As the leader in building operations management, we’re well-versed in helping facilities professionals streamline their HVAC maintenance programs. In fact, our customers have seen incredible results when they implement our EMS and HVAC Health tools together. But what exactly is involved in implementing an EMS? How does it work with your existing HVAC maintenance program – if you have one? And most importantly, how can this solution help you gain operational efficiency by reducing downtime, equipment failure and service calls? This post will answer those questions and more!
Preventing HVAC System Downtime
The importance of HVAC system maintenance cannot be overstated. A properly maintained HVAC system will keep your building comfortable and safe, reduce energy usage and operating costs, and help you meet the needs of your customers and employees.
HVAC systems are complex mechanical systems that require regular inspection, testing, and servicing to ensure they are operating properly. The failure or malfunctioning of an HVAC system can lead to costly repairs or loss of productivity such as:
- Building occupants become uncomfortable because there’s too much heat or not enough cooling
- Employees miss work due to illness caused by poor air quality (i.e., mold spores circulating in a building)
- Customers complain about high humidity levels that make them feel sticky during hot summer months
Moving from Reactive to Preventative HVAC Maintenance
The most common type of HVAC maintenance is reactive, which means that the equipment is monitored and repaired only after it breaks down and fails. While this may be good for short-term repairs and fixes, it’s not cost-effective in the long run.
It costs more money to fix a problem after it occurs than it does to prevent the problem in the first place. The next step up from reactive maintenance is preventative maintenance (PM). Preventative maintenance aims to keep your equipment running smoothly by performing regular inspections and servicing before problems arise or causing damage to an existing system through neglect or misuse.
Preventative maintenance includes cleaning filters regularly, checking pressures on refrigerant circuits periodically, replacing worn belts on fans or blowers every five years (or sooner if they become frayed), inspecting condensers for leaks every two years, testing heat exchangers annually (or sooner if they begin leaking oil), inspecting air flow rate sensors annually (or sooner if they begin registering inaccurately), etcetera—you get the idea!
The key here is that these simple checks are done before there’s any warning sign of trouble ahead so you’re able to prevent any many potential issues from occurring at all.
Identifying Unused Equipment and Equipment Failure
One of the best ways to identify equipment that isn’t running is through an energy management system. An EMS will monitor your HVAC systems and send alerts when something goes wrong, allowing you to take proper action before a problem becomes worse. If you don’t have one already, contact our team to understand the benefits of an EMS.
Other than an EMS, there are also sensors that can be placed on various pieces of equipment that will send alerts when it fails. This allows for better maintenance planning in advance so that any problems are noticed early enough for repairs or replacements to be made before they become major issues.
Creating a Plan for HVAC Maintenance
Here are a few tips for your HVAC maintenance plan:
- Automate the process as much as you can.
- Set a schedule for preventive maintenance and train all facility managers to use it.
- Define what is included in the plan–outline below.
- Set a budget for the plan and make sure it’s realistic!
This can be challenging, but try to consider all aspects of your organization: if you have multiple buildings or locations, there may be additional costs associated with transportation and travel time; if you have several different types of HVAC systems (heating, cooling), each will require a different type of maintenance plan; if your building is historic or environmentally friendly, there may be additional considerations that need to be taken into account when creating an effective program for preventing breakdowns in the future. Once this has been accomplished successfully during the development phase: define how performance will be tracked moving forward so everyone knows where they stand as well as what actions need to be taken in order to fix issues before they become problems (or worse yet, cause downtime).
The following are some of the details that should be included in your maintenance plan:
- How often service will be provided; monthly, seasonal, or yearly
- Proactive monitoring measures in place
- Heating and A/C specific maintenance
- General maintenance for electrical connections, system controls, filters, thermostat connectivity, and frayed or worn parts
- The type or brand name for each product used in the inspection process (e.g., filters, fuses)
Using an EMS to Stay Ahead of Equipment Failures and HVAC Downtime
In addition to helping you stay ahead of HVAC equipment failures and downtimes, an EMS can also prevent energy loss or overuse. Here are a few ways it can do this:
- Identify malfunctioning units – An EMS will help you identify problems or HVAC units that are malfunctioning before more damage is done.
- Identify inefficient processes – You might have unknowingly created inefficient schedules, which could be costing you money in both heating and cooling costs.
An EMS can help keep your HVAC systems running smoothly year after year by reducing downtime due to broken equipment and preventative maintenance checks that keep everything from running at peak performance levels all year long.
In conclusion, we have seen that well-implemented HVAC maintenance programs can have several benefits. It reduces downtime, improves efficiency and performance, helps identify equipment problems early on so they don’t get out of hand. The key is to use an EMS (Energy Management System) to keep track of all this information so that it doesn’t fall through the cracks.