4 Top Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips

If you have spent big money on a new air conditioning unit then the last thing you want is for something to go wrong with it. Although you have to allow some problems to occur there are also many problems that can be avoided if you look after your unit in the right way.  It is a good idea to get into the habit of regular air conditioning maintenance. By looking after it and making sure that you keep an eye on any small problems, you can make sure that any issues are nipped in the bud and quickly resolved before they become bigger problems.

Maintenance Tips

1) Changing The Filter

You should look at changing the filters in your air conditioning unit around 4 times a year. The filters can quite quickly become clogged with dirt, dust and grim which will stop your machine from working as efficiently as it could do. As well as not working as it should a blocked filter can also cause your machine to overheat and this will lead to much bigger problems.

2) Cleaning The Vents

At the same time as changing your filter you might want to look at cleaning the vents. Once a year you should get a professional in to give them a thorough cleaning but generally speaking you doing it every few months will help. You really just want to make sure that they are clean, grime free and don’t have any blockages which could result in the vents not working as they should.

3) Freon Levels

Your air conditioning doesn’t need to consume any of the Freon coolant, so your levels of Freon should never change. Try and remember to check this when you are doing filter and vent maintenance. If the levels do seem to have reduced then it could be that you have a leak and this, of course is something that you’ll need to get looked at straight away.

4) Checking How You Use The Machine

It is easy to see the top of your unit as a convenient shelf or accidently lean items up against the back of the unit and think no more of it. Try and get out of the habit of this and at the very least remove them when you do your maintenance checks as above.

While you’re doing all of this just give the whole unit the once over and make sure it all looks and sounds like it should.

What Is A Cold Room Used For?

As the name suggests, a cold room is a room that has a lower temperature than normal. This doesn’t just mean leaving the windows open for it to get chilly, instead it is a room that is insulated and set to be a certain temperature. There are lots of reasons that a cold room could be used, but generally speaking they are used when a standard refrigerator just isn’t up the job.

Usually it is business premises that have access to cold rooms rather than people having one at home but that doesn’t always have to be the case. If you have a need (or want) to keep a large number of items chilled then a cold room could be exactly what you are looking for.

The good news is that when it comes to cold rooms you can have them made to your exact requirements, whatever those needs are. This means that you can have a small one made if you need to or you can go all out and have a large room converted. It really depends on how much you are going to be storing at one time. Cold rooms can be used to store more or less anything that needs to be chilled to avoid it becoming perished – food goods, drinks etc.

The most common place you will see cold rooms used is the hospitality and food industry. Businesses premises here tend to use them to store large amounts of food. This allows them to buy the items that they need in bulk and to be able to store them without worrying about them becoming perished. When you think about it, it does make sense because realistically there is only so much that can be stored in a traditional fridge.

When you look at getting a cold room set up and installed you’ll find that there are many different types to choose from. This is good news because it means that whatever you are looking for there will be something to suit you and your needs. One of the more handy features is the fact that cold rooms can come with a thermometer and thermostat set up. This allows you to have the room as cold or as cool as you need it and to change this later down the line. This is great news because it means that your cold room becomes a lot more versatile. There will be times when just keeping food items cool will be enough but there will be others when you really want your food to be more or less frozen. As long as you have chosen the right set up for your cold room then you should be able to adjust this as you need. However you do need to bear in mind the time it will take for the room to change in temperature, especially if it is a large room – so the change won’t be as immediate as you might like.

4 Common Air Conditioning Problems

While no one expects their air conditioning unit to break down or cause them problems, it is something that you should be prepared for. Hopefully the brand you choose to invest in will be reliable and not give you too many problems, but it is worth knowing what to keep an eye out for should the worse happen.

There are a number of things that could go wrong with your  unit, but 4 of the most common air conditioning problems that you could come across include:

Inside Coil Frozen

If you find that your air conditioning unit isn’t getting as cool as it should be, or that it is unreliable then this could be down to the inside coil being frozen. Although this can seem like quite a major problem it is something that happens quite often and is relatively easy to fix. An inside coil being frozen can be caused by an unclean air filter or a blocked return air ductwork. If you notice that this does start to be a problem then the first thing you need to do is switch of the system completely. You can look at getting a professional air conditioning company in to help with this but cleaning out the air filters could be a good place to start before you go down this route.

Faulty Wiring

If your air conditioning unit seems to be cutting out or experiencing power surges then this could be down to faulty wiring. If the wiring inside the system becomes damaged then this will result in the unit being able to get a consistent flow of power to keep it working as it should. This is definitely something that you should get a professional to look at, because it could be dangerous and even a fire hazard.

Low Levels of Refrigerant

Freon, the refrigerant in these systems is what is used to cool the air. If you find that the air is not getting as cool as it used to then this could be caused by low levels of refrigerant. If this happens then the likely cause is a leak and this is something that needs to be looked at. It can seem tempting to simply try and top of the levels of refrigerant by pouring more in, but this is not usually the answer – after all, if there is a leak then this will just continue to cause you problems.

Exterior Fan Not Working

The exterior fan has the important job of moving the heat from your room to the outside. If you find that your air conditioning unit doesn’t work properly or starts to overheat then this could be the cause of the problem. This is probably not something you can fix yourself unless you have air conditioning experience, but it is worth getting an expert to take a look and see what they can do for you.

Of course other issues can (and will) arise surrounding your air conditioning unit, but these are the 4 that you should definitely be keeping an eye out for!

How Much Energy Is Used By Air Conditioning?

Over recent years, as technology has changed and progressed so have air conditioning units. This means that the cooling devices are now more emergency efficient than ever. Whilst this is good  news it does mean that there is no definitive answer to the question ‘how much energy is used by air conditioning?’. There are lots of factors that could affect how much energy your air conditioner users, although probably none more so than how old (or new) your unit is.

How Air Conditioning Units Work

When you break it down an air conditioning unit doesn’t work all that differently to a fridge. Basically inside their are pumps and a series of tubes that create a cooling system. There is a set of serpentine tubing inside, usually made of copper that winds into two coils – an evaporator and a condenser. The evaporator coil cools the room and the condenser coil releases the heat that is created by the machine running and using up energy.

Of course, you don’t really need to know how an air conditioning unit works most of the time. As long as you can switch it on and it works as it should then that is really all you need to worry about.

The Energy That Is Used

When it comes to looking at how much energy is actually used, it can get quite complex. Most units that you buy now will have an energy efficiency rating so this will at least give you an idea of how much energy it will take and how expensive it will be to run.

If you look at the actual energy rating for an air conditioning unit you’ll see that they’re rated by BTU (British Thermal Units) and how many of these it can remove in an hour – with 12,000 BTU being the equivalent of a ton. The energy efficiency rating you’ll see us measured by look at the BTU per hour and dividing this by the number of watts the unit takes to run. You are then left with an EER (Energy efficiency ratio) which is used to decide how efficient it is.

Cutting Down The Energy Used

Of course if you do have an air conditioning unit, that doesn’t mean that you have to pay over the top to run it. As long as you run it in the right way, you can help to keep the costs down as low as possible. One of the biggest factors of this is only using it when you need to. Generally speaking these units cool the air quickly, so there is no need to leave them on in anticipation of it getting too warm – wait until you actually need it. Of course you can also take steps to stop rooms from getting to warm, such as closing curtains and blinds to prevent direct sunlight beaming through the window and making the room extra hot.

How Do Air Conditioning Units Work

Although you might not think that you need to know how an air conditioning unit works, it can be handy in case something goes wrong. When you have an idea how your unit works, you’ll be able to look into things in a little more depth if it stops working and perhaps be able to highlight what the problem is. If your air conditioning unit stops working as it should then you’ll be able to see what the symptoms of the problems are and this should hopefully point you in the right direction of what could have gone wrong.

The process requires an indoor unit, an outdoor unit (the pump) and piping to connect both. Through the piping the refrigerant flows from one unit to another. It is the refrigerant that absorbs the energy in one unit and releases it in the other.

The first part of your air conditioning unit is the indoor evaporator. This is where a fan blows the warm air from the room into the unit. The warm air then passes over a heat exchanging coil which contains cold refrigerant. This then cools the air and allows the cooled air to be blown back into the room and the cycle begins again.

Inside the unit you will have a set of copper pipe work and it is this which helps to move the refrigerant throughout the unit and keep everything cool. You also have an outdoor condensing unit. The refrigerant gas in the system is heated and then the outdoor unit can help to make sure that the heated air is released unto the direction of the indoor evaporator in order to cool the air. You’ll also need some liquid refrigerant which flows through to the indoor unit.

It can seem very confusing unless you know what you are doing. If you have an old air conditioning unit then it can be worth taking this apart and having a look inside. Once you realise which part does what it becomes much easier to understand. The basic idea of a unit like this is that warm air from the room is taken into the unit, it is passed over a number of copper pipes which cool the air and take away the heat and then the new, cooler air is pushed back into the room. When you look at it like that, it becomes much easier to understand.

If your air conditioning unit stops working for any reason then the first thing you can check is that the air is flowing through as it should. Sometimes dirty pipes and blocked air filters can mean that the air doesn’t flow as it should and therefore does not get cooled. If you check all of this and there still seems to be a problem then it could be worth calling out someone to take a look at this for you. There are a few issues that could cause your unit to stop working as it should, but lots of these are also relatively easy to rectify.

Common Air Conditioning Faults and How to Spot Them

It goes without saying that there are a number of things that can go wrong with your air conditioning unit, so if you notice that it isn’t working as it should get it looked at straight away. Often with air conditioning units small problems can be fixed quite easily, but if it is left then it tends to get worse and much harder to fix – which of course is something that you want to avoid.

That said; Knowing common faults and what to look out for can only be a good thing, so what should you be looking out for?

Faulty Wiring

If you find that your air conditioning unit is cutting out, not getting as much power as it should or it is tripping the circuit breaker than this could be a problem with the wiring. This is often a small problem, but it is important to get it looked at straight away.

Refrigerant Levels Low

Refrigerant is the chemical that cools the air. If you find that your refrigerant levels are low then this could indicate that there is a leak which of course needs to be located and repaired as soon as possible.

Fan Not Working

The fan located outside of your air conditioning unit is what helps to transfer heat from your home to the outside air. If you notice that this isn’t working then you should get it looked into because it may cause the compressor to overheat which can lead to much bigger problems. Generally the fan should be working constantly at the same speed, if you notice that it stops and starts then use this as an indication that it needs to be looked at.

Unit Not Working as It should

If you notice that there is a general lack of power to your unit, the thermostat isn’t working or it keeps cutting out then this could lead to bigger problems. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact problem which is why it is essential to get someone in to have a look at this for you.

Airflow Problems

If the airflow from your air conditioning unit starts to become uneven then this could indicate anything from dirty air filters, blocked return air ductwork or even frozen inside coils (your coils should not look frozen at all).

Pub Landlords – How to Choose the Right Refrigeration

As someone who is in charge of the smooth running of a pub, you’ll need to give careful consideration to the type of refrigeration you have in your premises. At the end of the day you want food and drink to be stored safely and your customers want to be served cold drinks and choosing the right type of refrigeration is vital to making sure that this happens.

Reach-In Coolers

These are the type of coolers that are usually found in the kitchen. Generally these are used to store large volumes of food and drink and as the name suggests are designed to be reached into to find the items that they need to get. Generally these don’t take up much room and are a good way of storing items in bulk.

Walk-In Coolers

These are also designed to store loads of items inside, but as the name suggests they are refrigerators that you walk into rather than reach into. You’ll need a bit of room to have one of these but they are handy if you have large amounts to store, so for example if you’re in charge of a pub that sells food.

Bar Refrigerators

You’ll also need to think about bar refrigerators, because this is where you’ll store drinks to make sure that they stay cool. It is important that you give consideration to these, because you need a set up that is going to stay the right temperature even when doors are being opened and closed all day which lets warm air in.

Choosing The Right System

Whether you’re looking for bar refrigerators, walk-in coolers or another type of refrigerator you need to make sure that it is right for your needs. One thing to make sure you check is the energy efficiency of the system you choose. These are going to be switched on all of the time, so you want something that is not going to cost you too much to run.

On top of that you want to make sure that whatever you choose, it is a refrigerator that really works. Have a look online and read reviews of the make/model you are interested in, this should give you a good idea whether it is going to give you good value for money or not.

Just make sure that you measure the area you have available for your refrigerators so that you can make sure that whatever type of refrigerator you buy, it is going to fit into the space you have available.

Fun Time! Here’s How to Make Clear Ice Cubes!

You might not have looked very closely at the ice you have in your drinks, but if you did then you’ll notice a difference. When you make ice at home you’ll generally find that it is opaque whereas if you were to look at the ice you are given in restaurants and bars it is generally see through. Of course it doesn’t make a big difference to the taste of your drink, but it can be fun to make clear ice cubes at home.

Thankfully there are a few different ways to make clear ice cubes, all of which are reasonably easy to do.

Boiled Water

When you make ice normally, it is the air and mineral impurities that cause the ice to become opaque. By using boiled water you get rid of as much of the air as possible which helps the ice to be made as clear as possible.  If you have time then you should boil the water twice, allowing it to cool completely in-between boils. Make sure that while it is cooling it is covered to stop it from collecting dust. When you pour your boiled water into ice trays make sure that you cover in plastic wrap to keep out particles – that way you can be sure that the ice will freeze clear rather than opaque.

Top-Down Freezing

With this method you’ll need to get a cooler to use – the type you usually take on a picnic to keep your food cool will work well, just make sure that it fits in your freezer.  Place an ice tray at the bottom of the bag and fill with water – you can use distilled water for this but many people claim that tap water works just as well. When you pour your water in to be frozen, pour it into the bottom of the cooler so that the ice tray is surrounded by water. This helps to seal your ice cubes and make sure that they’re kept clear of particles etc. Place your cooler into the freezer with the top open and freeze for at least 24 hours. The best way to do this is to freeze them slowly, so setting your freezer to around 20°F should be fine. When you take the tray out of the bag you’ll find that the top layer is cloudy, but once you chip this off the ice you are left with underneath is perfectly clear ice cubes.

Air Conditioning Servicing – How To Know When You Need It

Air Conditioning Servicing Plans

For some people, paying out for a contract based air conditioning servicing plan is just not worth it. When you’re having to pay monthly or yearly for a contracted servicing plan the cost of doing so can really mount up – especially if nothing wrong is ever found with your air conditioning – it becomes a massive waste of money. Rather than do this, you should just pay for your air conditioning servicing as and when it is needed, but how do you know when the time has come for your air conditioning to be looked at? Thankfully there are several signs you can look out for which means  that you can get it serviced at the start of the problem rather than it being ignored until the problem becomes a much bigger one.

Your Air Conditioning Unit Becomes Noisy

By design, air conditioning units are meant to be quiet when they are running. If your unit is running quietly then this is usually a good sign that it is running efficiently. If you find that your air conditioning unit suddenly starts becoming more noisy then it is probably time to call your servicing guys in to give it a once-over. Excessive noise from your air conditioning unit could point to a number of issues, so it is best to get it looked at as soon as possible.

Airflow Becomes Ineffective

The airflow of your air conditioning unit will lessen naturally depending on the age of your air filter, but it is still something that is worth keeping an eye on. It is a good idea to change your air filter regularly to make sure that you get the maximum airflow when your air conditioning unit is switched on. If you find that your airflow lessens then it could be time to look at calling in someone to take a look – they can tell you whether the problem is your air filter or something a little more serious.

Hot Air

One of the biggest signs that something could be up is your air conditioning unit blowing out air that is much warmer than it used to be. Your air conditioning unit should be blowing out cool air and if this stops then you’ll want to get someone to take a look at this. Another thing to keep an eye on is whether it takes longer than usual to get the air that is blowing out to the right temperature, if this happens then it is time to call in your chosen air conditioning servicing team.

How HVAC Units can Reduce your Heating Bills

The yearly cost to heat a home is now at an all time high, and the same can be said of office space, too.

Back in October, The Guardian reported that the six big energy firms raised their prices toward the end of the year despite a drop in wholesale costs. Savings made from the drop in wholesale prices were never passed on to the consumer, and only a few days ago, the Daily Record reported SSE being on target for a whopping £1.54bn profit – just months after the price hike.

With energy firms ripping home owners and businesses off, it makes sense to look into alternative ways to heat your property. After all, why should you contribute to the growth of any company that doesn’t repay its loyal customers?

The biggest expense when it comes to heating a home is central heating. There are three main types of central heating – gas central heating, oil central heating, and electric central heating. None of these systems are energy efficient. They all guzzle energy and whatever their energy source is, that is then converted into producing heat. If you have a four bedroom family home, this means that a lot of energy will be required to heat it during the winter months.

In fact, it could become unaffordable.

So what to do?

Well, there are many homeowners throughout the UK that are taking on solar panels to provide eco-friendly energy for their homes. Solar panels have gotten so good now that they can realistically heat a whole home after a day’s sunlight. The only trouble with solar technology is that it’s expensive to integrate, and although it does offer emission free energy, you won’t get a return on investment within the first few years of installation.

At ACL Refrigeration, we recommend HVAC units to heat a home in a more cost-effective manner than central heating.

HVAC stands for Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning. HVAC units are installed onto interior walls just below the ceiling. These are then controlled via remote control, in the same way a traditional air conditioning unit would be. These excellent appliances can blow warm air or freezing cold air, and they will heat the rooms of your home quickly. Because of their compact size, they can also be integrated anywhere, including within any outbuilding.

HVAC units use electricity as their power source, but much less so than the likes of an electric central heating system.

Plus, you have the balance of that cold air in the summer.

So, if you’re sick of receiving sky high energy bills, consider a HVAC unit – it could save you a fortune.