Schedule your Spring Preventative Maintenance Now
While it may seem premature to talk about preparing our chillers and air conditioning units for the upcoming Spring and Summer season, this is actually the perfect time to schedule your Spring Preventative Maintenance with your commercial HVAC service provider. At Comfort & Process Solutions, we focus on educating our clients throughout the year to ensure they are prepared for whatever the upcoming season’s often turbulent weather patterns have to throw at us. And despite the ice and snow on the ground, we are busy scheduling and conducting our PM for our Kentucky clients’ industrial and commercial chillers and air conditioners.
What is the main function of the Chiller? A chiller removes heat from a liquid by a vapor compression, adsorption refrigeration, or absorption refrigeration cycles. This liquid can then be circulated through a heat exchanger to cool equipment, or another process stream (such as air or process water). As a necessary by-product, refrigeration creates waste heat that must be exhausted to ambience, or for greater efficiency, recovered for heating purposes for either process or comfort.
For process, industrial chillers are used for controlled cooling of products, mechanisms and factory machinery in a wide range of industries. For comfort, commercial chillers are used to chill water which then is typically distributed to heat exchangers, or coils, in air handlers or other types of terminal devices which cool the air in their respective spaces.
How does a Commercial Air Conditioning unit work? The units compressor compresses refrigerant, increasing its pressure and temperature, and then outside air is blown over the refrigerant vapor by the condenser to liquefy it. The expansion valve changes refrigerant into a low-pressure liquid, thus cooling it. Commercial HVAC systems in buildings contain interconnected systems that provide heating, ventilation, and cooling to individual floors or other areas within the structure.
Because these units typically run continuously through the season, and sometimes throughout the year, we recommended regularly checking the systems efficiency, the wear and tear of all the moving parts as well as the levels of water, refrigerant and air flow. For more details, here is our typical Springtime PM checklist:
- Tune up of the Cooling Towers
- Rodding out the Chiller Barrel
- Cleaning, greasing and replacing belts
- Inspect and clean steam traps
- Inspect backflow preventer
- Inspect coils on rooftop equipment for grime, buildup or cracks
- Inspect drift eliminators for proper positioning and scale build
- Physically clean the screen of all debris.
- Check for excessive vibration in motors, fans, and pumps.
- Check for loose fill, connections, leaks, rust, corrosion, etc.
- Check all belts, pulleys, nozzles and bearings – clean and adjust as needed.
- For an open cooling tower, test the water for proper concentrations of dissolved solids and chemistry.
- Inspect fan blades for any cracks, erosion or buildup of debris.
- Check gears, strains and bottom for corrosion, rust or buildup.
- Inspect and address any issues with the electrical system, including contacts, and motors
- Check levels of refrigerant and supplement if needed.
- Replace filters and drain pan
By scheduling a PM now, we can avoid a total system shut down and prevent downtime of production, as well as temporary discomfort for your staff, customers, student body and patients. And if replacement of parts are needed, which can take up to several weeks to order, it would be best to determine that now so we can get your system working efficiently in time for the season.
Improve your Indoor Air Quality so you can Breathe Easier
Especially during the winter months, heating systems can actually increase the amount of dust mites, allergens, mold spores, contaminants and viruses through your business spaces, especially when the air is too cool outside to open windows. Untreated, unfiltered air can actually trigger allergy symptoms, asthma and respiratory issues. While indoor air quality is essential all year round, ensuring cleaner indoor air has become ever more essential during the pandemic. Treating the air can reduce the number of contaminants and viruses in your air, but you still need to implement other CDC recommended guidelines.
“When used properly, air cleaners and HVAC filters can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a building or small space. By itself, air cleaning or filtration is not enough to protect people from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, filtration can be part of a plan to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors.” – EPA.gov
We offer various products that can assist in improving the indoor air quality of your business during and post-pandemic: MERV rated filters, Air Scrubbers and UV Lights.
MERV Rated Air Filters
The air filters in your HVAC unit comes in various Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings. The MERV rating measures how effectively the filter stops dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter and into the air stream. Filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings. The higher the MERV rating the better the filter is at trapping specific types of particles. It’s important to note that the higher the MERV rating, the efficiency of air flow tends to decrease, which can cause degradation of the equipment as it has to work much harder to circulate needed air. We suggest a MERV rating of 8 for most commercial units as they are most commonly used in most commercial buildings, residences, industrial workplaces and paint booths. MERV 8 filters have 90 percent efficiency on particles that are 3 to 10 micrometers in size.
While air filters are the most cost-effective method to improve air quality, they usually work best when combined with an Air Scrubber or UV Lights for the most efficient solution. When it comes to maintenance, all air cleaners require periodic cleaning and filter replacement to function properly.
An air scrubber is a device that attaches directly to the ductwork of your HVAC system. It removes air pollution, VOCs, surface contaminants, pet dander, odors, and dust. It provides a cleaner, healthier and more efficient business. As the air flows through your ductwork system, the air scrubber continuously produces negative air ions that are on a mission to search and bring back pollutants, bacteria and viruses in your air that are too small to be captured by your normal air filter.
The cost Air Scrubbers with installation is comparable to the UV Lights, but Air Scrubbers have the advantage when it comes to long-term maintenance costs, as besides periodic cleaning, there is little maintenance to keep it running efficiently.
When installed in your HVAC system, UV lights can keep surfaces and indoor air clean and disinfected. Installing an UV light in an indoor air handler can kill a large percentage of microbes as they pass through the system, which has been used for years for allergy sufferers. UV Lights are a chemical-free way to kill and sterilize mold, bacteria and other organic microbes that pass through your HVAC unit. The UV Lights effectively scramble their DNA, so these organisms are unable to function normally at a cellular level, thus neutralizing them.
The cost of UV Lights and installation are comparable to Air Scrubbers, but long term the UV Lights are much more costly to maintain. Why? The UV Light bulbs have a set lifespan so they will need to be replaced approximately every 9000 hours, which equates to approximately 12 months.
CASE STUDY: The staff of Comfort and Process Solutions have been very busy installing UV Lights throughout Central Kentucky, including various buildings of the Fayette County School System to ensure high indoor air quality once our educators and students return to class. We have also installed UV Lights in local restaurants, office buildings, retail spaces, daycare facilities and preschools, nursing home facilities, hospitals, hotels, prison and other public institutions.
We currently have UV Lights in stock and ready to install, as our staff is fully trained and can install most systems within one to two days. Call our staff to request an estimate and schedule a time for installation of your UV Lights or Air Scrubbers. If you’re not sure which type of air cleaning system you are interested in, our experienced and trained team can provide recommendations based on your specific needs.