Cooler weather has arrived, the leaves are falling, and it’s almost time to turn on the heat for the first time. Not so fast!
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to schedule a service call to prepare your commercial HVAC system for fall. In the meantime, there are things you and your staff can do to help your system perform better.
Fall HVAC Prep Checklist
#1 – Service Your Air Conditioning
Why, when you don’t plan to use it again until spring? Just like you winterize your irrigation system, fall is a great time to have the cooling components of your HVAC thoroughly cleaned and inspected when it’s going to be sitting idle for several months. This includes clearing the drain lines and pans to avoid mold growth, cleaning the coils, checking and replenishing refrigerant, and checking and lubricating all moving parts including belts and pulleys.
#2 – Clean & Inspect Ducts
Hot, humid summer air combined with an efficient A/C or leaky ducts could spell mold. Even if an inspection doesn’t find mold, it’s a good idea to have your ducts and vents cleaned annually for better indoor air and to keep pollutants out of your HVAC system.
#3 – Change Filters
You should be changing filters every three months, but it’s even more important in the fall and spring. Pollen, mold, dust, and other allergens are higher during these seasons, so you may find changing the filters more frequently keeps occupants comfortable.
#4 – Inspect Heating Components
Like with your A/C, you’ll want to have all moving parts, belts, pulleys, etc. on your heating system cleaned and inspected. You’ll also want to have the blower assembly thoroughly cleaned and inspected, and check all electrical components. Your technician should test the operation of the limit switch, and for gas systems check the pilot light, thermocouple, valves, and gas line.
#5 – Calibrate Thermostats
People are often surprised to learn that thermostats need to be calibrated regularly. If employees are suddenly too hot or cold and the temperature is set where it always is, it’s a simple fix for your technician to calibrate the temperature sensors.
#6 – Install Smart Technology
If you haven’t already installed programmable thermostats and configured zones, this is a great time to do it. Especially with rising energy costs, getting ahead of winter weather with thermostats that will keep occupants comfortable around the clock is a smart move that will help keep your bottom line in the black.
Similarily, installing IoT (Internet of Things) sensors on your HVAC system will save you money by allowing you to practice condition-based maintenance. This means you can monitor the health of your systems from a smartphone app, in real-time, and only pay for maintenance and repairs as-needed.
In between preventative maintenance, you and your staff can do some simple tasks to keep your HVAC system performing well.
Change air filters – If your air filters are located in an accessible place, be sure to change them at least every three months. Depending on your business type, they may need to be replaced more frequently. If you can’t access them, it’s imperative to have a maintenance contract in place with a commercial HVAC provider to change them on a regular schedule.
Clean outdoor units – Regularly clean weeds, dirt, and mildew from your outdoor units. If you have a packaged rooftop system, it’s important to inspect the roof regularly in the fall time and clean any leaves from around the unit. Built up leaves around the system can impede air flow and make the system work harder, which can shorten its lifespan and require more repairs.
Clean visible vents and registers – While thorough duct cleaning is best left to the pros, your team can regularly clean visible vents and registers within the facility. Depending on your business, this may need to be done more or less often, but plan to inspect them monthly. For smaller facilities, like office buildings and retail stores, this task can be delegated to your janitorial staff.
Install fans – Industrial ceiling and floor fans can be used year round to circulate air and help your HVAC perform more efficiently. In the fall, set ceiling fans to run clockwise, at a low speed. Sine warm air rises, the gentle updraft will help redistribute hot air that gets trapped near the ceiling. Runnings fans like this in cooler months can save as much as 15% on your energy bills.
If it’s time to schedule your fall HVAC checkup, Trillium Facility Solutions has a nationwide network of trusted service providers standing by ready to help you. Experience a true 1 Vendor | 1 Call | 1 Invoice service model when you partner with Trillium for your facility management needs.