January 15, 2019

Air-conditioners : Product defects undermine manufacturers’ bid for market share

Air-conditioners : Product defects undermine manufacturers’ bid for market share

Stories by Princewill Ekwujuru

Attempts by air- conditioner manufacturers to attract more patronage is being threatened by customers’  complaints of product defects.

The defects include  gas leakage, fan/capacitor  problems, ice accumulation and noisy indoor unit.

Others are: Frequent compressor switching off, Split AC not starting, foul smell upon switching the AC and Swing mechanism not working at times.

A consumer, Arole Akinwale who resides in Ojokoro, told Vanguard  Companies and Markets, C&M: “I bought a Daikin 1.5 horse power AC for my parlour, about 15 by 12 feet in size in May, 2018, but within five months of usage, it developed fan and capacitor problem.

Another consumer, Sunny Dede, who runs a Unisex salon, Faces Unisex Saloon in Festac Town, Lagos, stated:   “For Samsung AC, consumers have a 50-50 chance not to have problems with them.

Corroborating the above, Matthew Njoku, who works with Site and Sound Enterprises, Agbara, Lagos said: “We bought four units of Panasonic ACs and had them installed, but to my surprise, two of them had issues of frequent switching off of the compressor and noise, we had to return them,  however, others worked well.

“I have a Samsung air conditioner I bought few months back; it’s no longer cooling. Even if I turned it on all night, my room would not get cold. I had a repairperson that told me the compressor was bad and needs to be replaced. After replacing it, the AC still failed to cool the room. It also became loud and noisy at a time.

Presently, the remote control is also malfunctioning (timer not responding). Upon inquiry, it seems that the cost of repair can buy me a new AC. I bought it from a neighbourhood store,” said Ifeanyi Ozor-Atuma, resident of Satellite Town, Lagos.

In response, some manufacturers have established service centres where these defects can be fixed.

They have also introduced technological enhancements aimed at improving consumer experience with their products. These include in-built stabilizers and inverters.

Other improvements include mosquito repellant technology, dust tracking, Liquid crystal display (LCD), high net cooling agent and low power consumption air-conditioners, as well as inverter infused air conditioners.

They have introduced after-sales service centres, while supporting technical schools where students learn the art of repairing these products.

The major contenders for the market are Panasonic; Life is Good, LG, Samsung and Daikins.

Repair expert speaks

Commenting, an air-conditioner repair expert,  Lawrence Igwe of   De-Law Air conditioner   Services, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Lagos, said consumers can complain  about various air conditioner defects, I cannot say a particular air-conditioner has major challenges, mine is to repair, but the following are common problems with split AC.

  Power fluctuation

As a result of this air conditioner, manufacturers are including in-built power regulator in their ACs, that is to tell you to the extent they are working to address the shortcoming and improve on the product.

Refrigerant leakage in split AC.

This is one of the most common defects with split ACs. The refrigerant (AC gas, as commonly known) is the main contributor to the cooling of the air. If the split AC is not cooling properly, most probably the refrigerant level is low.

Frequent switching off of compressor

This is likely caused by the filter of the split AC, and it may occur due to heavy accumulation of dust and debris. Due to this, the AC works even harder to intake air for circulation, thus increasing the temperature of the AC above ideal operating temperature, which results in cutting off of the compressor. Bring out the filter and wash under tap water. Do this monthly.

Ice accumulation on coil

When the  level of refrigerant is less than the required amount, the temperature of cooling coil  drops  much below  the normal. Due to this, the moisture in the room condenses on the coil and freezes.

  Manufacturer speaks

Speaking at the launch of Panasonic Inverter technology infused air conditioner, promoter of    Panaserv Nigeria Limited, major distributors for Panasonic, Suraj Rupani    said: “We have established after-sales service centres across Nigeria to take care of all challenges associated with our air conditioner units.

“In addition, we have the Panasonics revolutionary ‘Inverter Technology’, which is present in all our air conditioner models. It significantly reduces electricity bills while also helping to maintain a constant temperature in your home throughout the day. The Inverter technology helps the air conditioning unit reach the desired temperature faster than other units, and is constantly on to decrease energy wastage.”

Speaking at the unveiling of Daikin’s R-32 Inverter wall mounted  units, Regional Director, Africa and Near East Middle East &Africa,  Daikin, Mohamed Abbas, said:   “Daikin air conditioners offer powerful and efficient cooling performances with best in-built voltage protection without compromising on comfort or reliability. It can stand the widest voltage range from 160 to 265volts.They are designed to meet the constraining requirements of African market. With our after-sales services, we nip challenges in the bud, while challenges are taken care of.”