Every year, the heating and air conditioning system in offices and buildings goes through de-winterization (to prepare them for warmer weather) and pre-summarization (to make sure they are in optimal shape when summertime rolls around). Otherwise known as “seasonal maintenance,” the process is vital to keeping your office comfortable and productive employees. While it may seem like a hassle, especially considering that de-winterization and pre-summarization aren’t necessary every single year, neglecting these tasks could lead to costly repairs later down the line.
Following the proper steps will ensure your building’s HVAC system is ready when you need it most:
1. Turn off Electricity
You’ll want to cut power to the unit before doing anything else because you could get hurt otherwise. Make sure everyone knows that the power is off, and double-check yourself to avoid getting shocked.
2. Remove Covers from Unit
The next step to take is removing all of the covers from your system placed over it during the winter months; they are likely insulated with water or ice, which can freeze and cause damage if not removed quickly enough. If there are any parts on the unit like fans, fan motors, heat exchangers, gas valves like the honeywell furnace gas valve, etc., look them over thoroughly before continuing with maintenance.
3. Check Oil
Before turning the electricity back on, make sure to check for oil leaks around your condensing unit. If you don’t, the leaks could cause problems with your compressor and other parts. Furthermore, look into or around your fan motor and make sure that it is clean and free of debris; if not, this will lead to overheating and other related issues.
4. Check Coils
Once all covers are removed from your system, check coils for dirt or dust buildup, which can inhibit airflow and cooling operations down the line. Use a coil brush or soft bristle brush to remove any grime on coils, but be gentle so as not to damage them. After cleaning the coils thoroughly, take note of how they feel: if they’re hot or warm, there is still some built-up dirt or debris, so you’ll have to go back over them with another cleaning.
5. Drain Residual Water
If there is any standing water left in your system after winter, you will want to drain it before turning the unit on again. While this might not be necessary depending on how much water remains, draining can help prevent damage to other components that are sensitive to moisture. It’s also important to remember that you should always turn off your electricity before doing anything else.
6. Flush Condensate Drains
Once all residual water has been removed from the system, flush condensate drains with clean tap water to remove any chemicals or minerals deposited during the winter months. You should also do this if you use a coil brush to clean coils.
7. Check for Leaks
You will want to check for leaks and patch them as soon as possible so that you avoid flooding or water damage in your office space. Furthermore, you’ll want to look into getting refrigerant recharged because doing so restores system efficiency that would have been lost due to the evaporation of old refrigerant over the winter months. This will also help with heat pump units of the furnace if they are low on coolant too.
8. Fill Refrigerant
If there are no leaks, refill your unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You will want to pour refrigerant into the highest point first and work your way down so that you can replace any lost coolant this way, rather than through system leaks later on.
9. Turn Electricity Back On
Once all of the above has been completed, turn the electricity back on at the circuit breaker or sub-panel. If everything goes according to plan, your unit should start up without a hitch. Be sure to check for leaks again around power connections in case something was missed previously.
10. Replace All Covers
Finally, you must reinstall covers over your equipment after finishing maintenance because leaving them increases the risk of somebody bumping into them or tripping over them. Covering equipment also protects coils from damage by debris, dust, and other pests that might otherwise get into your system.
After all of your hard work, don’t forget to check for any missed areas where dirt or leaks could be hiding!