Sooner or later, every commercial HVAC system is going to develop problems that affect performance and efficiency. Many of them can be prevented, while others will require only a relatively easy fix. The following list describes five of the most common commercial HVAC problems and what you can do about them.
1. Lack of Preventive Maintenance
Out of all of the most common commercial HVAC problems, lack of preventive maintenance is probably the one most frequently seen by HVAC professionals. Regular maintenance is intended to keep your heating and cooling systems working at their best and most efficient, but if this maintenance is skipped or ignored, the HVAC system in your building can develop significant performance problems.
Preventive maintenance allows an HVAC professional the chance to inspect your heating and cooling systems and make minor repairs and adjustments that keep the equipment working properly. In general, maintenance should be done once a year, in the spring for cooling systems and in the fall or heating equipment.
It can be easy to forget about preventive maintenance. That's why it is often a good idea to enter into a maintenance agreement with your local trusted HVAC professional. This agreement establishes a schedule for maintenance, along with terms for what kinds of maintenance tasks will be performed. Your HVAC company tracks the scheduling and lets you know when maintenance is needed. In many cases, maintenance agreements also give you additional benefits, such as discounts on parts or priority service.
2. Dirty or Clogged Air Filters
Dirty or clogged air filters can cause significant performance issues with your commercial HVAC equipment. The main purpose of filters is to remove particulates and other material from the air moving through the system, and therefore from the air inside your facility. Over time, however, the accumulated material in the filters begins to impede airflow. If air cannot move through the filters, the system can't get the amount of airflow it needs to work correctly. Dirty air filters present another of the most common commercial HVAC problems, but the issue can be corrected quickly and easily by putting in a new filter.
3. Thermostat Problems
Problems at the thermostat can often cause an HVAC system to not work at all. If this is the case, which means what might seem at first like a major failure can be resolved relatively quickly and inexpensively.
First, make sure the thermostat has fresh batteries. If the screen is blank, put in new batteries and see if that corrects the problem. If the screen remains blank, the problem might be in the thermostat itself, which means it will need to be replaced.
Thermostat placement can also be an issue. If a thermostat is mounted in a location where sunlight shines on it, for example, temperature readings will not be accurate and the HVAC system might not respond correctly.
4. Lack of Refrigerant
Refrigerant is a liquid that is necessary for the cooling functions to occur. If refrigerant is lost through leaks or theft, your air conditioner will not cool properly. System components will work harder than necessary to make up for the lack of cooling, which leads to additional wear and early failure. Your HVAC professional can add more coolant, a process called recharging, which will usually restore the system's cooling capacity.
5. Airflow Issues
Air leaks in the ductwork can cause airflow issues that lead to inconsistent heating or cooling. In addition, the system might not work correctly if it doesn't get enough airflow from the return ducts. This usually happens when the air returns are blocked by furniture, boxes, or other items.