Purpose: To explain the importance of A/C preventative maintenance to facility managers.
- Ramifications of not having a well-maintained air conditioning system.
- Budgeting HVAC preventative maintenance.
- How to extend the life of an air conditioning system.
One of the most significant systems under the control of a facilities manager is the air temperature control systems. The system may be comprised of air conditioning and heating, ventilation, and space pressurization, in a simple HVAC or packaged rooftop cooling unit.
As large-scale air conditioning systems are installed to perform the much-needed task of providing seasonal temperature control in commercial settings, these are sometimes required to cover a substantial amount of square footage in a variety of settings. The three primary concerns for the operation of an air conditioning system are performance related budgetary overhead, tenant satisfaction, and longevity of effective system performance.
The effective management of an air conditioning system in commercial facilities will avoid the compromise of legal, health and safety requirements of properties and people under the direction of a proactive facility manager. In no area is this more prominent than in the management of the facility’s air conditioning system maintenance.
The energy draw of an HVAC system, including one which is operating smoothly, is tremendous. Even minor fluctuations in performance can negatively affect energy consumption. The effects of poor or even mediocre performance are fiscally cumulative, resulting in unnecessary long-term higher overhead costs for the facility.
One of the tools for indoor air quality at the facility manager’s disposal is preventative maintenance for the air conditioning system. The maintenance of such systems will not only increase performance but will also ensure continuing thermal comfort for the facility.
Optimally functioning air conditioning systems work at peak capacity and respond to fluctuations in need and outdoor temperature with maximum efficiency. Efficient performance results in lower consumption costs, while preventative maintenance and minor adjustments will keep the system in working order by early detection of cooling system problems before they fail. Testing and service of a/c components during regular maintenance of the system will result in lower repair costs when the need arises as issues can be detected quickly.
Irregular or poorly performing facility air conditioning systems are a great topic of comedy for cartoonists, and rightfully so. We’ve all seen drawings of the occupants of a building wearing snow parkas in winter, or, worse yet, in summer. Angry complaints from tenants are a direct reflection on the facility manager, regardless of whether or not the issue is a direct result of his management.
Regular filter changes and cleaning of the components is a proactive measure for the prevention and elimination of dirt, mold, moisture, and other substances. Also, the removal of pollutants in the air prevents exposure to eye irritation, allergies, respiratory ailments, and particulates which affect tenant performance and comfort. Ductwork leaks can be detected and repaired, thereby eliminating wasteful air leakage.
Optimal system function will also minimize noise, which can be the source of tenant complaints, in particular from top floor penthouse offices.
Subscribe: Get our blogs in your inbox.
Longevity of effective system performance
Periodic examination of a/c components during routine maintenance will highlight performance issues, providing the opportunity to remedy potential situations before they can affect the overall operation of the system. A service technician who keeps abreast of new technology and innovation in the industry will also be able to recommend adjustments which will make the existing system perform more efficiently. A routinely maintained a/c system will also function substantially more effectively and be more cost efficient for a much more extended period than one which isn’t regularly serviced; these factors will all contribute to postponing the purchase of a new system.
Preventative maintenance ensures adherence to state and local regulatory compliance laws, which will avoid non-compliance fines. It also lowers the potential for adverse environmental impact by early detection of system failures which may compromise compliant performance, such as refrigerant leaks, pump failure, and mold in ductwork.
It isn’t always possible to avoid air conditioning repair costs, fluctuations in thermal comfort and, eventually, replacement of the system. However, diligent maintenance will keep the unit working at utmost efficiency and keep it technologically current enough to be as effective as newer units throughout the duration of the system life.