Combined with lighting, HVAC systems remain the largest consumers of energy in commercial buildings. While there are many practical ways to reduce energy consumption, preventive maintenance of your HVAC system remains one of the cheapest and most effective ways to uphold performance, decrease costs and increase the lifespan of your system.
In this article, we will explain the five simple steps you can follow to maintain your HVAC systems.
Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Although some maintenance tasks that ought to be restricted to HVAC professionals, there are many others that are quite simple and straightforward.
Therefore, your building maintenance staff can play a fundamental role in the upkeep and efficient running of your HVAC system.
With that said, here are some of the simplest HVAC maintenance tasks that can be carried out by pretty much everyone.
1. Change the Air Filters Regularly
In order for air to flow through your system efficiently, the filters need to be in good condition, otherwise they may restrict the airflow and result in your system having to work harder and, therefore, use more energy.
Dust, dirt and other small particulates are all common culprits of blocked and dirty filters, so if you carry out particularly “dirty” activities in your building, such as manufacturing or production, it’s even more important to examine your filters on a regular basis.
Ideally, you should change your filters as soon as they are visibly dirty., It is recommended that you carry out checks at least every three months, but there is certainly no harm in doing it more often if required.
2. Visually Inspect the System
Carrying out a simple visual inspection may seem obvious, but it is far less common than you may think.
Often, building engineers or managers don’t carry out any checks until after system failures arise.
In many cases these costly failures could have been thwarted much earlier, when they were likely smaller issues and less expensive to fix.
To perform a visual inspection, simply check all the major and minor components of your HVAC system and look for any possible sign that something may be wrong. That includes things like disconnected pipes, rust, leaks and dirty refrigerant lines.
Checking the vents is also very easy to do; they should be clear and free from anything that may cause a blockage such as leaves, sticks and mold.
Also, check to make sure your heating and cooling appliances have a clearance space of at least three feet.
3. Re-Calibrate Your System Bi-Annually
We advise that commercial property owners re-calibrate their HVAC systems before winter and again before summer in anticipation of a temperate increases or decreases. You’ll also need to make sure to adjust your thermostat settings to reflect that change. These minor adjustments may seem trivial but can result in major energy and financial savings.
Has the use and occupation of a certain part of the building reduced? Have shift patterns changed? Consider these types of questions on a periodic basis. You may have programmed your HVAC systems settings previously, but it’s wise to recheck to make sure the settings are still appropriate for the building’s current use.
4. Check & Clean Drainage Lines
Throughout operation both furnaces and air conditioners create water vapor, which needs to be efficiently funnelled out of the building to avoid structural damage.
Typically, this condensation is deposited through drainage lines into an exterior collection tray, where it naturally evaporates into the air. Over time this water tray can naturally attract a whole host of microbes including bacteria, algae and mold, all of which produce by-products that can lead to a system blockage.
In addition, if not emptied regularly, there is a chance that the tray could overflow and damage property. As a result, it’s important to routinely check if everything is working as required – drainage lines should be clear, the collection pan should not be overflowing and condensate should be evaporating as required.
5. Clean AC Evaporator & Condenser Coils
Evaporator and condenser coils are exposed to the air that circulates through them during operation. This air isn’t clean, meaning that dirt, fungi and mold is gradually deposited on them, which can have a significant impact on their efficiency.
For this reason, the coils should be cleaned at least once a year. This can be achieved using a range of commercial coil cleaners and pressurized air.
Unlike, the other tasks mentioned, many building engineers prefer to leave this task for their professional HVAC service check.
Professional HVAC Servicing
Although there are many tasks your regular maintenance staff can carry out, there are other tasks that need to be taken care of by a professional HVAC technician. This includes carrying out thorough diagnostics, maintenance and, if required, replacement and repair.
Energy Star recommends scheduling a professional pre-season service and maintenance bi-annually. The best time to have these performed are before winter and again before summer, as this will ensure everything is in order before you proceed into the seasons of greatest HVAC demand.
With professional and regular maintenance not only will you have the peace of mind that your system is safe but will also benefit from a system that is operating with maximum efficiency, thus making substantial savings and ensuring it provides optimum comfort throughout the year.
For other property maintenance tips, check out these articles:
- Heavy Rain? How to Prepare Your Commercial Property (5 Steps)
- Maintaining a Clean Commercial Parking Garage: How to & Why It’s Important