Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Air Conditioning Service

For the most part, we who have made this area our home have accepted that things here get done in a different way than we were used to, from wherever we came from.
Servicing of AC in your home or in your vehicle is no different; that is, until you need it to be carried out.
You can ask around and talk to friends, and most of them will not have a clue as to where to find a person to do the service or what is entailed in the service of the equipment.
This piece came about when some people we know came down from the mountains to the coast and found that their AC system was not performing as it should.

Gauges high/low and bottle of freon

Charging station for delivery and recovery of freon
The Air Conditioner is not  included in a 'standard' service, so it can be easily neglected.
In saying that, a regular vehicle service should always check for the more obvious faults which may be associated with an Air Conditioning system operating below expectations, such as:
  • The drive belt tension,
  • Visible signs of Refrigerant oil stains on the compressor, hoses, pipes or fittings,
  • Loose or faulty compressor or equipment mounting brackets.
Anything beyond this cursory inspection then requires a full Air Conditioning Service.
Basic tools needed to carry out a service on the AC system of your vehicle:
A set of gauges as shown in the picture above,a dial thermometer to record the temperature before and after the service;
A supply of freon, an inspection lamp, a hand held non-contact temperature recorder, and depending on the level of service, a freon sniffer, to help locate leaks from the system.

Below is what you hope to receive:
  • Inspection of drive belts and pulleys,
  • Checking the operation of valves and thermostats,
  • Inspection of hoses and components,
  • Evacuating system & Recovering refrigerant (weigh amount and record),
  • Adding required amount of refrigerant oil,
  • Charging system with recommended refrigerant type and capacity (if required),
  • Condenser temperature check,
  • Suction line temperature reading,
  • Leak test system lines and components with an electronic leak detector,
  • Run vehicle to check air vent temperature and report.
As we live on the coast here in Ecuador, you may be hard pressed to find this type of service.
I have tried and it has been found lacking.
What I have found is that a guy will come out to your vehicle and attach their set of gauges to the high pressure side only; the gauge is connected to a bottle of freon; and he will try and inject freon into the system, measuring temperature with their hand.
The cost for this service is between $30 & $50. It may or may not work; what you do not know is what type of freon they have and whether it is compatible with your system.
The ultimate test was to take the vehicle to the only dealer in the Salinas area and check out their service.
This is what happened. The technician came out to the vehicle, and placed the gauges on the system connected to the high side only, turned on the gauge (engine running). The gauge showed pressure; he then went to the other side of the vehicle, looked around, and after just one minute and thirty seconds, he declared that the condenser was faulty and would need to be replaced.
After this very cursory inspection, he told us that it would cost $450.00 and take about three hours.
We thanked him and the lady service writer. On leaving, I advised that they go to a place in Guayaquil that I know through another friend who would provide a better service.
On their way back to the mountains, they did stop in to have the AC serviced. Everything that I had explained to them that should be part of the service was carried out, for the princely sum of $65.00, which did not include replacing the condenser that was found to be in good working condition, after it had been cleaned. 

Please note the change

Change the meeting date from Monday 13th to Thursday 16

Relocation/Visa Seminar
11:30 A.M.
Smokin' BBQ, Malecon, Salinas
Social hour 11:30 a.m.
Presentation Schedule:
Relocation and Container Shipment 12:00 p.m.
by Paul Wilches, President of Relocation Services of Ecuador
Lunch 1:00 p.m. – Dutch treat, each one pays for what they eat
Visas - types and processing 2:00 p.m.
by Kelsey Gottschalk, Regional Director of EcuaAssist
Question and Answer period follows.
 On 16th  we will also have Mr. Chuchuca from BMI Health insurance give us a Special Group  Health Insurance Rate which can benefit everybody who attends the meeting.   BMI is one of the top and best insurance  you can ask any doctor you may know in Ecuador and every Doctor prefers BMI because they pay fast not like other insurance company which take over 45 to 90 days.