Originally published in Interiors & Sources

11/01/2013

Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Is your heating equipment ready to roll when cold weather settles in?

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Before the weather turns cold, your heating equipment likely needs a thorough cleaning and inspection.
Photo Credit: crockett facility services

Is your heating equipment ready to roll when cold weather settles in?

Even if there was no trouble last year, the system likely needs a thorough once-over. These four tips from HVAC experts will help you plan this year’s tune-up.

1) Assess Initial Damage, Dirt, and Risk
Start by cleaning and repairing the system and anything that affects its operation. Places that may need some extra elbow grease include:

Envelope: If your building’s envelope hasn’t been inspected recently, now is a good time to find and treat any leaks or places where outside air can infiltrate, such as windows and unsealed doors.

Pipes: In some places, like heat runs behind a school auditorium or near the overhead door in a storage area, your piping may be subject to freezing. Check to ensure insulation hasn’t been damaged and add, repair, or replace as necessary.

“A simple half-inch wrap on exposed piping can save you roughly 50 BTUs per hour per linear foot on hot water heating systems,” notes Bernie Daily, president and practitioner of Daily Operations Inc.

Equipment: Your heating equipment likely needs a tune-up before it’s put into daily use for the winter, says Tony Mori, service field superintendent and project manager for FM provider Crockett Facility Services.

“Bringing boilers or hot water heaters online is mostly a checklist operation – turning everything on, making sure all the nuts and bolts are tight, and looking for gas or water leaks,” Mori explains. “Problems could include dirty filters if you have an oil- or gas-based system and injector nozzles on oil-powered equipment.”

One client whose system hadn’t been cleaned found more than dirt and grime in the heating equipment, adds Diane McClelland, Crockett’s marketing director.

“We’ve had strange things happen, like stinkbugs and mice in the systems that people didn’t clean,” McClelland notes. “While those things don’t prevent the equipment from operating, it may not run as efficiently. People may not even realize there’s a problem.”


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