FAQs Hero


Yes. Just as a car needs regular maintenance and servicing, so does your air conditioning. Regular maintenance and servicing keeps your air conditioning operating efficiently for the life of the unit. The air conditioning system keeps a building comfortable and healthy for those who work in it.  The air conditioning system in a building must have a planned preventative maintenance programme in place to get a Building Warrant of Fitness (see below).

Take out a planned preventative maintenance contract for your air conditioning system. Regular maintenance will reduce the chance of an emergency breakdown, minimise electricity usage, and prolong the unit’s life. Leading into summer and winter, 1st Maintenance performs checks to ensure the unit is ready for the challenges of the coming season. In addition to these two pre-season checks, 1st Maintenance carries out an additional two checks a year.

Their internal components are the same. It is only in their mode of operation that they differ. A heat pump is an air conditioning unit which works on a reverse cycle, meaning it uses the condenser to generate heat, while in an air conditioner it is used to expel heat. Heat pumps are primarily used to heat rooms (although can be used to cool them too), while air conditioners cool rooms.

1st Maintenance specialises in commercial air conditioning systems for buildings rather than domestic systems for houses. However, we have been involved with some hi-spec residential projects.

All manufacturers provide a warranty on new air conditioning systems. The warranty is conditional upon compliance with the service and maintenance requirements of the manufacturer. The length of the warranty will depend on the manufacturer and the specific unit.

This is dependent on many different factors (e.g. external and internal environments, technology changes, design and specification, level of maintenance, whether a building is occupied, hours of operation, installation quality). However, to give you an approximate idea, the life expectancy of a standard air conditioning system is 15 years.

In the same way that a car requires a Warrant of Fitness, a building requires a Building Warrant of Fitness. This is a legal requirement under sections 44 and 45 of the Building Act 1991. The owner of a building is responsible for ensuring their building is safe to use. A Building Warrant of Fitness is a signed statement from a building owner that all the requirements of the building’s compliance schedule (a document issued to a public or commercial building if it contains any specified systems e.g. air conditioning) have been met during the previous 12 months.

A Form 12A is the checklist used by an Independent Qualified Person (see below), for a particular building system such as the air conditioning, in order to certify that all required inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures have been completed in the 12 months up to the inspection date, as specified on the Form 12A. 1st Maintenance can complete all required inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures, and sign off on the Form 12A for your building’s air conditioning system.

1st Maintenance does not charge for a Form 12A, as we consider it part of a planned preventative maintenance contract.

An IQP is an Independent Qualified Person confirmed by the Council as qualified to inspect, maintain and report on each specified system. 1st Maintenance has IQPs for mechanical ventilation, air conditioning systems and cooling towers (SS9), escape route pressurisation systems (SS5), laboratory fume cupboards (SS11), and smoke control systems (SS13).

While it is true the refrigerant R22 is becoming scarce and expensive, if your air conditioning system is regularly maintained and is not leaking refrigerant, then it may not be necessary to replace it at this time. It is important, however, to have the system surveyed by a qualified company (such as 1st Maintenance) to determine its current condition and establish a plan to maintain the system whilst developing a budget and schedule to replace it with an air conditioning system which uses R410A. Alternatively, depending on the age and condition of the system, there are drop-in (replacement) refrigerants available, but it is important to be aware that these cause a reduction in system capacity.

Yes. 1st Maintenance is accredited with ACC and is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for the safety of our employees and others in the workplace.

Not from a split system, the most common type of air conditioning installed in smaller buildings and dwellings. But legionella, the bacterium which causes Legionnaires’ disease, can grow in cooling towers. If you are the owner of a building with cooling towers, the onus is on you to have them regularly tested and cleaned.

1st Mechanical FAQs to be posted shortly.