The UK has seen unprecedented levels of warm weather during 2017 which has broken all recent meteorological records. Temperatures in many parts of the British Isles were well into the mid-twenty degrees Celsius as early as March and for the best part of spring, going into summer temperatures continued to soar with persistent dry weather making the heat and humidity feel more intense than normal. It wasn’t abnormal for the southern parts of England to reach 30-35ºC during June and July that year.
Unsurprisingly, this had led to many commercial buildings, business centres and office blocks turning on the air conditioning far earlier than expected to make conditions more comfortable for staff and customers. With this unexpected early switch on, many businesses were caught out, not having had their A/C systems serviced or filters changed which is never ideal. Over the winter months, air conditioning systems left dormant can build up all sorts of nasties which leads to poorer air quality and the risk of spreading airborne pathogens when switched on. So an annual service is the minimum requirement for an AC system than is heavily relied on in a commercial setting.
So with the UK now experiencing a prolonged summer heat wave, here’s why it is important to get your A/C checked and serviced well before you switch it back on for the warmer seasons and the issues to look out for.
Without regular maintenance, air conditioning units will start to develop faults, not to mention run inefficiently and produce poorer air temperatures and air quality. Servicing including the flushing of air vents, ducting and regular filter changes will extend the life of the system, not to mention reduce running costs as the condensers will have less work to do to produce the cooler, cleaner air required.
Unchanged filters which in many cases do not cost a fortune are often one of the most common causes for poor running A/C systems. Filters do more than just purify the air to block out allergens, dust particles and pollutants. They also protect the integral components which helps the system run efficiently. A dirty filter puts unnecessary added strain on the system meaning more energy is consumed to clean the air, thus putting further stress on core components which can lead to parts failures and expensive energy bills.
In most commercial air conditioning systems, the condensers are placed on the exterior of buildings. Over the course of the autumn and winter months, it is not uncommon for debris to build up and block the vents and working parts. Leaves, twigs and moss can all cause a blocked condenser from performing at optimum levels when some simple regular checks to remove such objects will prevent any breakdown and potentially expensive repairs.
Another common fault in air systems is fluctuating air flow. Rather than a continuous smooth flow of air, a whirring or oscillating air pattern is noticeable. This may be caused by blockages in the condenser but it can also be caused by faulty parts that may need servicing or replacing by a maintenance professional. If this occurs, do not ignore it.
Older air conditioning systems can start to show signs of age over time, with exterior condensers showing increasing amounts of corrosion on exposed parts. Surface rust or corrosion to the housings can easily be patched up with special anti-corrosive or weather proof metal paints but more integral parts may need servicing or replacing altogether. A routine service by a qualified professional will easily identify if parts are liable to failure due to corrosion.
It’s always wise to check that your heating and cooling systems are working correctly from time to time with routine temperature tests. Switching between hot and cold settings will show telltale signs if the system is working as expected. A lack of heat may be due to element failure whilst a lack of cold air may be simply down to a faulty valve or the need for a freon gas recharge.
Regular filter changes and servicing will ensure your air conditioning systems produce the best quality air possible. In bigger cities such as London where air quality is poor, the opening of windows during hot weather is never an ideal option. With the capital now consistently showing highly levels of air toxicity that contravene EU standards, good quality air comes at a premium.
A well maintained AC system will ensure the air that flows in your commercial buildings is as clean as it can be and will protect your staff and customers alike from ailments, allergies and respiratory problems associated with poor quality air from outdoors and mould and bacteria build up in neglected condenser filters.
If you are running your AC systems and are concerned they may not be working at optimum levels, make sure you arrange a planned maintenance schedule of regular air conditioning servicing to prevent any failures or problems during the hot summer months.