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Audits Can Improve HVAC System Performance

July 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Just like any building system or piece of equipment, HVAC system performance decreases over time – for a variety of reasons.

Occupancy changes, regular wear and tear, weather and seasonal temperature fluctuations, other building system upgrades, routine HVAC maintenance, outdated technology, and building operators who don’t fully understand the system can all affect the performance of your commercial building’s HVAC system.

Regular HVAC audits may help extend the life of an HVAC system, keep tenants and occupants more comfortable, and identify potential problems early. Annual system check-ups often reveal operational deficiencies and problems like:

  • Worn motors
  • Interoperative controls
  • Leaky valves
  • Inefficient compressors
  • Ineffective heat exchangers
  • Incorrect temperature setpoints
  • Long boiler runtimes
  • Water loss

The first step of an HVAC audit checklist is to gather and then analyze data from people, systems, and records. Examine any factor that might affect HVAC system performance, including changes in building occupancy patterns, operating schedules, and maintenance plans. Interview tenants and occupants about hot/cold spots, humidity levels, strange noises coming from vents, or temperature problems they’ve noticed. Talk to maintenance crews about any problems they’ve experienced or repeatedly addressed. Also examine HVAC system data from submeters, energy management systems, monthly utility bills, etc.

Another key step is completing walk-through and visual inspection of the HVAC system. Is it functioning as you expected? When sensors and controls drift, equipment may no longer work as intended. By watching and listening to the system in action, you may find competing zones for heating and cooling, switchboards that don’t shut down in fire mode, relief air vents that are wide open, etc.

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to determine your HVAC system’s energy consumption, condition, and any problems that might need to be fixed.

Have you had an HVAC audit recently? What did you discover after the data was gathered?

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