If you own commercial property, you understand the importance of keeping every aspect of your buildings running smoothly and as energy-efficient as possible.
This includes your HVAC system, which requires professional inspections from qualified HVAC technicians quarterly to prevent any unwanted surprises from breakdowns, inefficiencies, and increasing energy bills.
Between HVAC inspections, your maintenance team can also play a part in keeping your HVAC system running smoothly, even during peak use periods.
Here are 5 important areas that they should be checking on a monthly basis:
Inspect and Change Air Filters
Commercial air filters that bring in outdoor air need to be checked every three to four weeks to make sure they’re not clogged with debris. Clogged air filters can restrict the airflow through your HVAC system, hampering energy efficiency and increasing your energy consumption. If you find your HVAC filters caked with debris, you should change them as soon as possible.
At a minimum, filters should be changed every three to six months, and potentially more often during peak periods, such as during the summer and winter. You can also use the recommendations of the manufacturer and your HVAC service provider as a guide to filter replacement frequency.
By running your system with clean filters, you will not only extend the life of your system, but also be more energy efficient by not overworking the motors and allowing air to get to the areas needed.
Change Thermostat/BAS Programming To Be More Energy Efficient
You should adjust your thermostat as the heating and cooling needs of your building change (beginning of summer, winter, or new occupancy schedule), or during periods when you don’t need the system regularly. This is to ensure a comfortable environment for your tenants throughout the year, as well as keep your system running as energy efficient as possible and reduce wear.
Also, be sure to adjust your thermostat accordingly if you know a space is going to be unoccupied for an extended period of time.
This can easily be done manually or through your building automation system. If your maintenance team is unsure how to program the thermostat or system controls, ask your HVAC professional for assistance.
Adjust Supply Registers
Another way to keep your HVAC system energy efficient all year round is to take advantage of new simple to use VVT systems allowing zoning and air to only the offices required. For example, unoccupied offices, seldom used meeting rooms, and filing rooms likely won’t have the same heating/cooling requirements as other parts of the workspace, so they can be adjusted accordingly.
Check the Equipment for Leaks
Your maintenance team should be able to notice when the equipment has a leak and not preforming properly. A leak can be refrigerant, water, or from a cracked heat exchanger, through which carbon monoxide can mix with the air. Carbon monoxide leaks in enclosed spaces can be dangerous and a carbon monoxide detector should be installed. If you are unsure about leaks in your system, call your HVAC professional.
Inspect the Drainage Lines and Drip Pan
If your drainage lines are clogged with debris, moisture can back up into your building, resulting in mold and mildew growth and potential damage to your system. Be sure to remove any obstructions so the drip pan and drainage lines can empty correctly.
Investing in an HVAC Maintenance Program
Although performing these checks monthly will help keep your system running smoothly, they’re not a replacement for a scheduled HVAC complete maintenance program performed by qualified technicians quarterly.
That’s because HVAC systems are made up of intricate components such as heat pumps, cooling towers, and boilers, which should only be handled by trained professionals. These components need regular inspection to help extend the overall life of your system, prevent avoidable HVAC breakdown, protect the value of your property, and keep your system as energy efficient as possible.
Services included in an HVAC maintenance program include:
- Inspection of hot water or steam boilers
- Inspection and cleaning of cooling towers, closed-circuit coolers, and steam humidifiers, RTU’s, EF’, and MUA’s
- Inspection of water-cooled heat pumps, with replacement if necessary
- Replacement of steam-generating cylinders
- And much more
A reputable commercial HVAC company can create a service program tailored to the unique needs of your business, which will help them better understand your system and provide you with customized solutions over its lifecycle. The result is a more reliable, energy-efficient, and longer-lasting system.
Consider maintenance programs a wise investment that will pay for itself several times over in terms of avoiding preventable repairs and system breakdown.
If you have any questions or need advice on maintaining your HVAC system, feel free to reach out anytime. I’d also be happy to discuss how Springbank Mechanical Systems can help reduce your energy bills.
Gregg Little is Co-owner of Springbank Mechanical Systems. He can be reached at 905-569-8990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.