
Daikin’s wall split systems and air purifiers are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program. The National Asthma Council recognises the advanced systems on offer from Daikin that help manage, reduce, or prevent common allergy triggers.
Common allergy triggers include pollens, dust mites, insects, pet dander/hair and mould. Airflow, humidity, and air filtration all play a part in managing such allergens. Allergic reactions can range from mild to life-threatening, so air conditioner assistance in allergy management is most certainly worthwhile.
Many of Daikin’s split systems contain advanced titanium air filters. These filters trap microscopic particles, deactivate bacteria and viruses, decompose odour, and help to purify the air.
Daikin’s Dry Function helps via powerful humidity (moisture) removal to help prevent mould growth indoors. This is why Daikin splits carry the blue butterfly symbol.
Mitsubishi Electric Air Filtration
Mitsubishi Electric may not have national recognition for their air filters, but it’s not to say they don’t have a high-quality filter system. Mitsubishi have their own claim to cleaner air fame; Plasma Duo Filter Systems.
Mitsubishi’s Plasma Duo Filter Systems uses a combination of technologies to achieve state of the art air purification and deodorisation. The system consists of Plasma Air Purifying Filter combined with a Plasma Deodorising Filter.
The Plasma Air Purifying Filter removes substances like dust, dander, pollen, viruses, bacteria, etc. Static electricity is used to catch the allergens and pollutants. Negative ions then act to neutralise them.
The nanometre scale-meshed platinum catalyst deodorising filter works by trapping odour causing particles. Such chemical particles include ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, trimethylamine, and methyl mercaptan. Particles are then decomposed and eliminated by ozone generated from the plasma electrode.
After-Sales Service and Support
We often don’t stop to think about after-sales support when buying new products. After all, there is so much to consider and research upfront, who has time to look at the complete lifecycle of a device? However, it really does pay to stop and consider it for a moment, no matter what product or brand you are purchasing.
Daikin Air Conditioning Service
Daikin have a large fleet of air conditioner service and repair technicians available to attend to any Daikin aircon, new or old. They are also known for having an extensive network of Daikin Warranty Agents in Brisbane, Australia, and World-Wide.
Daikin offer regular, intensive training to not only their own employees but also Daikin air conditioning contractors around the world. For installation, service, repair, and other technical matters, Daikin have valuable training for the many different air conditioner types available. Training is further broken down into aircon stage e.g. installation, diagnostic/repair, etc.
Daikin also offer a range of specialised diagnostic tools that help any Daikin expert test and service Daikin units with impressive speed and accuracy. These tools are accompanied by high-level software for advanced comprehension and assist the AC tech in taking the correct actions.
Daikin also offer a service-friendly App; Daikin eQuip. Any qualified air conditioning/refrigeration mechanic has access to the Daikin App with the use of their Refrigerant Handling Licence. eQuip provides access to all the Tech data and information an air con contactor could need for productive work on modern-day Daikin air conditioners.
If more assistance or clarification is needed, Daikin also have a Tech Support Hotline for technicians to phone. During the peak of summer, wait times can be high. However, they offer a call back service to ensure technicians are not left holding on the phone for long periods of time.
If all that wasn’t enough, Daikin also offers a web-based Portal for Daikin Dealers to log into to access an extensive range of valuable information. Engineering data, technical specifications, unit diagrams and images, just to name some of the useful documents readily available through the Daikin Portal.
Overall, Daikin are known for the highest level of support at all levels. This can save a lot of time, money, energy, and frustration down the track as you look to maintain your new air conditioner throughout its complete lifespan.
Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Service
Mitsubishi Electric also provide high-level support, but it’s hard to top Daikin’s next level service provision. Mitsubishi have a network of warranty agents in Brisbane and around the world.
Mitsubishi Electric also offer training to Dealers and Agents, related to many of their different AC unit types. Mitsubishi also have specialised diagnostic tools and software to assist with service and repairs when required.
Mitsubishi also have a Tech Support Hotline for technicians to phone if required while undertaking Mitsubishi aircon repairs. They can also be contacted via email with reasonable response rate. They also have a Technical Information portal for handy access to a range of useful documents.
Overall, Mitsubishi provide solid after-sales support. Certainly far better than many other brands. However, it’s hard to compare to Daikin who are an example how it can be done when you are solely focused on air conditioning.
Aircon Repairs and Spare Parts
Daikin Aircon Repairs
As mentioned under After-Sales Support, Daikin have an extensive network of air con service and repair experts around the world. They offer comprehensive brand-specific tools, software, phone application (Daikin eQuip), and web-based portal to support AC repairers in the field. They also offer training to all their own technicians and Daikin Dealers, with phone support available when required.
Daikin also provide a range of handy How To videos online to help users service their new air conditioner units. This helps maintain the aircon, extend its expected lifespan, and reduces the risk of breakdowns. It can also help with some common call out issues, such as poor performance because of dirty filters or weird things happening with the Daikin wall controller.
When it comes to spare parts, Daikin service continues. Their spare parts department is on par with the high-level service expected. You can phone or email the spare parts team for assistance working out which part you need, price, and availability. Daikin have also taken over other brands over the years, such as parts of McQuay, and can assist with spare parts for some of these aircon units too.
If you don’t want to email or call, you can instantly access interactive unit explosions and part lists online via Daikin’s Global Service Data Base (GSDB). Any Daikin account holder can log in and search by different categories such as Model Number or Part Number to find what they need. Information available includes part and possible substitute part number/s, price, number of that part in stock in NSW, just to name a few key pieces of information. All data can be downloaded for reference later or parts can be ordered directly there and then.
Parts can also be ordered via email direct to the spare parts team. Furthermore, Daikin Distribution Centres (DDC’s) are popping up around the country which also stock common spare parts to speed up repairs. For example, if the part is in stock locally then you can expect fast air conditioning repair in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and everywhere in between with DDC’s in Geebung and Nerang.
If the part is not in stock and has to come from interstate, the parts are usually dispatched either same day or following day depending on when the order is placed. During summer and peak times, it can take an extra few days to be dispatched, and even longer to arrive due to freight demand in the lead up to Christmas. Airbags for small parts can see delivery within a matter of days and larger road freight items within a week. Overall, it is much better than most if not all other air conditioning manufactures on the market.
Mitsubishi Electric Aircon Repairs
As mentioned under After-Sales Support, Mitsubishi Electric also have a network of specialists aircon service and repair technicians around the world. Mitsubishi also offer comprehensive brand-specific tools, software, training, and dedicated phone number to assist aircon repairers out in the field.
Mitsubishi Electric make it a little more difficult than Daikin to obtain spare part details, including part number, price, and availability. Typically, you need to provide an account number when obtaining part numbers and pricing over the phone. There is no online login to quickly obtain part information unfortunately.
When ordering parts, you have to do it via email and include the serial number of the air conditioner unit being repaired. This could be challenge/delay the process if the serial number was not recorded at the time of the initial breakdown/site visit. Parts also take longer to arrive from interstate.
If there is an issue with a part number, a reply email is typically sent in response to the purchase order. This can be missed with the volume of emails often received these days. This is unlike Daikin for which it is not uncommon for them to phone you to clarify an order, rather than sending an email and delaying the parts dispatch process further.
Mitsubishi Electric do provide high-level breakdown/repairs support, but it’s hard to top Daikin in this area. Their staff are spread across all categories of product, from air
conditioners units to aerospace components.
Companies and individual air conditioning contractors can be bias to whichever brand they primarily sell. However, good AC companies should sell, install, service, and repair both brands.
It’s good practice to quote both brand options for new installs where suitable and allow individuals the opportunity to decide. However, when working with customers and discussing requirements, one option may be more suitable than another and quoted accordingly.
Mitsubishi Electric are no doubt a high-quality air conditioner manufacturer, with a league of loyal customers. They have received industry certification and expert endorsements. Mitsubishi has a range of compact, stylish, quiet, and high-tech air conditioning systems to suit many homes and businesses.
Daikin also has an extensive range of air conditioner units to suit just about any residential or commercial HVAC requirements. If they don’t have it, they can typically design and construct it to suit. Overall, Daikin tends to come out on top with their innovation, technology, product range, reliability, and after-sales service. They have won many industry awards and continue to excel with their air conditioning focused approached.
At the end of the day, the great Mitsubishi Electric vs Daikin air conditioning debate largely comes down to personal preference. There are some minor differences between the brands and their products which may be the deciding factor, depending on your specific aircon requirements. However, both brands offer excellent value for money, provided you buy from a Mitsubishi or Daikin Dealer.
If you have any questions about with brand, or need help deciding which AC brand is best for you, it is recommended to reach out to an experienced air conditioning company that can provide both Daikin and Mitsubishi options. That way, they can answer any questions you may have about either brand and give you pricing options on both!
Even if you took two identical air conditioners, installed one in a business and one in a home, there would be significant differences between the systems. Let us delve deeper into the world of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (known as HVAC, or often just referred to as Air Conditioning) from a Brisbane’s Air Conditioning team of experts perspective.
Usage vs Exposure
Commercial HVAC systems are used for a greater proportion of time compared to the hours we spend in that environment. Let’s break that down…
It can sometimes feel like we live at work, with about a third of our life spent at work on average. Commercial air conditioning systems are typically run for 8-10 hours per day Monday-Friday, if not 24 hours, which equates to an average of 40-50 hours/week.
Most of the remaining two-thirds of our time is spent at home (i.e. 14-16 hours). However, Aussies typically only run their domestic air conditioners for 6 hours per day. This equates to 42 hours/week.
Looking at the stats, commercial and residential air conditioners are typically run for similar hours per week. However, we spend up to twice as much time at home. Therefore, commercial AC units have greater usage when compared to our exposure to that environment.
There is a wider range of commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems out there compared to residential systems, with some overlap. There is also a range of AC Systems often seen in apartment complexes and high-rise accommodation buildings that can be used for residential or commercial application.
Common Home HVAC Systems:
- High Wall Split Systems (Ductless AC Units)
- Room Air Conditioners (RAC’s aka Box Units, Window Units or “Window Rattlers”)
- Ducted Split Systems
- Evaporative Coolers (in dryer climates)
Common Residential Complex HVAC Systems:
- Wall Split Systems
- Ducted Split Systems
- Water Cooled Package Units
- Cooling Towers
- Chilled Water Fan Coil Units
- Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) Systems
Common Commercial HVAC Systems:
- Under Ceiling or Wall-Hung Split Systems
- Ducted Systems
- Air Cooled or Water Cooled Package Units
- Evaporative Coolers
- Central Plant / Air Conditioning
- Cooling Towers
- Condenser Pumps and Motors
- Chilled Water Pumps and Motors
- Water and Air Chillers
- Reciprocating and Scroll Packaged Chillers
- Heater Banks
- Variable Speed Drives (VSD)
- Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems
- Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) Systems
- Building Management Systems (BMS)
- Car Park Ventilation
- Fresh Air Systems
In theory every aircon brand could be used for residential or commercial application. However, there are a number of brands that specialize in the manufacture of commercial HVAC equipment. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Diamond Air
Many brands also produce a commercial-specific range. Examples include:
Commercial air conditioning set ups tend to be modular in nature, compared to domestic stand-alone systems installed in houses. By design, a variety of components can be configured in different ways to suit the specific needs of the building served. This makes sense give the almost endless possible business configurations within a given facility. This configuration can also change over time as tenants or owners come and go.
At an entry level, an air conditioner can consist of single stage system, designed to produce just heating or cooling. While these tend to be cheaper than other options, they are also relatively inefficient and work at full capacity even when it is not required. These are commonly found in homes, particularly rental properties (where the owner does not have to pay the power bill…).
More advanced air conditioner models are designed to offer variable fan speeds to cut down on power usage. These can be found in all settings. However, these are still relatively inefficient when compared to multi-stage systems and therefore more expensive to run in the long term.
Multi-stage systems are designed to work at the required capacity and only ramp up to full capacity when needed, making them the most efficient AC option. These are more commonly found in commercial settings.
Zoned systems are another design option worth mentioning that can be used to control heating or cooling to individual parts of a home or business. This is done by specifically design zone valves and dampers inside the vents and ductwork that selectively block the flow of air. This is a valuable design feature that prevents an AC system from heating or cooling areas of a premises not in use. Business zoning systems are more high-tech than residential zoning system.
Think about where you see air conditioning units when out and about versus at home. Home Outdoor AC Units (condensers) are often installed down at ground level on a slab or wall bracket in walkways and easily accessible areas. In comparison, commercial condensing units are typically located up out of the way and inaccessible to general public.
Commercial HVAC units can be found on roofs, plant rooms and garage/basement locked areas. This makes sense when you consider the value of floor space in commercial facilities. There is also logic in removing units from easy access – to reduce the risk of interference (both intentional and unintentional). This also allows for service and repairs to occur without disruption from passers-by. Furthermore, it helps reduce noise pollution on the ground level and air pollution from outdoor units entering a building.
Further to typical commercial AC design, building air conditioning systems allow greater customisation by necessity. As previously mentioned, systems are usually made up of modular components that can be added or removed where desired.
In addition to the modular nature of many commercial systems, Building Management Systems (BMS) are commonly tailored to the building HVAC set up required. BMS systems control and monitor building mechanical and electrical and can be connected to wide range of AC Units. This computer technology is commonly seen in high-rises, office blocks and industrial facilities.
Far more is expected from a workplace HVAC system, and the commercial environment in general, and commercial AC units tend to be more complex to meet these expectations. In comparison, a residential air conditioner is typically operated to heat and cool a single family dwelling with relatively static requirements.
Building air conditioning is not only likely to be larger but can also be segmented into different offices and/or departments that have different heating and cooling requirements. The aircon system needs to account for several thermostats that control various areas all at one time. For example, a company may manufacture, process, sell or store items that require specific temperatures. Alternatively, a space may be used to hosts conventions or large groups of people will require adjustable temperatures so that everyone remains comfortable. These varying needs drive the additional complexity of commercial HVAC systems.
Air conditioning design can have an environmental impact in terms of resources required to run it (think power/water/gas). Single stage fixed speed systems seen in residential settings are far more resource-hungry than multi-stage, variable speed inverters more commonly seen in commercial premises.
For those who are interested in sustainable cooling and/or heating, the water source heat pump, or really any Geothermal Heat Pump, is the way to go. Water source heat pumps are still relatively uncommon as they require proximity to a body of water, hence the name geothermal heat pumps. However, they are rapidly escalating in popularity.
Another emerging type of heating and cooling system is Active Solar Thermal Systems. These use free solar radiation to reduce peak demand on resources.
Furthermore, computer Building Management Systems (BMS) are increasingly improving HVAC system management and performance. Increased use of economy cycles, night-time passive ventilation, and heat recovery are all possible with improved air handling control strategies.
The refrigerant the system runs on is another important environmental consideration. More on this in the following point #10.
Air Conditioning Refrigerant (in gas and fluid form) transfers heat energy between the indoor and outdoor units of the air conditioning system. As commercial AC units tend to have a longer lifespan, more of them run on older types of refrigerant compared to residential air conditioners. Different refrigerants can also affect energy efficiency and performance in extreme conditions.
Older gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) are being phased out, and new refrigerants with low global warming impact are being introduced. Natural refrigerants are also being more widely used.
R22 refrigerant is an ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that is being phased out in many countries. In the commercial setting, R22 is still frequently used for repairs. In the domestic setting, the cost of the R22 gas often renders repairs no longer financially viable and commonly signals time for AC system replacement.
R410A refrigerant is a more-environmentally friendly non-ozone depleting hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) used in all settings.
R32, the successor to R410A refrigerant, is an even better non-ozone depleting option with a significantly lower global warming potential (GWP) factor than R410A. R32 is currently more common in residential air conditioners, but will increase in popularity in commercial setting as systems are replaced over time.
Kilowatt (kW) or British Thermal Units (BTU’s) rating refers to output power and is a measure of air conditioner capacity. Reverse cycle air conditioning systems have 2 ratings; the first one refers to cooling capacity and the second refers to heating capacity (typically a higher number).
In houses, air conditioners with cooling capacity of 2kW to 25kW are typically seen. In warehouses, laboratories, office complexes, and other commercial spaces, air conditioners with much higher kW ratings can be found. Eg. 10-100kW+. Furthermore, Packaged Units can be built to higher capacities than standard units eg. 100-200kW
The amount of power consumed by commercial and residential aircon units varies dramatically.
Commercial systems typically draw more power due to the higher workloads expected from them.
In Australia, HVAC systems account for as much as 30% of commercial energy use and costs in buildings and office spaces. As well as the impact on total facility energy use and costs, these systems also dominate peak building electricity demand.
Interesting, the energy usage figure is higher in homes with air conditioning accounting for up to 40% of residential energy use. So while a residential aircon unit may use less power compared to a commercial aircon unit, the proportion of power used compared to usage for the property overall is higher.
Home air conditioners tend to run off single-phase power which is the usual power supply serving houses. By comparison, commercial and industrial air conditioners typically run off three-phase power which is the norm in commercial facilities.
Single phase power requires a single wire to connect the circuit, whereas three phase power requires three wires. Three-phase power allows for greater voltage regulation and is more efficient than single-phase as it requires less conductor materials for the same amount of power generation.
Three phase air conditioning systems, typically found in commercial settings, are more efficient than single phase aircons typically found in the home. That’s not to say you can’t find three phase air conditioners installed in houses.
There are also premium versions of many systems, especially ducted, that can further improve the efficiency for homes and businesses. However, there is more to the story.
Wall split air conditioners are the most energy efficient systems. Wall splits are more common in homes compared to ducted, package and other types of commercially installed AC Units. From this angle, residential air conditioning could be considered more energy efficient.
Air conditioner efficiency is measured by the energy-efficiency ratio (EER); the higher the EER value, the more energy efficient the aircon is. EER is a ratio of the output (capacity) divided by the power input. Using this formula, the energy efficiency of an air conditioner decreases as the capacity (kW rating) of the system increases. Eg. a 2.5kW wall split air conditioning system will automatically have a greater energy efficiency than a 7kW system.
In general, the higher quality the manufacturer, the more energy efficient the air conditioning units. Daikin have designed a 7-star energy efficient system, called the US7. Only the 2.5kW system is rated 7 stars because, as mentioned above, as energy efficiency decreases as the capacity (kW rating) increases.
Choosing an air conditioner for a house is often based on room size and house design. However, for commercial buildings, heat load should be considered for all air con installations.
Heat load depends on size of area to be cooled, number of occupants, size, position, shading and coverings of windows, and heat generated by lighting, equipment, and machinery (including computers, photocopiers, etc.). The capacity of an air conditioner required for a business can be calculated from specific heat load equations.
Noise is a greater issue in residential settings compared to commercial environments. This makes sense given that you obviously want to be able to sleep at home (and not usually allowed to sleep on the job…). Residential noise restrictions also exist, with good reason.
Noise levels of aircons are measured in decibels (dB), with indoor and outdoor units having their own ratings. For split systems (ductless and ducted), outdoor air con noise is louder than indoor.
Newer units are designed to be quieter than older units. Special features allow for quieter operation indoor with Quiet Mode/Function available on many higher quality AC units. These are commonly tailored to the domestic market.
Commercial air conditioning units are significantly louder than residential counterparts. For this reason, among others, units are often installed on the roof, basement carparks or plant rooms to avoid noise pollution.
Regular maintenance of AC units can help reduce unwanted noise in many ways. Blocked filters, unbalanced fan motors, and loose components can all lead to increased noise production.
In the commercial setting, there is a wider range of people involved in approving, installing, repairing and maintaining air conditioning. Developers, Builders, Building Owners, Occupants, Body Corporates and Facilities Managers come to mind, just to name a few.
In the residential setting, home-owners are primarily responsible for installing and repairing any air conditioning in their house. If a house is tenanted, tenants may be able to install air conditioning themselves but only with approval from an owner.
Occupants of a home or business are typically the ones responsible for maintenance. Given that occupants are not always owners, it’s not surprising that maintenance ball is often dropped, and sadly air conditioning units can be left to fall apart and fail to reach full life expectancy.
Many humans expect a perfect temperature-controlled environment at work, whereas they may be more forgiving at home. This is not completely unreasonable given we are being paid to be productive and expect a certain level of comfort in order to achieve this.
To facilitate an optimum work environment, temperature sensing comes in many forms in commercial settings. For most systems, this tends to be in the form of multiple sensors providing feedback to thermostat/s throughout the commercial facility. This can also be achieved through the use of individual high wall split units, however wall splits are more commonly used in homes for human comfort.
Issues often arise in open-planned offices and the like where one sensor is responsible for controlling the ambience of a large area. Personal preferences can be conflicting. E.g. Young skinny-mini who can’t seem to warm up despite five layers of clothes vs middle-aged female experiencing “tropical” flushes as they transition into a new phase of womanhood.
There is a vast range of AC control systems available for homes and businesses, from simple on/off buttons through to intricate Building Management Systems (BMS). Businesses often elect for a wired AC controller, rather than a wireless remote seen in homes, to prevent controls going missing at the hands of employees or even customers. It’s also not uncommon to have a lock-box around a wall controller to prevent constant temperature and setting battles that can occur in the workplace (sure many people can relate!).
WiFi control tends to be a more common feature in home aircon set up. Controls in a commercial environment tend to be limited in nature to avoid temperature/setting battles mentioned previously.
The ability to control the home AC from afar (or from the comfort of the couch or bed) is also more appealing to a homeowner. Imagine being snuggled in bed on a chilly winter morning, and being able to reach out, grab the phone and turn the air con on heat to take the chill off the air before having to step out of bed. Six-months later, imagine driving home from work and being able to turn the air con on to cool down the house ready for you to arrival into a perfectly chilled environment.
In the workplace, AC systems are typically manually or automatically turned on at the start of work and turned off at the end of the day. There usually isn’t the need to turn the AC system on remotely because if the AC is on, someone is onsite and able to control it.
A greater range of features are typically seen in residential air conditioners to accommodate wide a range of personal preferences. For business, the HVAC system needs to function as designed, without the need for all the bells and whistles. The system is there to serve a purpose, without the need for optional extras that may be used to upsell a home AC system.
In theory, residential and commercial AC drainage is the same; water is drained away from the air conditioner into a drainage point. In practice, this can be far more intricate and complex in a commercial building than a residential house.
Every component of a commercial HVAC system is larger than that of a residential system, including the drainage set up. As residential units serve a much smaller area, the entire system usually drains in a single pan that is placed outside the house. A commercial HVAC system consists of multiple pipes and pans for drainage purposes to ensure complete water removal and to eliminate the possibility of overflowing.
Commercial AC drains often call for serviceable p-traps to be installed to allow for complete maintenance to be carried out. It is recommended that serviceable P-traps be installed as it common for condensate drains to become clogged. If traps are not serviceable, it is not possible to guarantee they are clear. If they become clogged, an AC unit drain tray will overflow and damage the ceiling plus any electrical items below the unit. Obviously best to avoid this when the electrical items are typically computers, printers, scanners and/or other business-essential equipment.
Filters are an integral, yet often overlooked, part of an HVAC system. A filter helps to increase the efficiency and longevity of a system by protecting it from dust and airborne particles. It does this by providing a physical barrier between the air intake and moving parts of the AC system.
A wider range of filters are used in commercial heating and cooling systems compared to home air conditioners. Ducted panel filters and manufacturer-specific split system aircon filters are commonplace in homes, compared to pleated, pocket/bag, v-bank, separator, carbon and HEPA filters in commercial settings.
Some filters are designed to improve the quality of the interior air. Furthermore, some AC systems also have a filter at the air exhaust, as well as at the usual air intake, which further prevents any pollutants from blown back into the interior environment. These specialized filters are more commonly found in commercial settings.
The V in HVAC stands for Ventilation and greater consideration is required for business premises.
Residential systems have windows that aid in proper ventilation. In comparison, commercial buildings often have other components in place of windows, for more intricate ventilation. It is also a common building requirement to have suitable ventilation and fresh air systems in place.
Adding Fresh Air to a heating or cooling system accomplishes two primary goals; First, it controls building pressures and secondly, it increases indoor air quality by diluting polluted or stale indoor air. Many fresh air systems will vent cool air from inside the property and replace it with external air every couple of hours. This is to ensure that levels of internal pollutants are kept low and air quality standards are kept high.
Ventilation system/s can be similar for a home or business, except they are typically larger scale in the commercial setting. It is crucial to maintain proper ventilation, no matter what type of HVAC system you have. The health of a ventilation system will impact the indoor air quality of any premises.
Humidity control by commercial air conditioning systems is a must to comply with health regulations in the workplace, whereas it is rarely considered in the domestic setting. The humidity and temperature requirements in a residential dwelling do not vary much which is why the HVAC equipment used in the two environments is very different.
Low humidity in buildings should be avoided as it can dry out nasal membranes which act as a primary means of defence against airborne viruses and diseases. On the flipside, research shows that virus survival decreases with decreased humidity – viruses survive better at humidity above 60%. Therefore, it is recommended to keep relative humidity between 40% and 60% to create conditions that reduce the risk of infection through airborne droplets while preventing the drying out of mucous membranes in the nose.
HVAC systems can also offer built-in humidity control, and both humidifiers and dehumidifiers available as optional extras for various heating and cooling systems. People that live and work in very dry environments or the tropics may find these additions to an AC system essential. However, some people prefer to install separate humidifier or dehumidifier systems so that they can manage the humidity of their environment without also having to turn on the air conditioner.
There are well-established standards for air conditioning maintenance in countries around the world. As with most things, there is greater guidance and governance of commercial air conditioning compared to the domestic.
The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) is a specialist, not-for-profit technical organisation providing leadership in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) sector in Australia. AIRAH produce a range of primary commercial equipment-based Technical Documents providing guidance on all HVAC&R matters, including the DA19 Manual that has been the definitive reference for maintenance in Australia for more than 20 years.
There are a range of laws and codes that businesses must comply with. For air conditioning, this includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA) contained within the National Construction Code (NCC). This Australian code provides the minimum necessary requirements for safety, health, amenity and sustainability in the design and construction of new buildings and new building work in existing buildings.
There is often additional licencing involved when it comes to commercial HVAC, especially building air conditioning works. For example, in Queensland Australia, individuals and companies must hold a Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) licence to carry out building works valued over $3,300 or of any value where it involves Mechanical Services. This includes constructing, installing, replacing, repairing, altering, maintaining, testing or commissioning any of the following for a building; air-conditioning, air handling systems, equipment in which a refrigerant gas is (or is to be) used and refrigeration.
Commercial facilities can also require certain business licencing and qualifications for work to be undertaken onsite. For example, many shopping centres in Australia require a company to have CM3 Contractor OHS/WHS Prequalification before being allowed to carry out air conditioning repairs, service or installation works at the facility.
*Photo from Daikin
Different HVAC technicians tend to specialise in commercial or domestic HVAC systems as both the units feature unique mechanisms and function differently. Many technicians could in theory attend to both home and business air conditioners, however skills and experience can vary dramatically.
Even if technicians have the same base-level qualifications and licences, a commercial HVAC technician typically has a wider range of experience on more complex air conditioning systems. This is necessary due to the complexity of equipment found in a business setting. Business owners are also less forgiving of mistakes or oversights that could occur with less-experienced techs.
Fully functioning and well maintained HVAC systems are intended to provide comfortable conditions within the building they serve, especially in commercial settings. Commercial AC supports business processes and systems as owners and occupants rely on aircon systems to successfully operate their businesses. Failure to maintain HVAC systems reduces the useful life of the equipment, increases operating costs, and introduces unreliability, dissatisfaction, and risk to a business’ operation. Failure to maintain is risky and ultimately creates costs and reduces returns.
Issues such as climate change, energy efficiency, water conservation, building performance and carbon management are all high on the political and social agenda in the twenty first century. Regulators, building owners and system operators need to address these issues in their policies and practices and consequently maintenance is high on the agenda and increasingly in the forefront of responses.
Maintenance is about energy and water, noise and vibration, efficiency and control. Failure to maintain is unsustainable. Maintenance improves safety, increases efficiency, improves reliability and increases satisfaction. This is most important in the commercial environment.
Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) calls for monthly maintenance of HVAC equipment used in a commercial setting. Some maintenance tasks are recommended monthly, such as checking major components and drains, while others are recommended every 3, 6, or 12 months.
By comparison, a minimum of annual servicing is recommended for residential air conditioners used for human comfort. Homeowners can carry out some basic maintenance given that home aircons tend to be less complex than commercial air conditioning. Occupants can help maintain their AC units between major services by visually checking the AC system every few month and cleaning filters when required.
Any technical maintenance, including fully opening the units and handling electrics, is obviously best left for a fully qualified technician. It is recommended to seek professional help if notice any abnormal noises, sights or smells from an air conditioner unit in the home or business setting.
Failure to maintain a home AC system can have consequences, but not as serious as those in a commercial setting. Failure to maintain business aircon can have a wide range of implications. These include poor air quality, poor employee and customer comfort, poor productivity from employees and equipment, excessive costs, and health risks. There are also further consequences if fail to comply with building standards, workplace safety, health regulations and/or lease agreements.
The maintenance cost of commercial HVAC systems is more than that for residential units for various reasons such as complexity of components, the size of the units, difference in mechanisms and frequency required. For a commercial unit, you need highly experienced and skilled technicians to ensure perfect installation, effective maintenance, speedy repairs and smooth daily operation.
When temperature adjustment in a building is not really required, it’s natural to want to turn off the air conditioning until needed. This frequently occurs in the shoulder seasons at home (Spring/Autumn) where temperatures can be mild. When hibernating an air conditioning system, greater consideration and consultation is required in a commercial setting. This is particularly true when water cooling is involved.
Implications at home tend to be limited to build up of mould within indoor units, seizing of motors, and/or damage due to vermin or other wildlife making themselves at home in the AC units.
In business settings, these outcomes can also occur in addition to others. Modern buildings are not designed to be shut down for extended periods of time. People aren’t the only source of contaminants in buildings. There is often a need to ensure a minimum background amount of ventilation and operation is maintained to limit health and equipment failure risks upon return to work.
Cooling towers and condenser water systems are prime examples systems that should not be turned off without professional consultation. In these systems, the risk of Legionella disease increases when the equipment is idle and water becomes stagnant.
Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is more heavily impacted by design and maintenance in a commercial setting compared to residential environment. Some of the key commercial considerations mentioned so far in this article include type of filters (point #23), ventilation and fresh air systems (point #24), humidity control (point #25), maintenance (points #29 & #31), and hibernation (point #32).
Many advances in commercial building automation and HVAC control will also improve indoor air quality control. The importance of fresh, clean air is understood and increasingly appreciated in modern workplaces, with increasing emphasis placed on controlling dust, bacteria, odours and toxic gases.
Commercial units are usually made up of modular parts that can be built upon as needed. This increases flexibility and allows owner/occupants to make greater changes to the heating and cooling as needed. It also helps in the construction of a business HVAC system, as the parts are easier to handle independently.
Residential systems, on the other hand, typically comprised of two units that must work together. If one half of the system fails, both units must be replaced. The entire system also has to be replaced if the owner wants to make major changes to the level of heating and cooling.
Commercial repairs tend to be time critical, especially in high-rise buildings with windows sealed shut and typically higher heat loads (for more info on heat-load, see point #15 above). Many businesses have a maintenance agreement in place with an air conditioning company. Part of that agreement includes special rates for repairs call outs and priority attendance for such breakdowns. These technicians also know the systems well from regular servicing of the equipment, which reduces time and costs in diagnosing given they know where everything is.
Generic parts more common for commercial systems e.g. Indoor and outdoor fan motors, compressors, and the like. Home air conditioning systems have some generic parts, but mostly require manufacturer specific components.
Given the longer lifespan of commercial aircons, genuine parts tend to be available longer than residential aircon parts. This can be frustrating when a home air conditioner doesn’t feel that old but suddenly parts are no longer available and you’re up for the cost of a whole new system.
There are a wide range of insurance policies variations for houses vs business premises.
There are some items of common coverage, such as motor fusion and storm surge damage, but business policies tend to have more inclusions. Obviously they tend to cost more as a result! Residential insurance is much more standardized than commercial policies because businesses have a variety of different needs
Commercial policies sometimes offer compensation for lost business income. If an accident causes a business to shut down or interrupts your work, such as HVAC system shut down, business interruption coverage can pay for the income lost when you unable to operate.
Business policies also allow coverage to address specific risks. This could include failure of an air conditioner in a temperature-sensitive server room or laboratory. Commercial policies can also allow additional costs to be covered, like meeting new or updated building codes when installing a new AC system.
Causes of Damage
Both residential and commercial air conditioning can experience motor fusion and storm surge damage, along with vermin damage, power surges, physical damage (intentional or accidental), or other causes of damage. However, due to typical location of commercial HVAC (e.g. roofs or plant rooms, locked up, out of human reach), physical damage is less common to business air conditioners.
In the home, vermin damage is more commonly seen due to AC units being in closer proximity to the pesky critters’ natural habitat (think garden, trees, rocks, etc.). Power surges are the result of fluctuations in electrical current and can impact air conditioners in all settings.
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the system then the longer the expected lifespan. Therefore, commercial air conditioners tend to have a longer lifespan due to their naturally larger sizing. However, air con life span depends on many other factors including but not limited to unit type, application, usage, maintenance, and exposure to the elements.
Commercial HVAC life span is helped by the fact that routine maintenance more frequently occurs compared to home air conditioning. Saying that, there can obviously be cases of “lemons” being installed in the commercial setting that barely last their manufacturer’s warranty period. Furthermore, some home air conditioners can run for decades if infrequently used and maintained well.
Residential air conditioning units tend to have longer manufacturer warranty periods compared to commercial air con units. Most residential aircons have a standard 5 year manufacturer’s warranty period. Commercial AC Units come with warranty periods for 1 – 5 years, depending on application.
Standard installation warranty on all new air conditioner installs is 1 year. Most air conditioning installers offer this installation warranty. Commercial HVAC installs or repairs are often subject to a Defects Liability Period (DLP), which is a fixed period of time from work completion from which the contractor must return to site to rectify any defects. Standard DLP can be 6 months to 24 months. Businesses can include a clause in a relevant contract to withhold a portion of the installation or repair costs owed to the air conditioning company until the DLP period has ended.
Ice Blast Pty Ltd offers to extend the standard installation warranty in domestic settings from 1 year up to 5 years from installation date if the air conditioner system is serviced by Ice Blast annually.
For commercial settings, a custom HVAC maintenance agreement is available to enable similar extension of the installation warranty.
As mentioned previously, heating and cooling can account for significant power usage and therefore costs (up to 30% in commercial and 40% in residential settings). Within businesses, as well as the impact on total facility energy use and costs, aircon systems also dominate peak building electricity demand.
The capital and maintenance costs of HVAC also comprise a significant proportion of commercial building costs. Costs can be minimised through good system design (especially accurate sizing), and routine servicing as per best-practice guidelines. Investing in superior control systems and zoning can also result in substantial energy savings.
Advances in engineering enable the measurement of many factors that influence the comfort of building occupants, such as humidity, air movement and surface temperatures of nearby objects, like windows. Optimising these factors can yield further energy savings.
Computer technologies are increasingly improving HVAC system management, performance and cost savings. Increased use of economy cycles, night-time passive ventilation and heat recovery are commercial options for improving costs.
Inverter technology is another cost-saver, more commonly seen in the commercial environment. An inverter works like the accelerator of a car, gently increasing/decreasing power as required. Inverter based AC systems can achieve the desired room temperature quicker and maintain it without fluctuations which means savings in running costs (and uninterrupted comfort!).
Reverse cycle air conditioners also offer a cost-saving as they are significantly more efficient (and therefore cost less to run) comparted to more commonly available ‘minimum standard’ models. These are a standard in business setting. It is worth noting that minor adjustments to thermostat set points can often be made, resulting in energy savings without greatly affecting occupants.
BONUS POINT: Value
Given the extensive differences between commercial and residential air conditioning, which do you think is more valuable?
Both have a part to play in creating optimal environments, whether it be for humans, pets, equipment or products. Given the amount of negative outcomes possible when commercial HVAC is not properly designed, installed, controlled, maintained or repaired, the value in commercial AC seemingly comes out on top.
Many homes don’t have or need air conditioning.
Residents can be happy to rug up warm with layers of clothing and/or snuggle by a fire in winter. Can’t see a group of co-workers huddling up together in the workplace to keep warm!
During the summer, doors and windows can usually be opened up at home in conjunction with fans. By comparison, windows that open and allow a cooling breeze are somewhat of a luxury at work! Hence the added value air conditioning has in the commercial setting.
With so many option available, where do you start? Some options are nice added extras, while others genuinely enhance your air conditioning experience by saving time and energy and/or improving the air quality in your home or business.
Choosing a Split Air Conditioning System is similar to choosing a new car; You can have the standard model that functions well and covers the basics, or you can have added extras to make life that much better.
Air conditioner and climate control technology is continually improving. So too is the range of features available. Most Aircon Systems now come with wireless remote control and air purifying filters as standard product features.
Now there are intelligent or smart features that detect when a room is occupied, and operate automatically to maintain a comfortable ambient temperature and help to save power.
Special features have been designed to maximise air purification and/or minimise noise. Convenient features include automatic self-cleaning.
Here is Daikin’s Top Ten Split System Features Guide, designed to help you narrow down the choices and decide which options would suit you best.
- Intelligent power savers
If you feel like you’re being watched, you possibly are! All in the interest of enhancing your comfort levels and saving you power. Some Daikin Split System air conditioners come with an infrared sensor called ‘Intelligent Eye’. This ‘Intelligent Eye’ detects motion in a room.
When a room is empty for 20 minutes, Intelligent Eye changes the air conditioning settings to ‘energy saving operations’ to help reduce your power expenses. When someone then re-enters the room, the aircon immediately returns to the original settings. Furthmore, the system can also direct airflow away from people for the ultimate draft-free comfort.
Additional features on Daikin Split System air conditioners help improve performance, which also saves power and therefore money. The patented Swing Compressor design is just one example, which ensures your Daikin unit operates quietly and smoothly, with less vibration and greater efficiency. Furthermore, the Reluctance DC Motor can increase efficiency by 20% compared to conventional systems, which in turn helps the system use less energy.
As Australia’s trusted experts, power-saving features on Daikin air conditioners are repeatedly best in class. A prime example is the Daikin US7 Split System. The US7 System is regarded as the most energy-efficient Split System air conditioner in Australia* with a staggering 7-star super efficiency rating.
* 2.5kw model – visit www.energyrating.gov.au for details.
- Climate control from your smartphone
Imagine heading out to run errands and while you’re away, programming your system to make the house cool as a cucumber for your return home.
Alternatively, imagine being out on a cold winter’s night and programming your system to make the house super snug for when you walk in the door.
You can now do all of this from your phone or other smart device.
Your Daikin Split System air conditioner can now be controlled via an easy-to-use app** on your smartphone, anywhere, anytime. This is all thanks to the power of Wi-Fi connection.
The possibilities are endless; On your way home from holiday, when the weather changes unexpectedly during the day, or whenever you want the climate in you home or office changed straight way. You now have the power in the palm of your hand.
** Download free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- Clean air purifiers
One of the must-have air conditioning features today is a clean air filter, with an increase in the number of Australians suffering from asthma and air-borne allergies on the rise.
This reassures the whole family or whole office that they are breathing the purest air possible. This is especially desirable for anyone who is particularly sensitive to air quality, such as the elderly or small children.
Many Daikin Systems feature an advanced clean air purifier. The Zena Split System is just one example. The Zena air conditioner boasts a sophisticated air purification filter which traps even microscopic airborne dust particles and assists to absorb and deactivate bacteria and decompose odours. The Zena even has a deodorising function which leaves the area it serves feeling fresh and clean.
The Daikin US7 Split System also features revolutionary two-stage filtration. The outdoor unit removes toxic carbon monoxide, exhaust gasses and unpleasant odours via its thermal catalyst. The indoor unit then takes over and removes mould and other allergens.
Daikin Split Systems are the only systems to receive approval by the The National Asthma Council Australia. Daikin Splits have been recognised by the Council’s Sensitive Choice® program. This program is designed to help identify products suitable for people who suffer from asthma and allergies. All Daikin Split Systems carry the Blue Butterfly symbol.
- Night Set mode
After a long tiring day, the last thing you want is to toss and turn all night being too hot or too cold. You should arrive home to a quiet, comfortable sanctuary
Daikin Split System air conditioners feature a Night Set mode, which will gently raise or reduce the room temperature during the night when operated in heating or cooling, so that everyone remains comfortable and gets a peaceful night’s rest.
- Automatic Self Cleaning
A winning feature of the Daikin US7 Split System air conditioner is the auto self-cleaning. The internal brush automatically removes dust from the air filter. The dust is collected in a convenient container that is then simple to empty.
This feature helps to maintain a more stable air-flow. This also reduces power usage, as an air conditioner uses more energy when filters are dirty or blocked.
If high performance and easy maintenance are important to you, automatic self-cleaning in an air conditioner is an important feature to consider.
- Humidity controls
Sometime you may want a little extra from your air conditioner apart from the standard cooling, heating or fresh breeze from the fan.
If you live in a humid environment like Queensland or the tropics, dehumidifying the air will make life a lot more comfortable. If you live in a cold, dry environment like Tasmania, you probably want a touch of humidity in the air to make your atmosphere a little better.
Daikin’s US7 Split System can both dehumidify and humidify indoor air. The secret is its outdoor unit, which effortlessly draws or withdraws moisture from the outdoors and transfers it to your living and working spaces.
Other Daikin Split Air Conditioner features include Program Dry Function that reduces humidity by automatically controlling the temperature and the rate of airflow, and can cleverly switch into cooling mode if the temperature rises beyond your preferred level.
- Economical features
Econo Mode is a clever feature that reduces power of your Daikin Split System at times when the electrical circuit is congested in your home or business. This lightens the load on the electrical system onsite by limiting the max. power usage by your air conditioner at that point in time.
Standby Power Function is another economical Daikin feature. When your air conditioner is off, it shuts off power to the outdoor unit and sets the indoor unit to standby mode, saving money on power that isn’t being used. Why pay more than you need to?!
An automatic timer is a clever little feature to have on your air conditioner. Simply decide when you would like your Daikin Split System to turn on or off and the timer takes care of the rest. The auto timer works its magic, even when you’re not there. You can then enjoy arriving home to a beautifully warm or refreshingly cool home that you’ve arranged in advance.
Options include a 24-hour or weekly timer, which lets you schedule four different settings for each day of the week. You can choose the on and off times as well as the temperatures.
- Coanda Airflow Technology
Daikin US7 and Cora^ Split Air Conditioning Systems both feature advanced air circulation technology, creating the Coanda effect.
By design, specifically designed louvres create a circular air motion that rapidly cools the room. The effect involves streaming air upwards along the ceiling with Daikin’s innovative technology.
This technology ensures a consistent temperature in any given space, maximising comfort and minimising operating costs.
^ 20-71 Class only.
- Manufacturer’s warranty
At the end of the day, one of the most important features you should look for in your Split System air conditioner is a comprehensive warranty from a quality manufacturer. Daikin provides that on all their products.
Ice Blast offers extended installation warranty options to complement Daikin’s Manufactures warranty.