Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the AC unit cost to run?

Only 1/3 of the cost of a conventional bar resistance heater to heat your home in winter. It costs the same amount per hour to cool your home in summer as it would to heat your home in winter. The approximate running costs are as follows:

9000 Btu = ±R 0.82c per hour
12000 But = ±R 1.15c per hour
18000 Btu = ±R 1.48c per hour
24000 Btu = ±R 2.14c per hour
Estimates are based on R 0.75 Kw/h rate.

How long is the warrantee?

Warrantees vary from supplier to supplier (most offer between 12 and 36 months on components), but the warranty on equipment can be extended by Aircon Draft subject to the client completing a service agreement with Aircon Draft for the duration of the warranty

What is the difference between inverter and non inverter compressors?

Inverter compressors utilise the latest variable speed technology and can run at various speeds (low, medium and high). The compressor can be controlled by the numerous sensors on the system to speed up and slow down, relative to the cooling required in the area concerned. This process saves considerable energy and achieves more accurate comfort cooling / heating levels.

When is R22 possibly going to be phased out?

There are many theories and statements, but all roughly point in the direction of around 2030 for complete phase out of the refrigerant, and that includes products entering South Africa that contain this gas.

What types of air-conditioning units can I use for my home?

Most types of air-conditioning units can be used in the design of a cooling/heating system, but the most cost effective and popular designs are:

Mid-wall split units
Ducted centralised systems
Cassette split units
VRV/Multi-V/DVM Multi-Zone systems.

What are the power requirements needed for the correct air-conditioning installation?

For 9000Btu and 12000Btu split units, an external power point 500mm or less from the condensing unit is sufficient for an electrical installation. This power point contains a plug top plugged into a 2x4 plug plate mounted into a weather proof slide box. Power can be tapped off a mixed circuit from the internal area concerned.

For 18000 Btu split units and greater, an external isolator mounted into a weather proof slide box connected directly to the distribution board is recommended. This ensures that tripping of the plug circuit breaker when the unit is turned on is minimised.

How much does air-conditioning cost?

Many factors influence the choice of the air-conditioning unit, such as: The size of the room The orientation and area of windows The shape and construction of the roof and insulation The function of the area to be air-conditioned (e.g. library or computer training room), etc. Prices for domestic AC unit and its installation start at around R5000-00 Excl. Vat

Types of Air- Conditioners

There are 3 basic types of air conditioners: room air conditioners, central air conditioners and multi-systems (VRV, Multi-V, DVM and City multi). There are several different kinds within each type.

Room air conditioners are designed and sized to cool one room or a large open area. They are installed either in windows or through walls. They rely on a fan to blow air throughout that specific area. Small capacity units can be plugged into standard power outlets(depending on certain criteria), while larger units may need to be tapped directly into the building’s electrical distribution board. These type of units are very cost effective if cooling only a few areas in the house or office.

Central air conditioners today are generally "split systems," in which the condensing (outdoor) unit of the air conditioner is located outside the home and the evaporator (indoor) coil part is located inside in the air handler. The handler generally is located somewhere in the home such as the garage or ceiling space. A duct system is routed to all areas and air-conditioned air is distributed into all the rooms in this way. If you require air-conditioned air into multiple rooms, this might be a better (and sometimes more cost- effective) option.

In a packaged air-conditioning unit, the evaporator and condenser is one unit, which is usually placed on a roof or on a concrete slab next to the house's foundation. This is a great option for light commercial and industrial applications where large air distribution is required.

Multi-systems consist of a single compact condensing plant, and several indoor units that are connected to the condensing unit via a network of piping and branches.

This is a more costly, but definitely more flexible system. This system can be integrated into a house’s home automation system, or an office’s building management system (BMS). This system is more energy efficient and eco-friendly than conventional R22 split systems, and power consumption can be minimized by utilizing the different operation options available on the controls.

How It Works

Air- conditioners and refrigerators are very similar in mechanics. Instead of cooling just the small, insulated space inside of a refrigerator, an air conditioner cools a room, or an entire house.

An air- conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor copper coil called the evaporator. The condenser releases the absorbed heat outside through the coils.

The compressor pumps refrigerant gas between the evaporator and the condenser. The compressor forces the gas into a liquid state. This liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air as it evaporates and thereby cools the home. Outside the house, the refrigerant releases its heat into the air through the condenser coil, changes back to a liquid, and is forced back into the house for more cooling.

Care and Maintenance

Dirty coils and improper refrigerant levels can cause your system to cool less efficiently than it should. An inefficient system means higher energy bills. Your compressor works harder than it should, and the life span of your unit is shortened. With good maintenance, your air conditioner should last many years. You can keep your system running efficiently with these easy tips:

Ensure the condensate pipe is draining freely.
Clean the air filter once every 3 months. This is especially important during the summer when dust and allergens are prevalent.
Keep plants at least 1 metre away to ensure adequate air circulation around the condensing unit.
Vacuum the air outlets, or grills, regularly.
Keep curtains away from return air grills.

There are other maintenance procedures that are required for your warranty to remain valid which must be carried out by the company that installs the equipment, provided they are an accredited professional service provider approved by the suppliers.

Air- Conditioning Problems

Refrigerant leaks.
If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was undercharged at installation, or it leaks. If it leaks, simply adding refrigerant is not going to work. A trained technician should fix the leak, test the repair, and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant. The performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is best when the refrigerant charge matches the manufacturer's specification exactly, and is neither undercharged nor overcharged.

You will notice that the air- conditioning system is not cooling or heating correctly, or as it used to (the cause could also be that the filter is dirty or the compressor is faulty).

Electric connection failure.
The compressor and fan contactors can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, which usually happens when a system is oversized. Electrical connections must be checked during a major service.

Repair or Replace?

If your unit is less than 5 years old, it’s probably better to repair it. If it’s over 8 years old and the repairs are major, consider replacing it. If it’s somewhere in- between, it depends on the remaining warranty period and the price of the replacement parts.

If you are replacing your air conditioner, look for a model with high efficiency and that has no ozone depleting refrigerant. A unit charged with R410A refrigerant gas is a good choice when deciding on a replacement air-conditioning unit.