Commercial HVACR Coil Cleaning Guide

coil cleaning

HVACR Coil Cleaning: A How-to Guide

Coil Cleaning in commercial facilities is essential to the operation of the equipment. Here, we provide information about why it is so important to perform preventative maintenance to keep these coils clean.

Dirty Coils Waste Energy and Cost Money

A coil fouled with dirt and grime cannot supply proper heat transfer and results in greater energy consumption. Equipment operating with dirty coils can use up to 37% more energy than those with clean coils. Additionally, a dirty system’s cooling capacity can be reduced by as much as 30%. Dirty coils increase operating pressure and temperatures that break down the compressor’s lubricant and result in equipment failure. A failed compressor means no cooling and costly repair.

Commercial Coil Cleaning Frequency

A coil cleaning program should be instituted when the coils are new, clean and should be performed with a frequency to prevent deterioration of the coils. This can be as often as four times a year (monthly cleaning is reported in some areas). If they do not already exist, install easy-to-open panels to gain access to the coils. This will make the job much easier and, consequently, more likely to be done when coil cleaning is necessary.

How to Clean Commercial HVAC Coils

If the coil is contaminated with light dust or dirt not adhered to the fins, blowing low-pressure compressed air across the fins or using a soft bristle brush may be sufficient. Applying plain water or mild detergent solution to the surface, allowing it to sit for a short time, then rinsing is employed in some cases. More aggressive deposits call for the use of stronger cleaning solutions or solvents as required.

Coils can be steam cleaned but require extra care. Steam must be applied at low pressure, and the stream kept parallel to the fins to prevent folding the fins over.

Another popular coil cleaning method employs a garden-type pump sprayer to apply foaming chemicals to the coil surfaces. The foam is allowed to dwell on the surface to saturate the fins. The foam is then vacuumed up, and the process is repeated. Finally, the coil is rinsed with clean water from a hose.

Perhaps the most popular cleaning method used in recent years is using pressure washers to clean coils. Pressure cleaning coils may increase airborne Macromolecular Organic Dust (MOD), which must be contained in the area being cleaned. Pressure cleaning should be done in the opposite direction of airflow through the coil. A cleaning solution can be applied before the pressure rinse using the built-in chemical injection system on the pressure washer or a hand sprayer. Care must be taken when using a pressure washer to avoid damaging the fins on the tubes. Water leaving the coil should be free of particulate.

If it is not, repeat the process. Goodway offers a complete line of CoilPro® coil cleaning machines. The CoilPro® CC-140 is a self-contained two-wheeled cart with its own built-in water and chemical tanks that can operate on building power or an integrated rechargeable battery. It can carry 5 gallons of water or can be connected to the building water supply for continuous operation. It supplies a water stream at up to 140 PSI at 1 GPM using one of four available spray nozzles. The onboard battery and water/chemical tanks allow for use anywhere. Additional models include the CC-600 AC-powered unit, which delivers up to 600 PSI at 1.6 GPM for thicker coils, and the CC-100 backpack coil cleaner unit for extreme portability. Maintenance professionals have enthusiastically received these products, and they represent the first true real breakthrough developments in coil cleaning in a long time.

Don’t Forget the Condensate Pan

The air drawn across a cooling coil contains water vapor that condenses and collects in a pan under the coil called a condensate pan. The pan is connected to a drain line to keep the pan from overflowing and causing damage to the air handler or other building structures. As it is generally wet, microorganisms can form colonies in the condensate pan. Cleaning the condensate pan and checking for proper drainage is an important part of the coil cleaning process.

To help prevent the growth of these organisms, the pan should be treated between cleanings with a biocide. Goodway’s PanCare is one example. PanCare is formulated to prevent the build-up of slime and harmful bacteria in condensate pans. It kills 99% of Legionella Pheumophilia and Salmonella Typhi Bacteria. It also contains a rust inhibitor and an acid rain neutralizer and will work for up to 3 months on a 3 to 5-ton system.

Next Steps:

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A Guide to Cooling Tower Maintenance

cooling tower cleaning

Cooling towers are a critical part of many commercial and industrial buildings because they rely heavily on them for cooling. To prevent these massive systems from failing it is important you prioritize regular maintenance.

Why Is Cooling Tower Maintenance Important?

Routine maintenance of cooling towers reduces the risk of system damage and health issues and increases safety and health, durability, performance, and efficiency. Failure to do so can incur high costs and, even worse, someone’s life put in danger due to dangerous bacterial growth. Regular checks help you use your equipment to the fullest while also creating a safe, compliant, and clean environment.

  • Safety And Health

Legionella or other microbe-borne diseases can spread rapidly through air conditioning systems. One of the most common sources for Legionnaires’ disease is an infected cooling tower, and poorly maintained towers can lead to a potential outbreak. The warm waters in these buildings create perfect conditions for bacteria like algae or mold, which help grow dangerous pathogens such as Legionella that could spread through the air released when a cooling tower is in use. 

  • Performance

A fully functioning cooling tower maintenance program ensures detection of problems early on and assures optimum performance during its lifetime. Frequent maintenance enables you to discover issues at an early stage that can cause excessive or undue wear and tear on your cooling tower systems, allowing for prompt correction.

  • Efficient And Economical

A cooling tower working at optimum performance delivers the desired results. However, minor faults or damages can affect the undertaking, and if overlooked, it can lead to expensive repairs and high running costs.

How Do You Perform Cooling Tower Maintenance?

Cooling tower cleaning is a complete process, not just one task. To maximize your maintenance efforts, you will have to make sure to provide attention to all components of the system. To help facilities optimize the process of cooling tower maintenance, here are some steps to ensure adequate cleaning of your cooling tower system.

Step 1. Inspect The Tower

The initial step is to inspect carefully during the cooling tower cleaning process. Ideally, this should be done once per month at least. However, make sure you don’t skip this step on the actual cleaning day. Inspecting your cooling tower system reveal parts that require particular focus throughout the cleaning process. That way, you can pay adequate attention to the areas that need improvement.

Step 2. Protect Yourself

Once you have identified the areas that demand additional attention, don’t overlook your protection. Before you start with the cleaning process, make sure to turn off the pumps and fans in the tower using OSHA tag/lockout procedures. They are extraordinarily potent and can drastically endanger or even kill someone. The moisture and heat coming from the tower can also be harmful, especially Legionella germs. You need to ensure respiratory safety and eye protection features like masks with a suitable filter grade.

Step 3. Treat for Bacteria

Cooling towers can be a dangerous breeding ground for bacteria, making it essential to reduce the nutrients available for Legionella growth. BioSpray® Tower can kill 99.9% of Legionella and is on the EPA list of disinfectants for use against SARS-COV-2 when appropriately applied on hard non-porous surfaces. It offers a labor-saving, no-rinse formula. Protocols for the disinfection of Legionella are well defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Step 4. Remove Sludge

The most common area is the basin where sludge can accrue and can impact the longevity and performance of the cooling tower system. You can use specialized vacuums to remove the sludge in cooling towers. 

Step 5. Fix Clogs and Fouling

The most predominant part of the heat exchange within a cooling tower system occurs in the cooling tower fill. The fill is what leads the passing air in the system to produce cold water and remove heat efficiently. When the fill becomes fouled or clogged, the cooling doesn’t take place because the air can’t touch the heat source as planned. As a result, it generates higher electricity bills.  If sediment is visible, the basin needs to be cleaned, and cooling tower vacuums make it easier to remove contaminants without shutting down or draining your system. 

Step 6. Plan The Next Cleaning

Once you clean the cooling tower, you will be better able to assess how frequently it becomes fouled or dirty so that you can plan and schedule the next cleaning agenda. Most cooling towers operate the best when cleaned twice a year apart from frequent water treatment to combat issues like algae growth and Legionella.  If you are still unsure how often you should be servicing your cooling tower, speak to skilled technicians to gauge your system adequately and its unique risks.

The Bottom Line

Whether you require reactive cooling tower maintenance or are planning to develop a routine preventative maintenance schedule, it’s imperative to have sound knowledge about cleaning cooling towers. What is going to make your maintenance easier to complete is the right tools. Our Cooling tower basin cleaning systems provide a solution that allows cleaning without having to shut down towers. When cleaning cooling tower fills, industrial descaling chemicals paired with cooling tower fill cleaning systems will provide complete product from efficiency-robbing foul and dangerous bacteria. Our cooling tower products help you keep cooling towers clean and meet ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, a standard for maintenance and the remediation of Legionella in commercial building water.

Next Step

Learn how to choose the right system for your cooling tower needs with our Buying Guide.

 

 

Legionella Now And In A Post COVID World

legionnaires disease

No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow on every continent in the world. Lockdowns were immediately imposed, which led to the closure of shops, offices, industries, malls, schools, and commercial buildings. However, normalcy will be restored, and gradually people will return to these buildings that were once vacant. To ensure a safe re-opening of offices and buildings, there is a dire need to carry out thorough preventive maintenance of these buildings cooling towers. This will prevent the possible outbreak of diseases like Legionella.

Reports and studies from the CDC corroborate a likelihood of legionella bacteria growing in buildings left unoccupied or unused for a long time in both the potable water systems and HVAC systems and cooling towers. It is noteworthy that legionella bacteria grows in stagnant water bodies, which is the characteristic of water in an unused cooling tower.

This is a wake-up call to Facility managers and HVAC professionals to swing into action to eliminate the possible outbreak of legionella disease. As a start, an adequate legionella risk assessment must be carried out before re-opening any building, especially those with an installed cooling tower, to ensure that water and air quality are not compromised.

Legionella In A Post COVID World

According to an article published on ACS PUBLICATION, there is a considerable risk of legionella outbreak after the COVID-19 pandemic if adequate and appropriate measures are not put in place. New recommendations must be developed and implemented as post-COVID time sets to mitigate the risk of an outbreak. These acts will be similar to what was done after the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

These recommendations will enforce and ensure that no commercial building left unoccupied or unused during COVID is re-opened without proper and rigorous inspection. Besides, across much of the country, the winter season is gradually drawing the curtain. The warm season will set in soon. Remember that legionella bacteria love warm and stagnant unused water, particularly a feature of buildings with cooling towers during COVID.

The Latest Legionella Outbreak

The need to take necessary precautions and appropriate legionella risk management measures cannot be over-emphasized. In Union County, New Jersey,  fourteen cases of legionella disease have been reported and confirmed with one death. Records showed that these cases were reported between February 3rd and February 26th.

In fact, the New Jersey Department of Health is currently investigating the outbreak’s source to prevent future occurrences. Currently, the department’s official, alongside local health workers, has identified some legionella bacteria sources and is working to neutralize and curb the growth and spread.

Legionella in Stagnant Water

How To Protect Against Legionella

An unfortunate truth is that little to or no attention is paid to the maintenance of cooling towers and water treatment in them as long as they are functioning properly.

To prevent the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease within cooling towers, you should follow a few tips for cooling tower maintenance:

  •  Monthly inspection

It is essential to keep an eye on the water in cooling towers to check any irregularities such as scale, sediments, etc. Moreover, as we approach the warmer season, inspecting twice a month is advisable to be on the safe side and remain to rest assured of the water’s purity.

  •  Treat the Water

Water in cooling towers should be treated with a variety of antiscalant and antibacterials to manage the quality and risk of legionella and other bacterial growth. A variety of water treatment companies are available to tackle this important task on an ongoing basis. But water treatment alone is not enough. Constant maintenance and cleaning are required too.

  •  Removal of Stagnant Water

After a long period of not using a cooling tower, stagnant water should be flushed out totally and replaced with fresh water. Stagnant water might harbor legionella bacteria already without you knowing.

  •  Clean the Fill

We have learned that stagnant water can breed legionella bacteria; therefore, cleaning the fill to remove slime and scale in cooling towers must not be overlooked. Cleaning the fill allows for better flow and reduces the tendency of growth of mold and bacteria. Additionally, cleaning of tower basins is essential to remove food sources from bacteria and keep heat exchanger tubes clean.

  •  Proper Water temperature

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides several recommendations on how to prevent Legionnaires’ disease in cooling towers. Perhaps the most crucial piece of advice is to keep the temperature of the sump water below 68 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

  •  Surface Disinfection

Disinfection with an EPA registered antimicrobial product, labeled explicitly for HVAC use, should be used to clean surfaces of all HVAC systems and add-ons. This can help keep microorganisms from flourishing between cleaning cycles.

  •  Clean Basin Surfaces

Cleaning the basin of a cooling tower eliminates the places where harmful bacteria grow. Although basin cleaning can be a part of the monthly maintenance schedule, preventing the growth of Legionella requires a thorough basin cleaning at least once every two weeks.

Guides To Follow

Also see ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2018, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems. Which clarifies compliance requirements, and is updated throughout with enforceable, code-intended language to facilitate the adoption of the standard for code and regulatory purposes.

When used in conjunction with Standard 188-2018, Guideline 12-2020 – Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems can provide prescriptive guidance for operators of water management systems to control legionellosis in building water systems.

Next Steps:

The CDC recently published a toolkit to reduce the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria.

Read more about preventing Legionella in Cooling Towers.

Discover our Cooling Tower Cleaning Solutions

Learn about Cooling Tower Fill Descaling

 

 

 

Don’t Delay On Coil Cleaning Preventative Maintenance

Coil Cleaning

Preventative Maintenance

HVAC systems rely on cooperation between your evaporator and condenser coils working together to get their job done. Over time, these coils can become dirty, causing the system to lose efficiency by reducing the ability to exchange heat. This causes increased energy costs and reduces the life of HVAC systems. Both are costly. How do you stop this from happening? Preventative maintenance. One of the most important things to do is make sure you follow a good coil cleaning program as part of your overall preventive maintenance program.

Dirty Coils Waste Money

When your HVAC system is operating with dirty coils, it can use up to 37% more energy than if they were clean. [i] A coil that has been fouled up with dirt, grease, or grime cannot work as efficiently as it once did. What are the dirty coils symptoms you need to watch out for?

  •  High Head Pressure
  • High Compression Ratio
  • Compressor Overload
  • Tripping High-Pressure Switch
  • Low Capacity
  • Poor Efficiency
  • Coil Freezing
  • Compressor Damage Due to Liquid Flood Back

Do you want to reduce the chance of issues like this occurring? Make sure you implement coil cleaning as part of your regular maintenance program. Coil cleaning should occur consistently to ensure that there is no build-up or deterioration to the coils. Do it as often as you can, especially in dusty environments, but at a minimum in the Spring and Fall, or depending on the HVAC unit’s amount of use and location.

Lack of Maintenance Reduces Efficiency

When your system is not operating efficiently, your cooling capacity can go down by 30%. Just think of what that does to monthly energy bills.  Staying on top of your coil cleaning maintenance is the only way to ensure you are keeping your HVAC operating at maximum efficiency.

Do you know how to clean coils properly? The severity of the dirt on the coils will determine the cleaning method required; however, the easiest solution is to use a coil cleaning system. These products are specifically designed for cleaning coils. Simple match the system to the right coils. They are available for cleaning evaporator coils, condenser coils in rooftop units (RTU), air-cooled chillers and heat exchangers, air handling units (AHU), PTAC units, and more.

When using coil cleaning systems, it is essential to use a machine that provides just the right amount of PSI pressure to keep coils from becoming damaged. Smaller units require lower PSI and lower water volumes. In contrast, larger condenser coils may require higher pressures and water volumes up to 3.5 gallons per minute.

The Proof Preventative Maintenance Matters

You don’t have to take our word that good coil maintenance and cleaning matters. Experts have done their own research to explore how efficient an HVAC system can be with the proper maintenance. A study printed in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) Journal concluded that good maintenance and operation practices (including coil cleaning) could improve energy performance and indoor air quality performance.

Co-op City, a 300-acre complex with multiple establishments, and houses a total of 15,372 apartments (one of the largest New York undertakings) that are heated and cooled by convectors called Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs). PTACs are the type of units you would find in hotel rooms. When asked how they were handling the 60,000 to 80,000 coils that make up the units, the answer was by “replacement.” When asked how they were handling the 60,000 to 80,000 coils that make up the units, the answer was by “replacement.” When a maintenance plan was introduced, the maintenance manager reported that they were doing 50% fewer replacements of the coils due to cleaning them without removing them. The Co-op City air quality was improved, and the efficiency in the units multiplied.

Westchester One houses five separate data rooms, all of which require significant amounts of cooling. Many of these server rooms operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year-and the HVAC must too. There are reports that the energy bills from Westchester One have reduced by thousands because they can use the whole coil for the operation now that they can properly clean them. One bill was even $20,000 below budget!

See the Proof with Your Own Eyes

If you have been looking for a way to make the HVAC at your home or business, run more efficiently, our coil cleaning solution to help you satisfy those needs. There is no longer a need to remove coils or replace them consistently when you can clean them and extend their lives (and the life of your unit).

You don’t have to take our word for it. Try it yourself and see just how much more efficient your system is and how much money you can save. When you begin your coil cleaning program, you will see in a short time just how much better your unit runs when you keep it clean and maintained. For help deciding what solution is best for you, check out our Coil Cleaning Buying Guide.

 

[i] https://www.sce.com/regulatory/energy-efficiency-filings/monthly-energy-efficiency-reports

[ii] https://www.sce.com/regulatory/energy-efficiency-filings/monthly-energy-efficiency-reports

 

NEXT STEPS:

Check out our Coil Cleaning Systems and Chemicals

Download our Coil Cleaning Pro Guide

Read Buying a Coil Cleaning System? Avoid these Five Mistakes

Discover our Coil Cleaner Buying Guide

 

 

Disinfection in the Classroom

Space4Learning 2020 Product Award

 

As the school year comes into the winter months the topic on the top of many minds is how to keep students, employees, and staff safe during the colder months.

Some kids are learning from their dining room tables, side by side with their siblings with a laptop in front of each face. 

Some kids are spending only a few days in the classroom each week, with only half the desks filled by their peers.

Even kids who are heading back to school full-time have a new, unique experience; mandatory masks, temperature checks, and social distancing are becoming part of the new normal for education. 

But even with all these new precautions, teachers, parents, and students have to wonder: is the school safe? The answer is based on a variety of factors – and school surface disinfection ranks high on the list. Before any school can deem itself self safe, it must take time to fully clean the facility from the baseboard to the HVAC vents.

HVAC Systems and School Safety

Air quality has always been an important part of the educational experience. If the air quality in your schools can trigger a myriad of health problems like asthma, headaches, eye irritation, and everything in between. Furthermore, studies have shown that poor indoor air can actually interfere with cognitive function – literally making it harder for students to learn during the school day! 

Of course, COVID-19 has only brought more attention to the importance of air quality – particularly when it comes to HVAC systems. Because we know the coronavirus can spread through droplets in the air, it is important to have clean, maintained filters for your indoor spaces. These filters can help trap virus-containing droplets and prevent them from spreading sickness throughout a building. This is extremely important for places like schools, which see high traffic throughout each day.

The EPA already has high standards for air quality tools in school buildings. However, schools that are reopening after months of lockdown may need to do some additional cleaning before their HVAC systems are ready for students. These systems have been sitting unused for months; as a result, they’re likely filled with dust, debris, and possibly even mold or mildew. A thorough HVAC disinfection is the best way to ensure clean air in every classroom once the students return.

Alcohol-Based Disinfectants: The Perfect Tool for School Disinfection

If you are preparing to keep your school throughout the winter months, you’ll need to make sure every surface (desks, floors, lockers, etc.) is clean as can be. And we DO mean every surface – even your HVAC vents need to be sparkling clean! How can you disinfect such a massive facility in order to keep everyone safe throughout the year?

Quick-drying alcohol-based sanitizers are the perfect solution for disinfecting your school, office, or other large space. A quick-drying, EPA-registered, alcohol-based disinfectant, like our BIOSPRAY-D2, covers over surfaces quickly, easily, and safely. These types of 1-step disinfectants containing ethanol have been proven to rapidly reduce vegetative bacterial pathogens on carriers and on hard and soft surfaces. 

The importance of using strong disinfectant sprays that are strong enough to eliminate germs on surfaces, but gentle enough to use on surfaces around children is an important part of keeping schools open and the children and staff in the classroom safe and healthy. 

The way in which disinfectant products are applied is also crucial. Traditional methods of cleaning and disinfecting, like pump spraying or manually wiping can be ineffective, leaving gaps in coverage. Manual wiping can lead to cross-contamination due to using soiled rags/towels to apply the cleaner. Manual wiping can also lead to injury due to the repetitive nature of the maintenance worker.

An Award-Winning Product

There’s no doubt that Portable BioSpray-5 is one of the best tools available for school disinfection today. In fact, this sanitation system was just awarded the Spaces4Learning New Product Award! This award “honors the outstanding product development achievements of manufacturers and suppliers whose products or services are considered to be particularly noteworthy in their ability to enhance the learning environment,” and we are simply thrilled to have received this incredible honor. 

Visit our website to learn more about BioSpray-5. You can also contact us here with any questions you have about this sanitation system, our disinfecting spray, or any of our other sanitizing products. 

Proper school disinfection is the key to a safe, healthy, and successful year, so make sure your staff and students have the very best!

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