The Singaporean climate is typically of the tropical rain-forest variety and it lacks distinct seasons like summer, winter or spring. The overall annual temperatures in Singapore are uniform and average 29 degrees centigrade and even peak at 35 degrees. The atmospheric pressure levels are relatively constant with high humidity levels experienced throughout the year. The relative humidity experienced in Singapore range at an average of 79% in the morning hours while in the afternoon, the levels drop to 73%. Generally, the hottest months in Singapore are April and May. These climate and weather conditions necessitate the need for air-conditioning systems in homes and businesses in the hot and humid subtropical climate that is typical of Singapore.
BASIC OPERATING PRINCIPLES OF AN AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM
In a typical air-conditioning system, the cooling process is achieved through the use of a refrigeration cycle. The principles of free cooling or evaporation may also be applied in air-conditioning systems. Air-conditioners generally modify the air be cooling, heating, de-humidifying and filtering out of dust particles through the use of an integral air-filter.
A refrigerant is usually applied as a conducting medium in the air-conditioning system. The refrigerant circulates in a closed piped system and absorbs the heat from the surrounding air space to be cooled. The circulating refrigerant passes through a compressor which compresses it to high pressure as it circulates and this results in condensation of the refrigerant. The refrigerant circulates through a system of coils and an integral blower ensures adequate circulation of cooled air. The blower operation is based on an electric motor. The air-conditioning system has a drain pipe that serves as an outlet for the condensate.
AIR-CONDITIONING SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
There are a number of important components of an air-conditioning system that should be the subject of a detailed aircon servicing and maintenance session. They include the following:
1. Blower should be checked and cleaned to ensure that it is free of dust, dirt, mould and spores which may accumulate.
2. Electric motor should be checked to ensure that the brushes and armature are intact in order to ensure optimal functioning of the electric motor.
3. Operating temperatures and pressure should tally with the parameters that are outlined in the operating manual.
4. Circulation coils should be checked for leakages.
5. Return and supply lines should be checked for integrity in order to ensure that there are no leakages.
6. Overall electric and physical connections
7. Levels of refrigerant should also be checked regularly since a reduction in the same would be indicative in a leakage in the system. Reduced refrigerant levels may mean that the air-conditioning system will not operate optimally. Once reduced levels of the refrigerant are noted, the leakage should be identified and sealed. After repairing the leakage, the refrigerant level should be refilled or topped up.
8. The air filter should be checked for accumulation of dirt and dust. In the event that it is dirty, it should be replaced with a new unit.
9. The drain line of the air conditioning unit should be checked for clogging and blockages to ensure that there is no back pressure associated with the same.
Usually, most companies that carry out routine service and maintenance of HVAC systems have cost effective contracts that include replacement of parts such as the air filter.
BENEFITS OF A FULLY WORKING AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM
A fully functional and working air-conditioning system has a number of benefits and advantages which include:
1. Ensuring that the ambient and prevailing conditions in domestic settings and business are cool and conducive for the occupants.
2. Air-conditioning eliminates unwanted indoor humidity and keeps the moisture levels in check, especially in a country like Singapore.
3. An efficient air-conditioning system ensures that the air is kept hygienically clean and free of dust particles. It basically keeps the indoor air clean, thus ensuring the improved health of the occupants.
RATIONALE FOR REGULAR SERVICE OF AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM
It is important for routine aircon servicing to be carried out at regular intervals by qualified technical HVAC personnel because of the following reasons:
1. Regular aircon servicing ensures that the air-conditioning system works in an efficient manner. As the air-conditioner operates, dirt and dust from the environs tends to accumulate in the system. This unwanted accumulation tends to reduce the overall efficiency of the system by up to 5%. This means that the air-conditioner may not be able to cool or condition the air as efficiently as it is supposed to.
2. When aircon servicing is carried out regularly, users of the system may enjoy markedly reduced annual utility costs. The servicing should be carried out by a qualified HVAC expert and it has been estimated that this will result in overall reduction in energy bills incurred by the air-conditioner of up to 15%.
3. When the process is effectively carried out, aircon servicing will inherently lengthen the lifespan of the air-conditioning unit. Routine checks and maintenance will help identify minor problems which if go unnoticed and are not resolved, may develop into bigger issues, which will mean additional costs.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD AN AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM BE SERVICED?
According to several experts dealing with HVAC and air-conditioning systems, it is prudent practice to regularly inspect service and maintain air-conditioning systems, at least once a year. Due to the hot and humid climatic conditions in Singapore, it would be wise to regularly check and maintain the air-conditioning systems twice a year. This is because the hot conditions are usually associated with dust which can clog up the air filters in the air-conditioning system. Regular aircon servicing is also necessary since the humid conditions experienced in Singapore may lead to the accumulation of mould and spores in the air-conditioning system.
The aircon servicing should be carried out before the hot months of April and May, preferably between February and March. This will ensure that the air-conditioning system operates at maximum efficiency and can effectively cool when needed. Service and maintenance of the system can also be carried out just before the month of November. This is because the rainy monsoon season in Singapore occurs between the months of November and January.