Air Conditioners are popular household appliances the world over, with the primary role being to reduce and maintain indoor temperature at a cool, comfortable level. Once installed, most of us don’t give our them a second thought until it looks like something’s wrong with it; by which point some very expensive maintenance might be needed. Avoid the heavy bills by getting to know devices a little better, once you’ve got the basics down, maintaining your air conditioner and noticing trouble will save you in the long run.The basicsThe air which blows out of is chilled by a set of cold pipes, known as the ‘Evaporator Coil’. This unit is filled with a special liquid, ‘Refrigerant’, the same liquid used in Refrigerators. Refrigerant changes from liquid to gas when the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air flowing through it.The converted refrigerant is then pumped to another coil, known as the ‘Condenser’, which is normally located outdoor, to be cooled and converted back to liquid form. The transfer of refrigerant from the evaporator coil to the condenser and vice-versa is done by a compressor located within the system. This process maintains pressure and ensures that refrigerant evaporates or condenses at the appropriate coils.PerformanceUnlike most electronic appliances, an air conditioner occupies a complex mechanical system which requires certain factors to perform at optimal level. Each air conditioner has been built to meet a certain load and occupies an amount of refrigerant for that purpose.A change in the environment or load could cause problems in the function. The Air Conditioners might not keep up to the required level if heat produced indoors were high. An increased number of occupants or heat generating equipment could be a cause for the machine to not meet your requirement.Further, if there is a leakage in the system or reduced air flow across the evaporator coil and condenser, the capacity of the unit drops. A leak would require a repair done by a professional mechanic; however, you can resolve air flow issues.Maintenance and ServicesMaintaining and servicing your machine is very important. Failure to carry out timely maintenance and services could lead to major complications in the long run. Changing or cleaning the ‘Air Filter’ is crucial. The filter removes particles from the air and keeps the evaporator coil clean, in-time, dust and dirt particles build up on the filter clogging air flow to the coils.Cleaning the evaporator, condenser coils and drains is a good idea; dirt gathered around coils and drains reduces air penetrating the system, thereby reducing the output. Also make sure that the Condenser (The outdoor unit) is located where the air flow is high.Further, ducts can affect the performance of an Air Conditioner. Ducts drain a large amount of energy and reduce the cool air generated through the unit. Finding these ducts and sealing them would help save more than 25% of energy and improve cooling.Getting a ProfessionalYou need to call in a professional to service your Air Conditioner on a regular basis, when you do so make sure that he does the following.• Refrigerant level check
• Test for any leakages and seal them accordingly
• Release any Refrigerant which needs to be released
• Measure the airflow
• Check the electrical terminals
• Check motor for faults and fan belts for wear and tearAir Conditioners need proper attention, same as a vehicle; if the due attention is not given the system can fail. It’s always better to resolve the slightest issues as soon as you notice them.