When staff arrives on Monday morning, they don’t expect to walk into a workspace that’s stifling and still; they anticipate a cool and well-conditioned space that allows the environment to avoid becoming a distraction. Your commercial air conditioning unit is the workhorse that makes the magic happen, but how much do you know about what it does and how you should approach its operation? Consider the four things every business owner should know about their cooling hardware.
- What Type of Commercial Air Conditioning Unit You Have
“What type of AC do you have?” is usually an easy question for homeowners; sometimes less so for business operators. There is a wide range of commercial HVAC technology on the market, and if you’re a new tenant in a space, you may not know immediately what type you must maintain. Some spaces rely on ductless “mini-split” systems that work for each room individually, while other buildings rely on central forced air cooling through building ducts. More sophisticated units rely on VRF/VRV technology to provide quiet, efficient cooling in areas of variable demand.
The type of commercial air conditioning unit your building relies upon will give you some basic and vital insights: major components, their locations, their type, and what kind of maintenance requirements they might have. Additional information, such as its BTU output and efficiency ratings, provide you with an understanding of what it should be capable of in ideal conditions. Though it may seem basic, developing this initial level of understanding enables one to confront issues better and identify the need for professional service as it develops.
- When Was the Last Time You Serviced Your Unit?
Speaking of professional service, this will be your primary concern while caring for the unit that cools your building. Ideally, the unit operates normally day in and day out, and the occasional service visit ensures everything continues to run smoothly. With that in mind, check your records and evaluate when the last time the unit received an expert’s attention. Was it more than six months ago? It might be time to call and schedule an appointment with a licensed commercial HVAC installer.
HVAC maintenance should not typically be a day-to-day concern for a business operator — although it can be when persistent problems develop as a result of a unit’s age or poor condition. However, it is one long-term item to keep track of, as missing maintenance milestones can ultimately lead to impeded performance and higher energy bills. When was the last time your unit received a service? Now might be the right time to find the answer.
- How Often Should You Seek Routine Maintenance?
A good rule of thumb for most commercial air conditioners, regardless of type, is to seek out service for them on an annual basis. However, a twice-yearly service may prove to be more beneficial, especially for systems that see very heavy use or which service larger spaces. Service prior to and following the summer can help to keep things in top shape. The right interval, though, depends on your unit. A professional can point you in the right direction.
Additionally, think about concerns that may relate to other components of your cooling system. For central air installations, this primarily means the ductwork. Did you know that while filters can stop a great deal of dust from circulating throughout your offices, it can’t catch everything? Some of that dust eventually settles into the ductwork. Over time, ducts can develop musty, unpleasant smells and impact air quality. While you track your unit’s maintenance milestones, make sure you know when to seek out professional duct cleaning for an efficient package.
- Best Practices for Daily Use and Care of the Unit
Understanding how to take good care of your commercial air conditioner is key to a longer usable life, lower energy bills, and fewer maintenance costs over the long term. Ask your HVAC professional for insight on the specific maintenance requirements that you may need to keep in mind. Filters may need to be changed only once a month, or more frequently in challenging environments. Likewise, there may be limits to how low you can set the temperature on the thermostat before you risk overloading the unit’s ability to cool. Know the best practices, put them into place, and stick with them — the results are worth the effort.
Do you know everything you should about your commercial air conditioning unit? If you aren’t confident, or if you want to make sure that everything functions as it should, now is the time to connect with a reputable, licensed local provider. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to reach out for advice. With professional insight, you can better develop your understanding and get the most value out of this critical item of infrastructure.