Commercial Air Conditioning is a system that can often go unnoticed until it breaks down. Learn why your building’s AC system requires maintenance.
Air conditioning is well-known for managing temperature and producing a comfortable indoor environment, but did you know it can also aid improve building safety?
What Does AC Maintenance Mean To Your Building?
Air conditioning maintenance is vital to extending the life of your commercial HVAC system. It makes the air conditioner more efficient, which reduces wear and tear and helps in lowering cooling expenses.
Your HVAC system will require fewer repairs and delayed replacements, which again add to the overall cost savings. Cooling efficiency gets hindered when a commercial air conditioning system is not maintained adequately.
This leads to several other issues in a building.
A malfunctioning air conditioner doesn’t just cause great discomfort to your customers, employees, and other building occupants – it also reduces the productivity of your workers. A simple issue with your commercial air conditioner can derail the entire operations for the day. Depending on the HVAC system you have at your workplace, repairs might prove to be highly disruptive to the workplace.
Regular inspection and cleaning of a commercial HVAC system help ensure that air filters in both heating and cooling units are replaced and cleaned as intended. This guarantees high indoor air quality at the workplace.
The compromised indoor air quality will affect the wellbeing, health, safety, and productivity of your entire staff.
The Equipment That Makes Up Your Commercial AC System
Commercial HVAC systems are generally installed in shopping centers, office spaces, and retail stores, but not only.
Any large building that experiences a heavy traffic flow is in constant need of an optimal system. There are various components in the unit that work together for ensuring the right performance in any environmental situation.
In case a part has some problem that goes unnoticed, it can cause a breakdown and affect the entire system.
Your building may become too hot or too cold, and both scenarios affect customers’ comfort and employees’ productivity. It is not only about comfort, but also about the high-quality air filtration system which keeps any visitor healthy and safe from viruses, pollen, dust, or other allergy-causing particles.
Therefore, facility managers and supervisors must have a basic understanding of the different components of a system to spot mechanical issues before they turn into major problems.
These are a few essential components that make up a commercial HVAC unit:
- Air Filters;
- Fan Motor;
- Electrical system;
A breakdown in any of the above parts can cause the entire system to fail, and sometimes do even more harm than good.
Preventing Breakdowns Means Safety For Your Building
You may not realize that there is something wrong with the building’s air conditioner before the indoor environment has become too uncomfortable.
This is why maintenance is important. Timely maintenance can help you save a lot of money on repairs. HVAC contractors tend to charge more when they have to come to the location on a weekend or off-business hours for carrying out emergency repairs.
You should choose regular AC maintenance instead of risking your operations and bottom line. Your HVAC technician can ensure the air conditioner is ready for the season ahead during maintenance calls.
These are a few ways preventive maintenance can improve your building’s efficiency and safety:
- Keep humidity at optimal levels;
- Prevent the formation of bacteria and mold;
- Improved airflow reduces airborne chemicals and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds);
- Prevent outside pollution from entering;
- Improved ventilation.
Expert Advice: Signs To Look For When It’s Time For Maintenance
Every air conditioner offers signs that there is something wrong with it.
These are a few signs that indicate it’s time to schedule a maintenance service:
1. Unexplained Increase In Energy Bills
It is normal to see a sharp rise in your monthly utility bill when you run the HVAC system fairly consistently during the peak of summer or in the middle of winters.
However, unexplained energy rises may be because your air conditioning system is not running efficiently. This can be because of debris or dust inside the air filters or coils. It could also be because of broken fins or an incorrectly set thermostat.
The best thing you can do is to schedule a maintenance service to ensure that your system is running perfectly.
2. Problems With Air Flow
If you notice that there is no air blowing from the AC unit, then it’s time to schedule a tune-up. Poor airflow can occur due to several reasons.
Don’t postpone and have it checked by the professionals. It can be something as simple as a clogged air filter or leak in the ductwork to something complicated like evaporator coil problems.
3. Unusual or Loud Noises
Never ignore the unusual banging or clanging noise that comes from an air conditioner. The same holds for the hissing sound coming from a furnace. These noises indicate something majorly wrong with the unit.
Call professionals for HVAC maintenance early on to avoid a serious and major breakdown. Unusual noises from the indoor unit or outdoor unit should be checked out immediately.
4. Frequent Repairs
Heating and cooling systems don’t always break down at once. They may encounter frequent or sporadic issues. Maybe this month there is something wrong with the condenser unit or the refrigerant levels are again low.
Maybe next month there is a problem with the condensate drains leading to increased algae growth. You mustn’t treat these incidents as isolated.
Constant issues or frequent repairs indicate that there is something very wrong with the HVAC system. These issues also indicate that the system is nearing its end and you should consider a replacement.
5. Reduced Efficiency
Another common sign indicating the need to get your AC system maintained is lowered energy efficiency. The best way to tell if your air conditioner or heater is not as efficient as before is to look at spikes in your energy bills, longer run times, and more frequent cycling.
Maybe the HVAC system is running the whole day to provide the same level of comfort. The right AC maintenance services can keep your system running efficiently for longer.
Preventive Care For Your AC Is The Best Way To Keep It Running Efficiently
You need to schedule regular preventative maintenance if you want to keep your building occupants and equipment healthy. These are a few benefits of timely maintenance:
1. Keeps The Facility At A Comfortable Temperature In The Summer
It can get difficult for your employees to work at optimal efficiency in a hot environment. The right temperature and HVAC system can do wonders to operational efficiency and tenant comfort.
2. Keeps The Facility Warm In The Winter
Winters generally come with a lot of illnesses. Well-maintained air conditioners can keep dust, debris, pathogens, and other particles out. This can help towards a warmer and healthier indoor environment during winters.
3. Saves Energy In The Long Run
One of the best reasons to maintain your air conditioning system is to reduce your energy bills. HVAC systems are the largest contributors to utility bills. Properly maintained systems use less energy in the long run.
4. Prevents Equipment From Breaking Down
Air conditioners, if not maintained properly, can suffer frequent breakdowns. Timely maintenance can prevent such repairs from turning into expensive breakdowns.
5. Helps To Maintain A Quality Working Environment
HVAC systems contribute to improved indoor air quality and comfortable temperatures. This is conducive to a quality working environment. This is another reason to have the central air conditioners maintained properly.
AC Maintenance Checklist
This is a list of common maintenance that should be performed on an air conditioning unit at least once every year. However, air filters should be changed or cleaned once every 3 months.
- Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils;
- Inspecting and cleaning drain pan and drain line;
- Lubricating condenser and blower fans;
- Inspecting electrical wirings and controls;
- Checking the thermostat for proper operation;
- Inspecting and cleaning ductwork and air registers.
The HVAC maintenance contractor should also look for loose screws or parts. They must check the paneling and casing for damage. The AC equipment should be kept free of obstructions.
AC Emergency Defect Diagnosis
1. Unusual Noises
An air conditioner can generate noises because of the compressor. However, you should not hear any gurgling or unnatural sound. This is usually a sign that the HVAC system is ready to call it quits.
2. Warm Air from Vents
There should be a steady flow of cool air from the system. Warm air from vents could be a sign of a faulty compressor or blocked airflow.
You should find a contractor that can inspect all components of the system, including the thermostat and ductwork, and remove any debris buildup.
3. Rapid Cycling
An air conditioner will turn on more often when the weather gets hotter. However, the intervals between two operating times should remain fairly uniform. More frequent cycling is a cause for concern.
4. Ice in the System
Ice should not be forming on the components, such as the evaporator coil. You can tell whether ice is forming or not by looking for pooling water under the air conditioner.
5. High Humidity Levels
Your air conditioner is responsible for controlling indoor humidity levels. High humidity could indicate something wrong with the system. This is an urgent concern since high humidity can cause mold, algae, and mildew growth.
6. Unpleasant Smells
You don’t want your clients to walk into your workplace and instantly feel unpleasant odors. Your air conditioner probably needs a professional cleaning with a dry vacuum and soft brush if there is an unpleasant or musty smell indoors.
7. Low Refrigerant
Your air conditioner will not be able to cool if it doesn’t have adequate refrigerant levels. Your system may leak if it doesn’t work the way it should.
You cannot recharge the refrigerant as a DIY job. You need a professional to take care of this for you.
AC Maintenance Practices
Commercial business owners and building managers should consider entering into a preventive maintenance service agreement with a qualified and experienced HVAC repair and service company.
A certified HVAC technician will perform routine maintenance during these visits following your maintenance checklist.
These are a few common tasks performed by a trained professional:
- Cleaning out drain pans and lines;
- Checking fan and blower motors;
- Checking and calibrating the thermostat;
- Changing air filters;
- Cleaning coils;
- Replacing refrigerant;
- Calibrating flow meters and transmitters;
- Inspecting the heat exchanger.
Your system will not develop any major problems when these maintenance tasks are performed as scheduled.
What Happens When You Don’t Maintain Your Ac System?
These are a few reasons why you should consider timely AC maintenance:
1. Poor Indoor Air Quality
An air conditioning system has a direct impact on the building’s safety and health. A system that is not maintained will not be able to filter air as required.
Your office will have high levels of dirt, dust, and allergens among other airborne pollutants as a result. You should aim to change the filter every 3 – 4 months.
2. Higher Cooling Expenses
Your office will not get cooled as efficiently without a maintained air conditioning system. Your AC will need to work harder to keep your home at the desired temperature.
This will cause it to consume excessive amounts of energy driving up cooling costs.
3. More Repairs and Replacements
Another downside to an ill-maintained air conditioning system is the added wear and tear. You will likely endure more frequent repairs and replacements.
You can reduce unnecessary wear and improve air conditioner efficiency with regular AC maintenance.
Common repair problems include:
- Poor amperage;
- Improper electrical connections;
- Failed compressor;
- Pitted contacts;
- Damaged capacitors;
- Broken fan blades;
4. Poor Reliability Through the Summer
There is nothing worse for your employees than to work in a hot environment. You will be looking at a higher rate of employee absenteeism if you don’t have the air conditioner fixed.
It can get difficult to rely on a system whose maintenance has been neglected. Regular maintenance can give you the peace of mind you need.
5. Shorter Lifespan
An air conditioner with unnecessary wear and tear and damaged parts will still try to cool your building. It will run round the clock for meeting the thermostat temperature. However, the air conditioner will consume excessive energy and will have a reduced lifespan. Air conditioners are massive investments and you don’t want your system losing its value before time.
Call the Air Conditioning Experts
There are plenty of negative consequences when you neglect air conditioner maintenance. They cause temporary discomfort, but in the long run, if left untreated, you’ll end up directing the majority of your budget to get the system fixed.
All while your clients, staff, and tenants have to suffer the consequences of a faulty HVAC system.
At Servi-Tek, we understand the needs of your business, as we are backed up by hundreds of satisfied clients, and we know what your HVAC system needs to run at its best performance.
We are facility maintenance and management experts, with over 15 years of on-field expertise.
Give us a call today at 866-454-6185 or use our online form to learn more.