Advances in technology and equipment have allowed commercial HVAC maintenance specialists to more accurately diagnose issues before they become more serious and costly to resolve. Diagnostics can be made more efficiently regarding air handlers, pumps, chillers, and variable air volume boxes (also known as VAV boxes.) By analyzing system databases, it is easier to detect the root source of equipment issues before the problems get out of hand. This results in issues being resolved quickly and often more inexpensively than if the problem was left unresolved. HVAC systems can now be controlled by sensors which can also dictate and monitor fire alarm systems, emergency air handlers and lighting systems, as well as security and access control systems.
One sensor being in charge of all these facets of an HVAC system can be very valuable for risk management and emergency planning. In the case of a sensor failing during an emergency, it will be unable to control any of the interoperable tasks, and planning should be done for this scenario. “Smart” buildings now even have HVAC override controls integrated into their IT networks. This allows an entire building’s system to be controlled from one computer, which has several advantages. One of these advantages over conventional HVAC setups is that the equipment’s performance can be analyzed with the computer, tipping off the viewer to malfunctions or energy waste.
Even for the most advanced HVAC systems, maintenance is necessary. Commercial HVAC maintenance needs to be performed regularly in order to prevent small issues from growing into larger and more costly problems. There are several issues which may arise as a result of poor commercial air conditioning maintenance. Outdoor condenser coils should be checked for damage and thoroughly cleaned. If the outdoor condenser coil is dirty it can result in higher compressor temperatures and pressure levels which can increase energy consumption. Dirty evaporator or indoor cooling coils can result in a less efficient HVAC system. In addition to decreasing energy efficiency, improperly draining coils can lead to water leakage and result in the compressor failing.
Filters should be changed each time commercial HVAC maintenance is performed in order to improve air flow, allow the HVAC system to function using less energy, and help prolong the life of the commercial air conditioning system’s compressor. Loose or old pulley systems can cause energy to be wasted by encouraging low air flow levels. If the HVAC system’s belt is not adjusted correctly it can result in failure of both motors and bearings. Air conditioning service specialists should lubricate motor bearings and blower bearings in order to minimize the amount of energy needed to have the system run. Having properly lubricated bearings can also prolong the life of the system and avoid expensive repairs. Condensate drain pans, traps, and piping which are clogged, dirty, or covered with debris can lead to water leakage and damaged HVAC systems requiring commercial HVAC maintenance. Thermostats which have not been properly calibrated can result in less comfortable indoor air, increased energy use due to longer running time, and decreased overall system efficiency.