The dog days of summer are here, along with heat, humidity and the ever-present threat of extreme weather. Ensure your facility is operating as efficiently as possible with a mid-season checkup. It’s also a great opportunity to increase the safety, productivity and comfort of everyone in your building.
Cooling system maintenance
Annual cleaning and inspections are important, but don’t let ongoing preventive maintenance slide. Preventative maintenance will keep your system operating at peak efficiency.
- Check air filters regularly for dirt and dust. Replace as necessary according to manufacturer's guidelines.
- Strike the right balance between dampers and vents by adjusting them.
- Determine if air conditioning economizers work properly. Repair or replace if needed. If controls are inside your facility, rooftop units may require two employees to verify proper damper opening and closing.
- Confirm compressor performance. Check for the unusual such as continuous running or frequent stopping and starting.
- Look for leaks. Check equipment seals, pipe joints, valves and other instrumentation. Repair refrigerant and oil leaks around these areas. Examine refrigerant levels and adjust as necessary.
Lend an ear to employees and others in the building. Their comfort complaints could be a sign of trouble with your cooling or air-handling system. Listen to the system operate for a few minutes and determine the cause of any unusual sounds.
Find hidden energy costs
Look beyond your air conditioning system and you may find undetected sources of energy waste that add to your summer bills.
- Out-of-control controls. Check the settings. Poorly tuned thermostats, sensors and other controls often waste energy. Adjust settings to the current safety, productivity and comfort needs of those in the space as well as to occupancy schedules.
- Solar heat gain through windows. Your air conditioning system will work harder to keep things comfortable when the sun coming into the building is strong. Inspect window treatments, including the automated kinds. Make sure they’re set up properly and adjusted to block out solar heat gain, especially in areas where occupancy varies.
- Air leaks. Air leaks around windows and exterior doors waste energy and decrease comfort. Check for them and seal with caulk or weatherstripping.
- Kitchen ventilation equipment. Your air conditioning system works harder when kitchen ventilation hoods are on all day, especially if they run at full speed; this wastes energy and sucks conditioned air outside. Turn down ventilation equipment during idle times or install variable speed or demand control ventilation.
- Grounds maintenance. Trim trees and clear heavy debris from the grounds around your facility. This prevents limbs falling on buildings and high-wind damage.
- Backup generators. According to manufacturer’s guidelines, regularly inspect and test run backup generators to ensure full functioning.
Prepare ahead to make your business ready for anything the season may bring.