This can increase performance of your air conditioning unit - Deflectors

June 07, 2017

Airflow is one of the most important factors to ensure your refrigerated air conditioning unit is working correctly. This relates to both the indoor and outdoor unit and both are equally important for efficient operation. In todays blog we will delve into the importance of deflectors when outdoor airflow or installation location is poor.

Outdoor airflow problems

The outdoor unit serves two main functions, heat absorption from the outdoor air on heating mode and heat expulsion on cooling mode. Simply put, on heating the outdoor unit coil will be colder than the ambient air temperature allowing heat to be absorbed from the outside air which is carried inside, via refrigerant, to heat your home. On cooling, the outdoor coil is hotter than the ambient air temperature allowing the unit to expel heat collected from inside to the outdoor air. A major cause of airflow issues we find is the installation of the outdoor unit too close to a fence or wall, causing the air to re-circulate back onto itself.

If the air expelled from the unit is re-circulated back onto itself, there will be less heat transfer resulting in less efficient heating or cooling. On heating, re-circulating the air will freeze the outdoor coil which will reduce heat absorption and unit efficiency. On cooling, the re-circulation of airflow will cause the unit to overheat and reduce the expulsion of heat and unit efficiency.

Outdoor unit location

The best way to solve outdoor unit air re-circulation issues is to choose the right location from the start. This comes down to choosing a good quality installation company who understands the problems and benefits of outdoor unit location. The design of your home will also play a big part in finding a good location for your outdoor unit. Sometimes there is no great location for your outdoor unit and that is where deflectors come in.

What is a deflector?

A deflector simply deflects air upwards instead of straight out to a fence or wall. This prevents the air from recirculating by pushing it up and over a fence or wall instead of against it. Some manufacturers design and make deflectors to suit their air conditioning models, while others do not. If a genuine deflector is not available, a custom made one can be manufactured once outdoor unit measurements are taken.

So do you need one?

Not every air conditioning outdoor unit will require a deflector. A deflector will help get your unit to optimum performance but only if the performance is hindered to start with. If you answer yes to all of these questions then you will need to look at a deflector for your air conditioning unit.

  • Is you outdoor unit facing or blowing air towards a fence or wall?
  • Is the fence solid or partially solid (lattice, shrubs or slats)?
  • Is the fence or wall closer than 1.5m to the front of the air conditioning outdoor unit?

What’s the cost?

Installing a deflector is a once off cost and once installed, should last the same lifespan as your air conditioning unit. A genuine deflector can cost $150 - $250 but be aware that some units require two deflectors (twin fan systems). To manufacture a deflector, firstly you will need to measure up the front of the unit and decide what panels to secure the deflector too. Make sure you take into account what’s behind the panels. Sometimes the outdoor coil can be mounted directly behind the panel. If you put a screw into this coil, it’ll cost big $$$$ to fix! Custom deflectors cost $180 - $350 but can be made large enough to cover the entire unit resulting in only one deflector instead of two. The deflector can be installed easily but if you are unsure or not comfortable with a drill, it is probably best to pay a professional to install your new deflector. Total cost including supply, manufacture and installation is generally $350.00 - $650.00 depending on the brand of air conditioner you have.

In a nutshell

  • Not everyone needs a deflector!
  • If the front of the air conditioning outdoor unit is closer than 1.5m to a fence or wall, a deflector should be considered.
  • Deflectors can greatly improve performance if required.
  • Relatively cheap to supply and install and can be installed DIY if you are handy with a drill.

Need help?

T&K Airpower have been working to keep Adelaide homes comfortable for the last 20 years. We specialise in Temperzone, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric air conditioning units and know how they tick. If you have problems with your Temperzone, Hitachi or Mitsubishi Electric air conditioning unit, or you need a deflector? Give us a call and we will be more than happy to help.

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