HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems are common, in both commercial and industrial buildings, and often account for the vast majority of a company’s energy costs.
Once installed, getting the best out of your HVAC system should be relatively straightforward, if your system has been set up by reliable and qualified HVAC engineers. So, if you would like to get the best out of your HVAC system, here are some tips for maintaining your system at optimal efficiency.
Getting started – poorly designed and installed HVAC systems can cause enormous problems. These include additional running costs, reducing the level of comfort for occupants of the building, decreased air quality and potential health problems.
- ensure that your system is designed to meet the requirements of your business. It is vital that the final design has the capability to heat and ventilate the whole building and that appropriate controls are provided to ensure the efficient running of the system;
- make sure that your HVAC system is installed by trained, professional and reliable HVAC engineers;
- installation should always be completed according to the manufacturer’s instructions;
Heating – With heating and hot water frequently making up the majority of businesses commercial energy costs in the UK there are great incentives to use your HVAC system more efficiently and reduce your expenses.
- the size and capacity of your HVAC system must be appropriate for your requirements – neither too small, or too large;
- the international sustainability advisory body, The Carbon Trust, recommends 3 ways to reduce energy costs:
- reducing the temperature of your heating system (a 1°C temperature reduction could reduce heating bills by as much as 8%);
- replace old and inefficient boilers;
- buildings with warm air heaters and high ceilings could install de-stratification fans, which return the warm air in the roof space back to ground level, and benefit from reductions in energy use of up to 20%;
Ventilation – Heating and ventilation are also inextricably intertwined and it is therefore important vital that HVAC systems function correctly and are used properly.
- well maintained and functioning ventilation systems are vital. Poorly ventilated areas can harbour condensation, damp and mould, leading to potential health hazards and additional repair costs;
- if inappropriate ventilation occurs (in the form of leaving open an external door or window, for a long period of time, for example) this can prevent the system from operating optimally and increase running costs;
- ventilation can be improved through the installation of energy efficient motors, variable speed fans and through the use of timers to ensure ventilation is taking place only when required;
Air conditioning – the costs of running air conditioning systems can be controlled by ensuring you get the best out of your system
- set the temperature to one which is both comfortable but varied to suit local conditions – e.g. an office in a gym will need a different setting to the gym floor
- regular servicing is vital. Poorly maintained air conditioning systems can affect people’s health, increase costs and reduce effectiveness. This means that, for optimal effectiveness, they should be serviced regularly by qualified and experienced HVAC engineers;