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▸ April 29, 2021

When those hotter months roll around, you’ll likely be running your AC equipment on doubletime. This means that your equipment will be placed under more stress than it’s used to, increasing the risk of unexpected breakdowns in the process.

But where exactly do these issues come from, and what can you do to avoid them? Let’s take a few moments to discuss some of the top reasons HVAC equipment fails in summer and provide you with some simple summer HVAC tips along the way.

5 Common Summer HVAC Issues

Dirty Air Filters

What does it cause?

  • refrigerant flooding
  • inadequate air flow
  • restricted evaporator coil
  • not properly cleaned

What’s the result?

  • it consumes excess energy
  • it can cause the compressor, bearing, or evaporator motor to fail

Dirty Motors

What does it cause?

  • windings overheat 

What’s the result?

  • it can cause the motor component to fail
  • consumes excess energy

Refrigerant Leaks

What does it cause?

  • lack of lubrication
  • improper system charge

What’s the result?

  • it can cause the compressor to fail
  • consumes excess energy
  • the system can freeze up

Plugged Drains

What does it cause?

  • water build-up

What’s the result?

  • lowers indoor air quality
  • promotes the growth of mold and bacteria
  • leads to leaks and strong odors

Missing or Loose Panels

What does it cause?

  • conditioned air lost
  • water infiltration 

What’s the result?

  • consumes excess energy
  • damage to the equipment
  • unnecessary rust and corrosion

There are a handful of other common HVAC issues you can expect during hotter months, including faulty drive belts and burnt contact points. However, it’s important to remember that there is a slippery slope — one issue can lead to multiple issues. 

This being said, whether it’s one of these issues or multiple issues at the same time, you could find yourself with an HVAC system that doesn’t work at all. If you operate in a sensitive environment that requires a particular temperature, this could result in a complete production halt and end up being way more expensive than it should be. 

Keep Reading: When should you repair equipment and when should you replace equipment?

How to avoid summer HVAC issues

The best possible way to avoid summer HVAC issues is with a preventative maintenance solution from a licensed HVAC contractor. Even if you have a barebones maintenance solution, your contractor will still be able to educate you or even warn you about potential problems. This will give you the opportunity to fix issues before they can cause a breakdown, which can definitely end up saving you money in the long run.

In fact, research has shown that for every $1 in deferred maintenance you can expect to spend $4 in future repairs. Not only that, but deferred maintenance can result in increased energy consumption, too. Even something as simple as dirty coils and filters can result in a 30% increase in energy use (via ASHRAE).

Keep Reading: Learn more about how to properly prepare your HVAC for summer

Other unforeseen expenses associated with summer HVAC issues can include a decrease in productivity. With an HVAC system that’s improperly working (or not working at all), employees won’t be as comfortable, and you can expect to see a dip in effectiveness and productivity. 

HVAC issues that lead to inadequate ventilation and poorer indoor air quality can also lead to a sudden increase in paid sick leave. According to the National Energy Management Institute, this particular issue can account for 1.5%-6% of annual payroll expenses.

Keep Reading: Learn more about how needlepoint bipolar ionization can improve indoor air quality

Need help preparing your HVAC for summer?

Check out our Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist and then give BMI a call. We have decades of experience helping businesses keep their HVAC systems working, energy and repair costs low, and indoor air quality high. We’d love to help you, too.

Give us a call or fill out our online form to learn more about our preventative maintenance solutions.

summer office setting bmi mechanical
▸ April 23, 2021

As we transition into warmer months, it’s time to start considering summer HVAC maintenance. Since hotter temperatures will likely require your equipment to work longer and harder hours than its used to, a summer HVAC tune-up is always recommended. 

If you fail to properly prepare and maintain your HVAC equipment, you could end up facing breakdowns, cost inefficiencies, and diminished productivity. In fact, according to IFMA, a building that is too hot or too cold are the top 2 office complaints, and according to the NCEMBT, proper HVAC performance and maintenance can “increase building performance in occupant comfort [and] productivity and reduce equipment failure, downtime, and costs.”

But what exactly can a summer tune-up save you from and what, specifically, should you be tuning up? Let’s dig a little deeper into summer HVAC maintenance.

How does summer impact your HVAC system?

Hotter months will impact your HVAC system differently than colder months, and here are a few reasons why:

  • Hotter outside temperatures make it more difficult to transfer heat, causing your system to work longer and harder to do the same job it always does. This can have a negative impact on your compressor, which drives the entire cooling cycle.
  • Hotter inside temperatures force your system to run longer just to maintain the appropriate indoor temperature. Your system should be equipped to handle this extra run time. If it’s not, problems will pop up.

Which areas are most susceptible to issues?

Areas that need to be kept cooler due to heat-generating equipment (or spaces that simply require colder temperatures) are more susceptible to issues during warmer months. This includes but is not limited to:

  • server rooms
  • data centers
  • manufacturing plants
  • printing rooms
  • refrigerated rooms (refrigeration units)
  • any area that needs to be humidity-controlled

With these areas in particular, equipment will definitely need to work double-time to maintain the appropriate indoor temperature. If they are not able to keep up with indoor requirements, then it could lead to very costly interruptions and even complete halts in production and manufacturing.

Keep Reading: Learn more about how to lower HVAC costs

Summer HVAC maintenance tips you don’t want to forget

There are a variety of maintenance tasks you’ll want to perform before and during those hotter months. These tasks come at varying levels of expertise, so you’ll likely want to reach out to a licensed HVAC professional to guarantee everything is completed properly. Here’s a list of tasks to get you started in the right direction:

  • Spring Maintenance Checklist: Make sure you perform a complete spring maintenance checklist. This includes full testing and inspection of all components, so you can identify any issues before they become problems.
  • Spring Cleaning: Aside from routine maintenance, you also need to properly clean your entire system, especially your coils. This will help guarantee proper heat transfer and reduce the risk of breakdowns. 
  • Replace Air Filters: When replacing your filters, make sure you’re using commercial grade that’s at the proper filtration efficiency (MERV rating) for your equipment and environment.
  • Proper Insulation: If you have a split AC system, make sure your exposed refrigerant piping is properly insulated. It’s important that the supply piping is well-insulated so that the summer heat doesn’t turn the liquid refrigerant into gas before it gets to your air handlers.
  • Find a Partner: Double check that you have a trusted HVAC partner on speed dial. You’ll need one just in case an emergency pops up (and of course, to ensure proper summer maintenance and upkeep).

Read More: Your Spring HVAC Maintenance Cleaning Checklist

Get help with your summer HVAC maintenance

At BMI, we pride ourselves in providing the best possible HVAC maintenance services for our clients. Our goal is to keep HVAC systems running as smoothly as possible and in the process, limit downtime, lower costs, save energy, and improve your productivity.
Take a look at our preventative maintenance services or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

spring flowers hvac checklist

As we head into warmer months and prepare for a little spring cleaning, don’t forget to add your HVAC system to the list. Even if you currently have an HVAC contractor providing preventative maintenance services, you’ll want to double check that thorough cleaning is being completed with your maintenance service on a regular or seasonal basis.

Keep in mind, just because you have a contract that says “preventative maintenance services” on it doesn’t mean those particular services provided are actually preventing anything. (Learn more about how to choose the best HVAC company for your needs.)

To help you make the most out of your HVAC equipment this season, check out our Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist for Cleaning below.

Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist for Cleaning

Even though we’re referring to this list as a form of “spring cleaning,” the components on this checklist will likely need to be inspected and cleaned more than once a year. We’ve kicked things off with four of the most important components your HVAC contractor or maintenance employees should be cleaning on a regular basis. Take a look below, and as always, reach out to us if you have any questions.

Condenser Coil

The condenser coil looks like metal fins, and it’s wrapped around the exterior of your unit. It is used to transfer heat out of the AC system. When you want to clean the coils, you should not use a hose. This will only make your situation worse by pushing the dirt and debris deeper into the coils. Instead, it is best to wash the coils from the inside-out with special cleansers and pressurized air or water.

It’s also important to remember that a good percentage of the condenser coil is inside the AC cabinet. If you don’t clean this portion of the condenser coil, too, then you’ll likely consume more energy than necessary and overwork your unit.

At BMI, we consider this maintenance to be imperative to the overall efficiency of your HVAC unit. Because of this, we work it into our preventative maintenance services. Confirm that the person handling your HVAC system is not only cleaning your condenser coil — but cleaning it in the proper way.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil also looks like metal fins, and it is located inside your air handler behind the air filters. Once the air is filtered but before the air leaves the unit, it moves across the evaporator coil and the heat is removed.

Keeping this part of your HVAC unit clean should be a priority. This area is dark and moist, and because of this, it can become highly susceptible to a build-up of dirt, debris, and biological growth. Since air is typically not filtered after leaving the evaporator coil, it is essential that you keep this area clear of all that debris. Confirm with the individual responsible for your HVAC maintenance that they are cleaning your evaporator coil on a regular basis. 

Electrical Panel in the AC Unit

The electrical panel is located outside of your rooftop unit, and it is a critical component of your machine. It is extremely important to keep your panel clean, so you can avoid arcing and electrical shorts. 

To clean the electrical panel, we use compressed air and soft brushes to gently remove dust and debris.

Warning: Do not attempt to clean the electrical panel without qualified worker certification and the proper personal protective equipment.

Fans

Both the supply fans and the condenser fans also require cleaning on a regular basis. The individual blades need to be wiped down since build-up can throw a fan out of alignment. When this happens, you’re on a one-way road headed towards a breakdown. 

Confirm with your HVAC partner that the supply fans and condenser fans are part of their HVAC maintenance checklist.

Why an HVAC maintenance checklist is good for business

Running through an HVAC maintenance checklist on a regular basis may seem like a hassle, but in all actuality, it’s good for business. Here’s why:

  1. Save More Energy: When you keep your air filters and coils clean, you can reduce your unit’s energy consumption by up to 25% (via ASHRAE).
  2. Lower Repair Costs: As we mentioned earlier, failing to clean any of the above components can (and likely will) result in unnecessary breakdowns. Regular maintenance will result in fewer repairs and the expenses that come with them. A good rule of thumb to remember is that reactive maintenance, on average, equates to $3 to $4 in repairs for every $1 spent on a maintenance program. Preventative maintenance is simply a wise investment. (At BMI, our customers spend even less than the average — $0.70 in repairs for every $1 invested in our maintenance services.)
  3. Get Cleaner Air: Generally speaking, a cleaner HVAC unit means cleaner air. If you have dirt, grime, and other forms of build-up on your unit’s components, then how can you expect to have clean, filtered air? When you keep your unit clean with preventative maintenance, what you’re really doing is ensuring that your guests and employees have a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment.

Ready to take the next step with preventative HVAC maintenance?

Then it’s time to give BMI a call. At BMI, we pride ourselves in providing the best possible HVAC maintenance services for our clients. Our goal is to keep HVAC systems running as smoothly as possible and in the process, limit downtime, lower costs, and save energy.
Take a look at our preventative maintenance services or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

Cooling tower cleaning bmi mechanical
▸ December 2, 2020

Over the winter months and holiday season, many manufacturing facilities and industrial plants will likely consider a temporary shutdown for some of their mechanical systems. At the same time, it’s a perfect opportunity to deep clean and sanitize, coordinate deferred repairs, and schedule proactive replacement of aging components. 

While these tasks can expand to include everything from production equipment and plumbing to roofing and other critical facility needs, it’s important not to overlook your HVAC system.

To help you manage and better prepare for an upcoming seasonal HVAC shutdown, we’ve created a simple list of tasks to check out. View the list below or download the PDF to get started.

Chillers & Boilers

Unchecked Icon Perform a full OEM annual
*Depending on the type of equipment, this could possibly involve some disassembly, interior cleaning, chemical treatment, gasket replacement, and more. It’s important to work with someone who understands these components and how to work with them. 

Unchecked Icon Eddy current testing
*This task can help you collect year-over-year data for performance and allow you to better estimate chiller lifespan. 

Cooling Towers & Evaporative Condensers

Unchecked Icon Drain and clean (silica scale and biological growth)
*If growth is significant, you should re-evaluate your water treatment program or consider reverse osmosis.

Unchecked Icon Complete a planned replacement of media
*If the media is being damaged, it can be a sign of poor PM and/or water treatment. Consider making changes if necessary.

Panel AC Units

Unchecked Icon Complete a full cleaning
*It is recommended to remove the unit from the line and wash it outdoors.

Unchecked Icon Replace any units that have been problematic
*It is recommended to repair and keep the originals as back-ups.

Need help planning your next seasonal HVAC shutdown?

Even though this list seems short and sweet, many of the items listed require someone with experience in HVAC systems. If you need assistance with a seasonal HVAC shutdown, please give us a call or contact us online today. At BMI Mechanical, we have decades of experience helping maintenance and production facilities coordinate seasonal HVAC shutdowns, and we’d love to help you, too.

Download the PDF version of this checklist, print it out, and manually cross off items as you go through our seasonal HVAC shutdown checklist.

DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST

Additional Resources from BMI Mechanical:

Employee going through facility checklist.
▸ December 1, 2020

As your employees start to prep for the holiday season, your building should start to prep for the holiday season, as well. This prep work includes a variety of winter building maintenance checks and to-dos. To help you get all your ducks in a row for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond, we’ve created a simple winter facility preparation checklist for you to comb through. Take a look at our list below, and as always, reach out to us if you need any help during your journey to prepare your building for winter.

Survey The Exterior

Unchecked Icon Check for any debris on the roof, remove if possible
*Debris will likely include leaves, dirt buildup, and other natural elements that could get stuck on your roof. This might seem innocent enough, but debris goes above and beyond simple aesthetics. When debris is left on your roof for extended periods of time, it can block drains and enable mold and algae to grow. This can also lead to pooling of water, which can eventually lead to leaks.

Unchecked Icon Check for any damaged or missing insulation strips on windows, replace or fix where necessary

Unchecked Icon Check for any open windows or doors (prior to leaving the building unattended)

Schedule Seasonal Service

Unchecked Icon A professional HVAC contractor should test and provide a thorough inspection of all heating components

Unchecked Icon A professional HVAC contractor should calibrate and reprogram thermostats for heating

Unchecked Icon A professional HVAC contractor should winterize cooling-only systems (evap coolers, chillers, etc.) that won’t be running when the building is empty during the holidays

Make Adjustments To Automated Building Controls

Unchecked Icon Notate schedules for vacation, winder hours, and holiday closures and revise the scheduling for any automated building controls

*If you have NPBI installed, keep your blower fan operating at all times.

Uphold Energy Efficiency Measures

Unchecked Icon Check to see if any individuals are utilizing space heaters
*If employees feel like space heaters are a necessity, this could indicate an issue with the heating in your HVAC system. Contact your HVAC contractor if this is the case.

Unchecked Icon Work with your HVAC installer to determine and implement best-practices for energy efficiency during the colder months

Need help getting your building winter-ready?

While our winter facility preparation checklist is simple, there are facets of this list that can require professional assistance (such as activities involving seasonal inspections, calibrations, and reprogramming). If you need any assistance with these winter HVAC tasks, please give us a call or contact us online today. At BMI Mechanical, we have decades of experience helping large and small facilities prepare for the winter months, and we’d love to help you, too.

Download the PDF version of this checklist, print it out, and manually cross off items as you go through our winter facility checklist.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF
Factoid

Preventive maintenance can provide 12-18% cost savings as compared to a reactive maintenance program. U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Management Program

When the service professionals at BMI Mechanical focus on what they do best, we are able to focus on what we do best. For over 6 years Patterson Logistics Services has trusted the folks at BMI to keep our building temperatures within the desired range. In today’s business world we need to partner with companies like BMI whose tradition is built on honesty and integrity. BMI, thank you for taking care of business! Cesar Lopez PLSI Western Distribution Center Manager Patterson Logistics Services

1-800-698-4264