|All mechanical equipment with moving parts should be checked on a regular basis, but there is the misconception that this does not apply to HVAC equipment. Preventative Maintenance extends the life of HVAC equipment and ensures that it runs at its peak performance and reduces unplanned heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or process cooling outages which can be costly. Proper routine maintenance is imperative when it is critical to maintain temperature, humidity or other environmental parameters. Equipment not inspected regularly may have dirty filters, loose belts, pitted contactors, etc, that leads to the rapid decline of the unit.
As a technician I heard customers make the following inaccurate statement regarding their equipment.
Air filters play a key role in how a HVAC system runs and although a good air filter will help "keep the dust down" in a space, this is not it's only purpose. If a HVAC unit is allowed to operate with a very dirty air filter it will decrease the normal service life of your equipment. Simply put, a dirty air filter lowers the amount of air flow through your unit and in extreme cases low air flow can cause liquid refrigerant to slug through your compressor which will cause bent valves. Liquid slugging also causes the oil to wash out of the compressor. Either of these will result in compressor damage and a costly repair bill. Low air flow also causes the units cooling coil to freeze up (see photo). Unfiltered air allows mud to accumulate in your drain pan and drain lines and may result in water collect and over and in turn, damage to your ceiling and or floor. Low air flow also lowers the cooling capacity of your unit which makes your compressor run longer to cool your office or home. Obviously longer run time will dramatically increase your power bill and decrease the life expectancy of your compressor.
- "My unit does not have or need a filter."
- "My equipment is still under first year warranty, so I do not need maintenance."
- "It is not dusty in my building so I do not need to change the air filter."
A maintenance good agreement should include filter change that goes along with the routine inspection and cleaning of your units. An experienced service technician should also perform the following during a maintenance visit; clean drain lines and drain pans, measure the amp draw on the compressor and blower motor, check refrigerant pressures, measure temperature drops across the cooling coils, inspect the belts on the air handlers are all important factors that that apply to the specific equipment types. Quality Maintenance Inspections keep your equipment operating at peak capacity and decrease the amount of equipment down time.
Commercial Service Manager