It’s hard to believe that there was snow on the ground just a couple of weeks ago. It’s been a harsh winter in the northeast, but it’s warming up fast. The first very warm day could happen any time now (and usually happens ahead of the season). Is your building’s air conditioning system ready for the challenge? Getting your equipment tuned up and ready for the upcoming season is imperative not only for a smooth and comfortable transition, but also for the efficiency and longevity of your system.
Think about it this way: if you had a car that was sitting unused all winter, would you feel comfortable taking it out on a long road trip without getting it checked out first? If you did, you would be risking a breakdown and a major headache. By abruptly starting up your air conditioning system on the first warm day, without any preventative maintenance, you’re taking the same risk.
Why your HVAC system needs TLC for the long, hot summer ahead.
Here’s why a checkup and preventative maintenance are so critical for both your system and your bottom line:
- Dirty vents and air filters, clogged condensate lines, leaking vents and poor drainage all decrease the performance of your air conditioning system. Your equipment has to work harder and use more energy to keep your building cool. Preventative maintenance helps your system run efficiently and reduces energy consumption.
- Regular cleaning and care prevent premature failure of equipment. The typical life of an air conditioning system is about 15 years, but dirty, neglected systems deteriorate much faster.
- Accumulating debris in drains and condensate lines can lead to overflow, causing not only system failure, but also water damage and even dangerous mold growth.
- The demand for appointments in peak season can mean long waits in sweltering temperatures if your equipment fails. Beat the crowd now and prevent breakdowns that cause business interruption and lost revenue.
- Keep your tenants or employees happy, healthy and productive by easing the transition to the hot summer weather.
How to get your HVAC system into peak condition.
Before your turn on your air conditioning for the first time this season, here are just a few of the items that may need attention:
- Changing filters and belts that may be dirty or worn
- Cleaning condensate lines, condenser and evaporator coils that may be clogged with debris or coated with moisture and dust
- Lubricating moving parts that have been idle all winter to keep things running smoothly
- Clearing drain pans of standing water and checking all lines for proper drainage in order to prevent overflows
- Tightening any loose electrical connections to prevent power loss
- Checking refrigerant charge and replenishing if needed
- Replacing pulleys that may be worn
- Checking the cooling tower for proper operation
- Testing thermostats and other controls to ensure that the correct temperatures are maintained, timer functions are set properly, and batteries are changed
- Cleaning ducts and airways of mold, dust and debris
- Checking blowers and blades for proper air flow
- Testing humidity levels and looking for moisture and especially rust, which can be a sign of a serious issue
- Evaluating the effectiveness of the system by checking for proper air flow
- Checking the overall condition of equipment
Why it’s best to trust the experts.
Some business owners try to save money by having their own maintenance staff take care of seasonal preventative maintenance. It’s not that difficult to change an air filter on your own, but many of the tasks on the seasonal checklist are best left to a professional. Just like the car sitting in the garage, you can probably change your own wiper blades, but you’ll be safer and save money in the long run if you have an experienced mechanic check your brakes and align the tires.
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 cool and comfortable all season, no matter how many 90 degree days are ahead this summer.
And, if you haven’t guessed, now is the time to start considering a preventative maintenance agreement with a trusted provider. Not only are you sure to beat the heat, 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.