FAQ

Frequently asked questions

air conditioner

  • “My air conditioner isn’t as cold as it used to be”

In most cases the coil is probably dirty – especially if it has never been cleaned. If the temperature falls down a few degrees after cleaning then the problem was simply “it needed cleaning”. If not, it may require refrigerant.

  • “My air conditioner isn’t blowing as hard as it used to”

In most cases it is probably very dirty and therefore the airflow is inhibited. Once the blower fan (drum) has been properly cleaned the airflow will generally double. The drum has up to 400 small fan blades on it – once the leading edge of each blade gets a build-up of dirt attached it simply becomes inefficient. If the drum is turning very slowly then you may need to replace a fan motor.

  • “My air conditioner is “huffing” quite badly and is annoying!”

This is generally due to very dirty filters. If you neglect to clean your filters regularly you will slowly choke your air conditioner to death!

  • “My air conditioner rattles when I turn it on!”

Generally, this is due to the blower fan (drum) being out of balance. A build-up of contaminants on the drum will cause this over time. A clean will fix the problem.

  • “My air conditioner smells when I turn it on!”

A smelly air conditioner is a “dirty air conditioner. A “proper” clean will rectify the problem. A really bad odour can be caused by small “critters crawling up the drain and not being able to get out or alternatively they have crawled into the head unit and died, which will also cause a bad smell.

Of course a service and clean will fix both of these problems.

  • “My air conditioner is blowing hot air instead of cool air!”

Firstly check to see that your remote is on the right “MODE”. If it is then you will need a qualified A/C technician to check the gas level and/or possibly the compressor.

  • “My air conditioner doesn’t switch on at all!”

If your remote is in working order (check the batteries), then you will need to switch it on manually. You will generally find the manual button up near the electrical panel. If it switches on manually then you need to have a qualified technician check the receiver board.

smoke alarms

  • “What smoke alarm should I install?”

It’s recommended that you install Photoelectric Smoke Alarm as they sense slower, smoky fire, for example an electrical fire that starts within your walls.

  • “What is required by law regarding smoke alarms?”

Smoke alarms that are installed or replaced after the 1 May 2017 must comply with Australian Standard. Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back). It is also recommended that:

  • Smoke alarms be either hardwired or
  • Powered by a non-removable 10-year battery; and
  • Ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with photoelectric type as soon as possible.

Queensland legislation now specifies that all new and renovated dwellings must install interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms; with all other homeowners – including property rentals, guesthouse and bed and breakfast operators – required to comply by 2022.

  • “What are the testing and maintenance requirements for smoke alarms?”

You are required by law to test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling at least once every 12 months. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) recommends smoke alarms are to be tested once a month. To test a smoke alarm, press the ‘test’ button. Cleaning should be done according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which is usually vacuuming. Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.

  • “Are smoke alarms compulsory in rental properties?”

Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1 January 2017. The regulations stipulate that smoke alarms are to be installed on every level of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance.

Within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the lessor/landlord must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling. During a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the tenant must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling, at least once every 12 months.

Queensland legislation now specifies that all new and renovated dwellings must install interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms; with all other homeowners – including property rentals, guesthouse and bed and breakfast operators – required to comply by 2022.

  • “How do I know if my smoke alarm is faulty?”

Your smoke detector might start beeping – a sign that you need to replace the batteries – or, a green light will go off or turn red. Your smoke detector might just sound an alarm that won’t turn off until you yank it down from the ceiling and disconnect the bad battery.

  • “Does the ‘test’ button really test the alarm?”

The test button causes a reflective material to go in front of the light emitting eiode (LED), causing light to scatter throughout the sensing chamber similarly to the way smoke particles would. This tests the unit completely, not just the battery.

SAFETY NOTE: Never test your smoke alarm with real smoke!

  • “Why Photoelectric smoke alarms?”

Research by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council indicates that photoelectric smoke alarms provide the best detection across a range of fires and are more likely to alert occupants in time to escape safely. For both flaming fires and smouldering fires, photoelectric smoke alarms are more likely to alert occupants in time to escape safely.

  • “Where should smoke alarms be positioned in my property?”

All new homes or units and substantially renovated homes or units that are subject to a building application submitted from 1 January 2017, will require the installation of hardwired, photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:

  • Be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
  • Not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • Be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. battery); and
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

  • On each storey
  • In each bedroom
  • In hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • If there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
  • If there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
  • “How can I keep my smoke alarms in good working order?”

Test your units regularly, at least once a month. Regular testing with the “Test” button helps ensure that your alarm has a reliable power source. Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.

  • “Why am I getting a false alarm when I can't see smoke?”

Photoelectric smoke alarms are less likely to false alarm. There are five main reasons that smoke alarms would activate for no apparent reason.

  1. They are near or past their ten-year life.
  2. The backup battery requires replacement.
  3. The wrong type of smoke alarm has been selected for the location.
  4. They have a build-up of dust, insects or other particulates.
  5. They are in the wrong location (e.g. too close to cooking fumes from the kitchen or steam from the shower).

More information on smoke alarms is available at www.qfes.qld.gov.au/communitysafety/smokealarms

Definitions

  • Coil

Evaporator Coil. An evaporator coil is the part of an air conditioner or heat pump that absorbs the heat from the air in your house. It is located inside the air handler or attached to the furnace

  • Refrigerant

A refrigerant is a substance or mixture, usually a fluid, used in a heat pump and refrigeration cycle. In most cycles it undergoes phase transitions from a liquid to a gas and back again

  • Blower

Air conditioner blower or fan is one of the key components that is needed as part of the air conditioning system. The function of the blower is to produce air movement to the space that is being conditioned. There are basically four types of fan that are commonly used.

  • Filter

Air conditioning filter in the house or offices is used to remove solid contaminants such as smoke, pollen, dust, grease and pollen to ensure better air quality for the occupants. These filters are usually placed on the return air of the air conditioning system. The air that contained the contaminants are trapped here.

  • Photoelectric smoke alarms v Ionisation smoke alarms

Australian homes mostly have Photoelectric and Ionisation smoke alarms both types meet the required Australian Standard AS3786. However, photoelectric smoke alarms are the only type recommended by Australian Fire Authorities, Fire Brigades and the International Association of Fire Fighters because they detect visible particles of combustion.

Photoelectric smoke alarms often referred to being able to ‘see smoke’ and are there more effective at quickly alerting you and your family have to get to safety, while Ionisation Smoke Alarms ‘smell’ the smoke from burning flames, they are slower to respond to smouldering fires, which may lead to visibility and breathing difficulties when attempting to escape a house fire.

  • Housing

The smoke alarm housing consists of a base and cover made by an injection moulding process in which powdered polyvinylchloride or poly-styrene plastic and moulding pigments are mixed, heated, forced into a mould under pressure and then cooled.

  • Sensing chamber

the sensing chamber of a Photoelectric smoke alarm consists of a light emitting diode and a light sensitive sensor which detects smoke particles that scatters the light beam and sets off the alarm.