In our first post about preparing for cooling system challenges, we stressed that the need for cooling never ceases. It’s imperative, then, that you prepare your HVAC system for cooling system challenges, no matter what time of year it is. As a starting point, we have recommended three fundamental steps: 1) performing an electrical inspection of the system; 2) cleaning the heat exchanger; and 3) cleaning the condensing and evaporating coil.
Now, we’re providing you with a basic checklist of steps that can anchor a more customized preventive maintenance (PM) program. We built this checklist with the cooling season in mind; but most elements are applicable for PM throughout the year. As we’ve said before, your service provider should customize your facility’s PM to meet its specific needs.
- Replace all air filters with disposable filters.
- Inspect the blower and replace blower belt(s). You may have more than one stage of heating in your space, and more than one compressor in cooling, but rooftop units (RTUs) only have one blower system. If that blower system doesn’t operate, your entire HVAC system is down, which means that you won’t be able to heat or cool your space. Most PM programs include belt replacement at least once annually. Your technician should check the condition of the belts and make adjustments as needed during each visit.
- Inspect the blower bearings, and lubricate as needed.
- Brush-clean the heating, evaporator and condenser coils.
- Verify that the heating/cooling systems are operable (if applicable).
- Check refrigerant levels, crankcase heater, and compressor oil levels.
- Check and adjust all operating and safety controls.
- Utilize megohmmeter testing of motors and compressors.
- Check and record the amp draw on motors, as well as the voltage balance.
- Tighten electrical connections on the unit and inside the disconnect switch.
- Verify that the condensate drain and trap are clean and flowing, and that the condensate pan is clean.
- Verify that economizer dampers are set and operational.
- Have an equipment condition report prepared by your PM contractor – it can be very helpful in long-term maintenance and equipment planning.
You can see that preparing your air conditioners for the cooling season is an involved process. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: In developing a PM program, select a qualified contractor who regularly services your type of equipment and can provide you with thorough equipment maintenance reporting.
Hopefully, this checklist can help facility managers reduce the cost of operating HVAC equipment, increase its reliability, and boost tenant comfort and satisfaction.
Next time, we’ll discuss strategies to help you prepare for the upcoming heating season. If you want to learn more about CLS’s national HVAC services call us at 800-548-3542.