commercial hvac maintenance

Commercial HVAC Maintenance: A Complete Checklist

Commercial HVAC Maintenance: A Complete Checklist

When it comes to any mechanical equipment, especially heating and air conditioning, a single breakdown can bring commercial operations to a screeching halt. No one will want to go inside a mall or restaurant with a faulty air-conditioning system in the middle of summer. Due to recent events, indoor air quality has become a major health concern, especially in settings like offices and call centers where workers may be in relatively close proximity.

Because of this, commercial installations are heavily reliant on preventative maintenance. They may pay for a maintenance plan, but aren’t fully aware of what that plan entails or what steps they can take to make the most out of it. Here’s a closer look at what goes on during these service checks and how you can be better prepared.

What Happens During A Commercial HVAC Maintenance Check

Note that what heating and cooling services your HVAC contractor does as a part of their inspection will vary per your maintenance contract/maintenance agreement. You want to make sure that you read over this in concrete detail to make sure you’re getting the service you think you are. With this said, here are a few general common services you will see during just about every check.

Looking at the air filter: The air filter is essential to make sure that dirt and dust don’t get distributed around your commercial building. HVAC technicians will always look at these as a part of their inspection and replace things as needed. In some cases, if they’re working on a regular schedule, they may just replace the filter anyway, even if it doesn’t have issues.

Thermostat inspection: Maintaining a comfortable temperature is key for a commercial setting. The technician will make sure the thermostat setting and actual ambient temperature are the same. If they aren’t, there may be a problem with the thermostat or the actual system.

Keeping parts lubricated: This includes belts, bearings, and gears, all of which lose their lubrication over time. When this happens, just like in a car engine, they start to have friction, keeping the equipment from working at its best. They also wear out faster, which means more repairs needed and higher utility bills. Regular lubrication keeps things from getting to that point.

Cleaning coils: Both your evaporator and condenser coils can get soiled over time. This causes them to be less effective with getting heat out of indoor spaces, hurting the ability to cool things effectively. There are several other components of the HVAC system that need cleaning, like:

  • -Air ducts
  • -Grills
  • -Vents
  • -Blower motors
  • -Heat exchangers

A basic inspection: The previous checks may find obvious faults with your heating or air conditioning system, but there are other issues that are smaller to detect. In the moment, they may not even be true problems but can become problems if unattended. 

As an added note, if you upgrade your maintenance contract, you may also be able to get added support, like instant repairs in the event a breakdown does happen.

commercial hvac maintenance
Photo By Christian Delbert

Preparing Your Commercial Building For HVAC Maintenance 

Having maintenance services for your HVAC system is essential to keep your building up and running, and it’s key to have an expert’s advice. However, you don’t need to be completely passive when it comes to heating and cooling. There are a few active steps you can take to help the process along.

Check Things Yourself

This doesn’t mean that you can go into a cooling system, do an inspection yourself, and think that everything will be perfectly okay, there are limits in place. This includes your own personal lack of expertise, as well as the size of a commercial HVAC installation. With that said, you can do a check to look at the areas that are the most used for any obvious signs of trouble. The reason to take these steps is to have some basic information you can give your HVAC professional before their scheduled check. They will do a general look anyway, but if you know there’s an issue, they can keep that in mind.

Examine Your Utility Bills

Temperature regulation is a key reason why you want to get regular HVAC maintenance done. As a result, if you find you are paying a larger electric bill lately, make a note of that. A weak heating or cooling system may be the culprit, forcing you to turn it up higher to get the same result.

This piggybacks off of the last point a bit. Sometimes, there are leaks that you can’t physically see, but are still impacting your system. If you see a sudden spike in water bill costs, with no obvious explanation, it’s a good idea to bring these points up.

Talking With Your HVAC Professional

After their maintenance work/inspection, most HVAC workers will have a brief discussion on what they found. If they don’t, request that you have that conversation. This is a chance for you to look at their notes and make sure you fully understand what they entail. Sometimes, they may recommend a certain service or repair on those notes. While you may need a separate consultation before moving forward, you can ask a few questions as to why they are recommending it. Use your best judgment and keep an eye on your budget.

commercial hvac maintenance
Photo By Roman Zaiets

On the HVAC company’s end, coming up with regular maintenance for various commercial properties can be a tall order. This is why it’s a good idea for any commercial HVAC service to invest in project management software like eSUB. Not only does this provide a concrete reference point for your maintenance plan for each of their clients, but it also makes it possible to access that information from a job site. Choosing a company that uses this type of technology helps with saving you money and frustration at the same time, meaning more peace of mind.