Keeping your employees and customers comfortable and your products in top condition during the hot summer days requires a good commercial HVAC unit. Of course, this is equally true in the winter when warmth is necessary to operate your business productively. Unfortunately, your commercial HVAC unit can malfunction from time to time. It’s vital that you understand what the first indications are when something is wrong with your HVAC system so you can seek professional help to correct the problem.
One of the most obvious indicators that your commercial HVAC unit is not working properly is an odd smell. Depending on what’s wrong with your system, the smell could be musty, burnt or even chemical in nature. For most odd smells, you’ll need to call in a professional HVAC technician to assess the issue.
It’s not uncommon to have a burnt smell when your air conditioner is first turned on for the summer. However, that smell should dissipate after the first 30 minutes of use. If you notice this smell continuing after the initial interval of running your AC, the equipment needs to be looked at by a professional.
Another common indicator that your HVAC system has a problem is an odd noise. There are many different components throughout your HVAC system. When components become loose, wear out, fall off or malfunction, they can emit a wide spectrum of sounds. Some of the most common sounds that you’ll hear from your troubled HVAC system include banging, clanking, humming, squealing, buzzing, clicking, rattling and screeching.
It’s advisable to call in a commercial HVAC professional when you first hear such a noise. Continuing to run the system when it’s making a consistent noise can end up causing more damage to the unit, especially in cases where a part is loose. The longer you wait to call for repairs, the more costly they are likely to be.
While it’s not uncommon for an HVAC system to struggle at times when humidity levels are high outdoors, this should only be a rare occurrence. If your staff starts to feel overly sticky while working inside the building, they notice mold growth or a musty smell or they experience heightened allergy symptoms, it’s quite likely that the indoor humidity level is too high. A competent HVAC technician can help you address this issue.
HVAC Failing to Cool or Heat Properly
If you start to get complaints from your staff members that your building doesn’t seem to be getting as cool as it usually does, it’s an indication that something may be malfunctioning with your AC system. There could be a number of problems ranging from a bad thermostat to frozen evaporator coils.
Start by checking your air filters to see if they’re clogged. If so, replace them and see if the unit goes back to cooling effectively. If you’re still having trouble getting your building cool, then it’s time to call in a professional to further evaluate your AC system.
Failure to heat sufficiently in the winter is the flip side of this problem. It also usually calls for professional assistance.
Increased Power Bills
It’s perfectly normal to have energy bills increase at the extremes of the summer or winter. However, if you notice that your energy bills are much higher than they normally are at a particular time of the year, it may be an indication that there’s something amiss with your HVAC system. As your system works harder than it should, it will utilize more energy to do its job. The cause should be discovered and corrected.
If you notice that there is an inconsistency in the temperature throughout various areas of your building, it could be an indication that something is malfunctioning with your HVAC system. In most cases, this is typically an issue with the thermostat, dampers or an electrical component. When the issue is due to an electrical component, the system will short cycle. This means the HVAC system will kick off too early, and the warmed or cooled air will not be delivered to its intended zone.
More Sick Employees Than Usual
You’ll undoubtedly be worried about both their well-being and their productivity when numerous employees take sick days simultaneously, but you should suspect your HVAC system as the culprit. If there’s an issue with the ventilation system, it can drastically reduce indoor air quality. When your HVAC ventilation system has problems, it can develop mold and mildew growth.
This can leave employees who have allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions more susceptible to flare-ups due to mold spores and other allergens. If you’re experiencing more employees than usual calling off sick, you may want to consider having your HVAC ventilation system professionally evaluated and cleaned.
Water Backed Up in Your HVAC System
While your HVAC system does pull water out of the air, it’s specifically designed to drain that water. However, when the drain becomes clogged, it can cause the excess water to back up into your HVAC system. This will typically result in water pooling around your HVAC unit.
Thermostat Not Working
The thermostat is a necessary part of your HVAC system. It signals to the system to turn on or off depending on the temperature that you have set. If your thermostat is not working, it could be due to one of several different issues. Start by replacing the battery in your thermostat to see if it turns back on.
If replacing the battery doesn’t work, your thermostat may be bad. Thermostats are typically easy to replace with only a few low-voltage wires and some screws. If you don’t want to fiddle with replacing the thermostat or replacing the thermostat doesn’t solve the issue, it’s best to call in an HVAC professional to assist you.
Mold Growth in Your Building
If your cleaning crew or your employees have reported seeing green slime on walls or in other areas of your building, it could be an indication that there’s a problem with your HVAC system. Due to the fact that mold growth can double in size within 24 hours, it’s advisable to contact an HVAC professional ASAP to assess your entire HVAC system. Getting the mold removed is vital to your employees’ health, and having your system fixed so that there’s less humidity in the air to cause this problem is essential to prevent a recurrence.
Most commercial HVAC systems have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. If your system is approaching the 20-year mark, it’s time to think about upgrading to new equipment. It’s best to replace your system as it’s approaching the end of its lifespan instead of waiting until it goes out entirely. It will be much less of a headache if you can plan your system outage days for the installation process and your budget is ready for it.
Your Trusted Commercial HVAC Professionals
Our experienced staff can remedy any problems that you’re having with your commercial HVAC unit. We also offer commercial HVAC design and installation services, preventative maintenance and energy audits throughout San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding areas from Austin to Corpus Christi. If you need assistance with your commercial HVAC system, then it’s time to discuss it with Beyer Mechanical. Give us a call today.