Coil Cleaning and Other Fundamentals of Solid HVAC Maintenance
If we could, we’d develop a catchy slogan that would lodge in the mind of every person, young and old, and underscore the importance of our industry. We thought of “HVAC Maintenance: It’s What’s for Dinner!” but it didn’t quite seem to work. So, short of a slogan, we’ll keep doing the next best thing: pointing you to wonderful reports and articles about HVAC maintenance whenever and wherever we can find them. Fortunately, there are some excellent resources on the Web about this very subject, and one of the most reliable, Buildings.com — the Website of Buildings Magazine and a source we’ve quoted from repeatedly — recently published a dozy of an article on our favorite subject.
“Maintaining Your HVAC System” (August 2009) offer a detailed look at the reasons, practices, and techniques for HVAC system maintenance. It starts by establishing the various reasons that contribute to the ground-level significance of this maintenance:
Maintaining your HVAC systems not only protects the equipment — it also protects the people in your building from discomfort and IAQ concerns, and protects you from a lawsuit. There are many ways to make sure that indoor air is kept at appropriate levels.
Then it becomes a veritable cornucopia of detailed and useful advice gathered from “a variety of HVAC associations and resources.” This includes recommendations to:
- Listen to building tenants and take their observations and complaints about HVAC-related issues seriously.
- Pay attention to air vents and musty odors.
- Replace filters regularly.
- Inspect fans, bearings, and belts twice annually.
- Inspect the area around the air intake twice annually.
- Fix leaks in cabinet and supply duct annually.
- Clean and adjust dampers annually.
- Clean air ducts every two years.
(All of the above come with detailed comments and explanation.)
Here’s a good one: Clean evaporator and condenser coils once or twice per year. The article’s detailed comments about this topic are excellent:
Evaporator coils are a place that mold grows best. In addition to constant dampness, the supply side of the coil is in contact with outside air and the dirt that isn’t caught by filters.
The condenser coil degrades quickly because of dirt. It doesn’t have an effect on indoor air quality, so cleaning it at the same time you clean the evaporator coil will improve energy efficiency.
Coils soiled with microbial growth are hard to clean. A cleaning product with an appropriate dwell time is required to eliminate the micro-organisms. Built-up fungal growth is difficult to clean from metal surfaces, but don’t use an aggressive cleaner. Keeping the coils clean from the start will cut down on the time you spend on maintenance. Antimicrobial treatments are a good option to interrupt the growth of mold.
But wait, there’s more! There are also sidebar pieces on “A New Generation of HVAC Equipment” and “The Stimulus Package & HVAC.” The former provides information on new technologies currently in development by the Arlington, Virginia-based Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute, including small diameter tubes for heat exchangers, new materials for heat exchangers that may increase heat transfer and reduce size and cost, and equipment that uses electro-osmosis for dehumidification.
The latter offers information about tax deductions under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and stimulus credits under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that might provide your business with enough funds to bypass the regular HVAC maintenance and go straight for full-blown system upgrades — which would then, of course, need to be put on a robust maintenance plan to keep everything working correctly! (We just had to add that.)
It’s really an information-rich page. Why not check it out?
Image source: Goodway Technologies
Goodway Blogging Team
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