NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog

Commercial HVAC

Office Air Conditioning Battles: Take Control Before Workers Do


Office air conditioning comfort issues can seriously impact your business

In the dog days of summer, your office air conditioning is working harder than anyone else to keep your commercial space comfortable. The constant onslaught of heat and humidity, along with rain, pollen and NYC pollution, can make it tough for your system to keep up with the demand.

And if your air conditioner hasn’t been regularly serviced, it has to work even harder to meet the demands of the environment.

When your air conditioner can’t keep up with the cooling demand, some parts of your space will be too hot, while other areas are too cold. High humidity may be causing condensation buildup and even dangerous levels of mold, pollen and other contaminants in the air. Your employees are feeling extremely uncomfortable and may even be getting sick from the poor air quality.

Here’s another disconcerting fact: the office temperature also has a direct effect on the productivity of your employees. They’re feeling lousy, they’re getting less done, and before you know it, declining productivity will lead to declining profits.

(See this New York Times article about office air conditioning for more information about how temperature affects productivity.)

Have you noticed your workers making their own office air conditioning improvements?

If you don’t do something to address your office air conditioning problems, your employees will. If people have been complaining but the problem still persists, eventually they will start taking matters into their own hands. If you take a walk around your office, you may notice some of the following DIY office air conditioning improvement measures enacted by uncomfortable and disgruntled office workers:

  • Portable heaters and personal fans. Even if you don’t see them when you walk through, check under the desks when the office is empty. When some people are hot and others are cold due to less than optimal office temperatures, the losers in the thermostat wars will resort to making themselves more comfortable even if it drives up your electric bill and causes even more office air conditioning problems.
  • Blocked air vents. Taping something over the vents to block or redirect air flow is a common sight in a building with office air conditioning temperature variance issues. Some passive-aggressive types may even try tying ribbons to the vents to show you how air is blowing on their heads. Unfortunately, blocking vents can compound the problem. Moved furniture. Some office workers will even go so far as to rearrange the furniture in order to redirect the flow of air according to their preference.

These do-it-yourself solutions are a bigger problem than you think, especially because they are not compatible with office safety guidelines. Personal heaters, for example, are a fire hazard can even lead to small power outages requiring maintenance staff to continually reset breakers.

So, if you want to keep office workers from tampering with the air flow in your office to fix your office air conditioning problems on their own, it’s important to take action — and the sooner the better. It’s entirely possible, and even affordable, to make your office temperature more comfortable and worker-friendly.

Related article: Air Conditioning Maintenance Doesn’t Cost. It Pays.

3 common causes of office air conditioning problems

You may be surprised to learn that easy fixes to your HVAC system can enable it to provide more consistent comfort to the tenants, workers or customers in your building. Here are a just a few of the likely causes of temperature variance that’s leading to those office air conditioning battles:

1. DIRT. The problem could be as simple as clogged ductwork, dirty air filters or grime-covered coils. You system might just need a good cleaning.

2. SPACE CHANGES. The problem could stem from changes to your building layout and usage, if your air conditioning system hasn’t been updated to accommodate the changes. If you’ve done renovations or even just changed cubicle layouts without adjusting the ductwork, your office air conditioning may require some design changes in order to provide consistent cooling in the modified space.

3. WORN PARTS. If you haven’t had regular service, you could have worn parts that are no longer working efficiently. HVAC systems are composed of hundreds of component parts and possibly thousands of feet of ductwork and venting — any part of which could be contributing to temperature extremes. This is much more likely to be the case if you haven’t had your system serviced in a while.

Related article: 8 Ways AC Preventative Maintenance Keeps the Repairman Away.

Call in the professionals to take control of your office air conditioning

Before your office air conditioning system can be improved, it’s necessary to find out what’s to blame, and that requires thorough inspection by an experienced professional. If you want to take control of your office temperature variance issues before the problem seriously affects your bottom line, the simple solution is to bring in an HVAC expert for a complete system evaluation.

When you consider all of the benefits that arise from a more comfortable work environment, it’s safe to say that the savings and revenue generated by a happier workplace could cover the cost of any system updates you might need.


To learn more about how office air conditioning temperature variance is costing your business and how to fix the problem once and for all, grab a copy of our free guide to Improving an Imperfect World: Mitigating Office Temperature Extremes.

Find out how to win the battle for optimal office temperature