Evaporator Coils - Expert Commentary

Seasonal HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips
Seasonal HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips

Seasonal transitions are the perfect time to take inventory and inspect a building’s various systems. We’ve been reminded for years that when we set our clocks back, we should also replace the batteries in our smoke detectors. The same thought process can be applied in support of seasonal preventative maintenance for a building’s HVAC system. Now that the cooling season has passed for a large part of the country, it is time to ensure that HVAC systems have been shut down properly for the winter months. A few simple checks and changes help ensure that the HVAC system is able to transition without failure, from the cooling season to the heating season. Enhancing energy efficiency of HVAC systems Home and building owner inspections can go a long way in increasing the energy efficiency of a system or in mitigating a more complex system failure. Taking a few minutes to inspect an HVAC system for irregularities can help keep repair costs and energy waste to a minimum. Here is a short and easy to complete HVAC inspection check list to execute to help maintain the system and ensure it runs in an energy efficient manner as the outdoor temperature begins to fall. Air filters The change of seasons is the perfect time to change out an HVAC system’s air filter The change of seasons is the perfect time to change out an HVAC system’s air filter. Filters are a key point in a building’s HVAC system, helping keep dust, pollen and larger particulate matter out, and potentially saving it from damage. HVAC equipment accounts for 40 percent of energy usage in a building, so any actions that positively affect energy efficiency are impactful. Not only is changing filters easy to do, but it also provides several benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, cost savings and it helps limit unnecessary stress on the HVAC system, by keeping the air entering it as clean as possible. Dirty, unchanged filters are a leading cause of issues with an HVAC system. The bottom line is that an air filter that has not been changed since the summer needs to be replaced. Inspect the HVAC system Now is a good time to walk around and view the entirety of a building’s HVAC system. How does it look? Make sure the system is clean and in good repair. Examine the ducts to ensure they are clean, undamaged and venting properly. If they are dirty or if there is suspicion that they are clogged, a duct cleaning by a professional may be needed. Remove any leaves or sticks that have gathered around the compressors. Clean the coils of any debris with a garden hose. Trim back any trees or bushes, which are in close contact with the unit. Make sure the condenser unit is still level. If it is not, it can impede the flow of refrigerant and oil, thereby leading to costly repairs. Take a look at the HVAC system to make sure there are no leaks, cracks or structural damage. A quick scan around and cleanup of an HVAC system can help it run longer and more efficiently. Inspect the boiler system Inspect the boiler system by looking for signs of old leaks, which can include stains around the boiler Corrosion is often associated with boiler systems. Inspect the boiler system by looking for signs of old leaks, which can include stains around the boiler or warped floorboards under radiators. Also, be on the lookout for water spots on the ceiling that is below the floor with radiant heat pipes. Make note of any corrosion you find throughout the system, including on the radiators, valves and other components. It’s a smart idea to have a professional inspect a boiler system each year, in order to maintain its functionality and ensure it is running safely, and optimally for a long time. Air Leaks An inspection may also reveal air leaks around doors and windows. These small leaks can add up to significant heat loss and energy costs. If sunlight is peeking through the areas around the perimeter of a window, door or skylight, there’s an air gap to be filled. A quick fix with caulking or weather stripping can ensure optimal energy efficiency. Also, inspect window panes for any cracks, as they will need to be replaced. Furthermore, double check that the windows and doors all close and lock properly. If they don’t, there’s an air leak that needs repair, as well. An inspection of doors and windows can keep a house warmer longer, and help keep the furnace from running over time to maintain a building’s ideal temperature. Shut down AC system for the season At the end of the cooling season, it is recommended that the air conditioning side of the HVAC system be shut off. When doing this, take a few minutes to clean the compressor with a brush and vacuum. Cover the unit with an insulated, waterproof cover that completely covers the whole unit. Secure the cover tightly, so it stays in place over the winter. This simple maintenance can help set up the system for success next year, while also maintaining its energy efficiency. Need for proactive system inspections and maintenance It’s important to evaluate a building’s HVAC system every season, as well as maintain its filters It’s important to evaluate a building’s HVAC system every season, as well as maintain its filters and the environment around the system. Being proactive about systems inspections and maintenance is the best way to keep a system running at peak efficiency, saving money and the environment, as well as providing peace of mind. With a few simple actions, home and building owners can keep their HVAC systems in good shape for longer, and be ready to go for the next season ahead. Motili’s predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy Motili brings contractors, operations teams and the industry’s most advanced property management technology platform together, to assess and complete HVAC work requests, from start to finish. Motili automatically schedules, dispatches, manages and invoices job requests, and its predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy, by predicting product life cycle. Motili leverages its nationwide network of over 2,000 contractors and 1,000 distribution centers, in order to provide HVAC and hot water services, across the United States of America, to customers both large and small in size.

Cooling Tower Cleaning And Preventive Maintenance Reduces Energy Costs
Cooling Tower Cleaning And Preventive Maintenance Reduces Energy Costs

A cooling tower allows building owners and operators to take advantage of low cooling water temperatures and higher rates of heat rejection per square meter inherent in evaporative cooling systems. A well maintained cooling tower enables cooling systems to perform at optimum efficiency, reliably and cost-effectively, with contractors who maintain cooling systems able to service their customers with comprehensive and routine cooling tower maintenance programs that should maintain cooling performance for many years. Humble cooling tower Unfortunately, the humble cooling tower is often the forgotten component of the water cooling system when it comes to maintenance, but extremely high up the table when it comes to safety, so while certain tasks are regularly carried out others can be overlooked. A well maintained cooling tower should be able to reliably deliver its design fluid temperature A well maintained cooling tower should be able to reliably deliver its design fluid temperature and flow rate relative to the ambient condition indefinitely, but since its heat transfer operation creates a natural ‘air-scrubber’ environment, removing impurities from the cooling air as well as the circulating water, the cooling tower needs regular routine inspections and maintenance to continue performing at its best, and a small deterioration in performance should be expected, but easily managed. Cooling towers use large volumes of ambient air to take heat away from a process through sensible and non-sensible cooling. Critical maintenance activities Non-sensible cooling is a term that describes heat rejection through evaporation, where air will gain moisture until it reaches saturation, which is when the air is fully laden with water at 100% RH. This increase in water content requires energy to occur and this is obtained by taking heat out of the circulating water, reducing the temperature of the water in the process. Sensible cooling also occurs, which is where the colder inlet air reduces the temperature of the water due the difference in the air and water temperature, and in turn heats up as it travels through the heat exchange media. Because of this, one of the most critical maintenance activities of cooling systems is to ensure that the heat transfer has the best conditions to occur. Air moving equipment Maintenance on the air moving equipment will focus on the condition of the fans themselves The best conditions mean that the airflow is optimal, the heat exchange surfaces are clean and correctly installed, and the water distribution is balanced and operating correctly. Unless it is a natural draft cooling tower, the airflow will be created by fans which are driven by motors that are either directly attached to the fans or operate through gearboxes or fan belts. Maintenance on the air moving equipment will focus on the condition of the fans themselves, ensuring that the blade angles are set to achieve the necessary airflow if they can be adjusted and that the gearboxes or belts are operating properly with sufficient lubrication in bearings and gearboxes. Heat exchange media The heat exchange media in the cooling tower should be selected to offer the best trade-off between the tendency to foul and the amount of heat exchange surface. Maintenance on these components focuses first on the cleanliness of the heat exchange surfaces, as well as ensuring that the correct type of heat exchange media is being used and that it is properly fitted. The distribution systems in cooling towers are also essential to efficient operation Incorrect fill type or poor installation can lead to the packs becoming blocked quickly or could result in higher pressure drops reducing airflow. Poorly fitted fill packs can lead to air bypassing the water through gaps in the fill pack and results in loss of thermal performance and higher drift rates. The distribution systems in cooling towers are also essential to efficient operation. Heat exchange surfaces Heat exchange surfaces are only effective if there is a steady flow of water over them, blocked or broken nozzles can lead to an imbalance of water flow which results in variations of wetting rates or even dry spots throughout the fill where the airflow will be less effective. Water flow, airflow and heat exchange surface are the essential ingredients in cooling tower thermal performance, but these three critical subsystems don’t make up the entire system. The remaining systems are related to safety, access and containment, which carry a significant importance when concerned with the safe and effective operation of a cooling tower. Preventing direct sunlight Cooling towers are ultimately maintainable through a series of interconnected subsystems These systems include drift eliminators that prevent harmful water droplets from leaving the cooling tower, air inlet honeycombs that prevent direct sunlight from entering the cooling tower and reduce airside contamination, access systems that allow safe access for maintenance and the general fabric of tower to provide containment of fluids and protection to operators. All these things should be considered in a comprehensive maintenance plan which goes beyond cleanliness to ensure that you have not only a safe system but a high performing system. Cooling towers are ultimately maintainable through a series of interconnected subsystems that can all be relatively easily and cost effectively replaced. By allowing correctly maintained systems to operate at peak efficiency, they will work safely for many years.

HVAC Maintenance Vital As Businesses Reopen Post COVID-19
HVAC Maintenance Vital As Businesses Reopen Post COVID-19

In what can only be described as a very turbulent year, many businesses have had to shut their doors and have all but forgotten about the general upkeep of their sites. With priorities shifted to keeping companies afloat and staff employed, maintenance and servicing has taken a backseat, and many systems will be deteriorating unnoticed. It goes without saying that one of the first tasks that employers will have to tackle when returning to work is a deep clean. As we are still in the throes of a pandemic, a clean and disinfected workplace is the number one priority that needs to be ensured, before any staff can be welcomed back to work. This should be closely followed by maintenance of the site’s equipment. Importance of regular HVAC maintenance Regular HVAC maintenance is extremely important as it keeps systems performing efficiently and effectively Regular HVAC maintenance is extremely important as it keeps systems performing efficiently and effectively. The nature of HVAC maintenance does change depending on the time of year, and with some sites being shut for months and through different seasons, managers will need to review their current equipment to ensure it is compliant and working correctly as soon as possible as signs of normality start returning and facilities begin to reopen. While warehouses and factories may have still been operating in some capacity over the last 12 months, many office buildings have seen little to no employees for more than a year in some cases, therefore, risking deterioration and even damage to their systems going unnoticed and untreated. But with so many pieces of equipment at each site, it is often hard to know where to start and what to prioritize. Following HVAC manufacturer’s recommendations In order for businesses to keep functioning as best as they can and to avoid any more disruption, those in charge of maintenance and servicing need to be educated on how the conditions of a system affects the type of work it needs. Manufacturer’s recommendations should also be taken into account. To help define what these are and how to approach them, mechanical and electrical engineers recommend: The coils and pipes in HVAC equipment that are responsible for heat transfer are checked regularly, because if the equipment gets dirty, it won’t transfer heat and energy as well. Checking controls annually to ensure that the HVAC system is running properly, as control calibration can alter. By scheduling regular check-ups, accurate operation is maintained. Maintaining equipment with fans quarterly to maximize longevity. Three key areas include monitoring the impellers, belts and bearings for any dirt, wear and tear, friction or erosion. Keeping an eye on filters, as when they are clogged, it increases the pressure drop in a system, which makes fans work harder to maintain the same airflow. A quarterly clean is usually sufficient for most filters. This is also true of strainers in systems. Optimizing HVAC and electrical equipment With spring now upon us, businesses need to optimize their HVAC and electrical equipment for maximum efficiency With spring now upon us, businesses need to optimize their HVAC and electrical equipment for maximum efficiency. This includes reviewing the sequence of operations for a morning warm up and cool down. However, it’s important to remember that because of prolonged closures over the last 12 months, autumn and winter checks, and in some cases, even summer checks were not able to be carried out in 2020, so before the spring work begins, backdating the maintenance is a good place to start. Ensuring buildings’ energy efficiency With the help of experts, HVAC maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming and overwhelming, but it’s a critical part of maintaining an energy-efficient building that is both comfortable and reliable. With regular servicing and some basic knowledge of what is required, sites can maintain optimum efficiency all year round. Noise complaints can also be an issue, if HVAC maintenance isn’t carried out regularly. Spring is a good time for businesses to perform services on their equipment, prior to the summer months starting and should be used to ensure that condenser coils and air handler filters are both clean. The dirtier the equipment, the noisier and less efficient it becomes, which is bad news for any business. Preparing buildings for staff returning to work When a building is returning to normal occupancy after a lengthy closure, additional checks must be considered before reopening is discussed. When a building is initially mothballed, it must be prepared for long term vacancy, but many businesses will not have had this opportunity before the national lockdown, which basically entails that these checks will not have been carried out. After a building becomes unoccupied, it is not the case that maintenance activity should also stop After a building becomes unoccupied, it is not the case that maintenance activity should also stop. At the very least, the frequency of existing planned maintenance will change, but in some cases, more maintenance tasks are required in order to keep the site ticking over. This includes flushing of water systems, Legionella testing and insurance inspections to keep the property functional and compliant. Countering health and safety issues  As the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted across the United Kingdom and many businesses are gradually reopening, it will present health and safety problems that have not been faced before and will very likely see a surge in services and maintenance being required. With this in mind, it is vital that maintenance becomes a priority as normal service is resumed to not only ensure efficiency, but also to make sure that no employee or visitor to a site is put in danger. Emerging from a surreal 12 months, there is no doubt that companies will still face challenges, so it is crucial that avoidable maintenance problems do not become one of them, so don’t delay in booking routine checks.  

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