Businesses and offices in Las Vegas experience brisk activity in the summer due to the huge influx of vacationers. However, sweltering temperatures can put a damper on commercial activities. If you’re running a store, office, or commercial facility, you may want to make sure that your HVAC system is working properly to create a comfortable environment for your employees and customers. One way to do this is to perform certain maintenance tasks before or at the beginning of summer. Follow this comprehensive guide to keep your commercial HVAC system in peak condition throughout the hot season.
Importance of Summer HVAC Maintenance
With temperatures potentially rising above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, Las Vegas is one of the places in the country where it’s truly necessary to have a smooth-running HVAC system in the summer. For entrepreneurs, the extreme temperatures can have a substantial impact on their bottom lines. The following are a number of reasons why you should properly prepare your commercial HVAC unit for summer:
Reduce Operational Costs
According to Energy Star, space cooling represents about 15% of energy consumption in commercial buildings in the United States. In a place with super-hot summers such as Las Vegas, the figure will likely be higher. Your commercial HVAC system has to be in tip-top condition to handle the additional cooling load in the summer. If it’s poorly maintained, it’ll struggle to keep your office or store cool. The extra strain placed on the system can cause your utility bills to go up. Additionally, an ill-maintained air-conditioner is more likely to experience mechanical failures, which can be costly to fix. An increase in energy and repair costs will lead to higher operational costs and eat into your profits.
Improve Employee Performance
A properly functioning commercial HVAC system can have a positive impact on your employee’s work performance. Your employees need a comfortable work environment in order to perform their work duties competently. If your air conditioner fails to provide adequate cooling, your employees may have a harder time focusing on their work on a hot summer day. This can result in lower productivity, poorer work quality, and increased risk of errors. Keeping your commercial HVAC unit in good condition can help you get the best performance out of your employees.
It’s also important to know that a well-maintained HVAC system can improve indoor air quality. It does this by filtering the air that comes in from outside, maintaining the right humidity levels, and facilitating better air circulation. If you don’t service your air conditioner regularly, it won’t be able to perform these functions effectively, causing your indoor air to become more polluted. Dirt, dust, pollen, bacteria, and harmful chemicals in the air can make you and your employees more vulnerable to a wide range of health problems, from runny noses to asthma attacks. As such, you may see an increase in the number of employees calling in sick.
Provide a Better Experience for Customers
If your commercial HVAC system isn’t operating smoothly, you may see your business losing customers. Your customers are more likely to visit your store or building and stay longer if you’re able to provide a comfortable environment for shopping. This can lead to an increase in sales. On the other hand, failing to provide a pleasant shopping experience can be bad for your business reputation, which can further undermine your profitability.
5 Useful Tips for Properly Maintaining Your Commercial HVAC System During Summer
Now that you understand the importance of HVAC maintenance, you should perform the necessary maintenance tasks to get your commercial air-conditioner ready for summer. Note that HVAC maintenance tasks can vary greatly in terms of difficulty. Some of them can be done without professional knowledge or equipment, while others are best left to a trained technician. Follow these tips to keep your commercial HVAC system in tiptop condition:
1. Inspect and Change the Air Filter
The air filter in your commercial HVAC system serves the important purpose of filtering and cleaning the air that enters your indoor space by trapping dirt, dust, debris, and harmful particles. It’ll become dirty and clogged after some time, making it harder for air to pass through it. Due to the restricted airflow, your air conditioner has to work harder to deliver proper cooling. If you don’t change the filter regularly, the additional strain can lead to higher energy costs, overheating, and eventually system failure.
Changing the air filter is a relatively easy task that you may be able to do yourself. The frequency at which you change the filter may vary depending on how often you use your HVAC system and what type of system and filter you have. It’s recommended that you inspect the filter once every three or four weeks to ensure that it isn’t clogged with dirt and debris. If it’s clogged, you should replace it right away. Otherwise, you can change it once every three to six months or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a clogged air filter with a new one can reduce your HVAC unit’s energy use by up to 15%.
2. Check the Thermostat
Before the beginning of summer, you should check the thermostat of your commercial HVAC system to make sure it’s working properly. A bad thermostat can cause a variety of problems, from inadequate or uneven cooling to short-cycling.
One way to know whether your thermostat is functioning properly is to see if its temperature setting matches the actual temperature in the room. To do this, use a thermometer to measure the room temperature and then compare the reading with the thermostat’s temperature setting. If the difference is more than one degree, it means that the thermostat isn’t giving an accurate reading. In this case, you should speak with an HVAC professional about the problem. If your thermostat is showing the correct temperature, make sure the temperature settings are optimized for both comfort and energy savings.
3. Clean the Outdoor Condenser Unit
Cleaning the outdoor condenser unit is another important maintenance task you should do to prepare your commercial HVAC system for the summer. Usually located on the roof or attached to a wall outside your office or building, this unit transfers heat from your indoor space to the outdoors. If it isn’t properly maintained, your air-conditioner may lose some of its ability to produce cool air and experience additional stress. This can lead to higher utility bills and increased wear and tear.
It’s essential to make sure the area around your outdoor condenser unit is clear of structures or objects that may block airflow. Remove all dirt and debris that have accumulated in the area. There should be at least three feet of free space on each side of the unit and five feet of free space above it. With a residential HVAC unit, you can clean the evaporator coils in the outdoor condenser yourself. A commercial air-conditioner, however, is a more complex system. It can malfunction or become damaged because of the slightest errors. Most commercial HVAC maintenance tasks should be handled by a professional, especially if they involve opening up the equipment. Therefore, it’s best that you hire an HVAC technician to clean the evaporator coils.
4. Clean the Drip Pan and Condensate Line
When your HVAC system extracts warm air from your indoor space, it also removes moisture. The condensate line drains out the moisture to ensure that it doesn’t accumulate in your equipment and cause damage. Over time, algae and mold may grow in the drain line and cause it to become clogged. If left unfixed, this issue can result in a damaged air-conditioner or property, as well as indoor air pollution.
You can find out if your commercial HVAC system’s condensate line is clogged by checking the drip pan. Turn off your air-conditioner first and then look for the drip pan, which is usually located below the indoor unit. If you see water in the drip pan, it’s likely that the condensate line is clogged. Remove the water and use a mild soap to clean away all the algae, mold, and other contaminants.
Cleaning the condensate line is a task that many people prefer to leave for an HVAC technician. If you want to do it yourself, you can start by using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove clogs from the drain line. Vacuum for about one minute and then check the canister for clogs. If it’s still clogged, use a flexible rubber tube to remove the clog. After that, you have to clean the drain line at the access point, which is usually a T-shaped vent with a PVC cover. Remove the cover and use hot water or distilled vinegar and mild dish soap to flush out the drain. Let the solution soak for about half an hour before rinsing the drain line with clean water.
5. Get Preventative Commercial HVAC Maintenance
If you don’t have the time to maintain your commercial air-conditioner yourself or want a comprehensive servicing of your equipment, consider signing up for preventative commercial HVAC maintenance. With this program, you’ll receive annual or biannual maintenance visits from HVAC professionals who will perform a wide range of tasks to ensure that your system will be in the best possible condition. These tasks include:
- Replacing the air filter
- Checking the duct system
- Cleaning the ignition switches
- Checking and cleaning the blower assembly
- Lubricating or replacing belts
- Cleaning the blower housing
- Cleaning the drip pan, condensate line, and evaporator coil
- Inspecting the heat exchanger
- Testing safety controls
- Inspecting the refrigerant level
- Checking and cleaning the condenser cabinet and coil
- Inspecting the compressor
- Checking and lubricating the fan motor and blades
- Checking the control box, switches, and wiring
A properly maintained commercial HVAC system can go a long way in helping you run your business, office, or building successfully. If you’re looking for a reputable HVAC contractor in Las Vegas, don’t hesitate to call The Cooling Company at (702) 790-8277.