When temperatures soar to unbearable levels in the summer, businesses in Las Vegas may not be able to run smoothly without a properly functioning commercial HVAC system. If your air-conditioner is struggling to create a cool environment for your employees and customers, you’ll likely see a decline in productivity and profitability. This can have short-term and long-term effects on your business.
A wide range of factors can cause your commercial HVAC unit to become less effective, behave strangely, or break down. An untrained person may not be able to tell if the problem is easy to fix or requires the attention of a professional. Follow this guide to learn about the common signs indicating your commercial HVAC system needs to be repaired.
3 Signs Your Commercial HVAC System Needs to Be Repaired
Regardless of the age or model, every commercial HVAC system sustains wear and tear over time, which causes it to become more vulnerable to mechanical failures. Some problems may seem negligible, but they can be an indication of larger underlying problems. As such, it’s essential to know how to identify both existing and potential issues and fix them as soon as possible. Here are three signs you need to look out for:
1. Your Utility Bills Have Increased Sharply
Generally, your business’ electricity bills should remain about the same on a year-to-year basis. For instance, the bill for this September should be similar to the one for last September. If you notice a sharp increase in your energy bills, it usually has something to do with your commercial air-conditioner. This is because HVAC systems account for roughly 40% of energy consumption in commercial buildings, according to the Small Business Administration.
A significant spike in energy costs may be the result of a variety of HVAC problems, from dirty filters to a bad installation. Issues such as clogged filters or ducts and dirty coils can be fixed by performing some simple maintenance tasks or hiring a professional to service your air-conditioner. Nonetheless, there are more complex problems that require you to schedule HVAC repair, such as:
Air ducts serve the important function of transporting cooled air from your commercial HVAC unit to your indoor space. If there are leaks or loose joints along the ducts, some of the conditioned air will escape into other parts of the building or the outdoors. Besides causing energy waste, this problem also can put extra stress on your air-conditioner as it struggles to cool your office or store, resulting in higher energy bills and increased wear and tear.
Repairing leaky air ducts is a job that’s best left to an HVAC technician. Ducts are mostly located in hard-to-reach places such as crawl-spaces or behind walls. A trained technician knows how to gain access to these places and locate leaks and loose joints along the ducts. In addition, they will use the right materials and techniques to seal the leaks or secure the loose joints to prevent any cool air from escaping.
Your commercial HVAC system won’t be able to produce cool air without refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs heat from your indoor air and transfers it to the outdoors. Under normal circumstances, it won’t run out because it flows in a closed circuit. If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it means that there’s a leak somewhere in the system. Refrigerant leaks can result in less effective cooling and increased strain on your system, which in turn leads to higher energy costs.
If your commercial air-conditioner is leaking refrigerant, you should call an HVAC company immediately. Refrigerant is a hazardous substance that can cause a variety of health problems through inhalation or physical contact, such as skin rashes, eye irritation, breathing difficulty, headache, nausea, and organ damage. It has to be properly handled and disposed of so that it won’t cause harm to anybody or the environment. Finding a refrigerant leak isn’t an easy task because it can occur in a variety of locations. A professional that is EPA certified can help you locate the leak, repair it, and dispose of the leaked refrigerant in a safe manner.
2. Your HVAC System Isn’t Cooling
The main purpose of your commercial HVAC system is to cool your business. If it isn’t doing so effectively, it certainly needs attention. There are many possible reasons why your air conditioner isn’t providing enough cooling. Examples of problems you can fix yourself include an improperly set thermostat, dirty air filter, and dirty outdoor condenser. However, you have to be prepared to call an HVAC technician if your equipment isn’t cooling because of the following reasons:
In a properly functioning HVAC unit, the fan draws air from around the evaporator coils and circulates into your indoor space. If the fan isn’t operating properly, there will be little airflow over the coils. Consequently, the coils may become so cold that frost and ice can form around them, which further restricts airflow. If you want to know if the fan in your air-conditioner is defective, you can go to the unit and listen for a buzzing sound. If you find that the motor is seized, you should contact an HVAC company.
A malfunctioning fan isn’t easy to fix, because it can be caused by a number of issues. Even if the motor is turning smoothly, the fan may still be defective or it may be getting insufficient power. Detecting the problem is a complicated task that may require the use of a multimeter. An HVAC professional can help you identify the issue and repair or replace the fan, so that your air-conditioner will start producing cool air again.
The compressor is the component of your HVAC system that compresses the refrigerant gas from low to high pressure and delivers it to the condenser. If it’s in trouble, it won’t be able to pump the refrigerant throughout the system, which results in reduced cooling power. You can easily find out if your compressor is malfunctioning by checking the air that comes from the compressor fan. If the air is lukewarm or cool, then the compressor is either worn or problematic. A properly functioning compressor will expel heat into the outside air to prevent overheating.
A compressor may fail as a result of the unit grounding out, bad bearings, defective motor, or other reasons. Only a person who fully understands the operation of a compressor can detect the problem. As such, it’s necessary to hire an HVAC technician if your compressor is causing your air-conditioner to deliver inadequate cooling.
It’s important to know that you shouldn’t try to fix a faulty component yourself. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you may make a mistake and worsen the problem or cause damage to other components in the system. Besides more expensive repairs, this can also void your manufacturer’s warranty.
3. Your HVAC System is Making Unusual Sounds
Even the newest and quietest HVAC systems don’t operate in absolute silence. If you notice that your commercial air conditioner is making certain sounds that are distinctly different from its normal operational sounds, it may be an indication that it’s in need of repair. Some examples of unusual HVAC sounds that require professional attention include:
Screeching or Squealing
If your commercial HVAC system is producing a screeching or squealing sound, it may be because its blower motor has a damaged belt or bearing problems. A damaged belt is usually not expensive to fix. It should be replaced before it breaks because a broken belt can cause the blower to stop turning. Bearing problems can sometimes be solved by adding lubricant or replacing the worn bearings. A bad indoor blower motor or outdoor fan motor can also cause a screeching or squealing sound. Regardless of the problem, you should have your air conditioner inspected by a professional when you hear this type of sound.
A hissing sound usually means that air is escaping from a certain component in your commercial HVAC system. The important thing is to locate the source of the sound. Refrigerant leaks and valve leaks can produce this type of sound. If a refrigerant leak is causing bubbles to form, you’ll also hear a bubbling sound. In most cases, a hissing sound is indicative of a more significant problem. Since your air-conditioner is a closed system, any sign of leaks should be inspected and repaired by a qualified technician.
Banging or Clanking
A banging or clanking sound usually suggests that a component in your HVAC system is loose or broken, such as a crankshaft, connecting rod, or piston pin in the compressor. It can also mean that the compressor is old or faulty, which may necessitate a replacement. Additionally, a banging or clanking sound may result from an unbalanced outdoor fan or indoor blower, which causes its blades to hit other parts around it. Loose, out-of-place, and broken components in your air-conditioner should be fixed as soon as possible because they can cause damage to other components.
Rattling or Chattering
If you hear a rattling sound coming from your HVAC unit, it can mean that your equipment is beginning to show signs of wear and tear and some of its components are loosening. The electrical contractor in the system can also produce a rattling sound, which may damage the compressor or other components if left unattended. Another possible culprit is the fan, which makes a rattling sound when it’s loose.
If you find that your commercial HVAC system is showing any of these signs, you should schedule a repair visit with a reputable HVAC contractor. The Cooling Company has the necessary experience, expertise, and equipment to solve all your air-conditioning problems and help you create a comfortable work or business environment. Contact us or speak with our friendly and helpful representatives today at (702) 790-8277 to get more information about our top-notch HVAC repair services.