Now that we’re approaching the end of the winter season, it’s time to start shutting down commercial heating systems to maintain tenant comfort and conserve energy.
As a property owner, you understand that turning off the heat in your building is much more complicated than flipping a switch, and instead involves a series of procedures that need to be carried out by a trained professional.
Inspecting and shutting down the gas boilers and gas heating systems properly will also ensure any needed repairs are fully documented, and that cleaning and maintenance can be performed over the summer months, allowing the system to start up smoothly come the colder fall weather.
If you don’t have a regular HVAC service provider, you might be wondering where you can find a contractor who is qualified to help. First, let’s look at a common pitfall some property owners fall into.
Avoid Using Construction-Based Contractors
Many contractors specialize in performing installation work only, and aren’t qualified to look after your HVAC system once it’s in place. It’s a fact of the industry that many installation tenders are won by the lowest bidder, and often involve general labourers for HVAC installation work.
That’s not to diminish the work they do – it’s just important to distinguish a general contractor from qualified HVAC technicians who are properly trained to do heating shutdowns.
For example, one of the most important tasks after installing a new boiler is to carry out a proper start up and commissioning of the unit, which involves cleaning, flushing, and removing air from the boiler system. Advancements in boiler technology, including controls systems and power burners, have made it imperative that only qualified HVAC technicians handle these units.
Also, heating problems present themselves right from the initial start-up. Only a qualified HVAC professional has the training to diagnose and solve the issues efficiently.
Choosing An HVAC Contractor
Reputable commercial HVAC contractors are fully trained to handle all aspects of HVAC maintenance, including inspecting the heating components and shutting them down for the season.
They will also be able to advise when the best time is to do this, since there is no set date and weather patterns will change from year to year.
Your best bet is to find a commercial HVAC contractor that:
- Provides a quick response time
- Serves a wide geographic area
- Employs technicians who are trained and qualified by the equipment manufacturer
Where natural gas is involved, you need to be fully confident that your technician has the proper training and licensing credentials to be able to work on your system.
In Ontario, technicians are required to hold (and present) an Ontario Gas License. There are three levels of this type of license:
- G1: This is the highest level of licensing, allowing the technician to work on any gas-fired equipment, including equipment over 400,000 BTU’s
- G2: Technicians with this level of licensing are qualified to work on and shut down gas-fired equipment up to and including 400,000 BTU’s
- G3: With a G3 license, technicians may work on gas-fired equipment up to and including 400,000 BTU’s while under supervision
Like most licensed tradespeople, natural gas technicians must also be certified by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), a body that, among many other things, offers programs to educate tradespeople on the design, construction, maintenance, use, operation, and repair of many different types of technical systems, including those that utilize natural gas.
Also, be sure to work with an HVAC contractor that provides ongoing training to their technicians to keep them current with emerging technology. This allows them to recommend the latest, most energy-efficient components that will cut down your energy bills.
Take Care Of Your HVAC System With Regular Maintenance
The shutdown of your heating and cooling systems shouldn’t be one-off jobs carried out by different HVAC contractors. Instead, consider only using one service provider for all of your HVAC needs throughout the year with a scheduled maintenance program. These programs include cleaning, inspecting, and servicing HVAC components to keep everything running smoothly, and help extend the life of your system.
By using the same HVAC contractor for all of your needs, you’ll get a service provider who will already be intimately familiar with your system, has records on inspection and service history, and has made notes on which areas to watch closely. Over time, maintenance programs pay for themselves by keeping your system running smoothly and efficiently, which brings you additional energy savings.
If you have any questions about turning off your heating system this spring, or simply have a question about your commercial HVAC system, we’d be happy to help. Call us anytime to learn how Springbank Mechanical Systems can bring your company better HVAC efficiency and bigger energy savings through proper HVAC system maintenance.