As a facility manager, you’re responsible for all the mechanical assets of the commercial building you’re caring for, including the HVAC system. While paying the bills may be the responsibility of the building’s owner, budgeting is a concern too.
To strike the optimal balance between controlling costs and getting the most value from your HVAC system, it’s vital to incorporate a strategic planned maintenance program into your yearly budget and to take full advantage of the opportunities planned maintenance provides you.
Planned maintenance will:
- Prolong the life of the equipment
- Optimize energy efficiency
- Limit or eliminate unexpected repair and replacement costs
- Maintain optimal comfort level
But it’s not quite as simple as having one of your maintenance staff run through a daily checklist while they make their rounds. A planned maintenance program for your commercial HVAC system involves a full year of coordinated inspections, testing, and optimization that’s best handled by a trained and experienced professional technician.
Seasonal Commercial HVAC Service Checklist
Here’s a brief outline of the kind of maintenance items you should expect to include on your 2017 commercial HVAC service checklist:
Spring inspection (March)
Before the heaviest part of the cooling season hits, it’s important to have all cooling-related components in the system inspected, cleaned, and maintained to ensure energy efficiency and high performance when heavy air conditioning usage begins.
In Charlotte, peak high temperatures usually occur between July and September, so this inspection and maintenance should occur starting in March.
Summer check-up (July or August)
Schedule a second, less intensive check-up for the peak of the cooling season. This operational inspection will focus on verifying parts that passed inspection in the spring are holding up as expected and that overall performance is within energy efficiency parameters.
As needed, controls and control software should be fine-tuned at this point to improve efficiency or usage scheduling.
Autumn inspection (October or November)
As we head into the winter, schedule a full-scale inspection and evaluation of the heating system before temperatures start to plummet. Just like the spring inspection, the purpose is to test and evaluate heating system components to ensure they are up to the task of carrying the energy burden during the peak output of the heating system.
Since the coldest temperatures in Charlotte are historically from December through February, this inspection should occur no later than November.
Winter check-up (January or February)
The purpose of this less intensive inspection is to confirm that the heating system is operating efficiently and performing optimally during the coldest part of the year.
While cleaning, repair, and replacement of worn components may be necessary during this period, the focus will likely be on fine tuning controls and boosting efficiency based on actual usage month to month.
What is involved in a visual inspection?
Both the larger scale pre-season inspections in the spring and fall, as well as the operational inspections during the heating and cooling seasons require a visual inspection of system components including:
- Heating Sections
- Condensate Drains & Pans
- Flame Composition
- Spray Nozzles & Pans
- Crank Case Heaters
- Igniter & Flame Assembly
- Fan Assemblies
In all cases, it’s important to inspect the component for signs of wear and lubrication needs, and to perform any necessary cleaning or sanitizing to improve function or safety.
What’s involved in testing and evaluating HVAC components?
Another important aspect of seasonal inspections for planned maintenance involves testing electrical and mechanical components using various instruments to determine how efficiently they are running and where there is room for improvement.
The following tests must be regularly performed:
- Water Flows
- Pressures & Temperatures
- Flow Switch Operations
- Outside Air Intakes
- Control Interlocks
- Refrigerant Pump Down
- Flue Stack Assembly
In combination with a visual inspection of all key components, these tests can ferret out parts that need tuning or replacement, and controls that could use optimization.
As you can see, there’s a lot to an effective planned maintenance program for your commercial HVAC system. But, considering the cost of replacement or major repair - both in parts and labor, and in lost productivity while the system is down - it’s easy to see the value of investing in this kind of program as opposed to allowing the system to age faster than it has to and only fixing things when they break.
If you’d like to discuss the options available in planned maintenance programs for your commercial facility, contact AirTight FaciliTech today.