TSS serviced and repaired customer’s existing equipment for years. However due to the cost of repair, age and condition of the equipment we recommended replacing the RTU ( Roof Top Air Handling Unit). This upgrade allows the customer to save money on future costly repairs and energy usage. It will also provide better indoor air quality and comfort for tenants.
A well-functioning HVAC system is probably the best way that you can improve the air quality in your building. However, there are several other small things you can do to further maximize your indoor air quality, and—by extension—improve the health of the people who live or work in the space.
Allergens and pollutants often build up in dust particles that naturally accumulate in any space. Avoiding this threat to your indoor air quality is usually as simple as doing some regular dusting, sweeping, and mopping.
It is easy to write off mold as being a symptom of extremely poor upkeep in a building, but that is not necessarily the case. Mold is incredibly resilient. It can spring up due to the slightest ongoing humidity issues, and is difficult to permanently remove once it has its heels in.
The most effective way to prevent mold is to control the humidity in a space. If this is an issue in your building, a dehumidifier may be a helpful option. It is also a good practice to keep an eye on spaces that tend to get damp or warm on a regular basis, such as bathrooms. Great ventilation and regular cleaning of these spaces are key.
Combustion pollutants are any air pollution that results from burning fuel or heating. The risk of these indoors primarily comes from heating, such as your built-in heating system or space heaters. The best tool to reduce risk from combustion pollutants is the ventilation system that is part of your HVAC system.
However, some sources of combustion pollution require their own individual ventilation system. For example, dryers should be attached to a vent that funnels the humid air they produce to the outside. It is important to make sure this vent is clean and well-sealed.
If your HVAC system malfunctions, one of the most likely culprits is the AC compressor. However, while it is a component given to causing problems, it is also actually very simple to maintain. You can easily save yourself from the headache and the money later on with a few basic checks.
Many compressor-related issues can be solved just by keeping it clean. This mostly just entails clearing any debris out of the unit, and regularly cleaning the filters. Both problems can obstruct and contaminate air flow, and both problems can be easily identified and corrected.
Being wary of your local climate—especially cold weather—can prevent a wide variety of possible malfunctions in your compressor. For example, freezing and thawing of components in the unit can quickly age and damage the compressor. The addition of a small heater in the unit, along with basic maintenance, should prevent such weather-related damage.
It is important to ensure that there is always enough refrigerant in the system—but you do not want to overdo it either. Running for extended periods of time on too little or too much refrigerant puts a lot of strain on the compressor. The actual process of “re-charging” (the term for re-filling) the system is best left to an HVAC professional. However, being aware of your HVAC maintenance schedule can ensure that your refrigerant levels remain optimal.
Beyond the comfort of your building, the key benefits of a good HVAC system are how it can save your health and your money. Maintaining the ventilation is especially important to that end. But is there anything you can do between annual HVAC inspections?
Save Money By:
Paying Attention. If you start to notice any odd drafts, especially by windows or doors, it may indicate that there is an air leak. Take note. Such air leaks can undermine the efficiency of a good ventilation system.
Checking Weather Stripping. Ensure that the weather stripping on your doorways are not worn down, and are still fully sealing the doorway. (For more information on what type of weather stripping is best for your needs, here is a helpful breakdown from the Department of Energy).
Maintaining or Adding Caulk. Caulk should not be cracked, and should fully cover the gap or crack it is meant to seal. Gaps that need to be caulked are often found around windows, doors, and ducting.
Protect Your Health By:
Looking for mold. Mold in your insulation can compromise the health benefits of your ventilation system.
Checking your Filters. In an HVAC system, the air is pushed through a filter before it is distributed throughout the building. This is meant to maintain the air quality. However, if the filters become too dirty, they cannot do their job properly.
No one enjoys the necessity of keeping up with building maintenance. Just keeping your property or office in decent function can seem like it takes so much time and energy. However, some aspects of building maintenance are less time-consuming and invasive than others. Your recommended annual furnace inspection may sound like a nuisance, but in reality it is very quick, with minimal equipment and personnel cluttering the property.
Basic Checks to Prevent Big Problems
Many types of building maintenance involve bulky equipment laying around, and workers walking in and out the doors all day. It can be a serious annoyance, especially in an office running ongoing business. However, with regular maintenance, an annual furnace inspection is most often a simple affair involving a quick check by a single worker, with little to no special equipment involved.
Some of the basic things your furnace maintenance worker will do during your annual maintenance are:
checking for leaks or corrosion
-removing detritus in the ventilation
-changing old filters
-checking the thermostat and controls
-ensuring that excess heat is not escaping
These simple checks can usually be accomplished with a visual inspection and minor tweaks from your maintenance worker, but can make a huge difference in the energy efficiency and safety of your building.
It is easy to think of air conditioning and ventilation installation as a one-and-done cost. However, in reality, an annual update on your business’s HVAC system not only pays for itself, but might actually save you money. But how is that possible?
While federal IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) regulations do not apply to most states, twenty-two states are subject to their own regulations in compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.
OSHA specifically cites “poor upkeep of ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems” as one of the primary causes of hazardous air quality in the workplace. Their website goes on to point out that there is no simple test to determine the safety of air quality. Regular, professional inspection is the only way to be sure of the safety of IAQ in your business. As such, failure to schedule regular HVAC maintenance on your workplace could result in costly legal fees.
Although the physical and mental health effects associated with IAQ are still under study, many negative effects of poor air quality in the work environment are well-documented. These include possible symptoms such as respiratory irritation, lethargy, and mental fatigue. It can even contribute to serious illnesses such as Legionnaire’s disease. Unsurprisingly, the illness and discomfort that may be caused by an outdated HVAC system often results in a drop in employee productivity. And the impact is not insignificant. According to the EPA, recent studies suggest that the average financial loss for a business—just from productivity decline associated with poor IAQ—is 2-4%. To further put that into perspective, a company with 1 million dollars in annual revenue could stand to lose up to $40,000 per year.
In short, it is far more cost effective for a business to be proactive in maintaining healthy air quality in the workplace, rather than paying for the damages if it becomes less than quality. And that is as easy as a simple annual inspection and update on your HVAC system.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is often one of the primary contributors to energy use in homes throughout the United States. Of course, with advances in technology over the years and more efficient management of HVAC use around the home, the impact on your energy bill can now be lessened substantially. In the accompanying infographic, we’ll cover some statistics that show where money is being spent in the home to manage the temperature. Along with that, we’ll walk you through several fixes around the house that will help take some of the work off your HVAC system, saving you even more in energy costs.