HVAC machines play a large part in the health and safety of customers and employees working and residing in your commercial building. HVAC machines also pose a significant risk for those who maintain them, including facility managers, and it is important to follow safety guidelines to avoid injury. Here are five HVAC health and safety tips to make sure your assets perform at their peak and keep both occupants and facility managers safe.
1.) Avoid Respiratory Dangers
One of the most overlooked dangers when it comes to HVAC equipment are potential respiratory damages. When not monitored properly, HVAC systems can quickly become a health danger due to damage, diagnostics problems, or insufficient maintenance.
Freon and carbon monoxide leaks are two of the largest threats that facilities managers face when handling HVAC safety. Both Freon and carbon monoxide are colorless, odorless gases that can result in injury or be lethal when inhaled. Their odorless properties make them extremely difficult to detect and exceedingly dangerous.
The best way to prevent carbon monoxide injuries is to always power off machines before performing maintenance and to always keep a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries near your HVAC system.
Freon leaks are most easily detected by checking the freon line for leaks and performing a machine audit when the air conditioner cannot continually produce cold air.
2.) Always Power Off
It is important to always power off your HVAC unit to ensure operator safety. Even when performing basic maintenance such as changing filters, dusting off evaporator coils, or clearing debris, it is important to turn the power switch off. Powering off your machine will also prevent you from causing damage to the unit.
3.) Avoid Shortcuts
When an HVAC machine goes offline and a truck is rolled for repair, it is likely that only a piece of the problem is being solved. According to an Aberdeen Group report, 25% of truck rolls require at least one additional trip to fix the entire problem which means that the original issue is not being fully addressed. These partial fixes are known as band-aid fixes.
Band-aid fixes often lead to long-term, recurring issues, safety problems such as leaking systems, or even permanent system failure when the root problem is not addressed.
Machine testing and periodic audits ensure that machines continue to function properly and safely.
4.) Preform Periodic HVAC Audit
HVAC units need regular inspections to be sure they are safe and to identify potential issues before they need repair. HVAC units have several intricate parts that require regular inspection and maintenance. The delicate parts and intricate inner workings are easily damaged and can result in system outages and safety problems.
Audits should include:
• Checking fuses
• Checking for refrigerant leaks
• Inspecting wiring
• Cleaning and replacing filters
• Cycling equipment to ensure proper function
• Checking motors & switches
• Inspecting indoor and outdoor units
• Cleaning fan blades
• Removing dust or debris from around units
5.) Implement a Predictive Maintenance Plan with an Energy Management System
Predictive maintenance gives you the time to order parts, and address maintenance needs before they become dangerous safety hazards or before your HVAC experiences an outage. The easiest way to implement a predictive maintenance plan is to employ an energy management system. Energy management systems use AI to collect data about your facility’s HVAC system, understand long-term, trending HVAC system issues, and help prioritize maintenance. This allows you to catch any hazards or unsafe HVAC malfunctions before they become problematic.
It can feel impossible to keep track of all the intricate needs and safety hazards when it comes to HVAC maintenance. But following the five tips above will help you maintain the health and safety of both building occupants and those performing maintenance on HVAC machines. Sign up for a free demo today to learn how GridPoint can help ensure the health and safety of your building occupants.