Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dodgy heat pump wiring threatens thousands of homes - 3 News

Many of you might have seen the segment last night on 3 News regarding the potential risks associated with sub standard installation of heat pumps in New Zealand homes.

If you didn't see it then you can watch the clip directly from the 3 News website here.

According to the 3 News story:
"Around 140,000 heat pumps were installed in New Zealand homes last year, and with subsidies offered, it is likely their popularity will continue to grow. But also increasing is the industry's concern about the amount of dodgy installation work turning up"
This concern is based on the belief that as many as 10% (14,000) of heat pump installations in the last year don't comply with regulations. The problem is mainly to do with attaching the heat pump wiring to existing wiring with no checking to see how safe or stable that wiring is.

The potential for a fire or loss of life as a result of this is real and if that is not enough there is the added risk that your insurance policy will not cover this if it is voided as a result of uncertified installation.
"If it's not installed properly it could cause a fire, it may malfunction, it could electrocute," says electrical inspector Garry House. "The danger is people are tagging on to existing wiring - the condition of that old wiring is unknown."
Here at Air Conditioning Services Limited we have already received a few calls from our own customers who saw this on 3 News last night and want to know about the heat pump installations carried out by us. It didn't take long to ease their concerns by telling them that we are one of a small number of professional and compliant suppliers and installers of Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps in New Zealand. We are members of RACCA (Refrigeration Air Conditioning Companies Association) and SiteSafe and all our contractors are aware of and comply with local and national policies and regulations.

I do hope the government steps in on this and takes up the offer to run checks on all these homes to ensure installations are done properly and I hope this is done before someone is seriously hurt.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Save Energy this Summer with an Air Conditioning Heat Pump

Heat pumps do a great job of keeping the home warm in the winter, but what about keeping things cool? Simply flick the switch and you have an air conditioning system that is cost and energy efficient, versatile, ascetically non offensive and quiet.

A heat pump will remove hot air and humidity from your home leaving you with a healthier environment and a great temperature. Heat pumps work like a fridge in the way that they recycle warm air and regulate the temperature to a desirable range.

You can save energy this summer by giving your heat pump a helping hand;

  • Keep your heat pump filters clean and clear to maximize energy output
  • Never put things in front of your heat pump, this restricts the air flow and reduces the effect of cooling
  • Ensure you give your heat pump plenty of time to do its job, cooling gradually rather than rapidly will save energy use
  • Use the timer on your heat pump to allow for gradual cooling
  • When using your heat pump keep windows and doors closed

All of these tips will ensure your heat pump is working at its best and saving you money this summer.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Energy Saving Advice

Most air conditioning systems use a lot more power than is necessary. This is usually easily remedied by improved maintenance or adjustments to the operation or design of the system.

Here are some ways you can reduce energy use, improve your air conditioning’s efficiency and reduce costs. These are, in most cases, simple and inexpensive to implement.

1. Time-clock Adjustments

Most air conditioners are regulated by a timing device which automatically controls operating hours. Although convenient, this feature is often the main cause of energy wastage; starting up too early or left running after the family has left home.

Start-up times can be easily adjusted to suit variable air conditioning requirements as follows:

a. Set start-up and shut-down times relative to requirements.
b. Regulate settings to account for daylight saving and seasonal changes.
c. Avoid unnecessary operations, eg. After business hours, on weekends or on public holidays.

2. Improved Maintenance Systems

Maximise the efficiency of your air conditioning system to use the least amount of energy. Blocked filters and dirty coils or fans mean your system works harder to achieve the same result.
Ensuring an accurate refrigerant charge is important, (ie. under-charge or overcharge can have a negative effect on system performance, efficiency and energy use.)

Get the most from your air conditioning equipment by having a planned maintenance routine. Energy savings alone should more than pay for the cost of maintenance.

3. Temperature Control

Larger sites sometimes require individually controlled zones in conjunction with location. For instance, a north-facing zone will need will need additional cooling during summer. Correct thermostat setting in relation to location is critical for optimum performance and efficiency of your air conditioning system.

4. Balanced Air Distribution

Incorrectly balanced air systems typically cause hot and cold spots, uncomfortable draughts and annoying whistling air noises.
These make not only for an uncomfortable environment, but also waste energy as the system struggles to compensate – often by switching on and off more often than is necessary or alternating between heating and cooling as it reacts violently to the temperature swings.

5. Fresh Air is Best

A certain amount of fresh air needs to be introduced in every workplace for safety and comfort. Once again it is a question of balance. Hot and humid outside air needs to be conditioned, while cool outside air can be used effectively to cool or pre-cool a premises; for example after a hot weekend. This relatively simple adjustment could make a significant difference to energy consumption and operating costs.

Choosing an Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Provider

Here are a few things to consider when choosing the most appropriate company for your air conditioning needs:

Contractor or Service Provider?

You can generally expect a contractor to be better at installations and a service provider to be better at providing an on-going service. Both types of companies have an important role to play, depending on your requirements.

Customer Service Record

Longevity alone does not guarantee good service; some companies have been around a long time but take their clients for granted, so try to ascertain whether they are progressive and client focused. However, if a company has been trading successfully for some time they are probably doing something right and are likely to be around for some time yet.

Geographical Coverage

Some smaller companies are reluctant to travel far, concentrating on serving their local area. Service providers usually travel throughout the wider metropolitan area and the location of their head office can be irrelevant.
If you own or manage several properties throughout the country, a service provider with interstate branches may suit you.

Response Time

Some service providers (and contractors) promise good response times but let their clients down when it comes to actually showing up on time. It is difficult to judge how well a service provider will respond, but you could contact one of their existing clients, if possible, or just try them.

Choose a Specialist

For expertise and competence, choose a specialist. Service technicians possess very different skills to installers (the reverse also applies). A company specialising in this area employs technicians who perform many day-to-day repairs, so become very skilled at it.


Be careful of selecting on the basis of hourly rate alone; if the service provider is not competent, the job may take longer and cost you more. Good service with competent, well-trained employees inevitably costs a little more, but if you feel you are being overcharged or are not happy with the workmanship you should look elsewhere.

Licenses, Insurances and OSH

Dealing with a fully licensed and insured company provides you with peace of mind and is an indication of its competence. The company should also have all Occupational Safety and Health procedures in place to ensure a safe working environment for all.