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Air Conditioners & Air Conditioning in Indonesia

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If you are new to Jakarta, you may not realize that living in this city with its tropical climate and high level of pollution presents special home maintenance problems. One system that requires particular attention is your air conditioning units.

In Indonesia air conditioning is referred to by its acronym - AC or "ahh say". The natural air of open windows is jokingly referred to as "AC alam" or natural air conditioning!

While the air conditioners in your home help ensure a level of comfort in the hot and muggy tropical climate, be aware that the air conditioner is probably the most expensive appliance to run in your house, in terms of the cost of the electricity. If you plan to run all the air conditioners in your house at the same time, be sure that the power supply can accommodate that amount of electrical consumption and the power is properly balanced.  If not, you will "blow a fuse".  If you decide to add to the power capacity in your house to support all the air conditioners (and other appliances) running at the same time, you may put your house into a higher billing rate which will GREATLY increase your electric bill. The higher the capacity, the higher the rate you pay ... so that comfort comes with a price tag!

Types of Air Conditioners

There are several types of air conditioning units installed in residential or apartment units such as split, window, floor, cassette or ceiling types. The type of air conditioning system most commonly installed in houses or apartments is a split type system. This air conditioner consists of indoor blower, outdoor compressor and refrigerant pipe.

The capacity of the units varies and you should choose the best unit for your needs, depending on the total area to be cooled. Available units have ½, ¾, 1, 1½, 2, 2½ PK (Horse Power) and more. More capacity needs more power and every capacity determines cooling level stated in BTU (British Thermal Units). In general, the ¾ PK has 7,000 BTU and 1 PK has 9,000 BTU and in the residential sector the standard used usually is 600 BTU for every 1 M2 room. This means that a 1 PK unit will serve around 15 M2 room. Improper AC capacity of a unit installed in a room will affect the cooling quality and the AC unit itself.

Maintenance of your Air Conditioners

Because of the buildup of dust, dirt, and mold within the interior blower and exterior compressor, air conditioners need to be serviced regularly, once every 2 or 3 months by a professional maintenance company. The service should include thorough cleaning of the indoor filters, blower and water drain, and cleaning of the outdoor unit including fan blade and outdoor cover. In the outdoor unit ampere and pressure levels should be properly measured and should follow the requirements noted on the AC nameplate. Depending on the air conditioner’s capacity, the cost of cleaning will be around Rp 55,000 to Rp 85,000 per unit (5/2014). There will be an extra cost if Freon needs to be added.

The lack of regular AC maintenance can result in poor AC performance, leaking and further damage to the compressor and other AC components. It is strongly recommended to service all of your air conditioning units at a minimum every three months.

If any members of your family are sensitive to or allergic to molds and mildews, you'll find that regular servicing will help keep these problems under control.

It is recommended that when service men are cleaning the AC in doors you might want to have a maid or servant watch them, especially when they are in bedrooms where there may be valuable items, just as a security precaution. Although it is advised that you only use reputable companies, there have been incidences of things missing after the service people have left.

Enjoy the Cool

Life in the tropics is quite an adjustment for those coming from temperate climates, for many reasons. While air conditioning your home is a big expense, many find it a necessity in the hot, humid and polluted climes of Indonesia's big cities. You'll make the decision that best fits your family's budget. Many see a cool home as a quality of life issue!

With a little attention to your AC units you can stay cool even during the hot, dry, and dusty months of the dry season.

Our thanks to Colliers International for their generous contribution of the original article and to other volunteers for their suggestions and updates!

Last updated February 20, 2014

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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