The summer is one of the roughest seasons for a commercial air conditioning system. Although year-round regular maintenance is essential for any HVAC system, you should have the AC serviced by an HVAC professional to ensure that your unit is functioning at peak performance before the hottest months of the year.
Follow these tips and tricks to keep your HVAC system running at peak performance, prolong the life of your unit, and help you save on utility bills.
1. Before Anything Else: Check Your Air Filters
Whether you use a traditional ducted system or a 4-zone mini split, monitoring and replacing the air filters is crucial for HVAC maintenance.
Dirty and clogged filters are the most common cause of performance reduction and can result in long-term damage and equipment failure if not addressed. Poorly maintained filters can also harbor mold, bacteria, and viruses that adversely affect indoor air quality.
However, every business has different needs. The air filter replacement schedule of a telecommunications center or a medical facility is very different from that of a data center or an office building. It depends on how contaminated the indoor environment is because that determines the amount of dust, dirt, and debris the air filter catches.
If your commercial building is a clean and controlled environment, you may not need to replace your air filters more than three or four times a year. If you operate a highly active building, monthly replacements may be necessary.
2. Give Your HVAC System a Routine Check-Up
Commercial HVAC systems are more complex than home systems and require more maintenance. You should routinely inspect and check your system to ensure it operates according to the manufacturer’s specifications and doesn’t consume more energy than it should.
The EPA’s Energy Star program offers a checklist of guidelines and recommendations informing you of low-cost, energy-saving measures you can conduct by yourself.
Use the EPA checklist before hiring a contractor; not only will it help you save money, but it also familiarizes you with your building’s HVAC system, which can improve your routine check-ups.
3. Inspect Your Ductwork
Traditional air conditioning systems are ducted: They rely on a central air conditioning unit and a series of ducts and air vents to transport heated or cooled air to each room in your building.
Ductwork inspections are an essential part of your HVAC maintenance routine. Failure to do so may result in hearing unexpected noises, rattling, or detecting unpleasant odors coming from the ducts.
Inspecting and routinely cleaning your ductwork is critical to identify and address issues such as leakages or dirty ducts. A leak in your ducts reduces your system’s overall performance and introduces heating/cooling inefficiencies.
Dirty and clogged ducts are environments conducive to the growth of bacteria, allergens, and other contaminants that can pollute your building’s air, even with good ventilation.
If you operate a small business, or if your building doesn’t possess existing ductwork, then you may use a ductless AC system for temperature regulation. Though these systems are more efficient and cost-effective than ducted HVAC systems, they still need regular inspections and maintenance to perform optimally.
Inspect each unit once a quarter, replace the interior units’ air filters, and clean the outdoor units’ condenser coils as needed. Ensure that both outdoor and indoor units have good airflow by checking for obstructions.
4. Recalibrate Your Thermostat
A professionally calibrated thermostat should be placed in a good location and read the interior air temperature properly at all times.
Your HVAC system depends on the temperatures detected by your thermostat. If the sensors are out of calibration or the thermostat isn’t in a good location, it will give inaccurate readings, resulting in the HVAC system working harder than it needs to and producing uncomfortable temperatures.
Make sure your thermostat isn’t too close to a duct, a heating vent, or a source of cold or heat that could cause the sensors to read the wrong temperature.
Consider using smart or programmable thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature in each room for you. They are a great way to enhance your HVAC system’s efficiency, prolong its life, and help you save money.
5. Give the HVAC System a Post-Season Once Over
The two best periods to give your HVAC system a thorough cleaning are at the end of the summer and winter after the end of the heavy-use seasons.
Inspect your outdoor units for debris, leaves, branches, and other obstructions and remove as much of them as possible. Use an appropriate cleaning solution to remove animal and bird droppings.
If you use a ducted system, don’t forget to clean your ducts and change your filters, in addition to your regular schedule if needed. For example, a post-summer check-up may reveal allergens such as dust bunnies, dander, or pollen inside your ducts or your filters.
6. Still Experiencing Issues? It’s Time for a Replacement
If you’ve done everything you can to maintain or clean your existing HVAC system but still experience significant issues, such as inadequate performance, constant noises, breakdowns, and leakages, it may have sustained too much wear and tear.
Don’t wait until your existing unit breaks down. If you’re no longer satisfied with the performance of your HVAC system, it is time to consider replacing it with a new one. If your HVAC system is more than ten years old, you should replace it with a newer unit, even if you do not detect common issues, as it may no longer meet current energy efficiency standards.
Constantly spending money on inspections and repairs is not cost-effective, especially when you could purchase one of the best ductless air conditioner systems for more efficient heating and cooling.
Keeping a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for your HVAC system preserves its performance, maintains its capability to cool and heat rooms effectively, prevents premature wear and tear, and saves money on costly professional inspections and repairs.
A properly maintained HVAC system is vital for the health and comfort of your personnel because it keeps the interior air clean and free of pollutants and allergens and maintains a steady, comfortable room temperature.