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Trade Ally Network Northwest

HVAC Tech Tip: The Return to Innocence

June 16, 2020 | Trade Ally Network NW

The process of reopening our communities has begun, and as a part of that your customers will gradually return to their buildings. This is an opportunity for you to re-engage with your customers to make sure their buildings are up and running. The following are some items you can discuss with them in preparation for the reoccupation of their buildings and beyond.

Site Inspection Before Occupants Return

  • Inspect economizer dampers, linkages, actuators, and sensors for failures. Over the winter season it’s common for economizer linkages to become broken and go unnoticed as the season shifts to milder weather. A failed economizer also means the dampers are stuck in a position and likely under-ventilating, contributing to poor indoor air quality (IAQ), or over-ventilating and leading to energy waste.
  • Inspect and replace air filters. Filters contribute to good IAQ. Clean air filters have a lower pressure drop on the fan, which means more clean airflow is being delivered to the space than when the filter is dirty.
  • Inspect other external equipment components. This includes bird screens, condenser coils, barometric reliefs, and powered exhausts. If units haven’t been running as much or as often as they normally do, who knows what may have taken up residence in your customer’s equipment or what has failed.
  • Check schedules and setpoints. The building’s equipment schedules may have been adjusted or disabled while it was unoccupied. Checking these to make sure they’re current and appropriate will ensure proper operation and limit unnecessary wasted runtime hours.
  • Check other building systems. Inspect other applicable building systems—hot water, plumbing, mechanical—and follow the manufacturer’s guidance regarding start-up and maintenance following an extended shutdown.

Upgrade Opportunities

  • Install/enable Fault Detection Diagnostics (FDD) and Demand Control Ventilation (DCV). Both of these can be achieved as part of installing advanced rooftop unit controls (ARC) and will contribute to energy savings and improved IAQ. Also, many local utilities provide incentives for installation. Contact your local field specialist to learn more.
  • Upgrade air filters. Upgrading filters means a higher MERV rating and improved IAQ and greater probability of capturing unwanted airborne particles. Keep in mind, a higher MERV rating can also mean a higher pressure drop. Consider polarized media if improved filtration is desired and increased static pressure is a concern.

Best Practices

  • Be mindful of health and safety. Before conducting a site visit, be sure to ask your customer about their requirements for personal protection equipment.
  • Clean thermostats regularly. Thermostats are high-touch devices and should be cleaned regularly.

For more HVAC tips and best practices, search the Trade Ally Network website or contact your regional field specialist.

Category: Best Practices Business Development

Tags: hvac maintenance