ENTOUCH Smart Building Solutions

The Potential Blowback From Improperly Maintaining Commercial HVAC Equipment

Your HVAC equipment is among the most expensive assets in your organization, and it deserves to be maintained properly. While simple tasks, like replacing air filters and ensuring unobstructed and clean coils, can extend life expectancy, improperly maintaining commercial HVAC equipment could result in catastrophic consequences for your organization. Guest experiences may be ruined, and workers may be physically incapable of performing daily activities without the properly conditioned environment. Unfortunately, the potential blowback from improperly maintaining commercial HVAC equipment is much more severe than many realize, and Facilities Managers need to understand these consequences.

Not Maintaining Commercial HVAC Equipment Leads to First-Level Chiller Failure

As explained by Randy Simmons via LinkedIn, poor maintenance of commercial HVAC equipment will lead to overheating of the system and first-level chiller failure. Although this may not seem like a catastrophic issue, it dramatically increases the amount of energy necessary to condition air appropriately.

Continued Deferred Maintenance Will Result in Compressor Failure

If chiller failure is left unchecked, improper care and maintenance of commercial HVAC systems will result in compressor failure. This is the point of no return, and it will accompany significant increases in facilities spend. Regardless of the existing high-priority items in your maintenance backlog, this will take top priority. If your organization has more than one HVAC unit, which is likely, you do have a slight safety net. Other HVAC systems can successfully accommodate a single-unit failure temporarily. However, continued negligence to the malfunctioning or felt unit will result in addition failures throughout the remaining HVAC system units.

Heat-Sensitive Systems Suffer Consequences

The effects of commercial HVAC equipment failure are not limited to the costs repair and replace the system. Heat-sensitive systems, such as computers and IT servers, located within your facility, are more likely to overheat. If the systems do overheat, your organization could be staring down the barrel of thousands in IT costs to repair and replace expensive systems and equipment. Now, consider the impact of an extended downtime as a result of computer system failure. Overall productivity will suffer, and consumers will be unable to get the products they need and want. If your organization is involved in manufacturing, a computer system failure could equate to total facility shutdown, and since employees will be unnecessary until the repairs completed, they will need to be sent home.

Depending on the individual employment terms, your organization could be faced with paying employees, even though they are not actually working in your facility, and these costs include benefits paid, as a percentage, reflecting the amount of time lost due to system failure.

Procurement of New Compressors May Take Several Days

The example paints a dark picture, but it can get much worse than that. Procurement of the new compressor or other HVAC system components could take several days, if not weeks. Depending on the age, make, and model of your HVAC system or compressor, procurement of a replacement part may be impossible. This could result in the complete replacement of an entire HVAC unit, not just the failed component.


Not Maintaining HVAC Equipment Increases Health Risks

Improper maintenance of commercial HVAC equipment also increases health risk to all building occupants. As employees work in conditions that are poorly ventilated, the risk of spreading illness increases dramatically. Consider the current flu season. Someone can be infected with the flu and not know it for several days, which means others in the vicinity will be exposed to the virus. A properly functioning HVAC system can help reduce the spread of illness by consistently ventilating the area with new, fresh air, but a malfunctioning unit could be the final straw that results in the continued dissemination of pathogens and illness in your facility.

It Results in Customer Dissatisfaction

Any disruption to productivity will adversely affect customer experiences, resulting in greater dissatisfaction rates. This is the ultimate problem with poorly maintained commercial HVAC equipment. Customers want to know that they will be able to get what they want when they visit your facility, and if your facility is closed unexpectedly due to HVAC system failures or even repairs, it will tarnish your brand.

Proper Maintenance Extends Life Expectancy

Although an HVAC system malfunction may be inevitable, proper maintenance can dramatically increase equipment life expectancy and reduce the likelihood of catastrophic equipment failure. Furthermore, the use of advanced technologies, including Big Data and analytics, can be used to identify potential HVAC system malfunctions and problems before they occur. This allows Facilities Managers to identify areas of concern and correct the issue before it causes disruption and adversely affects the customer experience.

Avoid These Consequences Through Proper Maintenance of Commercial HVAC Equipment

Proper maintenance of commercial HVAC systems and equipment is essential to keeping facility costs down and extending the life expectancy of your investment. Depending on the size of your organization, improper HVAC system maintenance in commercial facilities may result in millions of dollars in costs, but proper maintenance is much cheaper and takes less time than a costly repair.