The single best way you can achieve Return On Investment (ROI) from your heating and cooling system, is for it to run efficiently. Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance not only improves efficiency, it can cut back on man hours, and extend the life of your system. Through the use of an expert preventive maintenance program, you can avoid future problems and unwanted costs, like breakdowns and costly repair bills. The money you put into PM tasks, is returned in annual energy savings and lower costs. There are steps you can take to insure your heating and cooling systems are running at peak performance; these include preventive maintenance (PM) and inspections which should be carried out on a regular basis.
Inspecting all of your equipment should be a priority not only for energy and efficiency concerns, but safety concerns as well. Everything should be inspected at one point or another, so where to start? Here is a list of some inspections to include in your schedule:
- Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation.
- Inspect evaporator (indoor blower) and condenser (outdoor unit) air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Check refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment. Experience shows that improper refrigerant charging wastes an average of 30 percent on one’s cooling bill!
- Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
When it comes to preventive maintenance (PM), there are many things that can be done so let’s discuss some of the basic tasks, and how they will increase energy savings and efficiency. It is very important to tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components. Lubricate all moving parts, and inspect, change and clean air filters. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction, and just like a dirty air filter, increase energy costs and damage your equipment leading to early failure. Don’t forget to clean and adjust your blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent!
Listed below, are just a few systems that can be used to help get a better handle on energy savings and help reduce costs. Most energy providers are more than happy to work with their customers to help reduce power consumption. Along with a preventive maintenance strategy, energy monitoring can also be incorporated into your CMMS software (Computerized Maintenance Management System) to keep your equipment running efficiently, and alarm you when there is a problem with filters, motors, fans, water temperature, and air temperature, just to mention a few things.
Energy Savings through Monitoring and Controlling:
- Power Factor Controller
- Lighting Controller
- Energy Surveillance System
- Demand Response Program with your Energy Provider
- Frequency Drives
By creating and utilizing a proper preventive maintenance and monitoring system, you will no doubt reduce energy consumption, reduce energy cost, extend the life of your equipment and improve the bottom line.