According to the Energy Information Administration of the US, heating costs contribute around 25% of the total energy expenses in commercial buildings. The estimates may even go higher, depending on the prevailing local rates. As such, it is important to keep your HVAC system working at optimum levels at all times. This will only be possible through regular preventive maintenance.
The winter season also increases risk exposure of your commercial HVAC equipment. But, you can lessen the risk through preventive maintenance measures. These include regular inspections of your equipment that can help avoid the most common types of HVAC system failures during winter.
Most Common Types of HVAC System Problems during the Winter Season
- Less heat resulting from rooftop unit condenser failure. During the cold months, snow, debris, and other materials may accumulate around the rooftop condenser unit. As a result, your HVAC system may produce poor heat output and less efficient operation within the building.
When there are obstructions, air intake may contribute to potentially poisonous gas build-up (like carbon monoxide) on the premises. This may happen throughout the winter season.
Commercial HVAC system preventive maintenance measures include cleaning your rooftop condenser units and setting up a plan to remove snow, ice, and other debris before and during the freezing months of the winter season.
- Heat exchanger failure due to dry air from overuse. Dry air poses a big problem during the winter months. It can cause skin and other health problems to the building occupants. As the building owner, this will reflect on your brand.
Dry air also triggers a lower heat exchange efficiency in your HVAC equipment. This is because dry air is not capable of containing as much heat as regular air. As part of your HVAC preventive maintenance plan for the winter season, you can install additional humidifiers or update your existing units.
- Reduced coil efficiency due to dust, mold, and debris. The accumulation of dust, mold, debris, and other similar materials around the coils of your HVAC system has a negative impact on the equipment’s overall efficiency. To ensure optimal performance from your HVAC equipment, clean the coils on a regular basis. You should also inspect the coils for any sign of coolant leakage.
- Occurrence of gas problems. Depending on the source of energy your HVAC equipment uses, you should inspect all the incoming gas lines for possible leaks and pressure. As you perform these steps, check the pilot lights to make sure they are working efficiently. Gas pilot lights must stay lit all the time, and electrical pilot lights must be free from dust and other types of debris.
- Additional problems arising from improper thermostat calibration. It is possible that your heating unit has not been used since winter of last year. Thus, your thermostat may not be calibrated properly. While this may seem like a minor concern, it may unnecessarily trigger the activation of the HVAC equipment. It turn, this may cause both the cooling and heating systems to fire up at the same time. This will not only result in poor heating within the building, but it will also cause a spike in your electricity bills.
By having a sound preventive maintenance plan in place, you can reduce the total cost of your building’s HVAC systems. By implementing an early preventive maintenance program for your HVAC equipment, you can prevent potential HVAC system disasters from happening during the winter months, when you need your heating system the most.