HVAC system maintenance is critical to prolonging the life of your equipment and to keep indoor air quality excellent. It is also important to help lower operational costs including money spent replacing equipment and their parts.
In fact, maintaining the HVAC systems in your office can even save you from a costly lawsuit. Now that we know how important HVAC maintenance is, let’s find out what happens during HVAC maintenance.
What Is Done During HVAC System Maintenance?
There are a number of routine tasks the technician carries out when they come over for HVAC maintenance.
First, they inspect all your systems or just one of them, depending on what you specified when making the appointment. However, the maintenance proper involves checking to ensure that components of the system are clean, functioning correctly, and are all properly connected.
They will also recommend repairs and replacements if need be.
Now, although we’ve talked about technicians handling HVAC maintenance, there are a number of routine HVAC maintenance tasks that anyone can carry out on their own. These are the tasks we are discussing today.
The 8 Best HVAC Maintenance Tips
1. Change the Air Filters Regularly
Inspect air filters at least once every three months or more.
If your business involves a lot of dirty work, such as production or manufacturing, you’ll probably need to examine your air filters more frequently. Dirt, dust, and fine particles are the biggest contributors to dirty, blocked air filters.
2. Do A Visual Inspection Of Your System
Examine all components of your system, major and minor. You want to look out for things like leaky and/or disconnected pipes, rust, as well as dirty refrigerant lines.
Check out the vents as well to make sure they are not blocked by debris or mold. Also, ensure that cooling and heating appliances are separated by a distance of three feet, at least.
3. Re-Calibrate Seasonally
In anticipation of an increase in temperature in the summer and a temperature drop in the winter, it’s advisable to recalibrate your HVAC systems. Of course, you also have to adjust your thermostat so it reflects the changes made.
As small as this step might seem, it can help you save big on energy bills.
4. Examine Drainage Lines and Air Intake Area
Make sure that the water vapor from the running of the systems is correctly channelled out of the building. This will prevent structural damage to your building and is also important for the health and safety of the people in the building.
As you know, when water collects in one place over a long time, it can attract harmful microbes that impact negatively on the health.
Don’t forget the air intake as well, as water tends to pool around there too, encouraging the growth of mold. If this happens and spores get sucked back into the system, you’d be risking the health of the people serviced by that HVAC system.
5. Clean Condenser and Evaporator Coils
The operation of an HVAC system involves the circulation of air through the condenser and evaporator coils. Over time, this air circulation would cause dust, dirt, mold, and fungi to gradually accumulate on these coils. This would, naturally, affect the efficiency of the coils and, ultimately, the HVAC system as a whole.
Therefore, make sure you clean out both coils once a year, at least. Twice a year might be even more preferable.
To do this, you would need pressurized air and any effective, commercially available coil cleaner.
6. Examine The Bearings, Belts, and Fans Twice A Year
Belts, bearings, and fans — these do not directly impact on indoor air quality. However, if any of these parts gets damaged, you might be spending hundreds of dollars to get them repaired or replaced.
So listen for noise and vibration from the bearing. Also look out for heat as well. Make sure that the greased ball bearings are neither undergreased nor overgreased as both conditions can result in damage.
As for the belts, make sure they are aligned so they don’t wear out quickly. Also ensure that they are properly tensioned. If belts are too loose and begin to slip on the pulley wheels, they would lose their torque and this would cause faster wear.
Be sure to clean the fans regularly, and ensure that the fan motors are moving in the right direction. This one is particularly tricky as, running backward, fans still supply air.
A simple way to ensure the motors are always running in the right direction is to label the motors, pulleys, wire, and the fan housing too.
7. Adjust And Clean Dampers Yearly
One of the most common problems HVAC equipment tend to develop is damper malfunction. Faulty dampers not only increase utility costs, they also affect indoor air quality as well.
Dampers have the function of preventing the compressor from running when the temperature is lower than 60 degrees outside.
However, if they are dirty, or not lubricated, they can stick together and impair cooling potential. They can also overload the cooling coil with too much hot air from the outside.
Hence, be sure to clean and lubricate movable surfaces constantly. Run the dampers through the full range afterward and then inspect the setpoint.
8. Clean Out Your Air Ducts
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) prescribes that you inspect and clean out your air ducts at least once every two years. Hospitals, though, should inspect and clean more regularly: once a year, at least.
A Handy HVAC Maintenance Schedule
To keep your building comfortable for everyone in it and to keep your system running at peak performance, here’s a general HVAC system maintenance schedule.
- If your HVAC system heats and cools, maintenance should be done in spring and fall.
- If it’s a cooling system only, maintenance should be conducted before the summer. That is, once yearly, at least.
- For furnace systems, maintenance should be carried out before the winter season. Once a year, at least.
HVAC Maintenance Cost
How much you spend on HVAC maintenance ultimately depends on the length of time required for the work. This, in turn, depends on the type, age, and condition of your systems. So, beware of offers that look too good to be true.
Naturally, older equipment take more time and more frequent visits from the technician in order to catch faulty parts in time.
In the same vein, commercial systems cost more to maintain than those used in small residential buildings for obvious reasons. The strain on a commercial HVAC system is much higher.
Stay on top of your HVAC maintenance, get repairs as needed and your HVAC will take care of you!
Interesting related article: “What is Maintenance?“