Any HVAC system can get a workout, but commercial systems have a heavy load to carry. Even in spaces that aren’t unusually large, the constant opening and closing of doors and the number of workers on site make commercial units prone to more frequent problems.
If your system doesn’t seem to work like it should, here are 7 problems that could be to blame:
#1: Loss of Refrigerant
The refrigerant in an HVAC unit conditions the air and extracts humidity. It is found in an air conditioner’s coils, but leaks are possible and can occur at one or more locations throughout the system. When a commercial unit stops performing effectively and the culprit is loss of refrigerant, an HVAC technician can locate the leaks, repair them, and recharge the refrigerant.
#2: Compressor Malfunction
The compressor circulates refrigerant through the system and moves heat to the outdoors. When it’s working like it should, the system is pressurized. Commercial HVAC unit compressors are larger than residential units, may work a lot harder, and are often located on rooftops and other outdoor areas where they may incur damage. As with refrigerant leaks, the first sign of a compressor problem might be inadequate cooling. But a technician can replace the condenser in many cases and get the unit back in good working order.
#3: Defective or Outdated Thermostat
There’s more to a thermostat than setting a desired temperature and sending the HVAC system to work. A commercial thermostat controls a large area, which might have numerous zones. If the thermostat is defective or inadequate to measure the temperature in the building, a technician can replace it with a newer model.
#4: Unusual Mystery Noises
Some noises might have a simple solution. For example, there might be a loose fastener or a foreign object in the fan housing. But you’ll need a technician to be sure. There’s not just one remedy for strange noises because the solution will depend on what’s causing them.
#5: Excessive Energy Consumption
Heating and cooling bills that go up, up, and up aren’t a good sign. If the unit is at or near 10 years old, it’s time to think about a replacement. High energy bills can be another symptom that requires investigation by an HVAC specialist because of the wide range of potential causes.
#6: Defective or Misaligned Thermostat Sensor
Air conditioners have a thermostat sensor that’s located near the unit’s control panel, advises the U.S. Department of Energy. When they work properly, they measure the temperature of air as it moves into the evaporator. But if the sensor moves or becomes damaged, the whole system might cycle continually or cycle on an off in unusual patterns. A technician can either move or replace the sensor.
#7: Blocked Drainage Lines
In humid weather, the volume of moisture that an air conditioning unit extracts from inside a large commercial space can be enormous. But this condensate isn’t pure, so the drain lines can become blocked. And if the unit isn’t installed correctly, the water might pool instead of draining away. An HVAC professional can clear a blocked drain, and can correct the position of the unit to help it drain properly.
A commercial HVAC system is designed to handle the demands of business properties, but it also manages a lot of territory. It’s larger and can be more complex than any residential unit. Regular maintenance can help ward off many problems before they have a chance to arise. But when trouble does happen, a quick call to a maintenance technician could prevent existing trouble from turning into something major.