New Years Resolutions for Your Commercial HVAC System
Every year we make some, and every year we break some. New Year’s resolutions give us a feeling of a fresh start and establish goals to work toward. Here are some HVAC resolutions you can make this year for your commercial HVAC system. Apply them throughout the year and you’ll see better system performance, decreased heating and cooling costs, and improved peace of mind.
- I resolve to schedule regular preventive maintenance: Chief among HVAC resolutions for this or any year should be to pay more attention to preventive maintenance. Regular maintenance keeps your HVAC equipment working at its highest level, improving efficiency and reducing overall operating costs. Preventive maintenance also extends the working life of your HVAC system, reducing the chance of costly breakdowns and ensuring that you get many years of service from your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, or boiler. As a general rule, you should call your local trusted HVAC professional for a maintenance appointment at least once a year, in the spring for your cooling system and in the fall for your heating system.
- I resolve to change HVAC system air filters: Air filters tend to get neglected, not just around the holidays but all through the year. This is unfortunate, since air filters play a large role in keeping the air inside your commercial facility clean. Filters also help maintain the airflow your HVAC equipment needs to function properly. As part of your HVAC resolution to pay more attention to filters, it may be helpful to establish a regular schedule of filter checks. Monthly filter checks are a good standard to work toward. If your building’s air typically has higher levels of particulates in it, it is probably a good idea to check filters every two weeks. Change filters when they get dirty. An effective way to check is to hold the filter up to a strong light source such as a bar light bulb. If you can’t see light through the filter, it needs to be changed.
- I resolve to improve my commercial building’s seal: Air leaks account for substantial amounts of lost energy and money. Not only to air leaks mean you’ve lost conditioned air you’ve already paid to heat or cool, they also mean your HVAC system has to work harder to make up for the loss. Indoor comfort levels suffer while you pay more for less. Contact your HVAC professional for help finding and sealing air leaks in your commercial building. He may conduct tests to help find these leaks, such as a blower door test or smoke pencil test. Be sure to check the HVAC system’s ductwork for leaks as well. Broken seals in the ducts can mean large losses of heated or cooled air.
- I resolve to pay more attention to efficiency: HVAC system efficiency has a direct effect on how much you pay for heating and cooling each month. When installing new equipment, or upgrading existing systems, purchase the highest efficiency that your budget can handle. Look for high SEER, HSPF, or AFUE numbers that represent high efficiency. Buying equipment that is Energy Star certified also ensures that you’ll get the most efficient system possible. Remember, high-efficiency systems may cost more at the beginning, but you should be able to recover the cost of the initial investment through monthly savings alone by about the halfway point of the equipment’s expected lifespan. Along with higher-efficiency equipment, another of your HVAC resolutions should be to install efficiency-improving devices such as programmable thermostats. These thermostats let you use set points to automatically increase or reduce HVAC system operation according to your facility’s needs.