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5 Things You Need To Know About Window Air Conditioners

Alex Chiba, Service HVAC Technician

Alex has over 10 years of experience as an HVAC technician. He is skilled and passionate about on-going maintenance of air conditioning. Over his career, Alex has resolved many different types of faults in air conditioning. Alex enjoys an active lifestyle if he’s not playing soccer you can find him and his friends trekking all across NSW.

What is a window air conditioner and why is it still popular?

A window air conditioning system is likely the least expensive and most effective way to deliver clean, comfortable air to any reasonably sized area in your family home or office. Designed to be mounted in a window opening, the unit is housed in a strong steel cabinet, providing clean, comfortable air to the living space.

Where fitted in an external facing wall or window, the cooling coil cost-effectively introduces cool air to the living space, while heated air from the condenser is exhausted to the atmosphere.
Another popular feature of a window air conditioner is that they generally run on 240 Volt mains power, plugged directly into a normal household power outlet. This feature makes DIY installation easy, as an electrician or dedicated installer is not required to connect the system.

Pros & Cons of window air conditioner

A window mounted air conditioner is a great solution for a smaller room like an office or a bedroom or if working within a tight budget. As long as the room has a window or even an external wall, cool air can be circulated inside the room while hot air can be exhausted to the atmosphere. The cooling process can usually be reversed for winter use or for cooler climates.

They are usually inexpensive to install and many are able to run on single phase 240 Volt power, directly connected to any household power outlet. However, electrical efficiency is not their greatest attribute and they may be quite costly to run long term, especially if doors or other openings in the room are not kept closed.

While a window mounted air conditioner provides a great solution in many instances, they are also known to be somewhat noisy in operation after prolonged use. In addition, they may also block out a large proportion of natural light entering the room, particularly if the window area is relatively small.

Due to their smaller size, the filtration system is often neglected and overworked allowing dust and dangerous pathogens to build up unchecked. Filter maintenance and general cleaning become critical with this type of air conditioner with recommended maintenance inspections able to be conducted by Alliance Climate Control technicians to ensure the system performs satisfactorily for the life of the unit.

Why is it that my window air conditioner doesn’t cool?

All air conditioner systems work by compressing a refrigerant medium causing a rise in temperature, then letting it evaporate in the cooling coil, lowering its temperature rapidly. When warm air is passed over the cooling coil during evaporation, the moving air is rapidly cooled as it enters your room.

If your window or room air conditioner doesn’t cool it may indicate several faults. If the refrigerant gas is low, it may not be able to reach a sufficient pressure at the compressor and so the cooling process will be hindered.

On the other hand, if the cooling fin coil or filters are blocked, preventing air from flowing across the fins, the process of transferring heat and lowering the room temperature may not be able to take place.

Another reason for a lack of cooling maybe if the blower fans are performing below expectation, this will also produce a sensation of lack of cooling. If any of these symptoms are present, call Alliance Climate Control technicians to diagnose the fault and restore your system to top operating condition again.

Why my window air conditioner doesn’t TURN ON?

If the lights on your air conditioner system are illuminated but the fans or compressor don’t work, adjust the thermostat setting to the coldest setting or somewhere below the room temperature. If the system still doesn’t resume operating, turn the air conditioner system off at the main switch immediately and call Alliance Climate Control technicians to diagnose the problem. There may be a more serious problem than is initially evident

If none of the indicator lights on the system illuminate, then it is more than likely an electrical supply problem. Firstly, check other circuits in the building such as other room lights, refrigerator, T.V. etc., if none of these work then it may be an external supply problem from the electricity provider.

If other power circuits are working, check if the air conditioner system is plugged in and switched on and check the circuit breaker on the master switchboard is still switched on.
If all these items are checked and things look to be normal, turn off the master switch for a few moments then turn back on again to reset the system.

If the system fails to re-start, turn the air conditioner off at the main switch and call Alliance Climate Control technician to diagnose the fault.

When should you service your window air conditioner?

“Prevention is better than cure” is an old saying that has many applications but equally true for air conditioner systems.

Regular checks and inspections are invaluable to maintain the health of your air conditioner system to prepare it for the peak of hot summer or when low winter temperatures come along but the important thing is to arrange an inspection early before periods of high air conditioning demand arrive.

In our southern hemisphere climate, the best time to arrange these inspections is around September, October and again in March, April following the summer and winter periods of high demand, however, it is also desirable if practical to inspect and vacuum filters every 6 to 8 weeks as appears necessary.

Alliance Climate Control recommend regular maintenance inspections at not more than 6 monthly intervals to

  • Inspect and service the cooling coil, filter and blower fan. We also recommend an Eco-clean service of the coil and filter every two years to make sure your coil remains clean and in top operating condition.
  • Inspect and service the compressor, condenser and main refrigerant circuit components. We will inspect and test how well they function to make sure they provide maximum performance in preparation for high seasonal demand.

We recommend scheduling recurring inspections during periods of low demand with appointments making sure you don’t miss an opportunity to keep your air conditioner in top condition. Alliance Climate Control inspections can identify issues before they become problems, before needing costly repairs.

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