Avoid HVAC Repair With This Simple Checklist.
It’s hard to believe September is here already! You’re probably busy with back-to-school activities, the start of the football season, and picking out your Halloween costume (it’s never too early!). It’s a good thing we’re here to remind you that air conditioning maintenance needs to be on your fall to-do list.
Your air conditioner has worked hard all summer keeping your building cool. Once you shut down your system for the season, it needs to be cleaned, inspected and properly protected for the long winter ahead. If you skip these important tasks, you’re risking a major HVAC repair headache (not to mention a major expense) when you start up your air conditioner in the spring and find it’s not working.
Your Fall HVAC To-Do List:
1. Check condition of filters, belts and pulleys.
After a long, hot season, all that wear and tear leads to dirty air filters as well as worn belts and pulleys. Leaving them in this condition all winter is dangerous. Dirty filters can introduce contaminants to your system. And worn belts and pulleys can break when you start your system again and cause further damage.
2. Clean condensate lines, condenser and evaporator coils.
Lines and coils get clogged with debris or coated with moisture and dust, which decreases the efficiency of your unit and can even lead to a breakdown. It will be harder to remove the grime by spring, so clean it now.
3. Clear drain pans and drainage lines.
Standing water left in the pain will cause mold to accumulate in your system. And if your drain lines are clogged, you can have an overflow in the spring and a big mess on your hands.
4. Tighten any loose electrical connections.
The last thing you want when you start up your unit again in the spring is a power issue. Securing connections prevents that from happening.
5. Check refrigerant charge.
If it’s low, you have a leak in your coils. Now is the time to find and fix it rather than waiting for spring when you need the unit running.
6. Check the cooling tower for proper operation.
If your unit has been running but not cooling as effectively lately, now is the time to diagnose and fix any issues.
7. Clean ducts and airways of mold, dust and debris.
If the ducts are dirty, you’ll be contaminating your building throughout the winter. In the worst case, you could end up experiencing Sick Building Syndrome. Protect your building’s occupants by taking care of your ductwork.
8. Check blowers and blades for proper air flow.
Cleaning the blades and checking the operation of the blower motor means you’ll have the proper air flow when you turn the unit on again in the spring. This ensures your unit operates at maximum efficiency and lowers your energy costs.
9. Check the overall condition of equipment.
A complete inspection of all components of your system can uncover small issues that can lead to breakdowns. Replace any worn parts and make small repairs now before they cause you a major expense in the spring.
10. Protect outdoor units from the elements.
It’s important to cover any outdoor or rooftop units when they are not in use, to protect them from the harsh elements. But don’t wrap it completely air-tight. Moisture trapped inside the unit will cause rust and corrosion. Your need to protect the equipment but also give it some breathing room. It’s better to use a cover designed for your air conditioner, which keeps out the rain, snow and nesting pests, but also allows moisture to escape.
Trust this job to the professionals
Some business owners try to save money by having their own maintenance staff take care of seasonal HVAC preventative maintenance. You can certainly take care of changing an air filter on your own, or buying a cover for your outdoor unit. But most of the tasks on this list are best handled by an experienced professional.
Air conditioners and ventilation are complex systems with many components that can cause problems. A certified HVAC technician not only knows how to properly clean and maintain all the components, but also knows how to spot looming problems before they cause breakdowns. Your technician can also recommend improvements that will make your system run more efficiently, reducing energy costs and keeping your tenants or employees comfortable all year long.
If you haven’t already, or if you’re less than happy with your current provider, now is a great time to consider a preventative maintenance agreement with a trusted air conditioning service company. Not only are you much more likely to keep your system running reliably, you’ll be top priority if you do experience an equipment failure.
If you’re considering a service agreement and want to understand more about what to expect from a provider, download our guide to HVAC Preventative Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your HVAC Infrastructure.