Summer is getting closer, and with it comes the need to prepare your building and cooling system for the stress of increased temperatures and humidity. When you take the time to get your building and HVAC equipment ready for summer, you'll ensure the best possible performance, the highest level of comfort, and the least amount of expense in keeping your commercial space cool and comfortable. Here are some suggestions for getting your building, your air conditioner, or your heat pump ready for summer.
For Your Building
- Seal air leaks. In summer, air leaks are a major source of energy loss and wasted money. Cool air escapes through these small cracks, holes, gaps, or other openings in your building's structure. You not only lose air you've already spent money to cool, but you have to pay for additional cooling to make up the difference. Find and seal air leaks in the building's walls. Silicone caulking is the most common sealant used for this purpose. Apply weatherstripping or seals around doors and windows. Put leak-blocking sweeps on the bottoms of doors. Help employees understand the need to keep doors and windows closed to stop air loss.
- Apply window treatments. Sunshine coming through your windows can increase your indoor temperatures, requiring more cooling to compensate. Prevent this heat gain by putting window treatments on windows that receive direct sunlight. Dark window treatments keep sunlight out and can prevent excess glare from sunlight that could annoy customers or employees. Consider using removable treatments that can be taken off in the winter when you may want extra sunlight coming indoors.
For Your Cooling System
- Call for preventive maintenance. The best thing you can do to get your cooling system ready for summer is to have preventive maintenance performed. A maintenance inspection allows your trusted HVAC professional the opportunity to check your HVAC system from end to end. Small adjustments, minor repairs, and other tune-ups can be made to increase performance and efficiency. Your HVAC pro can spot potential problems before they become larger issues later. Consider entering into a maintenance agreement with your HVAC company. This will ensure that preventive maintenance is performed on time and could give you extra benefits such as discounts or priority service when you need repairs.
- Change air filters. Putting in new air filters is usually part of preventive maintenance, but if not, make sure to install fresh filters before summer. Dirty filters block the airflow that your cooling system needs. They also contribute to reduced indoor air quality since they can't remove particulates from the air as easily.
- Check the thermostat. Make sure your programmable thermostat is on and is working correctly before summer. Put fresh batteries in the thermostat and test it to make sure it will activate the cooling system. The thermostat should be set to its cooling function. If the thermostat is mounted in a location where it would get incorrect indoor temperature readings, such as in direct sunlight, move the thermostat to a better location.
- Inspect and seal ductwork. When getting the HVAC system ready for summer, it can be easy to overlook the ductwork. However, this series of pipes is responsible for moving all the cooled air produced by your cooling system to areas throughout the structure. Air leaks in the ductwork can contribute to energy loss and higher cooling costs. Check ductwork for damage, loose or missing sections, or lack of insulation. Make sure all sections fit tightly together. Connections should be sealed with mastic, a specialized sealant used on ducts. Duct should be insulated, especially those that run through unconditioned areas of the building.