The hot days of summer are just around the corner. Soon businesses will turn from using their heating systems to their air conditioners, so this makes spring a perfect time to see if your HVAC is ready.
Think of spring HVAC system maintenance like an oil change and tune-up for your car. It’s important to check out the components of the system, look for any signs of wear and tear, and make any necessary repairs or replacements to help reduce the risk of a system failure in the future.
In addition, a well-maintained HVAC system operates more efficiently, which saves money in power bills over the season. Annual system maintenance also helps to maintain or improve indoor air quality, more effectively moving air and ensuring issues such as mold contamination or dirty filters are not recycling poor quality air throughout the building or facility.
For a commercial HVAC system, the spring maintenance checkup needs to include several different checks and tasks. Some of these tasks are similar to those required for a residential central air conditioner, but there are also tasks that apply only to the large commercial systems.
An effective HVAC maintenance program includes:
- Air distribution systems –the HVAC technician should check to make sure there is adequate and required air flow through the system, and issues with blocked or collapsed ductwork or clogged filters are not creating air circulation problems. This includes checking blower assembly components as well as other indoor components.
- Dehumidification systems – the dehumidifier in a commercial building, is a relatively low maintenance system. It is important to check the filter, as this is often overlooked. Most commercial filters can be cleaned and used for several years. Control panel batteries should be checked, and the coils should be cleaned. Like an AC unit, check that the drains are clear from blockage, and the blower wheel is unobstructed.
- Filters – filters should be changed as recommended, which is usually about every three to six months for commercial HVAC systems. Dirty filters can reduce cooling efficiency by as much as 15%. In addition, they require more frequent cycling on and off or longer cooling cycles, which adds to system wear and tear.
- Condenser units – both the interior and the exterior housing of the condenser unit should be cleaned. This means removing debris from the outside, which allows optimal airflow. The interior components of the condensing unit, including the blower fans, evaporator coils, and the electrical components that control the system, need to tested, cleaned, and, if necessary, replaced. All safety controls, condensate lines, and ignition systems need to be checked for operation.
- Air handlers – depending on the specific system and the age of the systems, test for commercial air handlers can include checking shaft alignment, adjusting belts, cleaning filters, and ensuring all moving parts are lubricated and in good repair. As with other systems, the need to check wiring and control components are also essential for spring operation.