Dubai: The blast furnace desert heat has come as a windfall for AC maintenance and repair technicians in the UAE. As the mercury rises across the country, cases of air conditioning units malfunctioning and breakdown have also soared.
AC maintenance companies said they have seen a 150 per cent increase in demand over the past few days even as residents battle hot and humid conditions in homes and offices.
According to the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), the temperature in Dubai is expected to drop from 41 °C on Tuesday to 37 °C on Thursday but the relief will be short lived as the temperatures are predicted to rise again on June 21. Also known as Summer solstice, this Friday will be the longest day of the year in the UAE, officially confirming the start of summer. The relative humidity will remain in the 85 to 90 per cent range along the coast particularly in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah until Thursday but is likely to get worse on Friday when convective clouds form in Fujairah.
Dh75cost of servicing a window AC. It can go up to Dh100 depending on the location
Daniel Saison, co-owner of Dubai-based facilities management company, Repair Plus, said they have been inundated with phone calls about AC problems. “It’s insane. There have been days when we’ve got as many as 40 calls per hour. We are busy throughout the year but it’s nothing compared to what we are experiencing now. We have 15 vehicles running around the city all day attending to AC complaints. There’s not a single team that’s not doing four to five jobs a day. That’s about 60 jobs daily,” said the French expat whose company caters mostly to new Dubai areas.
Tariq Nazir of Al Hadi AC in Sharjah said their technicians remain on their toes till late evening. “Businesswise, this is the best time for us. I wish the summer had peaked a little early,” he said.
Raza Khan, co-owner of Dubai-based Dream Cool Air Conditioning, said their business booms between June and August. “We are getting anywhere between 25-30 calls daily compared to about four or five on regular days,” he said.
R. Verghese, who owns an AC repair workshop in Karama, said he had to hire five freelance technicians to cope up with the summer rush.
“This is the only way to offset the losses we make during winters,” said Verghese. “Today, most new buildings have chiller plants which are serviced by specialist firms. Since we deal in split and window ACs only, our scope of work has reduced lately. So we have to make the most of this time,” he explained.
Dh200cost of servicing a split AC. It can go up to Dh300
The cost of servicing a window AC ranges from Dh75 to Dh100 depending on the location. For split ACs, the servicing cost varies from Dh200-Dh300.
AC technician Arshad, 35, from Pakistan said he expects a further surge in demand by June end. “That’s when it gets really hot and poorly-maintained AC units overheat and trip down. The common snags are gas leakage, malfunctioning condensers or overheated compressors.
Mashkoor Hasan, managing director of Dubai-based Rapid Cool Industries, which manufactures heating, ventilation and AC equipment, said it’s common for air conditioning systems to break down during summer.
“There are many reasons for it. For instance, if the condenser coils are dirty then the refrigerant which is meant to absorb the heat won’t be able to function properly causing the AC to trip down or blow out lukewarm air,” he explained. Hasan said the key to efficient AC functioning lies in regular maintenance.
Neglecting the AC could also cause major health problems. “A dirty air duct system can affect your health and cause breathing problems,” cautioned Saison of Repair Plus.
■ Get your AC checked and serviced before summer sets in
■ Get the air filter changed to ensure maximum air flow and cooling temperatures.
■ Use programmable thermostat to control the air and save energy