Preparing Commercial HVAC Systems for Winter
In most climates, the arrival of summer means the start of warm, humid weather. The transition from summer to fall can mean an increase in indoor humidity levels that can lead to condensation, odours and other issues with your air-conditioning system. Before winter sets in, it’s important to take a few steps to protect your HVAC system from the season ahead. Avoiding premature wear and tear on your equipment will reduce the need for costly repairs down the road, and preparing your system for winter will help you save energy during those months when it’s likely to be running less often. This article covers everything you need to know about preparing commercial HVAC systems for winter, including how much time it takes to get ready, what precautions you should take and how much you should expect to spend. Contact our licensed technicians at JDC mechanical if you have not already started preparations for winter.
When should building operators begin preparing HVAC systems for winter?
Building operators should begin preparing their HVAC systems for winter before the first frost. There are a few specific steps building operators should take to prepare their systems for winter, including checking the unit’s filter, inspecting the indoor evaporator and outdoor condenser unit, and making sure all the outdoor components are properly insulated. Building operators should also make sure that vents in the building are closed off tightly to protect against outside air leakage. Other important steps include checking all thawing devices (such as radiator valves) for proper operation and keeping any equipment that is susceptible to cold weather running all year round.
Are commercial HVAC systems more vulnerable to failure in winter?
Commercial HVAC systems can and do experience failures during the winter months, with the risk of heat damage and mould increasing as a result. If you have a commercial HVAC system, it’s important to take steps to protect your system from winter wear and tear. The good news is that preparation is key when protecting your commercial HVAC system against the damages of winter. There are many things you can do to prepare your HVAC system for winter, including providing proper ventilation, cleaning filters and more. But before you do anything else, make sure that you have properly drained your condensate lines. A properly drained condensate line will prevent water from getting into your heating coils or evaporator coil, which may lead to corrosion and severe damage to the system if left untreated.
Why a unified, team approach is crucial to reliable operation of your commercial HVAC system
If you have a commercial HVAC system, you need to plan for winter. Preparation can be as simple as making sure your system is well-stocked with filters and refrigerants. A team approach is crucial when preparing a commercial HVAC system for winter. Not just one person should handle the preparation of the system and its operation during the colder months – everyone involved should take part in planning, from those who assemble and install your HVAC systems to those who maintain them.
What steps will cover all parts of your commercial HVAC preparation for winter?
HVAC is crucial to your operations, but it can also take up a large amount of space, consume lots of energy and resources, and need regular maintenance. When you’re ready to prepare your HVAC system for winter, here are some helpful tips that will give you the best possible results:
1. Prepare for maintenance: shut down components of your HVAC system for the winter if not in use. This will give it the chance to cool down before work takes place. If you don’t plan on using components of your HVAC system for extended periods of time during the winter, disconnect it from power before covering or preforming pre-storage maintenance as required by your manufacturer’s operations manual.
2. Check your filters and inspect your filters regularly to ensure they are in good working order. Turn your filter basket as necessary to keep debris out of the inner workings of your evaporator coil and condenser pan. Change your filter if necessary or if your regular use reveals that it is no longer effective at removing potentially damaging particles from the air.
3. Check your system’s service levels. It’s important to know the current level of service on your HVAC system, so you know when it needs adjustment or replacement parts. This will allow you to budget money for maintenance and repairs ahead of time and avoid unexpected costs at the end of winter.
4. Get insulation If possible, install barriers, sealants or other insulation materials around your evaporator coils, condenser coils and ductwork so warm air doesn’t rush out of your business during chilly weather and create issues with condensation, vibrations or more serious damage to your HVAC unit and components.
5. Set and test your thermostat to a comfortable temperature before the first frost, so you don’t overheat all night long on fall nights that may be warmer. The same goes for testing your thermostat outside in extreme temperatures – don’t rely on just turning on the system and seeing how hot/cold it gets; get into the habit of testing both indoors and outside throughout the day and learning what works best for you during different seasons!
Can my building operations team accomplish the steps alone without an HVAC technician?
Not every building operations team can do this alone without an HVAC technician, but it’s definitely possible to accomplish some steps listed above. First, it’s important to check the condition of your HVAC equipment by turning it on and checking for any issues before the first frost. Is your unit running smoothly and efficiently? Are there any issues or malfunctions that need to be addressed before you transition away from summer cooling? If you notice any issues with your unit, it’s best to bring them to the attention of an HVAC technician right away.
Most commercial HVAC equipment can last a few years without major repairs compared to two+ decades with it. Annual inspection and maintenance can significantly prolong lifespan, so you don’t want to take chances when it comes to maintaining your piece of equipment. Once you’ve taken care of any necessary repairs or upgrades, it’s time to transition away from summer cooling. Prepare your unit for storage (if necessary) before turning it off, and seal all cracks, crevices and holes in the ductwork that are large enough for moisture or dirt to enter. Be sure to vent any emissions from your unit inside, so they don’t accumulate outside around or above the unit. Now that you have taken all these steps, you can transition into fall season with confidence that your HVAC system is protected for the season ahead.
What is the optimal temperature of my building throughout the cold winter months?
One of the best things you can do to safeguard your building’s HVAC system during the winter months is to ensure that it’s properly maintained and tuned-up to maintain a temperature between 22 and 23 degrees Celsius. Occupant complaints can aid in regulating temperature and locating hot or cold spots in the building. Our expert technicians can also assist with identification of the causes of complaints related to occupant comfort.
Is interior humidity a factor in determining the preparation of my HVAC system for winter?
There is no single, correct answer to this question. The answer will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
• the climate in which you live
• the make and model of your HVAC system
• the expected use you plan for your system during the season
• and others
One of the most important steps that you can take is to ensure that your HVAC system is properly vented and sealed. Inadequate ventilation can result in elevated levels of moisture within your occupied space, which can contribute to problems with condensation, odours and general damage to your equipment. It’s also a good idea to routinely inspect your ductwork and seals during this time of year. We are red seal sheet metal technicians and can easily identify issues with ducts. If they appear worn or damaged, it’s a good idea to have them replaced or repaired before they pose a significant threat to your system’s performance.
What should I do if my HVAC system fails during the winter?
A nonoperational HVAC system is a common occurrence during the winter months. In some instances, the system may just need a simple tune-up and minor repairs. In other cases, the system may need emergency attention to be replaced entirely. Contact us for 24-hour emergency service!