A/C Problems That May Affect Your Commercial Property’s Cooling System
Commercial air conditioning systems provide more benefits than simple cooling. They may be necessary for the health and safety of your employees. They create a comfortable and appealing atmosphere for retail shoppers. They protect stock and assets that could be damaged by overheating. Commercial A/C problems can occur just as easily as in smaller systems, and if they do, they can disrupt your business. In most cases, A/C problems can be traced to one or more of the following common causes.
- Neglect or lack of maintenance: Regular preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your A/C system working properly. If you neglect the system or fail to have maintenance performed at least annually, A/C problems are almost certain to result. A preventive maintenance inspection allows an HVAC expert the chance to check your cooling system for small problems that can be fixed before they become large issues. Your HVAC tech can make adjustments and changes that will improve A/C performance, efficiency and reliability. Consider a service contract or maintenance plan that will let your HVAC contractor track your maintenance needs and automatically schedule an appointment. In most cases, the best time for preventive maintenance is in the downtime between seasons or in the period before you turn your air conditioner back on for the summer.
- Low refrigerant levels: Refrigerant is essential for cooling operation. Air conditioning systems require a manufacturer-specified level of refrigerant. If the amount in the system falls below that level, A/C performance will deteriorate and cooling functions will suffer. Leaks in the refrigerant lines are common sources of low refrigerant levels. In some areas of the country, reports have surfaced of deliberate thefts of refrigerant by individuals who inhale the substance and use it like a drug. Thefts of R-22 Freon could also increase as prices of older refrigerants continue to increase in anticipation of complete phase-out in 2020. Contact your HVAC specialist for inspection and repair of leaky refrigerant lines and a recharge of the system to manufacturer-recommended levels.
- Control failures: The mechanical and electronic controls of your air conditioning system get considerable amounts of use, and over time can wear out and malfunction. If your A/C is oversized or tends to cycle on and off frequently, the controls will experience even more stress. Problems such as corrosion or other build-up on wires, contact points and electrical connections can cause control failures. Your HVAC expert will check and clean controls as part of regular maintenance. He can also repair or replace some kinds of controls if needed.
- Sensor and thermostat failures: Thermostats and sensors are components that detect temperature changes in your commercial facility and then either turn on or shut off your A/C system. If internal sensors are misaligned or out of place, they can fail to take accurate readings. Thermostats that are located in areas where they can’t take accurate temperature readings will cause improper or insufficient cooling. Have your A/C expert test and adjust sensors and thermostats or reposition them as necessary.
- Drainage issues: An air conditioner provides indoor dehumidification along with cooling. This means that water that must be drained away will be present within the system. Drain pans and drainage lines must be maintained so that the water is removed. Otherwise, overflowing pans and drain line problems can cause leaks and water damage. Your HVAC technician should make sure the drainpipes are clear of blockages. He may add algaecide or other substances to keep material from growing in the drainage system and causing clogs.
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Image Credit: Morten Wulff