The Midwest has been suffering through an unseasonably cold spring, but it’s spring nevertheless – and that means soon it will be time to get your building’s cooling system running again. How soon? It depends on your equipment, your facility and the fickle weather, but the important thing is to start making your plans now, so you won’t be caught off-guard if a heat wave comes around.
Taking the time to have a mechanical contractor thoroughly check your cooling equipment upon spring startup can help prevent problems down the road and save you money on energy costs. Yale Mechanical recommends keeping these three tips in mind as you prepare for the cooling season.
1. Know your equipment.
Determining the process for your commercial HVAC startup begins with knowing your building’s equipment. If you don’t have an inventory of your equipment, making one is the first step – and we can help with that if necessary. Once you have your equipment inventory, we can work with you to decipher it and create a seasonal startup plan.
In many cases, the timing of equipment startup will be affected by how critical your facility’s cooling needs are. That is, a facility like a data center – where cooling is vital to keep the business running properly – has less margin for error than an office building. No offense to office workers, of course, but cooling for employee comfort is different than cooling for a data center, where overheating could take down a whole business.
The bottom line is facility managers need to know their equipment and understand which pieces are critical to have running and when, then work with their mechanical contractor to ensure their plan is carried out.
2. Attend to seasonal maintenance needs.
There’s more to the beginning of cooling season than just “flipping the switch” on equipment. If cooling equipment wasn’t shut down properly the previous year, or if parts are simply at the end of their lives, then some maintenance is usually necessary. Condensate drains are a common issue, and a broken one can cause water damage to the cooling equipment or the building itself. Our technicians ensure these are clean, in place and working properly upon equipment startup.
Yale technicians also make sure to clean condenser coils during seasonal maintenance. In Minnesota, this is useful to do during spring startup, and then again after the cottonwood has flown. We also check the condition of condenser coils to make sure they haven’t sustained damage over the winter. Dirty or damaged condenser coils can cause the compressor – the most expensive piece of the system – to fail, so taking the time to do preventive maintenance on coils is well worth it. During springtime checks our technicians also confirm cooling systems have the proper refrigerant charge, which can help prevent nuisance breakdowns when the mercury rises.
3. Consider a preventive maintenance contract.
One of the simplest ways for facility managers to gain peace of mind with their HVAC equipment is to get on a preventive maintenance plan. By having a qualified technician with extensive field experience inspect your equipment on a regular schedule, you can catch issues ahead of time and prevent breakdowns. Our technicians regularly find worn or broken parts on these checks and are able to bring them to the customer’s attention before they cause a big problem. Customers find that preventive maintenance contracts make sense economically, since keeping equipment maintained reduces energy bills and increases its life expectancy.
Although we haven’t put our long coats away quite yet, warmer weather is on its way. Proper commercial HVAC startup and maintenance will keep your building humming comfortably this summer. Get in touch with Yale Mechanical today to start making your plans.