From purchasing the right commercial HVAC system for your building to keeping up with a smart air duct cleaning process, there are many steps you can take to make sure that your system is as energy-efficient as possible. Here are a few cleaning and maintenance tips you should keep in mind to keep your system operating in peak form:
- Rid yourself of the “set it and forget it mentality”: On the one hand, if you’ve done your homework and selected the right HVAC equipment for your building, you won’t need to worry about that equipment on an ongoing basis. For instance, putting in the time upfront and make sure you have an appropriately sized air conditioning system that can handle the load of your building will save you from a lot of headaches down the road. On the other hand, a truly “energy-wise” system is one that is cared for and maintained with regularity. Instead of getting into a “set it and forget it” funk, opt to put together a maintenance plan for your system as part of the installation and setup process.
- Stay up to date on maintenance: Ideally, you should have your HVAC system inspected twice each year—once in the fall and once in the spring. That way, you can know that your heating and cooling systems are working correctly ahead of their respective peak seasons. The last thing you want is to have your air conditioning system break down in the peak of summer, or to have the same thing happen with your heating system in the winter. A qualified HVAC contractor will conduct a thorough inspection of all the parts and components of your system. If anything is affecting the efficiency or performance of your system, they will be able to tell you and fix it before it becomes a bigger problem. Some maintenance tasks are even things you can do in-house, such as changing out the filters.
- Don’t forget the air duct cleaning process: Regular air duct cleaning is an integral part of the HVAC maintenance process that often goes overlooked. When it comes to air ducts, an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality often takes root. It’s easy to assume your ducts are fine when you aren’t actually looking at them. In truth, though, air ducts tend to accumulate a lot of debris over just a few months. Dust, dirt, pollen, pet hair, dead skin cells, mold, mildew, other allergens: all this stuff can find its way into your ducts, where it recirculates with the air repeatedly. These contaminants can affect the quality of the air in your building, exacerbating allergies or causing respiratory issues for the people who live or work on the premises. Also, having all this junk in your air ducts impedes airflow and gets in the way of your air conditioner or heating system doing its job. Your HVAC system will need to work that much harder to push air through clogged vents and ducts, elevating energy usage and increasing your utility bills. For these reasons, a regular air duct cleaning process is essential for maintaining an energy-efficient HVAC system. HVAC experts recommend an air duct cleaning every year or two to keep your system running in peak form.
- Watch (and listen) for warning signs: Regular maintenance of your HVAC system should prevent breakdowns or any other major, unforeseen issues. With that point made, though, it’s still important to be vigilant about watching (and listening) for signs that there might be something wrong with your system. Is the air coming out of your vents not as warm or as cold as you think it should be? Has the system been turning on and off more regularly than usual? Does the system seem oddly loud? Keep an eye and an ear out for these and other HVAC concerns that might indicate a problem with your system.
Remember that regular system maintenance and air duct cleaning are smart investments to keep your system running better for longer. While it may sound expensive to schedule annual duct cleanings and twice-annual system inspections, the fact is that staying up to date on your maintenance will always cost less than repairing a breakdown or replacement an essential piece of HVAC equipment. Service visits won’t cost much in the grand scheme of things but will save you a lot of money and headache in the long run.
Even if your system is old and has gone past the point where regular maintenance is a worthwhile use of money and time, you should work with your preferred HVAC contractor to pick out and install the right heating and cooling equipment for your building. An improperly sized system will struggle to keep your building at the optimal temperature, will work harder and less efficiently to do so, and will ultimately have a shorter life. Different systems will also have different Energy Star ratings, which indicate efficiency. Picking out the right system—and then establishing a smart maintenance and air duct cleaning process—will enable you to get the most value possible out of your purchase.