Proper cooling capacity and regular commercial HVAC maintenance are important for keeping costs low. Preventative maintenance needs to be budgeted if you want to get the most out of your HVAC system.
Of course, not everyone has the same cooling needs; it varies by climate and office environment.
Other factors determining maintenance needs include: the age of the system, type, condition, physical location, and stress on the system. Certain components need more upkeep than others, so you’ll need to adjust your maintenance schedule accordingly.
For more information on HVAC preventative maintenance, refer to this line of questioning and inspection.
Have Things Gotten Bad?
Are you seeking out commercial HVAC maintenance because your cooling has dropped off significantly? Is your electric bill spiking from a decreased performance? These problems must be fixed before you start planning out preventative maintenance contracts.
How Long Before Visits?
How many hours per day is your HVAC system running? The longer the system runs continuously, the more preventative maintenance you will need.
Don’t rely just on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Having 24-hour maintenance service for your system will prevent any surprising during quarterly visits, for example.
The amount of stress put on a system also depends on how many people are occupying the building on average. Constant foot traffic will greatly reduce the efficiency to keep the building cool. The temperature outside influences the energy consumption of the HVAC system, inside and out.
Your electric bill rises in the summer, but the surges that happen in between then could be attributed to a struggling HVAC system.
What Commercial HVAC Maintenance Entails
Basic maintenance should be done by an HVAC specialist when it comes to large commercial systems. This is not because it is too complicated for you to understand, but because it requires many tasks that need to be done regularly.
During the Spring and Summer, filters must be replaced, belts need to be replaced, all surfaces on the condenser and evaporator coils need to be cleaned, and that can all take some time.
On top of surface cleaning, lines need to be checked for leaks, loosened connections, and lubrication of all moving parts. The fans have to be tested for proper speed and balance for adequate air flow. The thermostat must also be tested to make sure the correct temperature is being displayed.
Additional Fall and Winter Maintenance
All of the above inspections and replacements must be made, plus heating elements as temperatures fall. Heaters must be tested and maintained to prevent a worse case scenario of improper ignition and heating element malfunction.
Starters and solenoids often go out when temperatures drop below freezing.
The heat exchanger must also be well-maintained or it will take much more power to reach the correct temperature. This is a source of many over-priced electric bills during the winter months.
Property Owners Must Be Proactive
Businesses ought to have their HVAC system checked and completely investigated a few times each year. This is to ensure the occupants are keeping up the property, and to see that there are no significant issues inside the complex. Property owners ought to incorporate the testing and repairs of their HVAC frameworks into their overhead costs.
Property administrations should be aware of their occupants’ requests with regards to warming and cooling needs. Grievances about noise, smell, and the time it takes to change the temperature of the space should be noted.
It is important to work with a specialist in HVAC maintenance. You need someone who has multifaceted experience of preventative and emergency repairs. They ought to be familiar with all variations and models of HVAC units, for example, heaters, warm pumps, and hybrid cooling systems.
Preventative maintenance is still superior to repairing as needed. A yearly upkeep calendar ought to be followed up to review, clean, and repair the HVAC unit’s most vulnerable parts.
Questions to Ask an HVAC Contractor
Ask their opinion on how large your HVAC system should be. What is the true capacity of your current system? How are they coming up with their figures for your HVAC needs?
The industry standard calculation is called the Manual J Load Calculation, so look for an experienced contractor to mention it.
What do they think about the condition of your ductwork? Find out if they charge more for the cleaning of ductwork or if they can install new ducts. The condition of your ducts has a direct impact on the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Are they bonded and insured? Don’t do work with any contractors who can’t show you they are legal to do work for you.
Contracts, Fees, and Other Services
Does your HVAC contractor offer upgrades to newer systems? What about a ductless solution–can they offer the equipment and cost to convert it? What is the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) on their HVAC systems?
Ask if they research available rebates or tax credits for businesses looking to upgrade to a more energy efficient system. Do they also handle the processing of paperwork needed to receive the permits and local code approval?
Finally, don’t be afraid to inquire about specific payment terms. Know how much you’ll be paying upfront, how long it will take to complete the job, and any fees associated with it. Ask about extended warranties offered, as it is recommended to get everything in one contract.
Finding an HVAC Provider in Your Area
The first step towards saving more on your operating costs is getting an inspection. Calling up and scheduling a system inspection is how you can weed out the pros from the posers. Remember to call them with the intention of having a long-term relationship for preventative commercial HVAC maintenance.
This inspection should include a lot of exploratory questions from both you and the HVAC tech. If they don’t ask a lot from you, take note of this. No matter how experienced they are, the more information a tech has, the better they will be able to estimate the job and costs associated with it.
If you’re ready to speak to a professional about repairing, improving, and maintaining your system, contact us today.