HVAC System Maintenance Guideline

A good HVAC system is very important when it comes to maintaining a comfortable, healthy interior environment. Through the years many property owners inquire about a technique to reduce their cost of energy and HVAC. They don’t want to sacrifice the interior environmental conditions, but they do want a-point-by-point plan to follow. The great thing that often happens may be that energy bills are diminished by quite a bit and of course the HVAC performance is enhanced. That is a normal part of any HVAC service company specializing in energy and HVAC.

Energy Optimization

The first step to achieving system optimization is to reduce the load. This step normally consists of a long range plan which itemizes the actions to be taken based upon best value for your dollar. Reducing your home load allows the existing HVAC system to function properly. If a new system or systems are being considered, it will be more cost effective to design for the reduced load as opposed to the prevailing load. A few common load reduction strategies include:

1. Look at the building’s exterior and add additional insulation. Adding insulation in an existing building may not be achievable for some, so more thought ought to be aimed toward the exterior shell, above all the windows and doors.

2. Fitting energy-efficient windows. This can be a big item for some structures that still have single pane windows. The installation of double pane glazed windows with a temperature break is a wonderful return on investment. Make sure they are ENERGY STAR qualified windows. Tinting or Low-E coatings will even be the best.

3. Changing the lighting system. The average commercial structure has a lighting density of 2-3 watts per square foot to maintain a comfortable lighting level. That is a significant part of an HVAC system load and nearly all efforts to optimize this specific area will reduce the cooling requirement of the structure. Accent lighting (sometimes called architectural lighting) are not always power efficient and should not be looked at if you want to reduce energy and HVAC expenditures. Energy-efficient lights release less heat into a cooled evironment than older light bulbs. If you have a return air plenum rather than return air ductwork, consider light troffers so that some of the heat from the bulbs is returned to the HVAC system instead of bleeding into the occupied area.

4. Selecting efficient equipment and electronic devices that have a power saver option will decrease the heat gain within the space. Items to think about include copy machines, food processors, computer systems and refrigerators.

5. Control ventilation by having your outside air balanced. Most building owners have blueprints of the system installation. Have those drawings examined by using a mechanical engineer to verify your air-flow rates comply with the latest code standards. If no blueprints are available, your engineer should still be capable of suggesting recommendations for enhancement.

Addressing these things is your first task to decreasing energy and HVAC costs.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

The second step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimisation is knowing it. Your HVAC system is critical for your interior environment, it also represents a major factor of your utility costs. While it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss every system, a few recommendations can be covered. Each HVAC system component has grown in effectiveness during recent years. If your system is more than 13 years of age, it is time to begin thinking of an upgrade to new equipment. Well maintained residential systems have a life span of around fifteen years give or take, but seem to shut down at the worse times. You should have a replacement plan ready for when your equipment does fail.

Commercial systems vary, but when your building is using packaged equipment or split systems, the same lifetime should be expected. For larger commercial systems and industrial applications, the HVAC system could also be more complex and require an individual analysis by a mechanical engineer. As I stated earlier, These types of systems vary so an individual assessment works for a custom system. What most of these systems have in common is they are usually powered by electrical energy. Electricity costs money, so any improvement toward enhanced efficiency is a good thing.

HVAC System Tips:

Find a qualified contractor you can trust. If you are a home owner or small commercial building owner, find the best HVAC business or technician to assess and work on the system. Assuming you are a large commercial building owner, look for a commercial HVAC company for regular maintenance and a good mechanical engineer for unbiased advice. We do advise against using a mechanical engineer who works for the HVAC Company; find a 3rd party service for impartial information.

Validate your HVAC system load. Commercial buildings have more complex settings regarding code conformance, minimum ventilation rates, etc and therefore are different to each building.

Select equipment rated for the load. DO NOT OVERSIZE! Going overboard doesn’t work for HVAC systems. It is going to cost more to purchase the equipment as well as operate it. Consult with your contractor to figure out the proper capacity

Buy high efficiency or Energy Star equipment. Most of the newer systems come with variable speed units for moving parts. Through your years of ownership this is repaid repeatedly. Compare standard equipment to high efficiency equipment in terms of initial cost and running expenditure. Any good HVAC company or mechanical engineer can get this information for you.

Think about some form of power recapture for air exhausted from the place and use it somehow to enhance the incoming air. That is the air you’ve paid for, so using a portion of the energy before blowing it out it should be necessary.

For larger complexes, consider preparing outside air with a specialized outside air unit. This will eliminate any problems regarding humidity control in many conditions. It may also increase comfort levels and enable further equipment optimization.

Commercial properties should consider equipment economizers. Many current codes call for economizers on equipment larger than 15 tons in size. Often available at a low initial cost during set-up, these units draw in fresh air from outside whenever the temperatures (or humidity) outdoors is less than the inside temperature.

Both home owners and small commercial building owners should install programmable thermostats. Commercial buildings should setup a custom digital control system. The investment will more than pay back the price very quickly.

Control Systems

The third step to achieve system optimization is controlling your system.

The Digital Thermostat: A great investment for anyone is a programmable thermostat. These are simple to use and come with built in strategies based upon a schedule. Most manufacturers provide 7 day programs which can turn the HVAC system on and off to compliment and temperature. This is a wonderful way to ensure the system is on only when required.

DDC Systems: For a large building, I consider this as a must have system. Installation costs have steadily decreased and of course performance reliability has steadily increased. They can be integrated into any system and expanded as required. Some of the more popular elements of these solutions are optimized start/stop, a variety of zone controls, temperature sensing unit and fresh air control. A key benefit of these systems is their ability to be scaled up to the largest of commercial applications. This implies you can install a somethng simple to begin with then add more controls later to incorporate everything. Again, the payback is quick and well worth the outlay.

Coil Cleaning: This is always a big thing missed by almost everyone. Condenser coils collect dirt and debris on their surfaces because they’re outside. Diry coils make the compressor work overtime and leads to a higher refrigerant temperature in the refridgerant system. Dirty evaporation and heat coils collect dust and fibers that circulate inside your home or building. They must be cleaned at least once a year

Operation and General Maintenance

The fourth and last step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimization is regular upkeep. The most effective systems are well taken care of. Ensure durability, efficiency and a long life for your HVAC system by following these recommendations.

Find a qualified contractor you trust. Find a good company or technician to evaluate and take care of your system. Assuming you are a large business owner, find a commercial|an industrial} HVAC contractor for regular upkeep. Make sure you keep track of servicing with when they vist and what they did each time.

Home owners must always get a regular tune up. The way your system works will vary depending on the time of year.

Replace your air filters regularly. Always use quality filters to make sure most of the dust is captured. Clean filters will save fan energy.

Conclusion

Energy and HVAC optimization will help to decrease energy expenses. A little time finding out about your system and familiarizing yourself with improvement strategies will save money and boost the life of your equipment.

Published by Barry Pearson