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Common Issues with Commercial HVAC Systems

Due to their complexity, commercial air conditioning systems are prone to issues, and because these HVAC units are large in nature, the cause of the problem is oftentimes difficult to pinpoint. And since the proper operation of these systems impacts many people, regularly scheduled maintenance is vital. Therefore, it's important for you to familiarize yourself with common issues so you can identify them and know what steps to take to fix them quickly.

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Inconsistent Airflow

If you've received complaints that some rooms in your building are much hotter or cooler than others, you likely have an airflow problem. Something is preventing air from flowing through your HVAC system the way it should. Airflow issues are commonly the result of cracks or leaks in your ductwork. Blocked vents, dirty condensers or coils could also be to blame. To prevent issues like these in the future, move any furniture or equipment that's positioned too close to the vents. You can take it a step further and switch to ductless commercial HVAC systems, as this will eliminate most airflow issues in the future.

Improper Air Balance

If cracks, leaks, or clogged vents aren't causing your discrepancies in room temperatures, you should check your dampers next. Before cooled air ever reaches its destination, it flows through several ducts. The damper located inside the ducts are what help direct the air, reducing the airflow in one line and allowing more conditioned air to flow to other areas. If your dampers are improperly balanced, this could lead to one room becoming excessively hot and another feeling like the inside of a fridge. If you think this is your heating/cooling problem, contact a professional. They will be able to balance the dampers for you. Once again, switching to a ductless HVAC system can help eliminate issues like these in the future.

Leaking Refrigerant

If you've noticed that the air coming from indoor vents isn't blowing as cold lately, you could have a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is located within the coils of the HVAC and cools and dehumidifies the air. When your unit leaks refrigerant and begins to run low, it can no longer cool the air to the proper temperature. This causes mildly cool (sometimes room temperature) air to blow through the vents instead. Obviously, this will make your tenants uncomfortable, but it can also lead to additional, and very costly, system repairs.

Dirty Filters

As we mentioned earlier, dirty filters can sometimes be the cause of airflow issues. But they can do more damage than that. Air that flows through clogged filters can become contaminated with dust and allergens. As it blows into your commercial space, it creates poor air quality and endangers the health and wellness of your tenants. Dirty filters also cause the HVAC system to work much harder. This increases your utility bills and significantly reduces the lifespan of your equipment.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

When air isn't blowing as it should, it's easy to assume your HVAC is to blame, but that's not always the case. There are times when the problem resides in the thermostat instead. Your thermostat controls when the air flows and how cold/hot it should be. When it malfunctions, it can cause your HVAC system to appear unresponsive and cycle on and off at incorrect times. If you've noticed problems like these, check the thermostat first, as it's a fairly quick and easy fix.

Wrong Capacity

As humans, we tend to think bigger is better. Bigger house, bigger TV, bigger car, and so forth. But that's not always the case. Many business owners learn this the hard way after they purchase an HVAC unit that's too large for their space. Yes, an HVAC unit can be too big. And when it is, it causes problems. If your unit is too big, you'll notice it cycles on and off too often. This increases the wear and tear on your system and will shorten the lifespan of your unit and lead to costly repairs. Frequent cycling also fails to remove humidity, which makes your building feel stuffy. Contact a professional to take a look at your building and HVAC unit. They can tell you if it's the wrong capacity and help you choose the correct size.

Clogs in the Drain Line

We all know the damage water can cause when it flows to areas it doesn't belong in. To prevent water damage in your building, it's important that you periodically check and clean the drain line of your HVAC system. The drain line is responsible for carrying excess water from the unit. Without being properly cleaned, however, the drain line can clog with dirt and algae. When this happens, water backs up in the drain pan and leaks out.

Nonstop Blowing

If your HVAC system is functioning properly, you should hear it cycle on and off throughout the day. If you notice your unit is running nonstop, a stuck fan is likely to blame.

Lack of Zones

Most businesses have space within their building that doesn't require heating and cooling. But, chances are you're doing it anyway. That's because you're controlling the heating and cooling throughout your building with a single thermostat. Once again, a ductless HVAC system is the answer to this problem. Ductless HVAC systems feature a modular design that allows you to cool different parts of your building separately.

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