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Four Reasons Conducting a Fall Rooftop Unit Startup is So Important

It’s that time of year again, the “changing of seasons.” Facility managers and maintenance professionals are getting serious about preparing their buildings for winter. Performing fall rooftop unit startups as part of a preventive maintenance program is one of the most important things they can do, as it ensures a smooth transition to the heating season by eliminating equipment down time and ensuring safe, efficient operation.

Yet according to a study by the MN Department of Commerce, one out of every five commercial building owners in Minnesota doesn’t perform rooftop unit startups for summer or winter. And nearly 33% wait until there is a problem with their rooftop units before having it serviced.

Some of the risks of not performing regularly scheduled rooftop unit maintenance are obvious: you’ll pay more in utilities with poorly performing rooftop units and the service life is shortened with each missed maintenance cycle. If you are responsible for your building’s HVAC system, you should know the main benefits of performing regular rooftop preventive maintenance and seasonal start-ups:

  1. Cost savings by ensuring your rooftop units are functioning properly. Some of the most common problems we uncover during fall rooftop unit startups include heat failures due to faulty components, inefficiency due to poor burner operation, and unsafe operation of the unit from a faulty heat exchanger and/or heating components. When the components aren’t working properly, you’ll be paying higher utility costs, incurring emergency repair expenses and experiencing reduced equipment life.
  2. Making safety a top priority. Our greatest concern with gas fired equipment is safety! The fall seasonal rooftop start-up will identify items such as cracked heat exchangers, blocked flues or insufficient combustion that can produce carbon monoxide, which has the potential to be pumped right into the building.
  3. Identifying potential heating issues prior to the heating season. It is always best to be proactive rather than reactive. Discrepancies identified during a fall rooftop unit start-up can be repaired prior to the heating season. This eliminates down time and prevents potential costly overtime repairs.
  4. Ensuring you get free cooling. Fall is the perfect time to reap the benefits of rooftop economizers (free cooling). A fall seasonal start-up will verify your economizers are functioning properly, which leads to an overall reduced operating cost.

Costs Multiply Without Regular RTU Maintenance

A common issue we run into during rooftop maintenance is compounded problems as a result of irregular maintenance. Some building owners think they’ll save money by foregoing the cost of an inspection and take the pay-as-it-breaks approach. It’s that old theory: “If there’s nothing wrong, why fix it?” The flaw in that thinking is that no problem is ever one-off; they’ll compound and multiply without a regular, comprehensive inspection.

Regular maintenance comes with several primary benefits, one of which is diminishing costs. When you think about it, it just makes sense: Each time we perform maintenance to find and correct issues, it decreases the average amount of time and effort we’ll need to spend during the next scheduled maintenance. Having properly function equipment also extends the life of your equipment. Routine rooftop preventative maintenance can extend the service life of a rooftop by 5-7 years.

Don’t get left out in the cold. Give us a call to schedule your fall rooftop maintenance and get ready for whatever winter has in store for us this year.

Blog Author

Thad Affolter

Thad Affolter is an Account Manager with over 21 years of experience in mechanical contracting. With a career that’s ranged from service technician to service superintendent and management, Thad uses his hands-on knowledge of HVAC service to simplify complex technical information and help Yale customers make the best decisions for their building.

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