Now is the perfect time to get your HVAC system installed, serviced, fixed or replaced – don’t leave it until it’s like Texas in July and your employees are melting!

Industrial air conditioning units need regular servicing & maintenance.

Take a look outside, and it’s likely to be mild and a bit damp on this April morning. So why are we banging on about HVAC systems today? For those of you who don’t know, HVAC is the acronym for heating, ventilation & air conditioning… none of which you’re in particularly dire need of at the moment, right? While that may very well be true, now is the perfect time to get your HVAC system installed, serviced, fixed or replaced – don’t leave it until it’s like Texas in July and your employees are melting!

One of the most important systems in any workplace; unfortunately, HVAC can go wrong in a number of ways. Airflow issues are probably the most common HVAC problem. If you’re experiencing any of the following, you’re probably suffering an HVAC airflow problem:

  • Hot and cold spots throughout your workspace. This is usually the first sign of HVAC airflow issues.
  • Pressure imbalance. Do you have doors slamming by themselves, strange whistling noises, or inexplicable draughts? These are symptoms of air pressure problems caused by poor airflow from your HVAC system.
  • Weak or low airflow from vents. The problem may be localised to just one vent, or it could indicate a bigger issue with your HVAC system.
  • Your air conditioning blows warm air. Not what anyone wants…

If you ignore any of these problems for too long, the continual strain on your HVAC system can eventually lead to compressor failure. The compressor is effectively the heart of your air conditioning, and when it goes altogether there’s a strong chance you’ll need a brand new unit. The good news is that many of the causes behind HVAC airflow problems are easy and relatively inexpensive to fix! Read our list of the top 10 causes of HVAC issues below.

Ducting can become clogged and inefficient over time.

1) Thermostat Problems

Sometimes something as simple as a faulty thermostat or a low battery can be the cause of HVAC airflow problems. Check this first, as it’s the simplest and quickest fix and you’ll kick yourself if you work through other things on this list before realising it just needed a new battery!

2) Sluggish Fan

Your HVAC system has blower fans which move the air through your ducts and into your workspace. If a blower motor is sluggish, that impedes HVAC airflow and can cause the symptoms mentioned. In some cases the fan itself can become coated with grime, which then slows the operation and reduces airflow. Luckily, it’s a simple matter of cleaning the fan.

3) Obstructed Condenser Unit

Here’s a common HVAC airflow problem, and that one you can fix yourself! Air-cooled air conditioning systems have what’s called a condensing unit, typically located outside or in a mechanical room. Outdoor units in particular can become obstructed, usually due to leaves or other debris that have accumulated around it. Even systems in mechanical rooms can be obstructed by other equipment etc. Your system can easily overheat when there’s not enough airflow getting to the air conditioning unit itself. Simply clear the area around your unit to solve this problem.

4) Blocked Vents or Registers

Similar to an obstructed condenser unit, try to make sure that all vents and registers are open and not blocked by furniture. This issue is most common in an office environment, especially when people don’t agree on the thermostat setting! We’ve all seen it happen; a filing cabinet gets put in front of the AC register because someone feels too cold. The next thing you know, your HVAC airflow has been compromised.

5) Blocked Ducts

What happens to all the dust that gets past your clogged AC filters? It ends up accumulating in the ducts. A build-up of dust such as this can be further compounded by ductwork that’s too small for the capacity of your air conditioner. Ducts that are already too narrow become clogged far more easily. If you’re in an older building, it’s also not unheard of for rodents, birds or insects to build nests in HVAC ducts! Inspect your ducts to see whether a good clean-out may help to solve your problem.

6) Low Refrigerant Levels

This is one of the most common problems with older HVAC systems, especially if they’ve not been well-maintained. If your unit is leaking refrigerant, you’ll notice both airflow issues and reduced cooling. Typically, slow leaks cause a gradual decline in system performance. An HVAC technician can easily test for leaks, and repair them to get things back up to speed.

7) Clogged Filters

When was the last time you changed your AC unit’s filter? The filter has an important job – remove dust and debris from the air and keep it out of your equipment and your ducts. If the filter gets overloaded and clogged, it impedes HVAC airflow, leading to hot & cold spots and stuffy-feeling air. Debris in the equipment can also damage internal parts. Be sure to change your AC filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions and your system usage. That could mean as frequently as once per month!

8) Dirty Condenser Coils

Your AC unit’s condenser coil is another part with an important job to do, as it releases heat that’s removed from your workspace. Since it’s part of an outdoor unit and is often exposed to the elements, the coil can get so dirty that it can’t release heat any longer. Your AC unit then has to work harder trying to cool your workspace. Have these coils cleaned at least once every six months!

9) Oversized Unit

This is a more common problem than you might imagine. Years ago, the thinking was “bigger is better” when it comes to HVAC sizing. Nowadays we know that units with a capacity that’s too large for the space they cool run inefficiently, cycling on and off too frequently. That means they never run long enough to remove humidity from the space, making it feel stuffy and uncomfortable.

10) Outdated HVAC Design

Have you had an office refurb, or significantly altered your workspace without also updating your HVAC system? If so, the layout or sizing of the ductwork (or even the equipment itself) may no longer be able to properly cool the redesigned space. This is another good reason to consult an HVAC expert, as you may find that simple ductwork changes can make a huge difference in your HVAC airflow and the comfort of you and your employees.

We hope you’ve found this useful and remember; don’t leave until the summer to get your HVAC maintained and running correctly! We’re always here to help, whether it’s a new HVAC system, improved natural ventilation or an entire office refurb that you’d like to undertake. Contact us today to tell us what you’d like, and you’ll receive a free, no-obligation quote from one of our friendly experts.

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