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Gecko destroys nursing home air conditioning as vermin blow up energy-efficient motherboards

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A gecko has blown up a nursing home’s air conditioning, causing $2,500 worth of damage. 

The 98-bed Raffles nursing home in Tweed Heads, northern New South Wales, lost its air conditioning system after a gecko short-circuited the electrics.

Geckos are considered vermin and so are not covered by many insurance policies – and may not be covered by the air conditioning manufacturer’s warranty, either.

The 98-bed Raffles nursing home in Tweed Heads, northern New South Wales, lost its air conditioning system after a gecko short-circuited the electrics (pictured) causing $2500 worth of damage

The 98-bed Raffles nursing home in Tweed Heads, northern New South Wales, lost its air conditioning system after a gecko short-circuited the electrics (pictured) causing $2500 worth of damage

The gecko’s damage was the talk of the aged care facility according to Leah Bartholomew, whose father Don resides at Raffles.

‘It was really hot and it is hard to believe these little lizards can cause so much damage, which isn’t covered by insurance because they are considered vermin,’ Ms Bartholomew told ABC news.

Air conditioning repairers across New South Wales and Queensland have reported a growing trend of geckos shorting out air conditioning systems in the last few years. 

Ice Ice Baby Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Cairns owner Jono Russo said the problem was not an increase in geckos but the changing design of air conditioners.

Over the last six years, manufacturers have been installing sensitive computer motherboards in an effort to make air conditioning units more energy efficient, but the hi-tech electronics are more prone to short-circuiting, he told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday.

 ‘Air conditioners now have more electronic components, which makes it easier for geckos to blow them up,’ he said.

Ice Ice Baby Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Cairns owner Jono Russo (pictured) said the problem was not an increase in geckos but the changing design of air conditioners

Ice Ice Baby Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Cairns owner Jono Russo (pictured) said the problem was not an increase in geckos but the changing design of air conditioners

‘Ever since air conditioning has gone more energy efficient they run more computer boards and sensors which makes it easier to blow up.

‘The older air conditioners didn’t have so many computer boards inside them.’

Mr Russo said manufacturers were spending millions of dollars trying to solve the problem but there was no bullet-proof method to fix the problem.

Mr Russo said he had seen all sorts of vermin as he fixed air conditioning systems over the years, including frogs, snakes and rats.

On Friday he found a dead snake inside the air conditioning unit of an old house in a cane field in Cairns.

On Friday he found a dead snake inside the air conditioning unit of an old house in a cane field in Cairns (pictured)

On Friday he found a dead snake inside the air conditioning unit of an old house in a cane field in Cairns (pictured)

‘I opened the cover and pulled it apart and smelled something dead – I didn’t want to work on it – just close the cover and get the apprentice to do it,’ he laughed.

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 ‘The snake had been living there and had sloughed its skin off. It went across the computer board and blew it up.’

Mr Russo said geckos were the main problem especially as the weather heats up and people turn their air conditioners on for the first time after winter.

‘The biggest killer for air conditioners is geckos,’ he said.

‘This time of year is the worst for it as well. They go in during the winter as it’s warm. 

‘They short themselves on the computer boards and blow themselves up. 

‘Then when it comes to summer and everyone switches it on to cool, they realise the gecko has blown the computer board up and the air conditioning is not working. 

Mr Russo (right) said geckos were the main problem especially as the weather heats up and people turn their air conditioners on for the first time after winter

Mr Russo (right) said geckos were the main problem especially as the weather heats up and people turn their air conditioners on for the first time after winter

Robert, of Mackay Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning in West Mackay, said geckos had been a plague for the past 20 years but people were only just realising it.

‘We’ve had it that bad here in Mackay,’ he told Daily Mail Australia via telephone on Saturday.

Robert, who did not give his last name, said manufacturers were changing their boards and putting protective covers on to try to fix the problem. 

‘Fujitsu is the worst for burning out from geckos,’ he said.

Air conditioning specialist Darrell Kellahan from the Gold Coast told ABC news that moisture in the bodies of the tiny lizards was what caused the problem. 

James Cook University biodiversity lecturer Conrad Hoskins said air conditioners were an attractive hiding place for geckos.

‘They just like any crevice,’ Dr Hoskins said.

Air conditioning specialist Darrell Kellahan from the Gold Coast told ABC news that moisture in the bodies of the tiny lizards was what caused the problem (stock image)

Air conditioning specialist Darrell Kellahan from the Gold Coast told ABC news that moisture in the bodies of the tiny lizards was what caused the problem (stock image)

 

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