Aircon units can come in many different shapes, sizes, capabilities, and with a variety of prices and energy efficiency standard ratings. It can get quite confusing when choosing and buying aircon in Singapore. Read our articles on aircon reviews to understand more.

First, check if your remote is set to the ‘cool’ mode and that the airflow direction is properly set. When your air-conditioner still doesn’t give out cool air, it could be because airflow is weak or that your fan coil (cooling fan) is not cold.

To find out, simply turn the aircon on, switch it to ‘cool’ mode, and wait for three minutes. Place your hand next to the blower. The air should feel cooler than room temperature. If not, a repair or servicing job might be needed.

Water condenses on the fan coils when it produces cool air. If water is leaking from your unit, if could mean that the drainage pipe used to remove the condensed water is clogged, possibly from dirt and bacterial biofilm or an icing problem. General servicing of your unit only solves this leakage temporarily, as the fan coil, which accumulates dirt and bacteria, has to be thoroughly cleaned with chemicals.

Water leakage can also happen when the drainage pipe between the fan coil unit and the drain doesn’t have a proper gradient due to a bad installation job. Contact a technician to help solve these problems.

Your cooling unit draws in air from the outside environment. Cigarette odours and air pollution can be discharged together with the airflow.

It could also be because of mold and bacteria accumulated within the unit, which can lead to serious health problems. Mold often grows in damp, dark and warm places. To prevent this, ventilate your home properly especially when the aircon is not in use, and clean all home carpets that normally trap bacteria and mold. Open all windows and avoid using excessive amounts of perfume or fragrance oils.

Try replacing the batteries to brand new ones. If it still doesn’t work, it could be that the remote is faulty. To get your system working without a working remote, lift the aircon flap and use the tip of a pen to press the ON/OFF button to the right. If this fails, it means that power supply to your unit is cut off, or that there is an issue with the electrical cables within your aircon.

When the aircon fan is too dirty, the uneven distribution of the weight of the dirt may cause the fan to vibrate when turning. A choked fan coil also obstructs the airflow and ‘phh-phh’ sounds will occur. A simple general servicing or hydro jet cleaning can help solve these problems.Other pressing issues include a hardened motor cushion, faulty fan motor bearings, defective aluminium fan coils and abnormal gas pressure. Contact our experts for more information.

This depends on how frequent you use your air-conditioner. A residential unit normally requires general servicing thrice to four times a year, while a consistently used office commercial unit requires maintenance every month.

The absence of consistent servicing can shorten the lifespan of your unit where problems like water leakage and heightened future electricity consumption may occur.

A faulty aircon remote control or a defective electronic circuit board could be the cause of this. The latter is least probable but also most expensive to repair. Contact a specialist for help.

A properly installed unit shouldn’t be prone to a gas leak till 10-20 years later. If your unit leaks gas every few years, it’s a tiny gas leak and isn’t a cause for alarm. Unless it happens every few months, don’t bother spending money to conduct pressure tests or replacing the pipes, as they can get quite expensive. A gas recharge should do your unit fine.

Also check if low gas pressure is due to a dirty and clogged fan coil that is unable to evaporate the liquefied gas. Without dismantling the system’s copper pipes, a thorough bout of chemical cleaning can get your system back in shape.

Most customers replace their aircon units and tend to keep their old copper pipes in place to save costs. However, it is crucial to first check if your existing pipes are damaged. Pipe leakage and corrosion is often due to acid build-up within the gas system or damage to the flare joints – replacing the damaged portion of the copper pipe can solve the latter.

Abnormally low gas pressure (aka gas leak) can cause the system’s copper pipes to ice up when in use, causing the insulator to be wet. A gas recharge or thorough chemical cleaning can solve this problem, rather than a more costly option of replacing PVC insulators entirely, unless the insulators are flattened or torn.

Compressors are the heart of your aircon system and uses compressor oil to lubricate the moving parts within the unit. It is built to last, but its reliability depends on how well effective the compressor oil is – oil that loses its lubricating properties or turns acidic can cause a compressor to fail by corroding copper wiring causing a short circuit.

A mishandled gas system can also threaten the compressor’s lifespan, so do not top up on gas unnecessarily. When the amount of non-evaporated gas exceeds the amount of liquid receiver of the compressor can take, the compressor will fail. Get an experienced technician to find out the true problem behind a faulty unit before committing to such an action.

Abnormally low gas pressure is one of the most common reasons for the formation of ice, and could mean that your system is experiencing a gas leak. A damaged compressor magnetic switch on the other hand, can explain an iced-up fan coil. A faulty switch can cause the outdoor condenser to continue running even when your indoor unit is switched off. When the indoor fan isn’t turning, the generated cold refrigerant isn’t used, hence causing the fan coils to freeze. A non-inverter unit is more susceptible to a problem like this.

Lastly, a choked fan coil can lead to ice formation. This is especially so when liquefied gas has difficulty fully evaporating, causing suction pressure to drop. Fan coil that is colder than normal that is unable to dissipate cold air can also be due to a choked fan coil due to dust. If you notice ice formed on your copper pipes, it is most likely due to a gas leak. Check with an experienced technician before topping up gas, a default solution that most of the inexperienced would use.

Here are some signs you should look out for:

  • Over-topping up of refrigerant or FREON

    More refrigerant doesn’t mean a cooler system. On the contrary, too much of this liquefied gas can lead to “evaporator flooding” that will dilute and damage compressor oil, causing a permanent damage to the compressor. A proper, skillful manipulation of gas pressure changes the aircon temperature, not the amount of refrigerant. Refrigerant gas should also never be used to remove dirt off the condensing coil. It not only caused environmental damage, but also causes the aluminum fin to corrode.

  • Improper dismantling of fan coil

    With chemical cleaning, some water will indefinitely enter the copper pipes, and this water moisture can damage compressor oil. As a result, there will be increased friction in the system, leading to high temperatures and thus, overheating. This triggers the overload relay to shut down the compressor. Wait 1-2 hours for the compressor to cool down before attempting to work the aircon again.

    A lack of suction gas in the compression system to help cool it down can also cause overheating. When this occurs and the aircon fails to produce cold air, ensure that the technician checks the overload relay before trying to force run the compressor as this can lead to further overheating.

    An overheated compressor above 150°C will disintegrate compressor oil that damages the compressor and causes the dryer filter to choke. An overheated temperature of 250°C is the worst case scenario and will cause the R22 gas to break down, producing acid in the presence of water, corroding the copper pipes that are out of sight.

  • Using hot steam/water to disinfect the air-conditioner

    Hot steam or water can help kill bacteria, but temperatures of above boiling point (100°C) can damage the unit’s thermistor, which operates between 10°C to 28°C. The thermistor is placed at the fan coil to detect the temperature of the fan coil and generated air.

    Be mindful of using hot steam to clean your system, as it does not help remove dirt that chokes your fan coil. Use alkaline-based chemicals or high-pressure water instead.

You probably never suspected that using common household products can be damaging to your aircon. Here’s what you have to look out for:

  • Don’t overuse talcum powder (aka baby powder)

    Fine powder can travel into your aircon and clog the fan coils, water tray and pipes, leading to cooling problems and water leakage.

  • Inserting extra 3M filters

    Good filters block airflow, as they are good at keeping dust out of your unit and this problem differs from different brands and units. Less efficient filters however, give a quieter and more energy-efficient system.

  • Overt spraying of disinfectants

    The presence of hydrocarbon in pressurised spray cans causes jelly-like substance build-up that clogs your fan coil, especially when used in an enclosed, air-conditioned room. Do not attempt to disinfect your system by spraying these disinfectants directly at the aircon unit. This will only worsen the problem.

    Contrary to popular belief, spraying of “quick-fix” chemicals into the fan coil will not flush out clogs of dirt already present in the unit. It would in fact, corrode your fan coils if it remains within for long periods of time.

  • Using of humidifiers and essential oils in an aircon room

    Humidifiers release moisture into the surrounding air causes your system to work doubly hard to clear the moisture before being able to effectively bring temperatures down. In most cases, dehumidifiers are installed to help cool places down quickly. Opened windows or doors will also lead to the same problem. A wet fan coil will then attract dust and oil, causing frequent clog ups or higher energy consumption.

    Oil-based purifiers or alcohol-based body lotions used in tandem with air-conditioning systems will be harmful to the cooling system as the chemicals within purifiers can enter the aircon and thus attract dust to the fan coil. When the system is switched off, mold accumulates and grows quickly within the unit, causing heightened risks of asthma attacks.