​The sun vanishes behind a bank of dark clouds as we drive the Artisan Air Conditioning van south-west along The Coast Road through Ballina. It looks like we might be in for a spot of rain soon. Jake takes a left turn onto Shelly Beach Road which, as its name suggests, runs parallel to the nearby beach. It sucks that a line of trees prevents us from being able to check out the surf. It’s probably just as well though. It would make working a lot harder if we saw the surf was pumping today!
The first job of the day is to diagnose an air conditioning issue in a small convenience store on Shelly Beach Road and discover why the sucker isn’t cooling the way it should. After all, what good is an air conditioner if it doesn’t cool the air down? Right!
The first drops of rain start falling as we come to a stop outside the convenience store. It’s an old wooden house converted into a store, with probably a living quarters out the back. Jake leads the way in. The store is currently empty except for one grey-haired guy behind the counter. The other thing we notice is just how hot and stuffy it is in there. A fan blasts from a corner in a bid to cool things down.

The air conditioner in question is a split system Daikin Inverter, vintage 2003 upon closer inspection. The store owner, Stanley, hands me the remote and I switch the unit on. We wait a few minutes and it still just blows air at room temperature. The settings on the remote say it should be cooling to 20 degrees. At the moment it’s working more like a heater!

At the back of the store we strip the cover off the unit and take a look. Might be leak around the service ports by the look of some oil stains on the concrete pad. Best to be sure.

Jake attaches his CPS Gauges to the Daikin’s service valves and runs some tests, discovering that the system must have had a refrigerant leak somewhere because his gauges did not even budge from zero. During a nitrogen pressure test, we find a small leak not on the service valves but a welded joint hidden by the insulation. It should be simple to repair by soldering the small leak shut.

CPS Refrigeration Vacuum Pump

I grab the oxy set out of the van while Jake sets up the nitrogen for purging. Once the leak has been repaired, I tighten up the loosened flare nuts and raise the nitrogen pressure while Jake ducks out to the Artisan air conditioner repair van again and returns with a Digital Micron Vacuum Gauge and vacuum pump. Once satisfied by the pressure test, the vacuum pump is connected, “once this vac’s out, she’s ready to rock’n roll”. We quickly and efficiently put the system back together again, (we’re not known as one of the best air conditioner repairers in Ballina for nothing!), then head back into the store. It’s still empty. Doesn’t this shop get any trade? (Probably because everyone knows it’s too damn hot in here!) Still, that should be sorted now.
​Scott turns the Daikin on, runs it for a few minutes, then takes a sensor reading. Definitely cooling the place down now. Stanley grins as he holds his hand up in front of the cool jet of air. At that moment a couple of customers finally walk into the store and we shake hands with Stanley and head off for the next job.