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September 2018

Restaurants: the Importance of Your HVAC System

Restaurants: the Importance of Your HVAC System 525 350 Amy Gasca

Restaurants: The Importance of Your HVAC System

A restaurant has more than just the job of feeding people. It’s a place that people meet for business meetings and events, for a specific ambiance, and for giving people a job. The temperature and climate of a restaurant has to be pleasant for someone to want to return. If a restaurant has its clients shivering throughout their meal or they can smell the fish being fried in the kitchen, it’ll make them think twice about coming back. Or if a cook is unhappy with the air quality in the back, they may seek a different job with better working conditions. An HVAC system can easily make or break the experience someone has at your restaurant. Keep these things in mind while accessing your HVAC and its needs:
Yelp can be your best friend or worst enemy. While someone may praise your spaghetti and meatballs, they may say they won’t be back because of how hot and musty it was inside. If your system is known to be faulty and inconsistent with producing the correct climate, do not let this cost you customers. Stay on top of your HVAC and make sure it provides consistent temperatures to your dining space. If you do not have the proper ventilation, unwanted smells will travel around your restaurant. No one wants to smell pork being roasted while they are trying to enjoy their chocolate cake for dessert. Do not let your HVAC issues be the reason people do not return to your restaurant.
Not only does the HVAC effect a diner’s experience, but it effects employees’ performance too. A restaurant that is too hot and humid is guaranteed to slow worker productivity. No one wants to carry heavy hot plates around a hot restaurant. On the other hand, it is also important that the kitchen is meeting ventilation requirements. Air quality is vital in order to provide a healthy work space for employees. An unhealthy work place can lead to disgruntled employees and even lead to a law suit if they become sick from the improper care of the air quality. Stay on top of maintain exhaust hoods and other components to keep air flowing.
To avoid any problems caused by an unsatisfactory HVAC, talk to an HVAC service provider about getting on a maintenance schedule. Being on top of any issues you may face will help you avoid breakdowns, keep the environment up to standards, and keep customers coming back.

 

Property Managers: The Most Expensive HVAC Unit Repairs

Property Managers: The Most Expensive HVAC Unit Repairs 622 350 Amy Gasca

Property Managers: The Most Expensive HVAC Unit Repairs

As a property manager, it is your duty to oversee your property’s components and keep everything up and running. With the HVAC system being one of the most important, its something that you must take seriously. Many property managers overlook proper maintenance of their heating and air components and this leads to expensive repairs. While breakdowns and repairs are inevitable, they can be prevented by having a preventive maintenance agreement with a commercial HVAC contractor. Below we will discuss which HVAC repairs are the most expensive.

1.       Boiler Repair

a.       Boiler repairs are among the costliest. Components of boilers are very expensive to replace. Not only are the actual repairs going to cost you, but additional heating costs to make up for the boiler not working properly will increase. Boiler maintenance services are significantly cheaper than repairs.

2.       Chilled Water System Repairs

a.       Cooling tower, chiller, and pump repair are easily the most expensive HVAC repairs. While these components are inexpensive way of providing cooling, repairing them is a high dollar task. For them to work efficiently, they must be regularly maintained. If they are neglected, they will not be able to serve your building effectively and then lead to repairs. The downtime that comes with repairs will pile on top of the cost of said repairs. Just like boiler maintenance, having chillers serviced on a schedule will be cheaper than waiting for them to breakdown.

3.       Duct and Vent Repair

a.       Clogged ducts and filters make your HVAC unit work harder than it needs to. This overexertion will lead your unit to breakdown and will cost you. Rather than neglecting your unit and waiting for a breakdown to happen, be proactive and maintain ducts, vents, and filters. Ducts should be inspected to make sure they are clean, and no pests have damaged them. Vents should be cleaned from debris, so air can flow freely through them. Filters should be cleaned and replaced so air quality isn’t affected. These tasks can be covered under a preventive maintenance agreement with a trusted commercial HVAC contractor.

Chances of needing any of these repairs are greatly reduced when you take initiative and get your HVAC system on a preventive maintenance program. Even an annual full inspection can make a difference. Instead of waiting for something to happen that is going to cost you and potentially exceed budget, talk to your higher ups about a preventive maintenance agreement and how it will save them money in the long run.

 

Common HVAC Installation Mistakes

Common HVAC Installation Mistakes 1200 1600 Amy Gasca

Common HVAC Installation Mistakes

Proper installation is vital in maintaining your HVAC unit strong. Be sure to avoid common mistakes made during installation.

If you are a business owner or facilities manager, you will eventually have to make the decision to renovate your HVAC system. Your HVAC is such a vital component of both your building and business operations. So, while you are planning the installation of your new unit, make sure you do not make these common mistakes:

If you are a business owner or facilities manager, you will eventually have to make the decision to renovate your HVAC system. Your HVAC is such a vital component of both your building and business operations. So, while you are planning the installation of your new unit, make sure you do not make these common mistakes:

  • Neglecting other improvements

  • Do not go half way with the improvements you are making. While you are at it, go ahead and revamp other essentials around your building. Add insulation and fix any windows that leak air to increase your buildings efficiency. Since you are installing a new HVAC that is more efficient than your last one, be sure to make it worth the investment.

 

  • Partial replacement of your HVAC system

  • Do not take the easy route and only replace certain components of your system. This will lead to a mismatched system and will cause problems later down the road. Heating and cooling will be off, repairs will be frequent, and efficiency will take a hit. An HVAC tech’s job will be made harder as your unit would not be uniform throughout and cause for even more trouble.

 

  • Failing to Invest in a Maintenance Plan

  • Do not forget to talk to your contractor who is performing your installation about a preventative maintenance plan. Plan to have your system serviced at least twice a year. Also keep in mind how you place the component in terms of ease of access. Keep coils and air handlers easier to reach. A lousy tech will not make the effort to find the components and may neglect to service components that are not easy to reach.

 

  • Buying the same unit

  • Your past unit may have treated you well but consider investing in a unit that can better suit your needs. Technology in HVAC units has changed over the years and chances are, there is a better unit out there for your building. Do your research or talk to an HVAC expert about which unit is best for you and your needs.

Be sure to make all the necessary improvements, replace your entire HVAC system, and get the best technology available for your needs. An HVAC renovation is a big but important investment that you will benefit for the years to come. If you have any concerns, get in contact with a trusted HVAC contractor. They will be able to guide you in your HVAC renovation process.

 

How a VFD Can Improve your HVAC System

How a VFD Can Improve your HVAC System 467 350 Amy Gasca

How a VFD Can Improve your HVAC System

Variable Frequency Drives are proven to advance energy costs when combined with your HVAC components. VFDS have been around for more than two decades and have improved and are said to be the most effective energy management tools to supplement HVAC units. Before, application was limited based on the horsepower of a system. But with time, they can now be applied to most commercial and industrial components. As VFDs continue to evolve, they become more and more powerful in energy management.

What is a VFD?

Variable Frequency Drives are a motor type that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the electric motor. Frequency goes hand in hand with the motors speed. A VFD is helpful in managing the frequency and voltage of an electric motor’s load. This is helpful in applications that do require its electric motor to run at full speed.

How does this work in conjunction with an HVAC system?

HVAC systems are designed to operate at a consistent speed no matter the demands that are needed by its user. Building load, as you may know, is never constant. The drive motor continues to work at full capacity no matter the demand. Mechanical throttling provides a good level of control, but it is not efficient by any means. HVAC systems are designed and sized for peak load conditions but are needed less than 5% of annual operating hours. But, a VFD can be used to adjust the drive motor to gradually operate when the demand is needed rather than at full speed when it’s not appropriate. This means energy efficiency is directly affected as energy expended is dependent on the motor speed. A VFD, in short, can help the system match the load.

Which equipment in an HVAC can a VFD be applied to?

Chiller pump motors benefit from a VFD because it can moderate water flow for cooling demands appropriately by increasing or decreasing gallons per minute. Cooling tower fan motors can be manipulated by dropping speed of the fan motor to better meet the process requirements of a building.

What are the direct benefits?

Energy savings! As previously discussed, since peak load performance has been choked by the VFD, the system is not longer wastefully working at full capacity. This directly effects energy output. This will be reflected in your energy bills being drastically reduced.

Reduced stress on motor. Early motor failure is eliminated since the start/stops on the motor are reduced.

Matching of process requirements. Since most HVAC systems are designed for worst case, they are oversized for normal conditions. A VFD can help motors match load requirements more appropriately.

Noise reduction. Since fans and motors aren’t working at max capacity, you’ll notice less noise coming from your HVAC components.

Implementing a VFD to your HVAC system is a complicated process. You must first do an analysis of your existing system. For a VFD to be effective, it must be applied to a system that delivers variable flow through applying constant speed motors with mechanical restrictions. Systems that require constant flow will more than likely require a mechanical redesign for a VFD to be useful. A system that is a good candidate for VFD implementation is a pump and fan system that already has the mechanical means of reducing flow. But these means, whether they be dampers or valves, will need to be removed in lieu of VFD installation.

VFD use in retrofitting a HVAC system comes with many opportunities for a system and energy efficiency. Implementation is a detailed process that must be approached carefully in order to reap the benefits of its addition. It is important to ensure that the retrofit will yield expected savings. None the less, VFDS have rightfully earned their reputation as powerful energy savers.

 

Facility Managers: How to Convince Your Boss That it’s Time for an Upgrade

Facility Managers: How to Convince Your Boss That it’s Time for an Upgrade 1880 1210 Amy Gasca

Facility Managers: How to Convince Your Boss That It’s Time for an HVAC Upgrade

You’ve maintained your building’s HVAC to your best capabilities. You’ve dodged bullets, kept the unit maintained, and kept your facility’s temperatures where they need to be. But, its come that time where future repairs are just a band aid on a bigger problem. You want to approach your building’s owner about investing in a new system, but you’re worried you’ll be shot down and told to “make it work”. Since you know your buildings HVAC unit better than anyone else, you know that you’ve done everything possible to prolong its life. Here’s some points to help build your case in getting an HVAC upgrade:

 

 

SAVINGS
Money talks. Tell your higher ups that a new system will be more efficient than your current one and they will see big time savings on their energy bill. In return, they will see less repair bills too. Inform them how investing in a PM plan will also help prolong your new systems life. Show them you’ve done research and tell them about the new tax ruling for HVAC systems.

 

PRODUCTIVITY
With a new system, temperatures in your facility will be at their best capabilities. If you’re an office building, talk to them how temperatures in the work space greatly effect employee productivity (and there’s research to prove it). If they’re in the customer service business, show them how bad temperatures can drive away customers and send them elsewhere. Like mentioned before, money talks. Speak their language and they’ll listen.
Don’t be afraid to be straight forward with your higher ups about the need to upgrade. Ask them for 10 minutes of their time and physically show them the unit to help build your case. Give them details and even an instance where you avoided a major crisis with the system that could happen again. Show them you’ve done your homework and even talked to a reputable HVAC contractor on what an upgrade will cost them.

 

 

 

As a facility manager, your job is crucial as your work behind the scene to keep everything running and in check. Sometimes your hard work will go unnoticed, but you continue to do your best for the company’s sake. If you approach your cause with facts and confidence, your bosses will show their appreciation for your continuous efforts and listen to you. If you show them you have their company’s best interest in mind, they will be sure to approve the upgrade and will thank you for it.

 

 

Be sure to get in contact with a trusted HVAC contractor when you’ve won your case so you can continue to do your job at your best capabilities.

 

The Lifespan of an HVAC System

The Lifespan of an HVAC System 299 143 Amy Gasca

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How long will an HVAC last?

To answer the question with a simple answer, experts would say 10-15 years. But, many factors can play into this. Whether you’re on the fence about replacing your HVAC or if you want to know how long your recent investment is good for, consider these things:

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1.       Age

If your unit is past its 20-year mark, stop what you’re doing and find a HVAC contractor ASAP. It is more than likely that your HVAC is past its days and it’s time to upgrade. If you just purchased a unit, your unit can last you for up to 20 years given it is properly maintained with a preventative maintenance plan and other measures.

2.       Service and Repair History

Repairs and service play a huge role in an HVAC’s life expectancy. It is without a doubt that a preventative maintenance plan will prolong the life of your unit. Whether it’s done quarterly or annually, a PM plan will reassure that your unit is running smoothly throughout the year. If you do not prioritize taking care of your system, be assured that you will pay the consequences with frequent repairs and a shorten life span of your equipment. If your current system is not already on a PM plan and it’s not too late into its life cycle, be sure to get into contact with a trusted commercial HVAC contractor and set up a plan. It is common ruling to replace your system if repairs exceed 50% of the cost of a new system.

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3.       Quality

Be sure that not only your unit is of good quality, but that your installation process is adequately done. Installation has just as an important role in your unit’s life expectancy as maintenance. Was your unit not installed by a professional? If you are not sure, contact an HVAC tech to come take a look at your current system to check if everything is up to par. Haphazard installation can affect your unit’s life span, so always hire a professional.

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Keeping all things considered, a typical life expectancy for an HVAC can be efficiently utilized for 20 years if you properly maintain it. Do not expect a neglected system to function efficiently without costing you more than 10-15 years. Again, with proper care, your system and your investment in it can turn out to be good for 20 years. Be sure to contact a HVAC contractor to answer any questions about your unit’s life expectancy and how to efficiently prolong it.

Quick Tip: ASHRAE has a Service Life Database that you can check out to get information on the service life of all major component of an HVAC.

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Fall Maintenance Tips for your Commercial HVAC Unit

Fall Maintenance Tips for your Commercial HVAC Unit 525 350 Amy Gasca

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As cooler weather is approaching, it is best for you to get your unit inspected and serviced to ensure it is ready for the fall and winter. Your heating system has been dormant for the winter months and it may need a little tune up. Getting your system ready for the chillier seasons is a good way to improve efficiency and avoid break downs on a cold day. Below are some tips for maintenance and things you can do to have your system prepared and keep your building warm during the fall and winter.

 

 

 

The first thing you may want to consider is if you need a new unit all together. How old is your unit? If your unit is ranging 10+ years, it may be time to consider a replacement unit. For more detail on deciding if you need to replace your HVAC unit, check out this article: Is it Time to Replace Your Commercial HVAC Unit?  An old unit does not perform at peak efficiency and is more prone for frequent breakdowns. The last thing you need is a heating system down in the dead of winter. This can affect your business operations, so don’t fall victim and make sure your unit can survive.

 

 

Once you’ve decided that your unit is sound to operate through the colder seasons, it is important to have a commercial HVAC contractor to give your unit a full inspection right before the fall. A full inspection typically includes checking belts and motors, replacing filters, and checking gas pressures if necessary. A full inspection from a professional HVAC tech will be able to detect any developing and underlying issues. This will help avoid a major breakdown that will leave you without heating.

 

 

It is important to make sure air can flow freely in your building. Restricted airflow can cause your heating system to work harder than it needs to. An overworked system is prone to frequent repairs and breakdowns. Things that affect airflow can be as simple as furniture blocking vents that prevent heat from reaching your building environment. Also, make sure your vents are cleaned and that your filters have been replaced. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency of your heating unit. Taking care of these things can improve airflow and keep your building warm during the chilly weather.

 

 

If your building is more than one story, a good way to make sure your building is heated efficiently would be adjusting the supply registers in your building. Close some of registers on the higher floors and open some on the lower. Remember, hot air rises. This is a good way to make sure your building is heated more efficiently.

 

 

Correct calibration of your thermostat is vital for a properly heated building. Have a professional HVAC contractor check your thermostat and adjust the calibration. Also, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. As mentioned earlier, hot air rises and cool air sinks. A programmable thermostat gives you the opportunity to adjust heating on each floor appropriately and program your heating system to only run during specific times.

 

 

 

Demand for HVAC unit maintenance and inspection increases tremendously before the colder months. Be proactive and schedule a preventive maintenance service for your heating system in advance. The benefit of being on a preventive maintenance contract with a commercial HVAC contractor will mean that you have discussed a schedule with them and already have an inspection scheduled so you will not have to fight for an appointment. So, if you don’t have an agreement in place, get in touch with a trusted heating and air contractor to take care for you through every season.

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