No it can not, well not alone anyway. The common cold is actually a virus not a reaction to temperature (although the virus itself does favor a cold environment). Air conditioning units alone cannot give you a cold. However, if your air conditioning is not properly maintained and cleaned then bacteria, fungi and other airborne nasties can accumulate, this is a bad thing. Cleanliness is next to godliness as they say and dirty appliances of any shape or form can make you sick. There is a small caveat here, air conditioning can give you dry eyes,skin and a scratchy throat if the unit is too large for the room or is set too low, this is this because the unit works too well and is starting to “condition” you as well as the air. This is why you should always consult a professional air conditioning engineer. You wouldn’t let your plumber perform dental surgery the same way you wouldn’t ask you dentist to fix a leaky tap, each to their own.

No, it is very much the opposite of that. Having your air conditioning regularly serviced not only stops the build up of harmful and foul smelling bacteria and fungi but also keeps it in full working order. The dirtier the system is, the harder it has to work, the shorter its lifespan. There is more than just the cleanliness of the system to consider as well, it is very common for the exterior unit to placed on the roof of a villa, a place where people don’t often go. This means the build up of rust often goes unnoticed until it is far too late to fix. There is also the condensate pump to consider (if you have one) or the drain. Both need some attention as the sun can play havoc with plastic tubing, causing it to errode and pumps need to be regularly cleaned lest they get blocked and cease function. See our article on air conditioning maintenance for more information. Necessary maintenance prevents unnecessary problems.

I have a feeling I’m going to be saying this a lot while doing these articles and I don’t mean to be negative but no, not really. This is a common misconception, air conditioning is in fact the most cost effective way to heat and cool your property. Let’s look at heating, air conditioning is vastly more efficient than electric heaters. A quick google search turns up quite a few electric heaters and though most don’t actually list the power consumption the general consensus is about 1:1 meaning for every 1kW of power you put in you get roughly 1kW of power out (of course the hotter something gets the higher the electrical resistance there is so the more power it consumes but lets gloss over that because it gets very complex). So this 1:1 sounds like a good deal, nothing is being wasted hurray! Hold just a minute though, let’s take a look at air conditioning for a moment. A 2kW Daikin unit will consume (in heating) 0.5kW (half that of an electric heater) and will put out 2.2kW of heating. That means for every 1kW you put in you’ll get 4kW out, now that sounds like a better deal to me, cheaper to run and you get more bang for your buck.

Well yes and no, let me explain. Air conditioning units as we know (or should do if you read the previous article) consume less than they put out, however, this doesn’t mean you can run them at 110% and expect them to still be saving you money. Machines are only as smart as the people using them, set your air conditioning to a reasonable temperature and you wallet will be happy. All units can be set down to below 20°c but they shouldn’t be, not only is this not a comfortable temperature to be at in the home but the unit will have to work hard to get the room that cold and keep it there. Somewhere in the region of 21-23°c is comfortable, will feel cool and is obtainable. If you’re wondering why the unit can be set that low if you’re not supposed to set it that low then I applaud your question, but it is for the same reason the speedo in your car goes up to 220 kph, you should never go that fast but it is nice to think that you could. Also if you do need to cool or heat a room quickly some units have a “Powerful” mode, this forces the unit to run at 100% for around twenty minutes, quickly dropping or raising the temperature of the room, after which the unit drops back into normal operation and then just has to maintain the temperature, which is much easier to do.

Yet again no, as stated in an earlier article if the air conditioning unit is too large it can lead to an uncomfortable feeling in the room as the air becomes very dry. If the unit is too small then it simply won’t cool the room and will run constantly in vain (at your expense). This is why it is important to obtain a quote from a professional, it allows the engineer to properly size the unit for your needs. It may sound tempting to just get the biggest unit you can because you think it will cool the room quicker and work better, but sadly it doesn’t work that way. Not only do you need the right tool for the job, you need the right size tool for the job.

I can understand the logic behind this one but yet again it’s not true! Air conditioning is meant to be used that is why someone built it rather than just dreamed about how nice it would be. There are moving parts, gases and oils within the system, they need to be worked out every now and then lest they seize or congeal (horrible word). Even if it is just for a few minutes to get everything moving again it is a good idea to just spin up the unit, like you would a car that you don’t use that often. This also has the benefit of letting you know if the unit isn’t working before you really need it, there’s nothing worse than waiting until the height of summer before turning your air conditioning unit on only to discover it isn’t working as it should be.

In order for your air conditioning to work properly it will require two things (leaving pipes and cables out of the equation for now) air in and air out, it cannot move air unless it is got some air to move. This means if you install the unit in a tight space the amount of air moved will be severely limited. If the inlet is blocked then the unit won’t be able to pull enough air across the coil, meaning all that lovely coolness will stay on the coil, quickly becoming less lovely coldness then even less lovely ice. By the same token if the air outlet is blocked (by a wall, a supporting beam, etc) then the air will simply bounce back into the unit and cool it down, causing the unit to believe it has done its job and cooled the room and will then switch off only to turn back on again in a few minutes when it realizes somehow the room has heated up again and the cycle repeats.

We’ve already touched on this subject in an earlier article where we pointed out that air conditioning was in fact a very efficient way to cool and heat your home, putting out roughly 4kW of heating for every 1kW put into the system (as opposed to the 1:1 of traditional heaters). There is more to it though, air conditioning units can also dehumidify a room helping with any damp problems you may have. There is also a fan only option if you just want to move some air around without heating or cooling. Try not to think of air conditioning as a cooling system, think of it more as climate control a way to keep the room in which its installed as comfortable as possible for you.

Basically in the short term, yes, cheap and cheerful air conditioning units do exist and yes they are a viable option. However (there is always an however in these matters) it doesn't actually make sense to go the cheap and cheerful route. The unit itself might cost you a few hundred euros let's say 300€ as a nice round figure, in a few years the unit will be past its best and will need replacing, providing it hasn't broken before then and you've had to shell out for new parts (which will be about half the price of the unit depending what they are, if they're available at all). Soon you’ve bought the unit several times, paid for installation each time and racked up what it would have cost you to get a non-cheap and cheerful unit, which if you’d had it maintained would still be working like it was new. This doesn’t take into consideration the running costs either which are much higher with these cheaper systems. There is also the argument of buying something cheap and then getting something “proper” later down the line, but all you’re doing is adding 300€ onto the cost of the already more costly option, and you have to have the same installation done twice. So yes you can get “Cheap and Cheerful” units, but they don’t stay cheap for long and this will remove any cheerful feelings you may have had.

We’ve already established that air conditioning is in fact a most efficient way to heat and cool a room, using less power and thus lowering your carbon footprint. So how then is it bad for the environment? “Ah they use greenhouse gases!” comes the cry, and yes, yes they do. The refrigeration gases within air conditioning units and fridges are indeed bad for the environment and if these gases got into the atmosphere they would do nasty things, heat up the planet and contribute to problem of climate change. This is why it’s a good thing that air conditioning units are a sealed system, the gas never leaves the unit, it just goes around and around. Should the gas leak then yes this is very bad and another reason why you should only have professionals install your air conditioning systems, people with the right tools to make sure all the connections are properly made, and with the tools to check if the system is indeed leaking. One final note, if your system does have a leak it’s terribly important that the leak is actually fixed, just recharging the system is not enough!