Although many facility executives know it is better to schedule maintenance for HVAC systems, most still spend the bulk of their resources operating in a reactive mode. Using planned and predictive tools can save a lot of work down the road, but because of a lack of resources, most do not utilize such tools.
In today’s facilities, HVAC systems are responsible for more than 40 percent of total energy use. Keeping them running properly and efficiently is the first step in managing this use.
But good HVAC system maintenance goes beyond controlling energy use – buildings depend on properly operating systems for more than ensuring people are comfortable. Telecommunications systems have requirements for specific environmental conditions; temperature and humidity levels that fall outside the range may lead to interruptions in services and costly system failures.
What Goes Wrong
A large number of organizations underfund maintenance while reactive maintenance remains the norm. C-level executives may not have the experience to comprehend the need for maintenance and consider it an overhead expense. Contributing to that belief is the fact that HVAC systems are not the most noticeable components in a facility, unlike highly visible items like carpet or lighting. Out of sight, out of mind – until something goes wrong.
Reactive maintenance is a costly way to maintain heating and cooling systems. Organizations that have implemented comprehensive planned and predictive maintenance programs show dramatic decreases in maintenance costs. After factoring in extended equipment life, reduced energy use, less frequent system downtime and decreased interruptions to building operations, organizations with these programs find their total cost may be as much as 50 percent lower than those that use a reactive maintenance program.
Properly maintaining HVAC systems requires careful planning and forward thinking, however it can provide a number of benefits that facility managers readily understand. If you can provide documentation of these benefits, you may be able to convince budget managers to develop the same level of understanding.
One of the easiest benefits to document is how proper HVAC maintenance affects energy efficiency. Buildings with proper maintenance will use at least 15 to 20 percent less energy than those where systems are allowed to deteriorate.
To keep equipment operating as efficiently as possible, maintenance tasks must be performed on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. If you let them lapse, efficiency will decrease. The energy savings hillers, boilers, and many other HVAC systems are easy to estimate, but others may not be. Consider an outside air damper, which requires regular maintenance in order to properly respond to the temperature control system’s demand for ventilation air. If the linkage is out of adjustment or sticks open, more ventilated air will be introduced, requiring the system to use more heating or cooling energy to condition that air.
If you want to minimize energy use and save money, give your HVAC system regular inspections, tests and maintenance. Document what needs to be done and how much it will cost. If you would like to set up a maintenance program with Heatmasters, we’d be happy to help you!
Courtesy of facilitiesnet