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In general, it is recommended that residential aircons be serviced and checked every 3 months and every month for commercial aircon. The duration varies with different usage pattern and other environmental factors.Please seek the assessment of a qualified technician.
Chemical overhaul/cleaning is a very thorough method of cleaning the aircon. When an aircon is badly clogged/choked and a general service can’t improve the condition, an overhaul is necessary. In an overhaul, the aircon is dismantled part by part and then chemically washed.About aircon chemical cleaning1) What is an air-con chemical cleaning?In a nutshell, an aircon chemical cleaning (sometimes known as chemical overhaul or chemical washing) is a thorough cleaning of the aircon system. This is done by taking out the individual parts of the aircon unit, inspecting them for any (otherwise hard-to-detect) problems, and cleaning them individually in a chemical solution.This “spring-cleaning” of the aircon system will keep the air-con well maintained, hence extending the lifespan, and largely pre-empting potential “sudden” breakdowns.2) How is an aircon chemical wash done?
  • Fan coil is dismantled from wall for chemical wash: This will enable a more thorough wash, with the chemical residue being thoroughly washed away.
  • Cleaning of fan coil with chemical solvent: This helps the aircon to emit cleaner filtered air.
  • Checking and keeping the fan bearings well-greased: This will ensure a smooth and quiet operation of the aircon (as opposed to a noisy vibrating aircon).
  • Cleaning the internal fan of dust and debris: This will allow the air emitted from the aircon to be clean and free from dust.
  • Washing of internal air-filter: A clean, cleared air-filter will emit purer air, which is especially important for people sensitive to allergies and sicknesses. A clean internal air-filter also promotes efficient energy usage of the aircon.
  • Drainage system is flushed with chemicals: This will help to deter water leakage.
3) Benefits of an aircon chemical wash:
  • The aircon system is rejuvenated with the removal of dirt and debris, resulting in effective cooling of the room.
  • Smooth and noiseless running of the aircon.
  • Increased efficiency of the aircon, hence, less electrical consumption.
  • Elimination of water leakage.
  • Elimination of foul smell from the aircon.
A normal aircon will have water condensation in the indoor fan coil and this will be discharged through a draining pipe to the nearest drain. The aircon will start leaking when the drainage pipe is clogged / choked. General aircon servicing normally involves the vacuuming of the drain pipe which may rectify the clogged or choked pipe.A leaking aircon is a common problem and there are 3 common reasons for it:Firstly, a clogged pipe usually leads to an aircon leaking problem. The aircon absorbs excess water vapor from its environment. This water is then drained into a drainage tray which flows into a pipe connected to the nearest toilet. When this pipe is clogged with dust and/or debris, water will start to build up, eventually leading to a water leakage.Secondly, a clogged drainage tray will also contribute to aircon leakage. When a drainage tray is clogged, the water can’t discharge to the drain pipe but instead, overflows from the tray. Furthermore, a clogged drainage tray may contribute to an unpleasant odor emission from the aircon due to accumulated mold in the trayAn aircon contractor will have the required equipment to perform a cleaning of the drainage pipe and tray. If the aircon is often used, regular servicing will be able to keep the pipe clear of dirt and mold, hence pre-empting leaks.Thirdly, water may leak from the back of the fan coil unit. The new design of fan coil units adopts an “A” shape cooling coil design which enables the fan coil to be built smaller. This design requires the drain water from the top coil to be directed from the back of the fan coil to the water tray. If the back-drain path is clogged, water would leak before it can flow into the tray.For clogged back-drain paths, normally the fan coil unit needs to be dismantled and chemical cleaning of the fan coil may be recommended.
The aircon system basically comprises of 2 sections. The indoor fan coil and the outdoor condenser. The indoor fan coil simply acts as a blower to dissipate the cool air generated by the outdoor condenser. If there is no cool air blowing out from the indoor fan coil, the outdoor condenser might not be working. A qualified technician is needed to troubleshoot the outdoor condenser.There are various reasons as to why an aircon is not cold. Some of the more common faults are:
  • Door or windows are not properly closed.
  • A clogged air filter or cooling coil.
  • The aircon is not set to the cooling mode.
  • The aircon parts may be malfunctioning or deteriorated.
  • The aircon’s cooling capacity is undersized.
  • Outside ambient temperature is abnormally high.
Regular aircon servicing performed by a professional aircon contractor will help to maintain the efficiency of your unit. This helps:
  • Maximise the lifespan of your aircon.
  • Maintain a constant cool temperature.
  • Avoid a sudden or major breakdown.
  • Lower electrical energy consumption.
The aircon cools a room by sucking the heat from the air. When the aircon is not running optimally, it is not able to pull in the heat from the air and emit it out at an efficient rate, thus taking a longer time to cool a room.This may be due to several reasons:
  1. The Aircon is Heavily LoadedA heavily loaded aircon necessitates a longer cooling time. Switching off the spot lighting and/or electrical appliances that general substantial amount of heat load may help to ameliorate this problem.
  2. Refrigerant LeakageThe aircon operate at a standard amount of refrigerant in the system. This refrigerant function is to absorb the internal hot temperature and reject to the outdoor. When there is refrigerant leakage, the ability of the aircon to cool a room efficiently is reduced.
  3. Insufficient AirflowAn inconsistent airflow coming through the condenser will lead to the aircon being unable to dispel heat out, leading to slower cooling. A low airflow can also lead to the evaporator being frozen, consequently damaging the compressor unit, and thus contributing to inefficient cooling.
  4. An Inefficient FilterAn aircon filter attracts particles from the air so as to keep the aircon clean. When an overloaded filter is not changed or clean, the airflow will be decreased due to blockage. This will then decrease the cooling effect. Further, the overloaded filter will also emit congested air through the system.To pre-empt the above problems, regular servicing of your air con is optimal. A trained air con professional will be able to detect problems early and carry out exacting measures.
There are many factors that lead to the formation of ice on the air conditioner. Some of these reasons are clog cooling coil, insufficient refrigerant, a filthy filter and damaged parts. When the aircon ices up, it is best to call an aircon professional to assess the situation and pinpoint the cause.Here, we will elaborate on three common causes of ice formation on your aircon:
  1. A Filthy FilterAn aircon situated in a frequented area, or exposed to a lot of dust (such as busy offices) can develop a filthy filter fast. This leads to ice formation and the freezing up of the aircon. To prevent this, do clean the filter every 2 weeks, or more often if the aircon is in a heavily utilised area.
  2. A clog cooling coilThe cooling coil function is heat transfer between the surrounding warm air with the cod cooling coil. If there is insufficient heat transfer, the cold cooling coil may be cool down to a condition where ice start to build up. To rectify this problem, a servicing or even a chemical cleaning is needed depending on the coil condition.
  3. Inappropriate Amount of RefrigerantRefrigerant that is too low in amount is one of the common causes of ice formation on the aircon. When there is insufficient refrigerant, the incorrect expansion of refrigerant will result in icing of coil. The air conditioner will not be cooling as well. An aircon professional will be able to accurately ascertain if your aircon refrigerant level is just right, with the appropriate action then taken to fix the aircon.
In a nutshell, general aircon servicing that is done regularly helps to maintain the efficiency of your air conditioner, and in turn prolongs its lifespan. An air con starts to work at lowered efficiency after about a year’s usage. If properly maintained, your aircon may last for up to ten years. In the process of usage, the chances of having to face the frustration of a hot humid night with a broken down air conditioner is greatly reduced. This will in turn save you the potentially hefty cost of repairing a faulty aircon in the long run.Regularly aircon service enables it to function with maximum efficiency. The result is you will have fresh filtered clean air that is consistently cool. This is especially helpful for people who are prone to skin allergies, asthma and sinus. If the air con is not well maintained, it will become clogged with dust, reducing its efficiency. The result is polluted air being circulated around.Also, a dust-clogged air conditioner means more energy is required for it to function. You may need to adjust the temperature lower than usual to enjoy the cool air. This will contribute to increased electricity usage, resulting in higher electrical bills.Servicing your aircon also helps to promote a peaceful, noiseless environment. An air conditioning unit that is not well oiled may become noisy after a period of time. Keeping the internal parts of the air con well-maintained by periodical servicing will go a long way in promoting a healthy air conditioner, thus ensuring a good night’s rest.
1) What is an air-con chemical Cleaning?In a nutshell, an aircon chemical cleaning (sometime known as chemical overhaul or chemical washing) is a thorough cleaning  of the air conditioning system by taking out the individual parts of the aircon unit, inspecting them for any (otherwise hard to detect) problems, and cleaning them individually in a chemical solution.This “spring-cleaning” of the air conditioner system will keep the air-con well maintained, hence extending the lifespan, and largely pre-empting potential “sudden” breakdowns.2) How is an aircon chemical wash done?
  1. Fan coil is dismantle from wall for chemical wash: This will enable a more thorough wash, with the chemical residue being thoroughly washed away.
  2. Cleaning of fan coil with chemical solvent: This helps the air-con to emit cleaner filtered air.
  3. Checking and keeping the fan bearings well-greased: This will ensure the smooth, quiet operation of the air-con (as opposed to a noisy, vibrating air-con).
  4. Cleaning the internal fan of dust and debris: This will allow the air emitted from the air-con to be clean, free, from dust.
  5. Washing of internal air-filter: A clean, cleared air-filter will emit purer air, especially important for people sensitive to allergies and sicknesses. A clean internal air-filter also promotes efficient energy running of the air-con.
  6. Drainage system is flushed with chemicals: This will help to deter water leakage.
3) Advantages of an aircon chemical washSome of the benefits of a air conditioner chemical wash are:
  • The air con system is rejuvenated with removal of dirt and debris, resulting in effective cooling of the room
  • The smooth, noiseless running of the air con
  • Increased efficiency of the air con, hence less electrical consumption
  • Elimination of water leakage
  • Elimination of foul smell from the air con
In our article “About Chemical Cleaning”, we briefly described the process of fancoil chemical cleaning. However,there are many variations of chemical washing provided by different aircon contractors  at different pricing. The scope of work differs greatly as well as the charges. Let me quote an example. I have seen companies quoting chemical wash for $60. Their scope of work involves the regular aircon servicing scope, plus spraying of chemical solution on the filter and cooling coil. This is their so-called chemical wash. On the other side of the spectrum, local manufacturering agents charge between $180-$230 for their chemical overhaul. By looking at the price differential, you can tell there is something very different with the services provided.The purpose of this article is not to comment on the different types of chemical cleaning by different aircon companies, but to list the scope of chemical overhaul work which is aligned to the manufacturer’s recommended practice.Below is the chemical overhaul scope:
  1. Pump down refrigerant gas into condensing unit and lock service valve.
  2. Unsecure flare jointing and disconnect electrical wiring and drain pipe at the fancoil unit.
  3. Dismantle the fancoil unit down from the wall.
  4. Once the fancoil unit is on the ground, proceed to dismantle the electrical circuit board, evaporator coil, drain pan, fan motor and fan blower. Tape up flare opening of evaporator coil.
  5. Brush the electrical circuit board and fan motor surface off dust. Check for any abnormal burnt mark.
  6. The evaporator coil, drain pan, fancoil front cover, fancoil body, fan blower will be chemically washed  in the washing area.
  7. Use alkaline chemical instead of acidic chemical which may be more corrosive.
  8. Flush the above parts with water and inject chemical solution. The chemical solution will react with the water and the dirt to cause a forming process. The forming process will extract dirt trapped deep inside the parts.
  9. After forming process completed, the parts must be thoroughly flushed with water to remove all residual chemical solution.
  10. Wipe dry all parts and reassemble the fancoil unit back.
  11. Clear the drain piping via vacuuming or flushing.
  12. Install the fancoil back at the wall. Secure the flare joint and connect the electrical wiring and drain pipe at fancoil.
  13. Use a vacuum pump to extract out air and foreign material in the refrigerant piping system.
  14. Unsecure the service valve and test for leakage at fancoil flare jointing.
  15. Test run the air conditioner and checks for correct operating pressure.
Above is the detailed description of the chemical overhaul process. Chemical cleaning work must be done properly and correctly in order to maximise the cleaning effect. If carried out incorrectly, corrosion and leakage will occur. In severe cases, damage to the air conditioner system is possible.
In hot and humid Singapore, we often rely on air-conditioned comfort. To ensure a hassle-free air-conditioning experience, it is useful to remember that air-conditioners also require regular maintenance.Many people often make the mistake of servicing their air-conditioners only when they are down. They do not realise that the air-conditioners may have developed complex problems over time that cannot be satisfactorily solved within a day. The potential result is frustration and more money forked out to repair a broken-down air-conditioner. To avoid this, it is thus important to have our air-cons regularly serviced.Understandably, many people try to service their air-cons themselves. This is possible, but only superficially. The owner is able to open the air-con to remove and wash the filter with water. However, only a professional will be able to offer the expertise of clearing the drainage pipe, cleaning the fan blower, washing the main cover and water tray, servicing the outdoor condenser, checking the gas pressure and overall identify any underlying fault that may be unobtrusively present.In engaging a professional air-con company, it is good to research on the different companies’ background. Points to note in your selection process:
  1. Is the aircon company a legitimate registered company?Some company is not even registered but still operate. A private limited (Pte Ltd) company with a good paid up capital assure its establishment.
  2. Does the aircon company have a proper registered business address?There are companies that operate with bogus address. This is hard to ascertain unless customer physically go to the location to verify. There are still ways to verify which is by looking out for small details. One example is to check if the unit number of the address displayed. Another example is to check if the address is a residential or commercial location. Established company will have factory or offices in commercial location rather than registering with a residential unit,
  3. Is the aircon company established and accredited official agencies like CASE, TrustSG, BCA & etc?With such accreditation, a lot of ambiguity is eliminated as those are basic requirement. Customer will be assured of proper channel of redress whenever there is dispute. Company with accreditation honour their warranty as well as their terms & conditions of work.
  4. The strength of the company which can be reflected from the employee number.If a company proclaim that they are large however it’s always the same phone operator, technician or manager that respond, something may be amiss. There are companies who do not have any employed work force but rely on sub contractors or illegal foreigners to do the job. Besides expertise, it may also be prudent to select a professional company with the resources and manpower to cope with the (sometime unexpected) demands of air-condition servicing to ensure a smoother professional servicing experience.
The advancement in air conditioning technology has resulted in design that  enable superior energy saving ability and improved function of the air conditioner. Old technology utilises electrical components to perform direct control operation of motors and compressor. This results in unoptimized operation that leads to higher energy consumption.Recent technology introduces optimized control that enables the aircon to adjust operation accordingly to the required cooling load. This control allows lower energy consumption. The new technology uses printed circuit board to perform complex communication, data calculation and output operation.The circuit board and its components, like any other parts in the air conditioning system, are subject to lifespan exhaustion as well as damage. We shall briefly discuss the common breakdown scenarios:
  1. An air conditioner circuit board operate ib both voltage AC and DC voltages. Whenever there is current surge, the circuitry may be damaged by sudden introduction of higher voltage that is beyond its operating range.
  2. Inputting of incorrect voltage into aircon circuit board by an inexperienced technician during installation can also damage the board.
  3. Damage or shorted field wiring is another cause of circuit board damage. Shorted or damage wire also results in incorrect or excessive introduction of voltage.
  4. Pests like lizard or cockroaches that dwell inside the aircon circuit board may cause damage. Their bodies when in direct wire contact results in short circuitry of the electronics component.
A damaged aircon circuit board can normally be repaired but this requires a well trained technical personnel to do it. However most circuit boards can’t be repaired on site. Proper repairing of circuit boards should be carried out in a workshop environment where all test equipments are readily available. Upon repair, circuit board operation must be tested for a period of time to determine if its operational again.
User frequently encountered scenario of switching on the aircon and found it to automatically off by itself minutes later. There are a number of possible faults that could trigger such respond.
  1. Faulty power switch:Most fancoil is design to have a switch which enable the air conditioner to operate in the absent of a remote control. If this switch is faulty, it may turn the air con Off or On unpredictably (auto on/off).
  2. Faulty indoor fancoil printed circuit board (PCB):A printed circuit board controls the function of the air conditioner. If the circuit board is damage, it may stop operation totally or turn off shortly after power on.
  3. Faulty components in air conditioning system:This is probably the most common causes of air conditioner auto off by itself fault. Most new air conditioning system is intelligent enough to detect possible component failure. Whenever a component is detected to display faulty symptom, it will stop the operation as a preventive option. Hence the air conditioner will turn off and normally the operation light will blink to indicate activation of this protective function.
To identify what is the exact problem, we advice that a professional aircon company to be engage to assess the air conditioning system.
An air conditioner that leaks water is a common problem. Here are three common reasons for this occurence.First, a clogged pipe is one common reason leading to aircon leaking problem. The air con absorbs excess water vapor from its environment. This water is then drained into a drainage tray which flows into a pipe connected to the nearest toilet. When this pipe is clogged with dust and/or debris,water will start to build up,leading eventually to a water leakage.Secondly, a clogged drainage tray will also contribute to a aircon leaking. When a drianage tray is clogged, the water can’t discharge out to the drain pipe and instead overflow from the tray. In addition,a clogged drainage tray may contributes to an unpleasant odour emitted from the air con due to accumulated mouldin the trayAn air con contractor will have the required equipment to perform a cleaning of the drainage pipe and the tray. If the aircon is often used,regular servicing will be able to keep the pipe clear of dirt and mould,hence pre-empting leaks.Thirdly, water may leak from the back of the fancoil unit. The new design of fancoil units adopts a A shape cooling coil design which enable the fancoil to be build smaller. This design required the drain water from the top coil to be directed first from the back of the fancoil then to the water tray. If the back drain path is clogged, water leaks out before they are flow into the tray.For clogged back drain path, normally the fancoil unit needs to be dismantled down and chemical cleaning of the fancoil may be recommended.
There are various reasons as to why an aircon is not cold. Some of the more common faults are:
  1. Door or windows are not closed
  2. A clogged air filter or cooling coil
  3. The aircon is not set to the cooling mode
  4. The aircon parts may be malfunctioning or deteriorate
  5. The aircon’s cooling capacity is undersized.
  6. Outside ambient temperature is abnormally high
By this, regular aircon servicing performed by an professional aircon contractor will help to maintain the efficiency. This will help to:
  1. Maximise the lifespan of your aircon
  2. The air conditioner will be able to maintain a constant cool temperature
  3. Avoid a sudden, major breakdown
  4. Help to lower power electrical energy consumption.
If you are keen on performing aircon servicing on your own, it is possible, but please be aware of the limits in self-servicing. Here, we will explore what can be done by the owner, and what is best left to the professionals. This will provide you with insight on the technical expertise needed in adequately servicing an aircon, and how professional air con servicing may ultimately save you money in the long-run.Generally, an air conditioner needs to be professionally cleaned inside and out at least 3 times yearly (though this also depends on factors such as the frequency of usage, the condition of the surrounding & etc). Because dust, grime, smoke and dirt will get trap in the cooling coil, this results in poor heat transfer which result in less cooling from the air conditioner. Also slim produce from the dirty cooling coil cause congestion in the air conditioning drain piping which results in aircon leaking problem. A quarterly professional cleaning help to prevent the above problem as well as maintaining the efficiency and lifespan of your air con.You may service your air con on your own, but this is limited to normal cleaning, such as washing of the air-con filters and wiping of air conditioner plastic cover.For thorough aircon service like a chemical wash, it is also possible to DIY, but it also only to a superficial level and not a thorough work. A proper chemical cleaning or overhaul requires the air conditioning unit to be dismantled down and strip apart to chemical clean each part individually. Upon completion, the aircon unit need to be assembled and re-install. Proper chemical overhaul is definitely a must to be carry out by professional aircon contractor.However, for a truly thorough air con servicing, only a professional aircon contractor will be able to accomplished. He will also possess the expertise to detect any inconspicuous underlying fault and nip it in the bud early. Thus, a thorough air con servicing by a professional will help the air con maintain its efficiency and lifespan (barring quality factors like manufacturing defects). This will translate into cost savings in the long run versus spending a lot of money to repair an air con that has not been regularly well-maintained.On the home owner’s side, it is good to ask your professional air con company for cleaning tips based on your particular air con. A two-pronged approach will help to save costs in the long run.
Refrigerant pressure in the air conditioning system must be maintained at a correct pressure in order to produce optimal cooling. Too much or too less refrigerant in the system will both results in insufficient cooling and energy wastage. Below are brief descriptiion of some symptoms of incorrect refrigerant charge.Pressure too high (overcharge of refrigerant)Too high of a pressure will result in insufficient cooling as well as higher electrical energy consumption resulting from higher operating pressure of compressor. Energy is also lost due to longer compressor operation to achieve the set indoor temperature. Another drastic consequence of overcharge is liquid refrigerant return causing damage to compressor motor.Pressure too low (undercharge of refrigerant)Too low of a pressure will too result in insufficient cooling. Electrical energy is also lost in this case as the aircon keep operating to achieve the set indoor temperature but to no avail as there is isn’t enough refrigerant to achieve the cooling. Another symptom is frosting of the cooling coil which may cause water leaking.Checking of pressure in air conditioner system will be best carried out by a qualified technician. It may be dangerous in certain case for user to check refrigerant pressure as some equipment may operate at pressure as high as 150psi. This may result in injuring of the hand by frost bite. Also a knowledgeable technician will know how to interpret the result in cases where pressure reading is abnormal. Other component of the air conditioning system will need to be investigate to find out the causes of the abnormal pressure reading.
Essentially, this is due to a faulty air con system. There are a few possible causes for this:1) The condenser coil is filthyWhen operating, an aircon emits heat. When the condenser cooling coil is dirty and clogged, the heat is unable to dissipate out effectively, hence causing the compressor to overheat. In response, the thermal switch in the aircon compressor will automatically cut out the operation. When the air con compressor has cooled, it will then turn on automatically again.2) A faulty thermal switchHowever, if the condenser coil has been cleaned, and the on-off problem persists, then the thermal switch may be problematic. An air con professional will then have it repaired or if needed, replaced.3) Insufficient refrigerant in the air conIf there are insufficient refrigerant in the system, the symptom will be very much similar to a filthy condenser coil described above. The solution will then be to top up additional refrigerant and do a visul check for any possible leakage in the piping joint. A qualified air con professional will be needed to perform this task correctly.
Noisy air conditioners are one of the common problems encountered. The reasons may be of a singular nature or due to multiple faulty functioning in the air con.One reason for a noisy air conditioner is a choked fan coil or dirty outdoor condenser. To ascertain this, put your hands in front of the blower. You will be able to feel that the air con draft (wind) does not blow out smoothly, or that only pockets of draft (wind) are emitted from certain sections.Another reason could be an off-balanced air con blower due to dirt build-up. This results in unbalanced spinning by the rotary of the blower, leading to vibration which then produces noise.Faulty motor bearings or abnormal gas pressure in the air fan coil pipe may also cause a noisy air con.The solution to a noisy aircon is two-pronged. First, regular aircon service by a professional contractor will be able to keep the air conditioner filter and outdoor panel clean. As mentioned, a noisy air con may be due to one reason, or concurrent faulty parts. Pertinently, a professional technician will be able to detect any underlying problems and prevent them before they arise.Secondly, if you wish, you can proactively prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria in the filter and panel by wiping them with a wet cloth once in 2 weeks.
The smell comes from bacteria formed by microbes in the warm dark humid environment in the indoor fan coil unit. Sometimes, if the smell is very bad, you may need a more intensive chemical treatment to rectify this problem.This article addresses two common causes for foul odor emitting from the aircon:After a period of usage, the aircon gathers foul-smelling waste product (in the form of mold, slime and mildew) from moisture accumulation when the aircon dehumidifies and absorbs heat from its environment.Also, aircon units with the external section situated outside the home or office will encounter foreign debris trapped in the aircon duct. When these particles decompose, they cause an unpleasant smell.
The smell comes from bacteria formed by microbes in the warm dark humid environment in the indoor fan coil unit. Sometimes, if the smell is very bad, you may need a more intensive chemical treatment to rectify this problem.This article addresses two common causes for foul odor emitting from the aircon:After a period of usage, the aircon gathers foul-smelling waste product (in the form of mold, slime and mildew) from moisture accumulation when the aircon dehumidifies and absorbs heat from its environment.Also, aircon units with the external section situated outside the home or office will encounter foreign debris trapped in the aircon duct. When these particles decompose, they cause an unpleasant smell.Secondly, the standing water in the drip pan may also cause an unpleasant smell to emit from the aircon. Situated on the underside of the aircon, the pan accumulates condensation from the evaporator coil. This pan of stale water may breed mildew and bacteria, which causes a foul smell in the aircon.To remedy the foul smell produced by the aircon, a professional aircon company will perform a general aircon service for general cases. However, a thorough chemical overhaul is needed if the condition is very bad.