Problem-solving is a daily part of running a business. Those problems should not have more to do with the basic equipment keeping your building comfortable rather than actual business challenges, though. When infrastructure issues arise, such as the development of commercial HVAC problems, you must take time away from other important activities to address them. Knowing what could happen is the key to making a plan for resolving problems before they arise — and for preventing them from occurring in the first place, where possible. What are the most common problems that commercial HVAC users experience?
Improperly Balanced Air Flows in the Building
A bad airflow is among the most typical commercial HVAC problems because it is easy for such a condition to develop, but not for the occupants of a space to notice immediately. Have you heard complaints from staff that certain rooms in the building are always either very hot or very cold compared to the average indoor temperature? Temperature imbalance could be a sign that the dampers which control flow through your ductwork are out of balance.
There could also be a problem with mechanically controlled dampers, as can happen in more advanced zone heating and cooling setups. Manual changes to vents and dampers can also cause an imbalance. The result is a tendency towards temperature extremes and increased system strain.
Loss of Refrigerant Due to Leaks
During normal operation and with periodic maintenance, your commercial AC unit should seldom need to have its refrigerant refilled. AC is a closed-loop system, after all — the refrigerant itself should not dissipate noticeably during regular use. Leaks can and do develop, however. Not only is this a risk for the environment, but it often means you lose access to cool air inside the building. Common symptoms include lukewarm air blowing from vents or excessive hissing sounds near HVAC equipment. Repairing a leak as soon as possible is essential. Annual maintenance checks allow you to spot these problems in advance before they become substantial enough to disrupt normal functionality, and provides your service provider with a chance to recharge your AC.
Dirty Filters Driving Up Energy Costs
When was the last time someone on your custodial staff changed the filters for your air conditioners or furnaces? If the answer is “I can’t remember,” your business may be overpaying for electricity every month. Unfortunately, filters are one thing that becomes very easy to overlook. Your air conditioner still cools the space, so why does it matter that you haven’t changed the filter in months?
This line of thinking leads to an air conditioner that must work even harder to produce the same results you expect due to the resistance created by a dirty filter. That added strain could cause components to fail prematurely — so keep your filters changed and your energy expenditures down instead.
Deteriorating Indoor Air Quality
Good air quality is essential for employee comfort and productivity throughout the workweek. However, concerns with your HVAC installation may lead to the degradation of your building’s air quality. This might come in the form of increased dust, musty smells, and other unpleasant odors. In severe cases, mold may take up residence inside your air ducts, especially in more humid environments. Every business may face some air quality issues from time to time — address them quickly with professional servicing and air duct cleaning. It’s simple to overlook caring for your ductwork as you cannot see it, but protecting health and productivity necessitates factoring air quality issues into your maintenance plans.
Strange Noises, Water Leaks, and More
Other frequently encountered commercial HVAC problems include the clearer, more obvious malfunctions that can occur. For example, if you can often hear your air conditioner making strange noises beyond turning on, running, and turning off, something may be wrong. Grinding, scraping, whirring, and other similar sounds often indicate a piece of hardware has worn out or is close to failure.
Likewise, the appearance of water leaks near your HVAC equipment should be a cause for immediate concern. In these cases, condensate drains become clogged, leading water to seep into your space. Overflowing drain pans can cause equipment damage if left unchecked, too. Watch out for signs of these issues and call for commercial service right away when you spot them.
Why You Need a Professional to Fix Commercial HVAC Problems
Left unchecked, these commercial HVAC problems can grow and worsen to the point where potential failures may occur. Your goal should be twofold. First, institute a plan for regularly monitoring the health of your HVAC system as a component of your company’s strategy for risk management. Second, know who to call for annual service, periodic maintenance, and — if needed — emergency repairs. Selecting a commercial HVAC contractor is an important process, as they represent a crucial resource for your company. Know what questions to ask, and keep your space comfortable all year round.