When you’re getting your commercial premises ready for the summer, whether you are responsible for an office building, a school or a hospital, don’t forget to include a thorough checklist for your HVAC, mechanical and plumbing systems. This will help avoid future breakdowns and ensure you are ready for when the warmer weather comes along.
A commercial business typically requires continuous heating, ventilation or air conditioning and any major breakdown in your commercial HVAC, mechanical or plumbing system can result in either serious inconvenience for your customers and employees, or shutdowns or periods of downtime. In either scenario, the consequences are the same: your business stands to suffer loss of income. To avoid all of this, you should plan to carry out regular preventive maintenance and cleaning on your HVAC, mechanical and plumbing systems.
Regular Spring preventive maintenance on cooling units – if you are not on a regular schedule with a commercial HVAC contractor, you should plan to remedy that as soon as possible. At the very least, plan for a one-off service visit to:
Many cooling systems are idle or off during the winter months and are often drained to prevent freezing. These extended shutdowns provide the conditions for deposits to form and bacteria to grow so it is vital that you perform a start up process for chillers and cooling towers prior to bringing them fully online and making them operational in an occupied building. That should include:
In anticipation of chiller season, rental chiller planning should be something you need to address. Whether this is something you have to plan for on an annual basis because a chiller has failed, you need a backup chiller or you have a project planned that will need a temporary chiller, now is the time to get it arranged. Currently, there are a number of supply chain delays and capital constraints and you don’t want your site or project to be affected. A rental can be an option to bridge the gaps or be a solution in and of itself.
The spring is also a time to plan out your schedule for any heating system repairs or replacements you may need. Again, with supply chain delays on a lot of HVAC, mechanical and plumbing equipment, advance planning is your friend:
One of the points of failure in an air handler is the coil. An evaporator coil can last for many years but it will eventually wear out and need to be repaired or replaced. Regular maintenance checks should be able to identify coils that are likely to fail so take the time to plan their replacements now.
The spring is also a good time to carry out steam trap and line surveys and repairs that you might have put off over the winter months. A steam trap and line survey is essentially a review of your facilities’ steam system to identify oversized, misapplied, failing or leaky steam traps or lines. Identifying these issues will not only cut energy waste but will optimize your plant’s performance, improve system reliability, reduce maintenance costs and increase uptime.
Backflow preventer testing and repairs are necessary to prevent potentially major interruptions to your business or facility and serious illness among your staff members, customers and clients. Scheduling an inspection can help identify issues early and correct them before they cause serious issues for your business.
Greg Lilly is a Johns Hopkins University graduate with over 30 years of experience in mechanical services focused on providing energy efficient solutions and strategies within facilities, central plants and data centers.