If your organization relies on one or more HVAC systems, it is essential to implement a preventative maintenance strategy. This article will address some key questions about HVAC systems and their maintenance requirements, and then will explain how HVAC preventative maintenance software can help streamline the process.

What is HVAC and what does it stand for?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. HVAC systems are considered environmental comfort technology that provide thermal comfort and healthy air quality.

The heating element of an HVAC system usually refers to a furnace or boiler that, combined with duct work, increases the temperature of a building.

The ventilation element of an HVAC system brings outside air into the internal environment of a building, which helps the building maintain healthy air quality. 

Lastly, the air conditioning element of an HVAC system removes existing heat from the interior of a building and provides the building with new, cooled air. HVAC systems are used in both domestic and commercial buildings.

How does an HVAC system work?

An HVAC system starts with the ventilation process. This is where fresh outside air is mechanically drawn into an air handling unit where it is then filtered to remove dirt, dust, other chemicals. The air is then sent to either be heated or cooled. From there, the clean, temperature- controlled air is directed into the building through a network of ducts.

What different parts does an HVAC system have?

There are ten main parts in a HVAC system: The air return draws in air, runs it through a filter to purify it, and then moves it into the main system. There are a series of electrical elements  that contribute to the heating and cooling of the air and to keeping the entire HVAC system running. 

If the air is being heated, it usually involves a boiler/furnace as well as an exhaust outlet expels any exhaust created during the heating process. On the AC side, the outdoor unit fuels the air flow via a blower that brings hot air from inside the building to the outside. The compressor within the outdoor unit converts the refrigerant into a liquid and sends it to the coils within the unit, which cools the air. 

Lastly, the ducts throughout the building are the channels through which heated or cooled air passes through.

How many years does a HVAC system last?

If you attend to the recommended monthly and annual maintenance requirements for your HVAC system, you will find that your system has a lifespan of around 15-20 years. 

But if you do not care for your HVAC system in a routine, proactive manner, it will very likely need to be replaced much before then. Thus, preventative maintenance for your HVAC system is essential. 

Why is HVAC preventive maintenance important?

An HVAC system plays a key role in the safety, health and comfort of every building and facility. When an HVAC system is broken, it affects workers, guests, customers, and even key business assets because the temperature may be too extreme and/or the air quality may be too unhealthy. 

For example, if a furnace breaks down during an East Coast winter storm or the air conditioner fails in the peak of a desert summer, it is often considered a time-critical emergency that can be dangerous and damaging. 

It can also be very expensive to replace an HVAC before it’s reached its full lifespan. 

That is why a preventative maintenance strategy for an HVAC system should be a key component for any organization whose business and operations rely on buildings and physical assets. 

What are the benefits of HVAC preventative maintenance?

Carrying out preventive maintenance on your HVAC system has many benefits. First and foremost, it will prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system and prevent unnecessary spending on new parts, which maximizes the value of your asset and leads to major cost savings.

You will experience energy savings as well. In fact, FacilitiesNet says that HVAC maintenance results in a 15‒20 percent saving in energy.

Further, HVAC preventative maintenance prevents unplanned downtime, prioritizes safety, and optimizes comfort in buildings, all of which promote efficient and productive operations. 

What does HVAC preventative maintenance entail?

Preventive maintenance tasks for an HVAC system are based on manufacturer recommendations,  codes and legislation, technician feedback, performance metrics, and frequency of use. The most typical HVAC preventative maintenance tasks are spelled out below, based on the different components within the HVAC system:

Air returns: Make sure to dust your air returns frequently to help prevent debris and dust getting caught in the air filters.

Air filters: Make sure to clean and change your filters regularly to promote proper ventilation and air flow. 

Electrical Components: Routinely check in on all components of the HVAC electrical system. Problems often start here first. Replace batteries, check breakers, recalibrate thermostat, etc. 

Exhaust outlet: Do an annual routine check of your chimney flue or vent stack and perform any tune ups as needed. 

Outdoor Unit: Regularly clean your outdoor unit and make sure to clear the unit of any debris or vegetation to prevent plants from getting sucked into the fan.

Compressor: Many HVAC problems are located within the compressor, so perform checks often to make sure there are no refrigerant leaks or contamination. 

Coils: Check and clean your coils annually to prevent the buildup of dirt. 

Ducts: Check and clean the ducts of your HVAC system. It is important you get your ducts cleaned at least every 2 to 5 years. 

Other: Inspect pipes/drains, lubricate moving parts, perform winterizing tasks such as pipe insulation if location-appropriate, and perform any other tasks as outlined by the manufacturer.

How can HVAC Preventative Maintenance Software help me implement a HVAC preventative maintenance strategy?

HVAC preventative maintenance software (CMMS) offers a one-stop-shop platform where managers can stay on top of critical and proactive HVAC maintenance work and easily create and implement an HVAC preventative maintenance program through setting up preventative maintenance calendars, storing all relevant HVAC preventative maintenance information, and automating the preventative maintenance tasks:

HVAC Preventative Maintenance Software: Preventative Maintenance Calendars

To create a HVAC preventative maintenance calendar within the HVAC preventative maintenance software, just enter the routine maintenance tasks that need to be done at the specific intervals within the system, and the HVAC preventative maintenance software will automatically schedule the tasks, notify staff ahead of time, generate work orders and dispatch technicians, arrange tools and resources required for the tasks, and track all of your HVAC preventative maintenance activities. 

HVAC Preventative Maintenance Data

HVAC preventative maintenance software (CMMS) allows you to create a thorough database for all documents and information related to your HVAC preventive maintenance program. This includes a complete history of inspections, work orders, and repairs, the costs and resources needed for the maintenance tasks, manufacturer manuals, vendor and supplier contact information, parts inventory, financial data, asset depreciation, and more. 

Summary

HVAC preventative maintenance is a critical and necessary strategy for maximizing your asset lifespan and experiencing major cost savings. Take your maintenance operations to the next level by implementing HVAC preventative maintenance software so that you can automate and streamline all your HVAC preventative maintenance tasks and information.

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