2013 started with a record-breaking heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks across many parts of Australia. Temperatures regularly went above 48°C, with the highest recorded maximum of 49.6°C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12.

Australia has always experienced heat waves and they are a normal part of most summers. However, the recent event which affected much of inland Australia has definitely not been typical. The most significant thing about the recent heat has been its widespread coverage across much of the continent, and its persistence. Many sources are warning that Australia will experience more extreme conditions like this in the future.

This recent heat wave has shown that being able to run at 45°C is no longer good enough for an air conditioner in Australia. This is why most Temperzone units are rated to 52°C ambient. They have been designed specifically to cope with Australia conditions – all Australian conditions, not just the more temperate one’s around the edges of the country (see the story below about central Australia).

After the heat wave subsided, Temperzone News contacted the State Managers in all the affected states. Not only did the all report that during Dec 2012 and January 2013 they did not receive any heat related service calls, they also shared some interesting stories with us.

South and Central Australia
In June 2010, Emperor Refrigeration and Air Conditioning’s Adam Franey was looking specifically for equipment able to perform in the high ambient conditions of central Australia. The SA office, which looks after the NT, spoke to Adam about the performance of Temperzone and Hitachi units during the recent heat wave.

Adam said, “We have had no performance problems at all on Temperzone and Hitachi equipment over the hot periods.”

He went on to tell us about an installation in the Supermarket / General Store in Warburton, which is an indigenous Australian community around 1050 k’s SW of Alice Springs. The store has 3 x Temperzone OSA156RKT / ISU160KD, 15kW under ceiling units and 6 x Hitachi Hi Wall splits ranging from 5kW to 8 kW.

When Adam was there in January, the temperature was consistently over 48°C in the shade. The enclosure where the outdoor units were located was well over 53°C and the units continued to work with no high pressure failures at all. Adam did note that a lot of ‘other’ equipment in the town were having problems.

New South Wales
Temperzone’s National Service Manager Mark Howcroft advised that during the widespread, in some cases consistent, high temperatures this summer, there was only a slight increase in the number of service calls received, compared to the same period last year. “Our units are designed to operate at higher ambient temperatures now days; therefore the nuisance trips are long gone. Advancement in unit protection and operation with new UC controllers has also made our products more reliable than ever.

“There was one case, just after Christmas, where we were advised that a newly installed rooftop package unit had bombed out on a 46°C day. When our Service Agent attended the site, it turned out that our unit was one of very few units that were running ok with the building maintenance manager frantically hosing down the condenser coils of a dozen others. We just don’t have those sorts of issues and haven’t had for a number of years.”

Temperzone units are designed and manufactured in Australia specifically for Australian conditions. We are the only local manufacturer that designs and manufacturers our own coils, a crucial component in a units ability to manage extreme ambient. To achieve reliable performance, the major factor is the size of the condenser coils combined with high efficiency condenser fans. For a number of years, Temperzone has been designing and manufacturing units for use in the mining areas of WA, which encompasses some of the harshest environments in Australia.

Obviously, making sure a unit is properly serviced will ensure it performs to the best of its ability in all conditions, including high ambient. But if it is only rated to 45°C, no matter how well it is looked after, it won’t be able to perform adequately above that.

In terms of older equipment, the recent high temps may be a warning that it’s time to upgrade. Due to changes in design over the last 10 years, older equipment will continue to struggle more and more with higher temperatures.

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Articles this Issue


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