05 Mar 2019

The Do's and Dont's of HVAC Maintenance

Aggreko Chiller for commercial building

Like any other heavy-duty equipment, your HVAC units need to be well looked after to keep them in tip-top shape. Downtime isn’t just a hassle to deal with, it can mean a complete closure of your building until things are back up and running… and no one wants a hit like that to their bottom line. 

But how often should you schedule maintenance? What kind of maintenance can you perform yourself, and when do you need to bring in a professional team? And, of course, what can you do to stay productive when your usual HVAC units are shut down for maintenance or repair?
Maintaining the HVAC system protects the equipment and the people who live and work within. Let’s start with some tasks that you can take charge of yourself, reducing the risk of a shutdown. 

  1. Replace any filters in your cooling equipment 
  2. Clean air ducts every 2 years
  3. Clean the condenser, evaporator coils, drip pan, blower assembly and ignition system
  4. Inspect the fan, bearings, and belts
  5. Lubricate all moving parts including motors
  6. Clean and adjust dampers annually
  7. Check the refrigerant charge and resupply as needed
  8. Test your thermostat, safety controls, fan and blower motors to make sure they’re all working correctly
  9. Inspect the electrical connections for any issues 
  10. It probably goes without saying, but take note of any strange noises or smells!

As the weather cools, run the same general checks, tests and cleaning tasks again. In addition…

  1. Replace the filters on the heating equipment
  2. Check your heat exchanger and burner assembly
  3. Run careful inspections for gas leaks.

Next: scheduled maintenance. Anything more complicated than these routine activities should absolutely be left to an HVAC expert. Trying to do it on your own will get messy and expensive, while proper maintenance at sensible intervals will extend the life of your system.
Your exact requirements on this front will vary according to use, but as a general rule, you’ll need in-depth professional maintenance just before the weather warms up for your cooling system and just before it starts to get cold for heating. That means a minimum of twice a year, every spring and fall, if your system heats and cools, including furnace maintenance.
Whatever you do, don’t put off professional maintenance. This will likely come back to bite you in the long run, and the ensuing problems are entirely preventable.
With a bit of planning and forward thinking, you can bring in temporary HVAC, including cooling, heating and drying units, to keep things running during your scheduled maintenance – and can even switch over seamlessly, with no loss of uptime, until normal service is restored. When your HVAC maintenance is planned, or even runs into an emergency, these rental options can be a budget and schedule saver, allowing you to maintain building occupancy, avoid costly delays or penalties, and even avoid any damage done to the interior of the building. 

Remember, being prepared and consulting with your preferred contractors to find the proper solution for you and your space are always going to be the best course of action.