A facility’s HVAC system is one of the most important components of the building. In addition to providing cooling and heating solutions when needed, it also provides vital defenses against airborne pathogens, particulates and allergens. Thanks to its three major functions – ventilation, filtration, and dehumidification – K-12 schools and other commercial facilities can ensure their occupants are comfortable and breathing safe air.
With that said, HVAC units aren’t always top of mind when it comes to the daily grind. If not properly maintained, it can result in equipment failures, expensive repairs, and dissatisfaction with building occupants. For example, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, school facilities represent the second largest sector of public infrastructure spending, after highways. In that same report, it states that 54% of public school districts report the need to update or replace multiple building systems, including HVAC systems.
With students spending most of their time inside a school facility, it’s important that school leaders keep HVAC solutions top-of-mind and take the necessary measures to protect their investment, so they are not one of the 54% of schools who need to replace their units. One way to help ensure that is to have a preventative maintenance plan in place for their facility.
Improved IAQ in Facilities
When equipment isn’t properly serviced, indoor air quality (IAQ) can suffer as a result. If units are running at less-than-optimal performance, it could negatively impact their ability to properly filtrate, ventilate and dehumidify a space. For example, if your filters haven’t been replaced for some time, it’s likely that your HVAC unit is working harder while also allowing more particulates to pass into the space. This is why it’s important to have a maintenance plan in place. In addition to taking the guesswork out of scheduling a tune-up, having a trained technician on hand will ensure that the HVAC unit is being fully inspected regularly.
Here are a few things you can expect from a technician when signing up for a preventative maintenance plan:
Brush and vacuum all coils (condenser, Evaporator, HRGH)
Clean and vacuum inside cabinet
Clean external cabinet surfaces
Check the condensate drain line
Check all electrical connections
Check all mechanical connections.
In addition, the inspector will also perform maintenance services that include checking belts and pulleys, installing new filters, and checking and recording operational data for cooling and heating operations. If all these components of an HVAC solution are in working order, you’ve taken many of the necessary proactive measures to help ensure your system is operating at optimal performance.
Save Money on Repairs and Replacements
In addition to improving IAQ, having a maintenance plan can also help facility owners save money in the long run. If a unit isn’t properly maintained, there is an increased chance that it could break down or have a complete failure. As a result, the facility owner would be forced to repair or replace the HVAC system in the facility. According to Gridpoint, the average cost to repair a commercial HVAC system is roughly $450 to $1,000 per truck roll, not including the cost of parts needed to repair the machine. If a machine is continuously breaking down, repair costs can quickly add up. When it comes to a full replacement, Gridpoint states that, on average, facility managers pay a minimum of $6,000 to replace a unit that would serve a 1,000-square-foot building.
While prices may vary based on the size and location of the building, replacing a whole unit because it hasn’t been serviced properly can be costly. Having a preventative maintenance agreement in place can prevent most repairs and help extend the life of your HVAC unit.
Better Overall Efficiency
The power of preventative maintenance lies in its ability to create better efficiency and performance for commercial facilities. By servicing your equipment regularly, you are ensuring that the components of the unit are in working order and performing at maximum capacity. Service agreements also help extend the life of the unit with fewer repairs along the way. Whether you are a K-12 school looking to create a comfortable atmosphere for students or a restaurant providing quality air for visitors, it’s important to keep your commercial HVAC unit top-of-mind to ensure ultimate comfort for your facility’s occupants.
Emily Wright is the business development manager of IAQ for Modine Manufacturing for the IAQ division of Modine Manufacturing Company. At Modine, we are engineering a cleaner, healthier world. Building on more than 100 years of excellence in thermal management, we provide trusted systems and solutions that improve air quality and conserve natural resources. Modine is a global company headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin (USA), with operations in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.