Maintenance: Air Conditioners

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In this chapter we look at air conditioners, shared and owner, along with common problems faced by unit groups. We also look at preventative maintenance.

Legislation - Strata Titles Act

Click on Legislation above, to view strata title legislation and hints.

Legislation - Community Titles Act

Click on Legislation above, to view community title legislation and hints.


Types

Our thanks to www.choice.com.au for some of the following text.

Air conditioner Types

Wall/window model: A wall/window model is usually installed in a window or external wall, and can cool rooms and open-plan areas of up to 50 square metres. While smaller units can be plugged into a normal power point, larger ones may require additional wiring. Prices range from about $500 to $3500.

A split-system air conditioner: A split-system air conditioner consists of a compressor unit that's installed outside, and one or more indoor air outlets. They're usually used to cool one or more rooms, or an open-plan area, of up to 60 square metres. They cost around $1200 to $5000.

Ducted system: A ducted system is usually installed in the roof or outside on the ground, and ducted to air outlets throughout the house. Costs start from $5000.

* Inverter technology: With conventional air conditioners, the compressor is either on (working to 100% capacity) or off. Inverters can vary the compressor speed and maintain the set temperature within a narrow range. Manufacturers claim inverter models are more efficient and reduce running costs.

* Cooling-only or reverse cycle: Reverse-cycle models only cost a bit more than cooling-only models, but you can also use them for heating in winter. While the purchase and installation costs can be high, reverse-cycle air conditioners are among the cheapest forms of heating to run. They cause less carbon dioxide to be produced in power plants burning fossil fuel than other kinds of electric heater.

For more information go to wikipedia.org

 

Evaporative coolers: If you live in a hot and dry climate, an evaporative cooler can be a cheaper alternative to an air conditioner.

Evaporative air coolers draw the hot air over a water reservoir. The water evaporates, absorbing heat from the air. The cooler, moist air is then blown into the room.
Evaporative cooling only works well in dry inland climates.

For more information go to wikipedia.org

Hint

Cover the cooler in the cold weather to extend the life of the equipment and help prevent drafts.


Best Practice

Before using each summer replace the water in the air conditioner sump and wash down the pads. See Tools

 

Common problems

Some owners/residents install air conditioners improperly. The picture below in an example.

The air conditioner below is hanging precariously from the unit window. It has an improvised drain made of old garden hose.

The following professional installation uses extensive duct work on the exterior of the building and has the compressor mounted on common property.

The photograph below shows a properly plumbed drainage system for air conditioners. The pipe work is clipped to the brickwork and drains into the nearby pipe work.

The photograph below shows a poorly plumbed drainage system for an evaporative air conditioner mounted on the roof.

The photograph below shows a compressor installed on the side of the common property driveway. In this case a vehicle has clipped the equipment. If a corporation grants approval for such an installation on common property it needs to take account of the risks to residents and equipment.

Hint

The installation of timber or steel bollards would protect the compressor.


The photograph below shows a compressor installed on the common property path. In this case residents and visitors using the path are at risk of tripping over the equipment, especially in the dark. If a corporation grants approval for such an installation on common property it needs to take account of the risks to residents and equipment. The exclusive use of common property requires a Unanimous Resolution.

Best Practice

Strata Corporations: We strongly suggest that all strata corporations develop policies that deal with the installation of air conditioners.The exclusive use of common property requires a Unanimous Resolution.

Community Corporations - Strata Divisions: We strongly suggest that all lot owners in strata divisions develop policies that deal with the installation of air conditioners.The exclusive use of common property requires a Unanimous Resolution.

For Community Titled groups lot by lot please refer to your By Laws. If they are silent on air conditioners or issues on the appearance of the lot owners buildings, then owners can proceed without approval.


Tools

The following may assist in the maintenance of air conditioners at your group.

Evaporative - servicing


Click on picture for printable version