Energy usage accounts for a large percentage of monthly facilities costs for commercial buildings. HVAC systems and lighting are the two biggest energy consumers in most buildings. Lowering energy expenditures can mean tremendous cost savings that can be used elsewhere. Regular maintenance of the HVAC system improves the system’s efficiency, reliability, helps prevent emergency repairs. Properly maintaining the system impacts the overall energy consumption.
Who should perform HVAC maintenance?
Facilities managers and onsite maintenance departments can often perform routine tasks. Commercial HVAC contractors are better able to manage and maintain large and customized systems. Even if many routine tasks can be handled in-house, a professional contractor should at least inspect the system seasonally to ensure that everything is working optimally. Maintenance should be performed each spring for the cooling systems and in the fall for the heating systems.
Monthly maintenance tasks
The following are routine maintenance tasks that can be performed on a monthly basis.
Air filters – Inspect the air filters monthly to ensure they are not dirty or clogged by debris. Dirty filters restrict the flow of air through the system, making it work harder and use more energy. Clean filters provide better indoor air quality. Filters can be changed every month to six weeks, or more often if needed. Older systems will typically perform better with clean filters.
Check thermostats – Repair or replace malfunctioning thermostats as needed. This keeps the indoor air temperature comfortable for building occupants. Poorly working thermostats may cause the HVAC system to run more than it should.
Inspect drain lines and drip pans – The accumulation of dust and dirt can clog lines. This can cause the build up of moisture that can lead to algae and mold problems.
Inspect outside units – Outside units do get dirty. Check them to ensure the units are free of debris, leaves, and branches that can interfere with the fans working properly. Excess debris decreases efficiency and causes the system to work harder.
Periodic professional tune ups and maintenance keep HVAC systems running smoothly and efficiently. Proactive inspections can identify small issues that can be dealt with before major repairs are needed. Inspections should include checking the compressor, lubricating the fan motor, checking the refrigerant level, and checking control boxes, switches, and safety controls. The coils and blower assembly should be cleaned, as needed. Evaporator coils and the condensation lines should be cleared of dirt and debris. Belts should be inspected and lubricated or replaced, as needed. The duct system should be inspected and cleaned periodically.
McKenney’s helps clients proactively manage their commercial mechanical and HVAC systems to enhance performance, minimize downtime, and reduce operating costs.