Although many don't realize it, cooling a commercial building through the typical HVAC system can result in 15 percent of the total energy usage throughout the property. Tack on the costs of heating and some units account for up to 40 percent of a structure's total energy consumption.
Moreover, the Consortium of Energy Efficiency currently reports that approximately 25 percent of all rooftop units are unnecessarily large. Proper management of an HVAC system not only lowers overall power consumption, but it can also lead to lower maintenance and repair costs down the road.
Monitoring Heating and Ventilation Hardware
Comprising the first two letters of the acronym itself, heating and ventilation is an essential part of any commercial HVAC system. Despite its importance, the process of maintaining proper heating and ventilation throughout a commercial structure is quite similar to that of a residential home.
First, make sure to change any air filters on a regular basis. A single filter should never be used for more than six months, though some systems may require more frequent replacement or cleaning. Other hardware to inspect includes evaporator and condenser coils, ventilation fans, air intakes and dampers.
The type of operation or business your building is involved with is the ultimate factor in determining how frequently to inspect or change such equipment. Hospitals, clinics and other establishments that are regularly visited by the public should be examined more often than those that require special access or safety equipment to enter.
Treating HVAC Water
Proper water treatment is a necessity when administering long-term maintenance on a commercial-scale HVAC unit. Not only can it impact the long-term health of your employees, customers and guests, but dirty or polluted water can also cause a lot of damage on the internal components of modern HVAC systems. Moreover, those that depend on water to operate will cease to function without the proper water circulation.
Apart from ensuring your HVAC unit operates at its peak efficiency, water treatment services are used to minimize corrosion, scale buildup and biological growth. Failure to address such issues as they develop could result in costly repairs and upgrades in the future.
Cooling towers, boilers and closed-loop HVAC systems all have different maintenance needs. While tower setups serve to reject excess heat and offset high temperatures, boiler units actually depend on heated water to operate at their peak efficiency. Managers who understand the differences in HVAC architecture will be better poised to cover the needs of large-scale systems than those who are only familiar with basic residential units or smaller installations.
Maintaining Air Conditioning Hardware
Air conditioning is typically the feature that first comes to mind when discussing modern HVAC systems. Considering that the cool breeze of AC has saved nearly all of us from sweltering to death on a hot summer's day, it's a convenience many of us have come to rely on. As such, proper maintenance of any air conditioning unit is a must.
In some cases, leaky or defunct air conditioning or chiller units can result in 10 percent higher utility costs than normal. Dirty condenser coils, depending on the size as well as the exact amount of usage, can increase these costs by 30 percent. Depending on your business's financial stability, this could mean the difference between maintaining profitability and closing your doors for good.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure the longevity of the air conditioning hardware within your commercial HVAC installation. Ensuring the efficiency of the unit's hardware, specifically the compressor, should be the first step on any inspection checklist.
Frequent and consistent cleaning of AC tubes can also improve the efficiency and longevity of commercial HVAC units. The primary method of cleaning these tubes is similar to that of sweeping a chimney. Large brushes are used to loosen any dirt or debris that has accumulated over the course of time, while a final rinse of water is forced through the system to sweep away any leftover gunk.
Enjoying Your HVAC System for Years to Come
While a residential HVAC installation is primarily for the benefit of the live-in family, enterprise-scale systems are enjoyed by employees, customers and guests alike. With the potential to affect a far greater number of people, the importance of commercial HVAC system management and maintenance cannot be ignored.