What is the Most Common Commercial HVAC Problem?

Commercial HVAC mechanical room
The most common issue faced by businesses who rely on HVAC systems is, simply put, a breakdown in performance. Whether this is due to component failure, inadequate maintenance or wear and tear, unresolved issues can lead to costly repair bills and disruption of vital services. In this article, we provide an overview of the most common commercial HVAC problems with advice from our red seal, journeyman HVAC technicians on how to combat them. We’ll look at the symptoms associated with each problem, diagnostic tests that can be used to identify the cause, troubleshooting tips for resolving minor issues and best practices for avoiding system breakdowns in the future.

Neglect of Routine HVAC System Maintenance, Mainly Filtration Media Maintenance

Neglect of routine HVAC system maintenance, primarily filtration media, is one of the most common issues in commercial businesses. Without regular filter changes, dust and other airborne particles can build up in the ductwork and filters and cause systems to clog or become damaged. Poorly maintained filtration systems also degrade indoor air quality which has been linked to absenteeism and a decrease in productivity due to increased illness among personnel. Other costly problems resulting from lack of HVAC maintenance include motors stalling out, system components overheating or burning out before manufacturer’s warranty ends. Energy efficiency decreases on average by 5% per year as dirt accumulates on heat exchangers or evaporator coils, leading to higher cooling costs for users with no added benefit besides reduced comfort levels within the conditioned space.
Unless managed properly – either through regularly scheduled service performed by qualified technicians who are trained and certified – these preventive measures will not be taken advantage of resulting in more expensive repairs down the road than would have occurred if proper attention had been paid initially. As such, it’s very important that building owners create a comprehensive record of all regular maintenance tasks along with their associated service dates so any failure can be easily tracked back to its source event rather than lingering issues becoming unresolved due to ignorance over initial cause(s).

Abnormal Heating and Cooling System Noises

Abnormal heating and cooling system noises are a common issue for businesses that rely on HVAC systems for critical services. Even if the overall performance of an HVAC system appears to be operating normally, strange sounds can indicate that underlying problems may exist further down the line. Examples include buzzing and rattling noises, grinding or rumbling during startup or operation, and unusual odours coming from vents throughout the facility.
The source of abnormal noise can often be traced back to worn-out components such as defective bearing or belt drives, worn fan blades, or filters clogged with debris. To diagnose noisy issues effectively requires careful review of all system components along with specialized testing equipment like vibration meters which measure the levels and frequency of sound waves produced by motors, pumps and other parts under load. In minor cases – when only one component is affected – simple repairs may solve the problem; however more serious issues cannot always be solved through maintenance alone – in these situations purchasing new components might yield better results than attempting costly repair jobs that carry no guarantees.
Ultimately, unfamiliar sounds in any commercial HVAC should not be ignored – promptly addressing them is usually cheaper than waiting until it’s too late to take corrective action. Professional technicians can help identify weak spots before they become too troublesome while preventive maintenance plans keep deteriorating systems running smoothly over time at minimal cost to business owners concerned about their bottom lines.

Building Management System (BMS) Issues

When it comes to keeping a commercial HVAC system running smoothly, the most important factor is having an accurate and efficient Building Management System (BMS). This system comprises sensors which monitor temperature, humidity, and energy usage. Without it, essential components of an HVAC system such as pumps or fans can easily shut down due to motor failure or overload from oversized air conditioning units. To resolve these issues in a timely manner requires advanced troubleshooting capabilities with the support of BMS software. Issues with this could include incorrect programming preventing delivery of appropriate temperatures within the building or false alarms that trigger malfunction warnings when nothing is wrong. Another common issue arises if there are too many sensors for one controller and overloading occurs disrupting control functions.
To prevent severe problems like these occurring, regular maintenance should be carried out by qualified staff who can identify any indicators needing further evaluation to determine potential causes before they become serious issues. Also, they must have knowledge on how BMS setups work, so potential threats can be prevented through proper configuration as well as active server monitoring supporting reliable data measurements providing real-time status updates allowing preventive action against malfunctions caused by varying environmental conditions.
Evidently, all interlinked variables between different systems need resolving, including total reliability being established from controllers back up into servers plus firewalls connected respectively. This provides adequate security at every level possible and necessary measures for minor disturbances that could lead to major catastrophes otherwise avoided by those who take appropriate security precautions.
General Inefficiency in the Building
General inefficiency in the building is a common commercial HVAC problem. In most cases, general inefficiency occurs when the system has been operating for an extended period of time and components such as condensers or heat exchangers stop performing correctly due to wear and tear. Common signs of general inefficiency include higher-than-normal utility bills, short cycling, air temperature fluctuations throughout the building, and inadequate cooling or heating.
Performing regular preventative maintenance can help alleviate many problems associated with general inefficiency, but ultimately it’s best to invest in new equipment as per manufacturer specifications. Other solutions like adding insulation to keep temperatures up during extreme weather periods are also recommended and can be implemented without investing heavily into new equipment. Diagnostic tests such as energy audit reports will give specific information on how your current HVAC system is performing, which makes it easier to identify areas that need improvement before taking larger steps towards replacing existing components.
Leaks in a Refrigeration System and Troubleshooting Drain Lines
Leaks in a refrigeration system are also among the most common commercial HVAC problems for skyscrapers, warehouses and grocery stores. Failing to address this issue promptly can lead to an increase in running costs and damaging components due to an accumulation of ice on or around them. High compressor temperature, insufficient airflow and noise caused by a refrigerant leak should be obvious indicators that your system is faulty. Diagnosing a problem starts with using tools such as vacuum pumps, pressure gauges and refrigerant detectors to locate any points of leakage, which may require dismantling parts depending on the location of the opening. After identifying any damage through visual inspection, draining condensate lines would be recommended as part of regular maintenance checking for blockages or cracks inside pipes, usually done with snake cameras mounted at specific intervals alongside cleaning evaporator drain pans including identifying clogs in P-traps . By dedicating a sufficient amount of time each month towards performing routine inspections regimes you will remain ahead when it comes to diagnosing leaks before they become too costly for repair.
Overlooking Pest Control near Air Intakes and Mechanical Rooms
Spiders, rodents, and other pests can enter into the system unnoticed by causing a variety of issues including blockages, excessive dust buildup and obstruction in air flow. To diagnose this issue technicians typically perform visual inspections to look for any signs of infestation such as webs or droppings. Fortunately there are preventative maintenance steps that businesses can take to mitigate this problem; sealing holes in walls around the facility’s sanitization systems as well as into mechanical rooms themselves. Additionally, installing mesh over vents leading out of mechanical equipment will also help reduce unwanted guests from entering your system. Taking these proactive steps now will reduce the need for emergency services due to pest infestations, keeping you running at optimal performance all year round!

Property owners in Calgary are seeking economical, qualified, reliable and honest HVAC service. JDC Mechanical is not only red seal certified we also have over 25 years of experience to handle all of your commercial HVAC equipment installation and service needs.