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office building for rent keep tenants
▸ August 28, 2021

If you own or manage a multi-tenant commercial property, then one of your primary objectives is likely to improve tenant retention.

Losing tenants is very expensive. Not only will you lose rental income, but you’ll also have to spend money to attract new tenants and clean and renovate empty rentals. 

In the long run, it costs way more to lose and find new tenants than it does to invest in ways to maintain tenants.

This involves a multi-pronged approach; however, one area that many building owners and managers fail to consider is their HVAC system. Let’s talk about why your HVAC matters.

Why do tenants care about the HVAC system?

There are a variety of reasons tenants would care about the HVAC system in place. The top 2 reasons, however, would involve comfortability and indoor air quality.

If your HVAC system isn’t capable of handling your tenants’ heating and cooling requirements, you can almost guarantee a regular stream of tenant complaints. And with the emergence of COVID-19, many tenants are also concerned about indoor air quality. If you’re not doing anything to properly ventilate and sanitize your building, tenants may start to question if your building is the right building for them.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading.

How to improve your HVAC system for your tenants

At BMI Mechanical, we’ve spent the last several decades helping multi-tenant buildings improve and maintain their HVAC systems. As a result, we’ve also helped improve their overall tenant retention rates. Let’s address the 5 most effective ways we accomplish this.

  1. Automated Systems: We work with our clients to integrate modern technology into their buildings. While this sometimes involves a complete overhaul of their pre-existing HVAC system, many times it involves something as simple as programmable thermostats and a building controls upgrade. This gives everyone greater insight and control over the HVAC system.
  2. Minor Upgrades: Again, many of the ways we improve our clients’ HVAC systems involve minor upgrades to pre-existing equipment. These changes could include duct modifications or equipment add-ons.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Partnering with an HVAC partner for regular HVAC maintenance is probably the best (and easiest) change you can make. Regular maintenance will provide you with a slew of benefits, and you’ll be more capable of avoiding complete breakdowns.
  4. Improved Filtration: Not every system can handle the highest level filters; however, you can fight COVID-19, other viruses, and seasonal allergies with additional measures (like in-room air purifiers, UV, and NPBI). This added level of protection will keep your tenants healthier and give them more peace of mind.
  5. Inform Tenants: When you make improvements and even when your ongoing maintenance appointments roll around, make sure you let your tenants know what’s going on. If you don’t, then they may never realize that you’re taking steps to improve their experience. Print out memos and hang it around the building or send out an email blast to your tenants. 

Interested in learning more?

If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your multi-tenant commercial building, we’d love to talk.
Give us a call or send us a message to learn more. Or, feel free to check out some of our additional resources below:

interior of empty lobby with reception counter in bmi mechanical
▸ August 28, 2021

When you work to improve your HVAC, what you’re really doing is working to improve the comfortability and health of your employees. 

Poor HVAC management can impact your employees in a variety of ways. 

If you struggle to maintain your equipment, it could result in an uncomfortable indoor environment — which can lead to employee complaints and a decrease in employee productivity. And if your HVAC equipment struggles to maintain a good IAQ (indoor air quality), it could result in heightened risks — such as virus transmission, seasonal allergies, and more.

To help you better understand this, let’s dig into what can impact IAQ and indoor comfortability.

What impacts IAQ?

There are many different factors that can negatively impact your building’s indoor air quality. But fortunately, with the right equipment and measures put in place, you can control the level at which these factors impact your environment.

Let’s break this down a bit more.

  1. The Outside Air: It’s only natural to assume that allowing outside air to flow into your building is a good thing. But that’s not always the case. While “fresh” air is naturally brought inside via doors and windows, your HVAC system also brings in outside air. It’s important to set up your HVAC properly, so you’re not bringing in too much outside air and overloading your equipment in the process. You should shoot for a level between 10% and 20%.
  2. Your Filtration Method: Another thing many people assume is that a higher filtration method is better. But again, this isn’t always the case. MERV 13 is currently recommended by the CDC and ASHRAE to capture smaller particles in the air; however, every system is not capable of handling this higher level of filtration. If you utilize a MERV 13 filter on the wrong system, you could end up damaging components. Instead, MERV 7-10 may be better suited for your system — while still providing a good level of filtration. You can always use additional methods of sanitization to make up for the lower-rated filter.
  3. Your Sanitization Technology: If you have outdated (or no) method put in place to sanitize your indoor environment, then you’re likely working around small particles that reduce your IAQ. It’s important to work with a licensed HVAC contractor who can educate you on modern sanitization technologies (such as NPBI) that are capable of targeting and capturing smaller particles in the air.

What impacts employee comfort?

Obviously, a poor indoor air quality can negatively impact your employees. It can lead to a higher transmission of viruses, as well as promote an environment that’s well-suited for allergies. This can result in decreased productivity and an increase in sick days. 

Aside from IAQ, however, there are many other factors stemming from your HVAC’s performance that can negatively impact your employees. Let’s take a look at some of those factors now.

  1. Reliability: If your HVAC struggles to work consistently, then you stand the risk of it breaking down during peak hours. This could create big productivity issues for your company, especially if these breakdowns occur during very cold or hot days.
  2. Controls: It’s important to make sure your equipment is on the correct “schedule.” Does your equipment turn on and off at the right times? If not, your employees might be subjected to a very hot and stuffy working environment. While it may only take a little while for the environment to get to a comfortable working temperature, all of your employees will be a little (or a lot) less productive during that time period. 
  3. Air Flow: Too much or too little air flow can also impact indoor comfortability levels. Air flow can be hampered by windows, furniture, office equipment, and more. Adjustments can vary from one building to the next, but often involve a simple damper adjustment or duct modification. Either way, it’s best to speak with a licensed HVAC contractor, so they can educate you on the best solutions for your unique needs.
  4. Hot & Cold Spots: Even if your equipment is working properly, there may be sections of your building that suffer from hot or cold spots. If your employees work near these areas for extended periods of time, it can become problematic. 

Do you need help improving your indoor environment?

Air quality and employee comfort can have huge and lasting impacts on your business. In fact, according to the National Energy Management Institute, the cost of low employee productivity due to comfort and air quality issues is 1.5-3% of annual payroll costs.  

While there is no such thing as a perfect building with 0% lost productivity, there are many steps you can take to get your indoor environment to a healthy and comfortable level. And at BMI Mechanical, we’ve spent the last several decades helping our clients do just that.
To learn more about these steps, please give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to talk.

humidity levels bmi mechanical
▸ August 10, 2021

Whether you live in Florida or California, we should all shoot to maintain normal indoor humidity levels.

But what exactly is considered “normal” indoor humidity levels and why is it important?

Let’s break it down.

What is a normal indoor humidity level?

A normal (or ideal) indoor humidity level would be somewhere between 30% and 50%.

A 30% humidity level means that the air is holding 30% of the total amount of moisture it can contain.

There are certain factors that can increase or decrease your humidity, including the outdoor environment and your air conditioning equipment. It’s also important to remember that humidity is crucial, and with too little of it, you can experience just as many issues as you would with too much of it. In other words, the goal is not to shoot for 0% humidity.

Let’s go ahead and dissect this a little further by discussing symptoms of low or high indoor humidity levels.

Symptoms of high humidity in home or office environments

  1. You’ll feel warmer! (And maybe even a little sticky!)
  2. You may create a comfortable environment for fungus, dust mites, mildew, mold, and bugs — which could make you sick and negatively affect people with asthma, allergies, or sinusitis 
  3. Too much humidity can also negatively affect wood, which can cause wood to rot and furniture to warp.

Symptoms of low humidity in home or office environments

  1. Similar to symptoms of too much humidity, too low humidity can negatively affect people with asthma and other breathing-related issues (since the air is too dry).
  2. Air that is too dry can lead to chapped lips, sore throats, and dry, itchy skin.
  3. Humidity that’s too low can also cause wood to warp or crack. This is because there is no moisture in the air and the wood literally shrinks.

What to do if the humidity is too high or too low

If you start to notice any of the above symptoms, make sure you take the proper steps to test your humidity levels. You don’t want your family or employees struggling to breath or suffering from sinus-related issues due to a problem that is relatively easy to address.

While there are tools you can use to test the humidity levels of your home or office, it’s best to contact a professional. This way, they can give you accurate guidance on your humidity levels, and you can avoid wasting money on solutions that don’t address the actual issue.

This being said, if the humidity is too high, you may need to replace your air conditioner. This is usually only necessary if the unit or parts are too old and can not effectively remove the humidity from the air.

If this is not an option for you right now, a dehumidifier may temporarily help resolve the issue. There are many different options and sizes available (all of which address different needs), so it’s best to speak to a professional to find out what works best for you.

On the other hand, if the humidity is too low, you can seek out a humidifier. If the issue is just with one area of the house or one office in a commercial space, a portable humidifier may solve the issue quickly. However, these do require some regular upkeep to continue working, and they will be severely limited in reach. 

If you do require a larger, more professional humidifier, it’s important to speak with a professional who can give you guidance on selection, installation, and maintenance.

Ready to keep learning? Check out these resources:

woman controlling heating with a smart devices
▸ August 3, 2021

Many businesses make the decision to go for the gold in green building initiatives and get LEED or ENERGY STAR certified. 

Becoming certified is great for a multitude of reasons — more productive employees, less waste, better optics, and more. However, certification is not your only option.

You don’t need to be certified to practice and enjoy green building initiatives. Let’s take a look at some of the various measures you can implement right now, so you can create a greener building.

Plan ahead for equipment replacement

Aging equipment that doesn’t work as well as it once did can become problematic. This equipment can (and likely will) consume more energy to work and cost more money to repair. 

This is why it’s imperative to plan ahead and create a sound strategy for equipment replacement. BMI can help with this.

We’ll go into your system, evaluate its current standing, quantify these items, and determine viable options for future replacement — including like-for-like replacement, hi-efficiency models, and more.

On top of this, we’ll provide you with creative financing solutions for such costly investments. This way, you can truly plan ahead for these necessary improvements and proactively keep your business above water.

Keep Reading: Learn how to decide between equipment replacement and equipment repair

Implement building automation

Whether you decide to go with building-wide automation or just WiFi-enabled thermostats, any amount of automation can help your business go a little greener.

At BMI, we can help you implement a number of systems (or recalibrate and improve existing systems) to automate your building. In the process, we can help you cut down on waste and control costs.

Integrate preventative maintenance into operations

Preventative building maintenance is a key component of any business. 

When you rely on your building to keep your staff comfortable and your operations consistent, then you need to make sure all of your building’s equipment is properly cared for. 

On top of this, failing to maintain your equipment will result in more waste (both in terms of energy and being forced to replace equipment too early).

Preventative maintenance can involve a variety of components, including regular inspection, computerized scheduling, consistent documentation, and more. These tasks can save up to 30% in energy costs, reduce annual repair costs, and prevent downtime. 

Keep Reading: Learn more about how to evaluate your preventative maintenance program

Are you ready to go greener? Talk to BMI today.

At BMI, we help businesses all over California integrate green building initiatives into their day-to-day operations. As a result, they save money, reduce waste, and improve productivity. 

Whether you’re interested in improving only certain facets of your operations or becoming LEED certified, we’d love to help.
Give us a call or send us a message today. Let’s talk about going green.

leed certification bmi mechanical
▸ August 3, 2021

Athletes aren’t the only ones going for the gold this season. At BMI Mechanical, we’re helping our clients go for the gold, too. 

But not in the traditional sense. 

Rather than gold medals, we’re helping our clients achieve a gold standard in energy conservation and sustainability through a LEED building rating.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

LEED certification is available for both new and pre-existing buildings (no matter what age the building is) and ultimately, helps buildings reduce their environmental impact and become more energy efficient. 

Let’s take a few moments to cover what the benefits of LEED are and how your business can pursue LEED certification. 

What are the benefits of LEED certification?

Aside from simply conserving energy and reducing your building’s environmental impact, there are many additional benefits of pursuing LEED certification. Let’s address those now.

  1. You can become more competitive and differentiate yourself from the competition. “Going green” is considered a positive and could play a role in purchasing decisions from your target market.
  2. A building that reduces waste and saves energy is typically more attractive than a building that doesn’t. If you’re leasing out spaces to renters, this means you could charge more — or at the very least, use it as a selling point.
  3. With a better-managed and greener building, it’s only “natural” that you’ll benefit from a better indoor (and outdoor) environment. This will lead to happier and healthier employees and occupants, which can improve productivity, retention, and more.

Keep Reading: Learn more about green building trends and how they can improve your building

How to work towards LEED certification

When attempting to pursue LEED certification, it’s best to work with a qualified partner like BMI Mechanical. There are a variety of categories that must be addressed and standards that must be met in order to qualify. Without a knowledgeable partner, this process will be much more difficult (if not impossible) to work through.

Specifically, BMI Mechanical can help your business with design, equipment selection, installation, and maintenance practices. All of these facets earn you “points” — which ultimately decides your rating. Your rating can be anything from certified (lowest) to platinum (highest). Points earned can vary drastically based on how your building performs, what types of materials your building is using, how your building uses energy, and more.

Not interested in LEED certification? Consider pursuing ENERGY STAR certification. This process achieves similar goals (emitting less, saving more money, reducing waste), but it’s focused on energy performance standards that are set by the EPA. However, this certificate is renewed every year — which means standards must be maintained.

Are you ready to go green? Contact BMI Mechanical.

At BMI Mechanical, we have decades of experience helping companies everywhere reduce waste, save money, and go green, and we’d love to help you, too.

We can help you better understand the rules and standards set forth by LEED and ENERGY STAR, make changes to your building and maintenance practices, and collect and report on the appropriate data. 
If you’d like to learn more about this process, give us a call or send us a message today.

hvac system with cool yellow colored ducting
▸ July 7, 2021

Your HVAC system does a lot of good for your business. It keeps your guests and employees comfortable, productive, and healthy. But unfortunately, there are several facets of your HVAC system that can create hurdles and complications for you — regulations and reporting requirements are prime examples of those hurdles.

To further break this down, let’s discuss some of the reporting and management requirements and provide you with guidance on how to remain compliant with them.

Refrigerant Management

Refrigerant is an ozone-depleting substance that can be harmful to the environment. As of late, R-22 refrigerant has been in the process of phasing itself out. As a business owner or manager, it’s important for you to keep up with updates such as this one. Otherwise, you could face fines and regulatory shutdowns.

On top of this, you’re also required to maintain regular and detailed reporting on refrigerants. This includes leaks, type, levels, dates, and more. If you fail to keep up with reporting, this could create serious regulatory hurdles for your business.

When you work with an HVAC company like BMI Mechanical, they’ll constantly collect and maintain all information pertinent to your system. At BMI, we gather all this information and use it to generate reports on their behalf, helping them maintain compliance in the process.

Boiler Emissions & Air Quality

When it comes to the usage of large boilers, you’re required to abide by regulations at both the statewide (California Air Resources Board) and local (County Air Pollution Control District) levels. Specific emissions produced by these boilers must be measured and reported annually. If they do not meet the acceptable limits set by the state and county, then repairs or replacement are required.

Working with a commercial HVAC company eliminates this hurdle and simplifies the entire situation. At BMI, we have specialized testing and reporting services available to help our clients with this particular regulatory concern.

HVAC companies can also help you with seasonal shutdowns. Read our 3-part guide on seasonal HVAC shutdowns.

Air Change Rates

Depending on your business environment, you may be held to different regulatory standards — this includes healthcare facilities and ACH (air changes per hour) rates. When you’re talking about ACH, you’re talking about the number of times air is cycled in a room within a specific period of time.

The required ACH varies by business and in some cases, by room. It is impossible to measure the ACH rate without specialized equipment and skills. This is why it’s important to work with an HVAC company who can take this regulatory concern off your plate. They’ll also be able to work this into regular service testing, so it is always reported accurately and keeps your business in the clear at all times.

Learn more about indoor ventilation and Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (technology that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19 indoors).

Need help working through your regulatory hurdles?

Then give BMI Mechanical a call. We have 100+ years of experience helping companies navigate regulatory and compliance issues, and we’d love to help you, too.
Give us a call or fill out our online form to learn more.

neon sign shaped like a question mark
▸ July 7, 2021

Many people want to know, “How often should I change my air filter?” 

Does it really make a difference if I replace it once every 6 months as opposed to once every 3 months?

The answer to this question is yes. It does make a difference, and here’s why:

  • You can reduce repairs: Your air filter collects a lot of things over time (pet dander, dirt, etc), and it usually turns “dusty” or “grey” as a result. If you allow your filter to be dirty like this for long periods of time, it can have a negative impact on your HVAC and its components. This will ultimately lead to more repairs (and more bills).
  • You can save money: Yes, you can save money on repairs by doing an air filter change at the right time, but you can also save money on your heating and cooling bill. Your HVAC won’t be able to work properly with a dirty air filter — instead, it has to work much harder. You can guarantee that this hard work will be showcased in your next energy bill.
  • You can improve your IAQ (indoor air quality): Whether you have allergies or not, it doesn’t matter. If your air filter can’t do its job properly, you’ll eventually be breathing in a whole lot of stuff that’s not great for your body. 

Now that we better understand why it’s important to change out the air filter, let’s talk about how often to change the air filter.

How often should you change your air filter?

There are a handful of factors that can impact the question of how often to change the air filter. These factors will vary from home to home and from business to business. This ultimately means that every building should be doing an air filter change at different times.

If you’re in a commercial or industrial setting that requires a more particular air filter, we recommend discussing air filter changes with your HVAC partner. In these cases, a licensed HVAC contractor is almost always required in order to remove the air filter safely and correctly. 

However, if you’re dealing with a more standard office or home air filter, then an air filter change is usually recommended every 2 to 3 months. 

In some cases, this timeframe could be extended to as much as 6 to 12 months, but this really depends on the inner workings of the office or home. Factors that can affect how often you change out your air filter can include:

  • The type of air filter you’re using
  • If there are pets indoors
    • What type and how many
    • Typically means every 1 to 3 months
  • How big the building is
    • The larger the building, the more air filter changes recommended
  • What the outdoor environment is like
    • Heavily polluted cities means more air filter changes
  • If the occupants suffer from allergies or breathing-related issues (like asthma)
    • Typically means every 1-2 months
  • How often the building is occupied and how many people occupy it
    • Is it a vacation property? (lowers the amount of changes in comparison to a permanent residence)
    • Is there only 1 person in the office at a time? (lowers the amount of changes in comparison to a busy office environment)

Keep Reading: Take a look at 5 summer HVAC issues 

If you still don’t know when to change your air filter, here’s what we recommend.

If you’re still not sure how often to change your filter, then a good timeframe to live by is every 60-90 days. 

If you don’t have any pets and you live in a city with no heavy pollution, then you can stretch it to 90 days. If you do have pets, live in a heavily polluted city, or have occupants with allergies or breathing issues, then you should (at least) be replacing your filter at the 60-day mark.

If you’re in a work environment and you have employees or coworkers to worry about, then we suggest speaking with a commercial HVAC contractor. In traditional office environments, we would still recommend every 60-90 days, but this can change depending on your HVAC and your specific needs and habits.

Long story short: changing your air filter does make a difference. One simple task can help keep your HVAC unit working properly and your indoor air quality at a good level.

Related Content:

business people shaking hands
▸ June 26, 2021

With preventative HVAC maintenance provided by a commercial HVAC company, your business can gain freedom from a variety of recurring issues and daily frustrations. It can even save you time and money, as well as limiting waste along the way. 

But what issues specifically can you liberate yourself from? Let’s take a look at 4 different issues you can avoid when you work with a quality HVAC partner.

Uncomfortable indoor temperatures that are hard to avoid

As temperatures drastically increase, businesses everywhere will struggle with how to maintain comfortable indoor environments.  

How do you keep your equipment running consistently when it’s forced to run much harder for much longer hours?

With a preventative maintenance solution, this particular issue is no longer a cause for concern. This is because HVAC companies that offer such a solution provide summer HVAC maintenance that specifically addresses heat-related hurdles. 

Reliable HVAC professionals prep your equipment, so that it has what it takes to successfully work through hotter months. This equipment prep may include replacing air filters and double-checking insulation, as well as taking an in-depth look at temperature-reliant areas (such as server rooms and data centers).

Temperature-related complaints that never stop

When your HVAC equipment can’t keep up and causes your building to run too hot as a result, you can almost guarantee that you’ll start to receive an influx of occupant complaints. 

In fact, IFMA says disagreements over indoor temperature rank #1 and #2 on the list of top office complaints. Unfortunately, this specific type of complaint can lead to noticeable decreases in productivity, which can ultimately affect your bottom line.

When you work with a commercial HVAC company, they can guide you through concerns such as building automation, seasonal shutdowns, and more. All of this together can help you maintain indoor temperature in a way that’s most conducive to your unique environment.

Multiple service calls that happen at the worst times

If you overwork your HVAC system in the summer, you can expect two things. 

First, if issues aren’t taken care of quickly (and correctly), one small problem can (and most likely will) lead to multiple big problems. 

Second, you won’t be the only company experiencing one (or multiple issues) at the same time. 

What does all of this mean? 

You’ll suddenly need help, and you won’t be able to get it. You’ll have multiple service calls out at one time, but you’ll be behind a number of other businesses who also need help.

However, when you work with a commercial HVAC company on a preventive maintenance plan, they’ll do everything they can to make sure your equipment remains operational at all times. On top of this, if an issue does pop up, you’ll be a top priority — not just another service call.

Unexpected breakdowns that lead to unexpected expenses

As we briefly mentioned earlier, there are certain facets of your HVAC system that your HVAC partner will want to pay close attention to before summer rolls around. If you don’t have a partner, then you’ll suffer from unexpected breakdowns that lead to unexpected expenses. The most common summer HVAC issues can include everything from clogged drains and refrigerant leaks to dirty motors and missing panels. 

The majority of summer-related concerns start off rather innocently (ex. clogged drains), but they can lead to full-on breakdowns and service interruptions. That’s why spring cleaning and summer prep are important for the health of your HVAC, and that’s why an HVAC partner is important for your business as a whole.

More freedom starts with BMI Mechanical

If you’re ready to liberate yourself from recurring HVAC issues and frustrations, we’d love to help. At BMI Mechanical, we have decades of experience providing preventative HVAC services to businesses throughout California. 

Give us a call or fill out our online form to learn more.

Keep Learning:

dripping air conditioner
▸ May 26, 2021

“My air conditioner is dripping” — so, what now??? 

If your air conditioner is dripping fluids, don’t panic. There are a handful of common issues that can lead to a drippy AC. As long as you take the right steps to correct the cause of the leak, all should be fine. However, if you wait too long to fix your dripping air conditioner, other, more serious issues can start to develop. In a worst case scenario, a leaky air conditioner can damage and destroy floors, walls, and ceilings and not to mention, your AC system as a whole.

This being said, if your AC is dripping, turn it off and contact a licensed HVAC professional as soon as you can. In the meantime, let’s discuss a few different reasons you might be experiencing a leaking AC.

The evaporator coils are frozen.

Frozen evaporator coils can be caused by different issues, such as a broken motor or dirty coils. However, the main issue at play here is restricted air flow, which can lead to the formation of ice and dripping water. 

If this is the case with your AC, you should get to work immediately. You may be able to correct this issue on your own by replacing the air filter and removing and cleaning any dirt or debris. But, if you aren’t familiar with ACs (and especially if you’re dealing with a commercial building or office AC), then we recommend contacting an HVAC company. This is especially true if one of your issues also happens to be low refrigerant or a broken motor. 

Failing to correct frozen coils can result in compressor issues and no cool air coming from your AC.

Related Content: Your Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

The drain pan is cracked.

If your drain pan is cracked, this could be a relatively simple issue to fix (at least temporarily). You’ll want to check both the pan and pipe connected to the pan for any leaks. If you notice any, you can use a sealant to patch it up. However, upon doing so, you’ll still want to contact an HVAC company to have the pan fully replaced. This is necessary if this is the drain pan that is located underneath your coils (there are two pans). This pan is permanently affixed to your system and will need to be professionally removed.

Your drain is clogged.

As we mentioned earlier, your evaporator coils can become frozen because of dirt and debris — causing your AC to drip in the process. But keep in mind, a dirty, clogged drain line can cause leaks in general. Cleaning your AC should hopefully be part of routine HVAC maintenance, but it can be difficult to handle on your own if you don’t have the right tools and experience. 

If you’re at all concerned about cleaning your AC, contact a professional and rely on them to thoroughly clean up your system and remove all dirt, algae, and other debris.

Related Content: How to prepare your HVAC for summer

Your filter is dirty.

Replacing your air filter on a regular basis can easily slip your mind — but this slip of the mind can definitely cause issues for your AC later down the line (including leaking water). While this can go back to the frozen coils mentioned earlier, it can also impact and damage other equipment within your system. 

Make sure you’re replacing your filter on a monthly basis or you’re working with an HVAC company that provides this service as part of their proactive maintenance program.

Other common HVAC issues:

indoor business

If you’re wondering how to improve indoor air quality, then you’ve come to the right place. Having good indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important facet of managing your business. With good IAQ, your employees will be more comfortable and more productive. You should also experience fewer HVAC issues since your equipment will be better maintained in the process of achieving and maintaining that good indoor air quality.

However, to achieve better indoor air quality, you need to test and measure your current and ongoing IAQ. The following content outlines when and how to do this and what results you can expect along the way.

How should you test your indoor air quality?

When it comes to testing your indoor air quality, the best possible advice we can give you is to make sure you work with someone who understands exactly when and how to test IAQ. If you don’t work with someone knowledgeable, then you won’t actually know if what you’re doing is or isn’t working and you won’t be able to quantify any type of ROI.

On top of this, measuring IAQ requires specific equipment and testing resources that you likely won’t have available to you. While some testing (ex. CO2 levels, particulate counts) can be handled on-site by an HVAC contractor, other testing (ex. pathogens, mold) will require samples to be collected and sent off to a laboratory.

In most cases, you can reach out to your current HVAC service provider. They should already have in-depth experience with your HVAC and its history, and if your HVAC requires additional speciality testing, they can connect you with a company that’s capable of providing that service.

If you don’t have a current HVAC provider, you should seek out an HVAC contractor that specializes in commercial buildings. 

When should you test your indoor air quality?

  • Before & After: It’s important to test your IAQ before you begin any improvements with your HVAC system and at regular intervals during the improvement process. This will help you target and address specific problems such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds), odors, mold, and high particulate counts.
  • During Preventative Maintenance: If you’re on a preventative maintenance program with an HVAC company, then make sure they’re testing your IAQ as part of your contract. IAQ should be tested when reviewing filter condition, outside air ratios, and more.
  • Annually: Depending on your building, you may be required to test and measure your IAQ on an annual basis (or sometimes more). For example, healthcare facilities are required to test and record Air Changes per Hour (ACH) at least once a year.

How to improve indoor air quality?

If you want to improve your indoor air quality, that’s a great business goal. Better indoor air quality can only do good things for you, your employees, and your guests. However, there are a variety of methods and techniques HVAC professionals use to achieve and maintain good indoor air quality. 

  • Proper filtration: It’s important to make sure you have the proper filtration system set up for your business and the system you have in place (keep in mind, not all systems can handle all filtration solutions — the wrong one can do damage). While MERV filters are currently the most popular option, some situations necessitate specialized solutions such as bag filters, carbon filters, or HEPA filtration.
  • Ventilation: A professional HVAC contractor can adjust outside air rates and assist with program controls and thermostats to maintain proper ventilation in your building. (Learn more about ventilation and COVID-19.)
  • Preventive Maintenance: As we mentioned earlier, the proper preventative maintenance can keep your equipment clean and allow your HVAC contractor to identify IAQ concerns before they have the chance to cause major issues.
  • Modern Technology: There are a variety of modern technologies HVAC professionals use to improve and maintain indoor air quality. These can include UV lighting, needlepoint bipolar ionization, and hydrogen peroxide. With some of these options, slight adjustments to how you operate your HVAC system are required. Because of this, it’s important to consult with a professional contractor during the selection and installation process.

Need help improving your IAC?

At BMI Mechanical, we have in-depth experience helping our clients improve and maintain their indoor air quality. We’ve helped companies deal with everything from seasonal allergies to COVID-19. If you’d like more information on how we can help you combat poor indoor air quality, send us a message today. We’d love to talk.

Factoid

The median service life of a package air conditioner is 15 years. ASHRAE

BMI Mechanical, Inc. has a long legacy of quality craftsmanship and customer service that is unmatched in the HVAC and mechanical world. They do not offer a diluted discounted product, but they do provide the best quality work in the business. Chad Buechel Former Operations Manager Pepsi Bottling Group

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