General Aircon Cleaning Service vs Chemical Wash Service
Confused between different types of aircon cleaning service? Singapore’s aircon cleaning service companies may offers many different types of cleaning services. However, if a company adopt effective best practice procedures with no hidden charges, there’s only 2 basic types of cleaning. These two types of cleaning are general aircon cleaning service and chemical wash service. (Note that some may call chemical wash service as chemical overhaul. Both should actually be referring to the same type of service. However, some vendor cut short some procedures and differentiate between chemical wash and chemical overhaul.)
Many users of air conditioners could not tell the difference between a general aircon service versus a chemical cleaning. As a result, some air conditioners requires a chemical wash service but the users wanted to pay a lower pricing and opt for general aircon cleaning service. Choosing a wrong service may not be an effective maintenance for the air con. On the other hand, some users wanted to perform a chemical wash although their air conditioners is still clean and a general cleaning is sufficient and good enough. This article illustrate some basic differences between a general aircon cleaning service and chemical wash service. The purpose of this article is to help air con users better differentiate and determine when to apply each of these preventive maintenance on their air conditioner.
The differences between general aircon cleaning service and chemical wash service include but are not limited to the following:
General Aircon Cleaning Service
Chemical Wash Aircon Cleaning Service
(also known as Chemical Overhaul)
Required either every one to three months depending on the extent of usage and the environment.
Most residential users perform this every 3 to 4 months.
Most commercial user will perform this monthly or once every 2 months. This is because commercial aircon are subject to higher usage compared to residential air con.
Required either half yearly or yearly depending on the extent of usage and the environment.
Most residential users perform this every once to twice a year.
Commercial users from different industries has different requirements in performing chemical wash. For example, hospitals, clinics and restaurants will perform chemical wash more regularly compared to office units.
Requires lesser technical knowledge than chemical wash.
No need to pump down and pump up refrigerant (air coolant).
No need to know how to dismantled and reassemble the entire fan coil.
Requires more technical knowledge than aircon servicing.
Need to pump down and pump up refrigerant (air coolant).
Need to know how to remove the fan coil from the wall or ceiling and dismantling and reassembling the whole unit. Therefore require knowledge and experience on aircon installation.
Easy to perform and takes 2 aircon technicians 20 to 30 minutes.
More difficult than aircon servicing. Takes 2 aircon technicians 45 minutes to an hour.
Not the entire fan coil is not removed from the wall.
Normally, only parts such as fan coil cover, air filter, air blower, drainage tray etc are removed for cleaning offsite.
Entire fan coil should be removed for dismantling and cleaning offsite.
This is the best practice procedure to perform a proper full scope and thorough chemical cleaning.
Some fancoil components are cleaned onsite and some offsite.
Use brush, cleaning cloth and vacuum to clean onsite parts that are not detached.
Use brush and water to clean detached parts offsite.
In a proper chemical wash, entire fan coil components should be removed for cleaned offsite.
Use brush, chemical solution and water for cleaning.
Onsite: Include cleaning evaporating coil, its surrounding areas and drainage pipe.
Offsite: Include cleaning air blower, drainage tray, fan coil cover and air filter.
Onsite: No parts left onsite as the entire fan coil is remove for offsite cleaning.
Offsite : Include cleaning off all the washable parts in the fan coil.
Normally only water is used for offsite cleaning.
Water is more neutral compared to acid or akaline solution.
Use either acidic or akaline based cleaners for offsite cleaning.
Normally chemical reaction between the cleaner and the metal surface of the evaporator coil can cause metal loss unless the chemicals are thoroughly rinse off in a timely manner to prevent coil damage.
Note that some aircon vendors may use short cut cleaning in their standard aircon servicing. They may not detach the air blower and drainage tray for offsite cleaning.
The air blower is a hidden part. Onsite aircon cleaning service on the blower would not be effective at all. You need to detached it for a proper aircon cleaning service.
removing the aircon blower hidden behind cooling coil
Improper cleaning practices may damage the fan coil. In fact, it is very difficult or impossible to rinse away all the chemicals onsite.
Refer to evaporator coil and aircon blower below. Dust and debris can be deeply hidden within these two key components. You can’t possibly do a proper chemical aircon cleaning service onsite.
components dismantled for aircon chemical wash
Note: Click on the picture for a bigger image.
Cleans only certain reachable parts and areas of the fan coil
Cleans all the parts in the fan coil
Much cheaper compared to chemical wash service
Easily around 5 to 6 times more expensive than general aircon cleaning service.
Not effective in resolving many aircon problems caused by extremely dirty fan coil (i.e. fan coil that is clogged with dirt, dust and grime).
Can resolve many aircon problems . Examples include aircon not cold, foul smell from aircon, aircon noisy, water leaking, ice forming on evaporator coil or condenser etc. This is provided there isn’t any faulty part in your air conditioning unit.
Video showing Proper General Aircon Cleaning Service
Video showing Proper Chemical Cleaning Service
Important Points to take note in Aircon Cleaning Service
Do note that a good preventive maintenance for air conditioners require both general aircon cleaning service and chemical wash service. Note that although chemical cleaning can make the air conditioners very clean, however, it is more costly and time consuming. Too much chemical cleaning can also be damaging for the air conditioners because most effective chemical solution can result in some metal loss. Therefore, it is recommended to combine both types of preventive maintenance in an effective preventive maintenance for your air conditioning system.
(Note that chemical solution which do not cause loss of metal are available, however such solution are normally less effective, require more quantity to work and very much more costly. Therefore, most vendor seldom recommend the use of such solution.)
CiTiCool’s Aircon Cleaning Service
Whether it is general aircon cleaning service or chemical wash service, CiTiCool uses best practice procedures only. Most importantly, we perform our job based on customers’ expectation of what is as an effective cleaning. Unlike some companies, we do not offer a list of different types of general aircon cleaning service or chemical cleaning service. We only have one type of general aircon cleaning service and one type of chemical wash service. In addition, if your aircon is still clean, we will never recommend chemical cleaning to you. On the other hand, if you aircon needs chemical treatment, we will advise you accordingly.
Find out more about CiTiCool and its Aircon Cleaning Service by clicking on the links below.
Is aircon leaking water a serious aircon problem ?
Aircon leaking water (Indoor Unit)
If you are having a concern over aircon leaking water in your indoor unit, actually, it may or may not be a problem of concern. For example, you may spot some water around the evaporator coil of the air conditioner (“AC”) unit. There is no need to panic as this is actually due to condensation of the evaporator coil and this is quite normal. Sometimes, you may even spot a small pool of water. Actually, there is no need to be too worried also.
However, you need to have some concern if you spotted an abnormally big amount of water leaking from the fan coil. This is really an aircon leaking water problem. However, this problem can be solved easily with the help of an aircon technician. Normally, its quite easy to solve the problem. Let’s explore on where the problem lies so that you can understand the extent and type of work required to solve the problem.
What causes aircon leaking water problem?
Possibilities for aircon leaking water include but are not limited to:
drainage pipe is dirty or blocked;
drainage pipe not properly installed ; or
refrigerant level is too low
I: Drainage pipe is dirty or blocked
One very common reason resulting in the problem of aircon leaking water is due to blockage in the drainage pipe. Whether you use the air conditioner frequently or not, there will be dust, dirt or debris accumulated inside the drainage pipe over time. In fact, the higher the usage of your air con, the faster dust, debris and even mould will accumulate in the drainage pipe. In addition, over time, the pipe may become rusty and cracks may form also. This is especially so if your air con is a very old system. Therefore, if you did not service your air con regularly, the accumulation of all kinds of debris in the drainage pipe will start to cause blockage. This blockage in your drainage pipe is definitely contributing to your aircon leaking water.
II: drainage pipe not properly installed
If your air conditioning system is very new yet it starts to have water leaking problem, one of the likely cause is due to improper installation of the drainage pipe. Some possible installation problems include but are not limited to:
the drainage pipe was not installed with a correct gradient
the drainage pipe was not connected correctly
the drainage pan was not fitted in correctly
III: Refrigerant Level is low
When the refrigerant level in your air conditioning system is too low, it will result in pressure which can cause the evaporator coil to freeze over. When the ice starts to melt, water will flow into the drainage pan. An excessive amount of water flowing into the drainage pan will cause an overflow. This will result in your aircon leaking water.
What to do if you have aircon leaking water problem?
Once you identify your aircon leaking water, the best thing to do is to switch it off. Whenever there is water around an electrical item, there is hazard. It is also better to turn off the air conditioner. Otherwise, the aircon leaking water problem can accelerate in more problems causing further damages to your air conditioning system. Therefore, it is advisable to switch it off and stop using the air conditioner until the problem is resolved.
Engaging professional help to solve your aircon leaking water problem
If your air conditioner (AC) system is newly installed, then it is very likely that the AC leaking water is a result of poor AC installation. You should contact your AC supplier to do the troubleshooting since your AC should be still under warranty.
If you have been using your aircon for some time and have not been servicing it. It is likely that your AC leaks water due to drainage pipe blockage. The solution is either to perform a general aircon servicing or a chemical wash (also known as chemical overhaul) to eradicate the problem. Which service to perform really depends on the extent of the blockages. If you are not sure which is a better solution, you should engage a professional opinion.
In fact, there are certain risks involved if you try to solve the aircon leaking water problem by yourself. Dealing with water in an electrical appliances actually involve danger, especially for a layman. Do contact CitiCool if you need help. We are just one phone call away. Sometimes we are able to assess the likely causes and extent of the problem if you are able to provide us the answer to a few relevant questions. Sometime, we may need to go onsite to perform troubleshooting before giving you the right advise. Just feel free to give us a call.
How to prevent aircon leaking water problem?
Prevention is always better then cure. The following are some useful tips on how to maintain your aircon to prevent it from leaking water:
Clean or change the air filter regularly. This can help to remove the dirt that may be blown into your drainage pipe.
Service and maintain the cleanliness of drainage pipe regularly to prevent blockage
Check that the refrigerant level is appropriate and not too low.
Further prevention also include:
Having an additional drainage pan to stall excessive water flowing from the existing drainage pan.
Having an additional drainage pipe (secondary piping) installed for usage in the event the existing one becomes clogged.
Before becoming a company with bizsafe level 5 (bizstar)
CitiCool’s Commitment to Workplace Health & Safety Practices
Aircon servicing and installation work involve a certain extent of occupational hazards for our aircon technicians. Since CitiCool started its business, workplace health and safety is one area which receives high priority in CitiCool’s daily operation. This is part of our responsibility in caring for employees’ health and safety. In fact, this commitment is clearly stated in CitiCool’s core values.
As a matter of fact, even before embarking on OHSAS 180001, CitiCool already had its own set of bilingual safe work procedures. In addition, our staff attended formal trainings on safe work procedures, risk assessment and risk management. However, like many local air conditioning companies, CitiCool’s staff comprises of both local and foreign workers. For example, we have workers from Malaysia, China and India. Our aircon technicians from India are mostly diploma holders, so they can understand English. On the other hand, most Chinese aircon technicians whether locally or from our nearby countries are well-versed in Chinese but are poor in English. Therefore, CitiCool sees the need to provide its workplace with safety documents and training contents in both English and Chinese Language. This will help all the staff in the company understand our training better.
Why become a company with bizsafe level 5 (bizstar)?
Why do we go for Bizsafe Level 5 (bizstar) instead of just Bizsafe Level 3?
If you do an online search, most aircon servicing companies in Singapore either have no bizsafe certification or have only achieved a bizsafe level 3 certification. This is quite normal because higher bizsafe rating means a higher cost involved. Given the high operating cost in Singapore, CitiCool has the same concern. However, in CitiCool, we see things differently. Aircon servicing and installation involve a number of occupational risk and hazards. Thus, it is important for us to establish and maintain a high standard workplace health and safety policy and procedure. As the saying goes, ‘total quality management means doing things right at the first time’. We wanted to do this right at the first time. When we got it right, we could then do the proper and right maintenance. Moreover, since CitiCool already had most of the basic documentations and practices in place, we believed that getting a bizstar was just a matter of some touching up on our workplace health and safety documentations and practices.
To be honest, getting a bizsafe level 3 or level 5 certification from WSHC was not our main concern. Our main concern was our workplace health and safety procedures must be right and up to standard. Going for a higher rating helped us to ensure that we had all the right documentation and practices in place. At the end of the day, the most important thing is our effort in maintaining the standard. We should work on the essence instead of just focusing on the certification. Although having a bizsafe level 3 was sufficient to maintain our business operation, we opted for bizsafe level 5 right from the start.
Based on WSHC’s requirement, to obtain a Bizstar certification, you will need at least a SS506 Certification issued by SAC accredited certification bodies or a BS OHSAS 18001 or other equivalent certification. This certification must also be accompanied by a Risk Managment Implementation Audit Report issued by MOM Approved WSH Auditor. CitiCool chose to go for international standard for a start. Our management wanted to follow an internationally recognized certification from the start. This will also help to compliment our company’s effort in maintaining a high standard on workers’ health and safety. That is why we chose to go for BS 18001 instead of SS 506. However, in the future we may choose to maintain our bizstar via SS 506 accreditation if we want to have the best of both accreditation induced in our bizsafe.
Note: SS 506 is a Singapore Standard and SAC stands for Singapore Accredition Council. BS OHSAS is an internationally applied Bristish Standard fo occupational health and safety management systems.
Essence of a company with Bizsafe Level 5 (bizstar) rating
To get an OHSAS or bizsafe level 5 certification is not a difficult task for most companies if the basic requirements are met. However, is this sufficient? In Citicool, we believe in the essence and not just the documentation or certification alone. We are always mindful in giving due emphasis on our workers’ welfare which is well stated in our company’s core values under commitment and open-mindedness, ‘Commitment in caring for employees’ health and safety and commitment in …….shall be duly emphasized ‘ and ‘Open-mindedness …includes embracing people from diverse background and respecting each other regardless of age, language, culture, religion and ethnic background’.
CitiCool’s founder was an aircon technician who fully understands the hazards relating to aircon servicing and installation which involves handling of chemicals and working at height daily. Allowing our workers to have sufficient rest has always been an important element to keep them healthy and safe daily. Some common practices to ensure that CitiCools workers’ welfare are well taken care of include but are not limited to:
Planning its daily work schedule in such a manner that workers have reasonable and sufficient time to complete their work
Limiting overtime work as workers need enough rest for their daily work.
Allowing workers who stay far away from the company to drive the company’s vehicle home if they finish their work late due to unforseen circumstances.
Dismissing all workers from work early if all of them are very efficient and have completed their work earlier. This is normally the case during the low season for example, immediately after Chinese New Year, during the hungry ghost festival month or sometime rainy season.
Providing a rest area where our workers can rest and interact with each other after coming back to CitiCool’s office from customers’ site. From time to time, the company also provide different types of delicious snacks such as chocolates, biscuits, potato chips, jelly and drinks for the workers to delight themselves in while relaxing at the rest area after a day’s work.
Organizing free overseas trip for its workers and their family members (including spouse and children). The company intention is to provide a good environment for all workers to socialize and interact with each other regardless of their diverse background. This is in keeping with CitiCool’s core value on “embracing open-mindedness”. Most workers leave their families in their home country to work in CitiCool and it is important for them to feel that it is worthwhile for them to work in CitiCool and work in Singapore.
Besides the above, CitiCool also welcome the parents, spouse or children of foreign workers who come from far away countries to visit them in Singapore to observe their working environment. Some of our Indian and Chinese workers who have worked in the company for a long time had their family members fly to Singapore for a visit. The company is always glad to offer help or even free tickets to some places of interest to these family members. In fact, CitiCool also encourage its foreign workers to fly home yearly during the Chinese New Year long holiday to spend time with their family members.
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What is normally done in a general aircon cleaning service of a fan coil?
Performing a thorough generalaircon cleaningrequires cleaning of the fan coil cover or panel, air filter, evaporator coil, drainage tray, condensation tray, blower fan and blower wheels. Normally, the vendor will also help to lubricate motor parts and tighten electrical contact if required. To finish up the job, the air con technician will also check serviceability of moving parts, the electrical components and the refrigerant level and test blower air flow level. Usually, an experience air con technician will be able to check the adequacy of the refrigerant level just by using their hand to feel the airflow. The final step is to test and commission the fan coil. The following page provides a detail breakdown of all the preventive measures taken in a general aircon service of fan coil.
I seldom use my air conditioner. Do I need to perform regular aircon service?
Air conditioner that are used less often will still accumulate dust. You will still need to service it although you may not need to service it as often compared to one that is used regularly.
I perform general aircon service on my air conditioner regularly. Does it mean I don’t need to do any chemical wash?
Most of us sweep or vacuum our house frequently but will perform a thorough spring cleaning annually. A preventive maintenance for the air con is very similar. We need to perform general service for the air con regularly and perform a spring cleaning for the air con at least once a year through a chemical cleaning.
In a general aircon service, cleaning of key components such as the evaporator coil and air blower is done onsite where the fan coil is mounted . Cleaning are generally performed on those surfaces where your brush or vacuum can reach. However, the brush and vacuum are unable to reach out to certain deep areas and inner parts of the fan coil or condenser, for example the deeper fins of the evaporator coil.
Overtime, more and more dust and grime will accumulate on those areas where the brush and vacuum is unable to reach and the air con will be polluted with debris. These unwanted contaminants will affect air transfer within the air con system and contribute to many different types of common air con problems such as water leaking, air con not cold, air con smelly etc. If you read through our article on air con repair in http://citicoolaircon.com/aircon-repair, you will notice that chemical cleaning is the solution to many common air con problems.
To reach out to those areas not included in a general aircon service , you will need to remove the entire fan coil from the wall and dismantle all the parts piece by piece for thorough cleaning with chemical solution. Chemical solution can easily penetrates and reach out to deeper areas and help remove stubborn dust and grime easily within minutes or seconds. After treating each washable parts with chemical, you will also need to spray running water on the parts to rinse away all the chemical and debris. This process of performing chemical wash on your air con is very tedious and is definitely much more costly compared to a general aircon service. However, it is a required preventive maintenance for your air con to operate efficiently.
As chemical wash is a very important preventive maintenance for your air con system, our web site has provided many useful educational video and articles to help customers gain a better understanding on the importance and best practice procedure relating to chemical wash service. Please click on the following link for more information relating to chemical wash. http://citicoolaircon.com/chemical-wash
How often should I perform a general aircon service for my fan coil?
The answer to this questions depends on many factors including but not limited to:
• sensitivity of the air con users
• number of users
• how frequent do you use the air con
• the environment where the air con is installed etc
It is recommended that homeowners perform a normal or general service for their air conditioners at least every 3 to 4 months as a preventive maintenance for their air conditioners to keep the air conditioners efficient and effective in delivering clean and cool air.
For the commercial users, the frequency of servicing really varies and very much depends on the environment and the extent of usage. Take for example, most restaurants would need to service their aircon monthly to prevent it from breaking down due to dust and grime clogging the indoor fan coil, especially if the aircon is in the kitchen. Clinics and hospital will normally service their fan coil monthly as they need to maintain clean air quality for their patients. Basically, those air conditioners that are serviced more regularly tend to be more efficient in producing clean and cool air and consume lesser energy and have a longer life span.
Is it ok to use some chemical solution to clean the fan coil during a general aircon service?
If you are cleaning the fan coil yourself and wants to use chemical solution on the parts. You should do the chemical cleaning of the dismantled parts offsite. Instead of using chemical solution, you can use normal detergents or just water to rinse the parts which is what the vendors will do in an a general aircon service.
You should avoid applying chemical solution on the fan coil onsite because it is difficult to remove the chemical thoroughly unless you remove and dismantle the whole fan coil for rinsing with water. Note that most chemical solution are either acidic or akaline based and chemical residue left on your fan coil can damage or even corrode the metals of the key components of your fan coil.
What is the difference between general aircon service and chemical cleaning service?
In general aircon servicing, only certain parts are dismantled for cleaning and rinsing with water. However in chemical wash service, all the parts in the fan coil should be dismantled for chemical cleaning. More details on this topic can be found on the following page:
General Aircon Servicing vs Chemical Wash Servicing
What are some price considerations and precaution to take when sourcing for a vendor to perform general aircon service?
Do some manual calculation on what is a reasonable price to pay for a general service. Vendors’ key costing include vehicle, petrol or diesel and labour cost. One should beware of pricing that are unreasonably too low. All vendors are out there to make a profit. If the pricing is way below a reasonable market price, beware of such vendors. Check whether they cover all the important steps mentioned in Question 1. Vendors may eliminate some of the steps in order to charge a lower price to attract customers. Others may start recommending additional unnecessary services during their visit.
If you are not sure whether the vendor’s recommendation is genuine, you should pick up the phone and call a few other vendors to get a second opinion. Otherwise do some research and read up more to understand how air conditioner works. If your air conditioner has some problems, we highly recommend that you browse throw the following pages to check for possible causes and solutions and to clear any doubts that you may have. The following post are some highly recommended articles for your reading: what-you-need-to-know-about-aircon-gas-top-up tips on aircon problems and solution
Aircon Service Specialist/Technician dismantling aircon parts for cleaning
Regular aircon service is important for the efficiency of your air conditioner