With the fall season in full swing, units with air-side economizers in the Northwest are likely in use more and more. Economizers take advantage of our cooler, drier weather and allow for free cooling when outside air conditions match indoor cooling requirements. But as the weather continues to cool and the heating season begins, it’s a perfect time to ensure economizers are working correctly, and filters are refreshed.
As the cooling season gives way to the heating season, we commonly see outside air dampers misaligned or experiencing broken linkages. When this happens, the damper can become stuck open, resulting in unneeded outside air entering the airstream that needs to be heated by the HVAC system. Even worse, dampers can become stuck closed, denying the building and its occupants of required ventilation. A quick check of the HVAC unit’s damper operation is a great way to ensure buildings are both getting the required amount of ventilation, and not unnecessarily increasing their heating bills.
Need other housekeeping tips for the winter?
- For systems that utilize heat pumps, be sure the backup electric resistance heat is disabled or locked out as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. These heaters are typically set to engage well before the heat pump is out of capacity and are an unnecessary source of energy use.
- It’s a good idea to conduct an annual coil cleaning on all exposed equipment. Leaves and debris that collect on condenser heat rejection fins can reduce performance and shorten the life of the equipment. Put a plan in place to carefully clean coils exposed to the elements each season to maximize equipment life and keep occupants comfortable.
- Though they are often forgotten about, changing filters as you get ready for the winter season is a great way to keep your HVAC system running effectively. A clogged filter usually leads to less airflow being delivered to the space, leading to occupant comfort issues as well as poor unit performance.
For more HVAC tips and best practices, search the Trade Ally Network NW website or contact your regional field specialist.