Winter months are upon us and it is this time of year that HVAC maintenance for commercial and multi-site systems require critical attention. There are a few important considerations that should be at the forefront of any property owner and operations manager’s maintenance plan to ensure the equipment investment is protected and employees and customers are provided with a comfortable environment.
While winterizing HVAC systems for commercial buildings or multi-site properties can be a demanding task, a thorough inspection and series of check-points are essential for reducing unnecessary future maintenance and expenses. Additionally, energy efficiencies occur when units are serviced at a high level. Here are five key considerations when implementing facilities’ winter HVAC and energy plans:
- Create a preventive maintenance schedule.
Establishing a commercial HVAC maintenance agreement with expert professionals is a great way to keep your system running at peak efficiency. Not only will an agreement ensure that seasonal checkups are done on schedule, but having an HVAC maintenance agreement means you will receive priority service in the event of equipment failure or other problems. Identifying issues early in the season will prevent problems from happening at the worst possible time, such as the coldest day of the year. Planning ahead also helps expedite the process of acquiring parts while avoiding increased expenses over time.
Studies have shown that routine maintenance is a key driver in energy efficiency for commercial HVAC systems. Working with a service contractor that understands the history of each of your facilities and the energy challenges faced – will not only keep you’re your units running efficiently, but reliably longer. Having an established winter season maintenance plan is an essential component of your HVAC operations to ensure equipment is working properly and energy efficiencies are identified.
- Calibrate thermostats, determine the best settings for your property and stick to a monitored plan.
As cold winter months approach, have a professional commercial HVAC technician calibrate all the thermostats in your commercial property. If thermostats are too far off from each other, systems will not be as efficient as they could be or worse, simultaneous heating and cooling could occur.
- Leaks and equipment failures should be fixed.
Building owners and operations directors, in particular, should always work with their HVAC consultant to identify ways to make facilities more safe and efficient. Heating is likely the largest end use of fuel in commercial buildings, and an obvious place to look for safety hazards and energy savings. It is essential to make sure there are no holes in the heat exchanger and all tubes and orifices are free of debris.
During the winter months, equipment should be checked and cleaned or replaced; otherwise may be faced with the risk of harmful gases like carbon monoxide getting released into the indoor air due to imperfect burning.
- Ensure economizers are operating properly.
It is likely your HVAC system is equipped with an economizer – a component that allows the unit to use outdoor air for cooling, provided the ambient air is below a certain temperature and the humidity is below a certain percentage. This type of cooling is often referred to as “free cooling” because it cools the building without the use of energy required to run a compressor. It is extremely important to work with your HVAC specialist to ensure that your economizer is operating properly.
If the economizer dampers are stuck closed, you will not be able to take advantage of free cooling. If the damper fails to close, frigid air would be brought in and heated – resulted in wasted energy and an uncomfortable environment.
- Check filters and replace as needed.
The purpose of air filters is to catch dust and other particles that pass through the air. Air quality directly affects the condition of air filters, while dirty filters can restrict airflow and hamper the efficiency of your entire HVAC system. Consider changing air filters 3-4 times/yr. Higher quality filters can save you on maintenance and replacement costs in the long run, as well as offer an improved level of indoor air quality.
There are many considerations to control energy costs and keep equipment operating during the winter months. It is important to work closely with your HVAC service provider to identify potential problems and perform maintenance before costly breakdowns occur. Typical service agreements cover rooftop units, chillers, boilers, compressors, air handlers, cooling towers, pumps, variable speed drives, controls and accessories. Be sure a preventive maintenance plan is tailored to meet the unique needs of your commercial facilities to provide the most comfortable and safe environment for guests during the winter months.
What commercial and muti-site HVAC challenges do you face this winter?
Learn about the experienced consultation and service provided by the HVAC experts at Evergreen Air Conditioning.