Air conditioners in mines are one of the must-haves for the productivity of miners and efficiency of machines – their importance cannot be overstated. The mining air conditioning system should always be functioning as it was designed to do. However, in certain instances, issues might arise leaving the air conditioner cooling ineffectively … worst scenario – no cooling at all. This can cause excessive idle time, as no oxygen equals no miner! No operator! – this is bad for our mining buddies – “the mobile machines”
Let’s look at some effects of idling time on machine engines …
Excessive idling can change the combustion process by increasing the likelihood that oil temperature will drop below 100 degrees Celsius. This brings about water accumulation and increases the formation of acids in the engine oil, adding to the increased risk of fuel adulteration. Idling also quickens engine wear and also consumes fuel – diesel engine takes up to four liters of fuel per hour left idling – Now you’d agree with me when I say “you got to fix that up quickly”. Although idle time cannot be avoided in mining operations, it can be minimized in certain ways. How? – by knowing the reason why your air con is not cooling. Some simple issues can be fixed yourself, while many will require professional attention.
Possible reasons why your air-con is faulty
This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the possible causes, it’s just a brief of the most likely problems associated with HVAC units.
- Thermostat settings
Wrong thermostat setting is one common problem and could be the last thought on your mind. This is the first thing to check if you notice your air-con isn’t cooling and if you are using a programmable thermostat sensor, then you might have a faulty thermostat.
- Dirty filter
Mining air conditioners are built to withstand dust however, without proper regular maintenance and servicing, the filters get clogged with dirt and dust.
The conditioning system’s refrigerant is a chemical that is in control of cooling the air processed by the air-con. So, any possibility of a leaking refrigerant will destroy the conditioning system’s effectiveness. What can an air con be without its refrigerant? – I’ll leave that to your imagination.
- Frozen unit
In the case of a frozen unit, the air-con blows air but doesn’t cool. This happens when the cooling system operates non-stop causing the evaporator coil to freeze.
Another cause of not cooling could be a faulty compressor, this is a motor that compresses the refrigerant and circulates it through the evaporator and condenser coils. As the heart (what it is often referred to as) of the air-con, failure to work means no cooling at all.
There are several other possible causes why your air-con isn’t functioning properly, though some might seem simple, don’t attempt to work on it if you have no technical background on air-con units to prevent endangering yourself or other workers. We suggest you call an engineer specialized in mining air-conditioning systems.