Commercial HVAC units create productive working environments and boost a customer’s comfort. HVAC malfunction can be very devastating, especially in the middle of a hot summer or cold winter. This happens as a result of foregoing maintenance. Negligence can also lead to higher utility bills and reduce the unit’s life expectancy.
The typical HVAC system has a life expectancy of about 15 years, however, they can survive up to 10 more years with routine maintenance. Therefore, you should schedule regular tune-ups for your HVAC unit to ensure that it works at optimum capacity and prolongs the unit life expectancy. How often you service your commercial HVAC will vary depending on the following factors.
1. IF YOU HAVE AN OLD COMMERCIAL HVAC UNIT
A newly installed unit will need minimal maintenance annually. With time, the air conditioner loses its efficiency due to natural wear and tear, and without proper maintenance, it could break down at the least expected time. Most commercial buildings have older equipment that might require additional servicing, probably twice a year.
A commercial HVAC unit can last between 15 to 20 years when properly maintained. During maintenance, your technician will advise you on the best course of action for your old unit. If it’s beyond the recommended age limit, you might need to replace it with a new and more energy-efficient model.
2. WHEN YOU HEAR STRANGE NOISES FROM THE UNIT
A commercial HVAC unit makes some operational noises, but the sounds shouldn’t be bothersome. If the system begins to produce disruptive sounds, it can prevent your employees from working efficiently and disturb visiting clients. Such noises indicate a problem within the air conditioner’s components.
Squealing noises happen when there’s an issue with the fan belts. Clanking noises indicate loose parts, while rattling sounds could signify stuck debris within the outdoor unit. Once your HVAC unit starts making such unusual sounds, turn it off to prevent further damage. Contact a technician right away to inspect the unit and fix the issue before the system completely fails.
3. IF POWER BILLS INCREASE
Have your HVAC unit serviced if you notice an unexplainable surge in your electric bills. There could be debris stuck in your system that makes it work extra hard, resulting in higher power consumption. This can also happen due to refrigerant leaks, damaged electrical components, or a failing compressor. Other times, the thermostat could be feeding your HVAC unit the wrong temperature readings.
If your unit has such problems, it will struggle to cool the air, and it has to draw more electricity to meet the demands of the building. Have a professional assess the equipment and fix the issue to protect your business from increased spending on electricity.
4. IN CASE OF FREQUENT CYCLES
An AC system should run for a specific period, then rest to maintain the correct temperature in a building. It can turn on more often on hotter days, but the rate of the on and off cycles shouldn’t be more than usual. When an HVAC unit short-cycles, it stops running before sending enough conditioned air to the required spaces. This results in uneven temperatures across different areas of the building.
Short cycling can occur due to lower refrigerant levels or dirty evaporator coils. Other times, it happens if you have an improperly sized unit. This frequent cycling can quickly produce wear on your air conditioner when left unattended for an extended period. Schedule a professional tune-up to restore your system’s proper functioning
5. WHEN YOU SPOT LEAKS FROM THE AC
If you notice moisture puddles around your unit, this could indicate blocked drain lines. Moisture around the AC unit could also signify refrigerant leaks. Such an issue requires immediate attention since moisture attracts mold growth. More employees may start calling in sick due to allergies, asthma, or other respiratory illnesses. Have an expert take care of this issue as soon as possible to lower the absenteeism rate and prevent future expensive repairs.
6. IF THE AC EMITS UNUSUAL ODORS
The air conditioner shouldn’t produce an awful smell when in operation. When your employees notice a burning smell from the unit, the burning insulation could be the cause. This deadly issue requires emergency attention.
A musty odor signifies mold and mildew, while a metallic or chemical smell is a sign of overheating components. A rotten egg smell suggests a gas leak. Immediately turn off your gas supply and have a professional inspect your equipment to identify and fix the problem.
7. WHEN THERE’S LIMITED AIRFLOW
If there’s very little air blowing from the vent, you need to call in a professional to check your unit. This problem signifies maintenance negligence, resulting in clogged filters or ductwork. Have a professional change or clean the filters after three months, but if the commercial building is in a dusty area, you might need to change the filters more often, preferably monthly.
8. IN CASE THE AC BLOWS HOT AIR
If the air coming out of the AC unit isn’t as cool as it should be, it’s a sign that your system needs servicing. First, check the thermostat. If it’s not working correctly, there could be an issue with the compressor. Unfortunately, you might need to replace the compressor or the entire unit when it fails. Hot air coming out of the vents could also mean that the refrigerant level is too low. Once a professional refills the coolant, your unit should regain its operational efficiency.
9. IF YOU RUN THE HVAC VERY OFTEN
Sometimes the HVAC unit is operati ng for more extended periods than it should, and without regular maintenance, the system is likely to fail. The more often you use the air conditioner, the harder it runs, and so it requires more regular servicing. The size of the building and the construction materials used will also affect your unit’s efficiency. A large building will require the HVAC unit to run more often to keep the desired temperature. If the building is well-insulated, it increases the system’s cooling efficiency, so it won’t have to work harder.
The number of people occupying the commercial building will also affect the demand for cool air. Note that the human body dissipates heat, increasing the volume of hot air that an air conditioner will need to cool. For a building with a lot of foot traffic, have the unit serviced more often to keep it in optimal working condition.
10. BASED ON THE BUILDING LEASE AGREEMENT
Some commercial buildings have various requirements that leasers must meet. These agreements are meant to keep the building safe and in good working order. Some property owners will require that you service the AC unit annually, semiannually, or four times a year. Ensure that you check the agreement carefully and schedule AC maintenance to avoid hefty penalties.
Ideally, it’s a good idea that you service your unit twice a year during the spring and fall. However, some scenarios call for more regular HVAC servicing, as outlined above. HVAC system breakdowns can be very costly to any business, but regular maintenance can help avoid this expense. Professionals have the technical knowledge and skill to handle any air conditioner problem and pinpoint hidden issues that could hinder the system’s performance. Fixing such problems early will help prevent frustrating breakdowns or expensive future repairs.
If you need commercial HVAC maintenance services, you can always reach out to Beyer Mechanical. We specialize in heating and cooling installation, repairs, and maintenance across San Antonio, TX. We also offer professional construction services along the I-35 corridor in New Braunfels, Schertz, Austin, Pleasanton and Corpus. Contact us today to book an appointment.