Common HVAC System Problems

A proper Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is an essential component to any company or commercial building. This is especially true with summer in full swing. Any business owner or facility manager know that business operations can’t continue if an HVAC system breaks down. To prevent this from happening to your facility here are some solutions to common air conditioning problems.

Dirty Filters

A dirty filter filled with air contaminants can have a terrible impact on your HVAC system. To ensure your air conditioning unit is functioning at its peak performance, change you air filters every month, or at least every 90 days. This will prevent your air conditioning motor from having to work twice as hard to combat all those contaminants, which can shorten the life of your unit. This is an easy and quick solution to a common air conditioning problem.

Electric control failure

If the fan and compressor controls start to malfunction on your system, this may be a sign the wires in your unit have begun to corrode. This failure is often the result of turning your air conditioning system on and off. To prevent this from happening in the future, don’t turn your system off when the facility is closed for the night. Instead, increase your thermostat by a few degrees to save on your electricity bill.  

Clogged Drains

It is not uncommon for your drain to get clogged with dirt and debris. To prevent this from happening in the future, pour bleach down your condensate drain once a month. This mixture will help break up blockages and clean your system thoroughly.

Dirty A/C Coils

Another important part of maintaining your air conditioning unit is cleaning your A/C coils. When your system’s coils are not properly maintained, you will lower comfort levels in your building and have a hefty electric bill. The dirt buildup on your condenser and evaporator coils can negatively impact the performance end efficiency of your system. In addition to wiping them down yourself, have a professional thoroughly clean your coils during your annual maintenance meeting.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be sure to have a fully functioning air conditioning unit and prevent problems from occurring in the future.

What You Need to Know about Replacing your HVAC Equipment

If your system is 10 to 15 years old and has begun to experience some maintenance problems, it may be time to replace your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit. When looking to replace a system that heats and cools your business, you want to make the right decision. Consider these questions when selecting an HVAC system to best suit your company’s needs.

How Big of a System Do I Need?

You want to ensure you pick an HVAC system that will get the job done effectively in your space. Too small of a unit will not deliver an adequate performance, but too big of a unit will offer poor temperature control with a big price tag. Be sure to ask your contractor the appropriate size system you need in your facility.

Do I Replace All my HVAC Equipment Together?

The answer is yes. When replacing a system entirely, you want to ensure all of the moving parts of your system work together in harmony. Although only replacing a heat pump, piping or furnace appears as a more economical solution, new parts working with old parts can affect performance. It’s also important to replace your indoor unit and outdoor unit together too.

How Do I Maintain My New System?

Scheduling preventative maintenance on your air conditioning system is crucial to maintaining your new unit. Your facility manager will conduct regularly scheduled inspections to stop problems before they happen. Proper preventative maintenance will also include changing air filters, cleaning drain pans, wiping down condenser coils and sealing ductwork. All of these action items will keep your air conditioning unit running at peak performance.

Installing a new air conditioning system is an important task. You want to make sure you get a unit that will be effective and efficient in its intended space. With these questions in mind, you’ll be sure to find an HVAC unit that performs perfectly for your business.   

 

Key Areas to Maintain in a Commercial Property

In addition to high customer traffic and strong sales, it’s also important for a commercial property to have proper facility maintenance. A building that is well-maintained will attract customers and help you increase your bottom line. Here are a few tips for maintaining the key areas of your commercial property.

Exterior Maintenance – The exterior of your commercial property is very important. Maintaining a nice-looking facility is crucial for making a strong first impression on customers, patrons, and tenants. Landscaping and outdoor lighting can make a huge difference when it comes to curb appeal. Be sure to avoid overgrown shrubbery and yellowed and dirty light fixtures. Over time, these exterior finishes can hurt your company’s curb appeal. Sidewalks should not have any large cracks or safety hazards either. Make sure to regularly power wash the exterior and repaint when needed.

Restroom Maintenance – The maintenance of your commercial property’s restroom is a key area to maintain. Not only is a clean environment crucial for the health and sanitation of your employees and customers, it’s important to have a spotless bathroom to demonstrate your company’s commitment to cleanliness. Also, you may consider installing features such as automatic sinks, touchless toilets, and hand-dryers to eliminate the spread of germs. These additions will also help you save money, and show to your customers that you care about them.

Interior Maintenance – Whether you own a restaurant, office space or retail store, you want to ensure your customers are experiencing a tidy atmosphere while visiting your facility. Maintaining a comfortable store floor or workspace will not only increase the productivity of your employers, it will also leave a lasting impression on your customers. Carpets should be cleaned, wood and laminate floors should be buffed and tile should be mopped regularly. Your facility’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit should also be working at peak efficiency to make customers comfortable. It’s also important to have no chipped paint on the walls and no dust on surfaces.

There are many aspects to maintaining a facility. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to create a clean and inviting facility that will make a fantastic first impression on your patrons.    

Facilities Maintenance Changes You Should Make During the Summer

Each season presents its own unique set of challenges for facility managers and business owners. The summer months are no exception and there are certain maintenance changes that you should take into consideration as we head into the warmest time of the year. Due to the summer’s heat, there should be a stronger focus on certain aspects of the facility’s maintenance than others. Here are a few tips for your facility during the summer:

One of the most important summer facility maintenance tasks is servicing the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit. Summer is the time to change air filters, clean condenser coils and tune up the system, making sure they are all in good condition. You’ll want to make sure preventative maintenance is completed to avoid a broken air conditioner on a hot summer day. It is also important to not turn off your air conditioning unit, even when the building is unoccupied. Completely shutting off your system can lead to increased humidity and mold. This is something you’ll undoubtedly want to avoid.

Due to hot temperatures and strong sun rays, the exterior of your building can take a brutal beating. Summer can be a great time to address all the exterior needs of your facility such as painting, roofing, and landscaping.

Another important maintenance task to complete during summer is plumbing and water-using appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and water filtration systems. As the temperatures begin to climb, water usage tends to increase. With your water systems getting more use, you’ll want to make sure they are working at peak performance to prevent a breakdown. Have pipes water jetted to remove blockages, have sinks and toilets inspected to make sure drains are unclogged. This summer maintenance will make sure your facility stays flowing smoothly.  

Summer presents intense temperatures that can increase the maintenance your facility needs. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to beat the summer heat and make sure your facility stays in top shape.

School Maintenance During the Summer

With school out for the summer, it’s time for custodial crews and facility maintenance teams to start cleaning, and complete repairs and construction projects. Now is also the perfect time to focus on prevention to increase energy efficiency in your school’s building. Use this summer season to prepare the facility to conserve more energy (and save more money) and have it running in tip-top shape for when school starts.

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit maintenance – Summer is the time to make sure air filters are changed, condenser coils are thoroughly cleaned and drain pans are properly drained. Another important tip is to not completely turn off the air conditioning unit for an extended period of time. Although it’s okay to increase the temperature when the facility is not occupied, completely shutting off the HVAC system can lead to heavy humidity and moisture in the space, resulting in mold.

Flooring maintenance – Floors, whatever the material, can take a beating during the school year. Summer months are the perfect time to steam carpets, buff linoleum floors and polish wood floors. You also have the opportunity to protect the floors with sealants and other products to prepare them for the next school year.

Window maintenance – In addition to removing all of the fingerprints and dirt particles that have gathered on or near windows, summer is also the time to repair them.       

Security and fire systems – Now is also the time to test security systems and fire systems. All of the emergency related equipment should be tested inspected.

Class might not be in session during the summer months, but technicians are still hard at work prepare the grounds for the next year and prevent larger problems from arising. With these helpful tips, your school will be ready when the kids return this fall.

Developing Your Maintenance Schedule and Budget

Preventative maintenance and routine maintenance are both important to a business to ensure it stays in tip-top shape. These maintenance plans can prevent costly breakdowns of equipment and keep systems working at peak efficiency. Figuring out a schedule and budget for preventative and routine maintenance is easy with these helpful tips.

The first thing to do when developing your maintenance schedule is to itemize each piece of equipment or system in the facility that requires maintenance. This will allow you to manage what needs attention systematically and will allow you to prioritize maintenance duties to make sure they fit within your budget. This list should include each piece of equipment, what type of maintenance needs to be done, and how often. For example, there may be some parts of the facility that need to be serviced once a year and others once a month.

It is also important to decide the dollar amount your company is willing to spend on these programs ahead of time. By knowing and understanding the planned budget, you can make the most economical choices to maintain your facility. After crunching the numbers, you will also have a better understanding of what items take priority. In order to make the most of your budget, here are a few maintenance items that are crucial to every facility:

Carpet Cleaning  It is important to have carpet cleaning on your company’s facility maintenance list. Carpets are prone to trapping in air pollutants in their fibers. This can lead to a buildup of unhealthy allergens and contaminants, which can harm air quality. Thankfully, having your carpets steamed and cleaned is not a major expense.  

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit check-up – You air conditioning unit is crucial to your business. Without it, employees and customers would be extremely uncomfortable, requiring you to close company doors until its fixed. By having a regular HVAC unit check-up on your maintenance list, air filters will be regularly changed, condenser coils will remain clean and your system will continue to work at peak performance. This will make sure you maintain high air quality and save you money.

Bathroom Sanitation – Bathroom sanitation is a no-brainer. Your company restroom, especially if it is a public restroom can be an epicenter for germs and bacteria. Having a professional steam clean your bathroom can help to remove water buildup, soap scum, and other bacteria.  

With these helpful tips, you’ll have a fantastic facility maintenance schedule perfect for your budget.

The Impact of Facilities Management on Business Performance

When you think of all the roles that a facility manager has— maintaining building operations, making repairs, and managing technicians— it’s easy to forget another important role they hold. Facility managers have a major impact on the business performance. Here are a few ways facility managers can affect your employees and bottom line:

Layout

The layout of an office or facility can contribute to the productivity of the space. The positioning of the equipment, desks or machinery is up to the facility manager and can affect production. For example, the location of the company printer can determine whether it is easy to access or only creates loud disturbances to nearby workers. The layout of a building or workspace has the potential to increase interactions between coworkers and management, not to mention increase the ease of daily tasks.

Lighting

Natural sunlight has been known to have major impacts on people. Dark and dim spaces are not optimal for accomplishing work. Having a space with skylights or large windows to let in natural light can have a major impact on productivity. This can also help with energy costs since office lighting will not be as crucial on sunny days.

Temperature

Facility managers can boost employee morale and productivity by making them more comfortable. A large portion of an employee’s comfort can be determined by the temperature of the space they are working in. By simply resetting the thermostat by a few degrees, productivity can change drastically.  

Cleanliness

Facility managers are often responsible for keeping the office clean too. It’s no surprise that a dirty or dusty office space deters works for accomplishing tasks. A sparking office of facility encourages employees’ productivity and can have a big influence on business.

As you can see, facility managers play a very important role in creating a workplace culture that either helps or hinders productivity. The true role of these individuals is to create a space to help people accomplish success.

How Facilities Managers Can Improve Office Design

Office design is a facet of management that is often overlooked and yet makes a large impact on the efficiency of the company and morale of employees. An office space that is designed well can motivate workers, while a poorly designed office space will not serve the needs of the business and could decrease in efficiency. Some of the design of an operation is the responsibility of the architects of the building, but a good facility manager can help a building become as effective as possible.

One of the best ways for a facility manager to improve office design is to understand the amount of space necessary for the employees to do their jobs. If there is not enough space for workers to perform their duties, they will feel cramped, which could lead to workplace accidents. On the other hand, you don’t want too much empty space and waste potential for the facility. It can be difficult to find the right balance, but it is useful for maximizing office space efficiency.

The layout of the office is also an important part of the design. This arrangement can have a big impact on the productivity of the office. For instance, the location of the company printer can be too close to neighboring employees and cause a noisy disturbance, or it can be positioned in a place that increases ease of use. Employee desks can be designated with individual cubbies or can be located near coworkers to encourage social interaction. How the facilities manager lays out the office can greatly improve efficiency.

When it comes to executing an office design plan, the best way to get effective results is to ask employees for their input. While a facility manager has a good high-level overview of the work that happens in an office, individual workers know at a first-hand, granular level what works and what doesn’t. Employees will be able to give specific recommendations for how they can accomplish the most work in their space. Collaborating with employees can certainly create the best office design for everyone, but it can also help with employee relations. Having open communication with employees also fosters professional relationships and increases morale.

Office design is important to any corporate facility by increasing the efficiency inside of it. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to maximize your office space.

How to Prepare Your Facility for Storms

The best time to prepare for a severe storm is before it happens. By preparing for a disaster ahead of time, you will be able to minimize the damage your facility faces and get your business back up and running sooner. Here are a few ways to prepare your facility before a major storm hits.

Design a disaster plan

It is important to design a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan. This should include all departments of your company and outline procedures in the event of an emergency. Business continuity, crisis communication, and resource management should all be included in this plan. Not only should you talk through this plan with employees, you should also conduct a disaster drill. This will give your team familiarity and knowledge of potential problems, allowing them to mount a quick, efficient and appropriate response during a real emergency. This reduces the amount of time and thinking required when a crisis happens and increases the speed with which you get back in business.

Conduct preventative maintenance

One of the best things you can do for your facility during the stormy season is to schedule preventative maintenance on the facility systems and equipment. This regularly scheduled maintenance will ensure your building, and its contents are in top working order. Preventative maintenance can fix minor issues before they turn into major problems after. Although it’s important to partake in preventative maintenance year-round, it’s especially important before a storm hits.

Prepare the facility  

Finally, if there is cause for concern over a major storm in your area, take the necessary precautions and prep your building. Cover windows and doors with custom-cut plywood. This will prevent broken glass from strong winds and flying debris. Remove breakable objects from high shelves and place hooks on cabinets and drawers to prevent them from flying open. Be sure to have bookcases and display cases bolted to wall studs to prevent damage as well. To prevent flooding damage, place applicable furniture and machinery on wooden pallets.

With these helpful tips, your facility will be prepared for a major storm. With proper prep, you will be able to recover quickly from severe storms and return to your normal business operations quickly.

Is Your Facility at Risk During Florida’s Hurricane Season?

With the Atlantic hurricane season already underway as of June 1 and continuing through the end of November, it’s important to make sure your facility or business is prepared for severe storms. There are many factors to consider when assessing the risk your facility faces during a hurricane. Following are a few tips to ensure that your company is more than prepared in the event of an emergency.

Prepare a plan

The most important thing a company or facility needs to limit the risk from a hurricane is a plan. Those who have a robust disaster preparedness plan are able to decrease dangers brought on by severe storms, return to normal business operations faster and suffer less downtime in the workplace. If your company is serious about preparing for a severe storm or hurricane, it’s important to include a representative from every department to help create this crisis plan. This will ensure everyone’s needs are covered. After drafting the plan, be sure to train staff and management how to execute the plan in the event of a disaster. Your plan should include crisis communications, business continuity, and even evacuation routes, if necessary.  

Practice the plan

Once you have created your disaster plan, it’s important to run through it with employees. Although having a disaster drill may seem silly, practicing it gives you and your team a familiarity and knowledge of potential problems to allow you to mount a quick, efficient and appropriate response. This reduces the amount of time and thinking required when a crisis happens and increases the speed with which you get back in business.

Prep the facility

At the beginning of every hurricane season, you’ll want to prep your facility for high winds and heavy rain. Be prepared to cover windows and doors with plywood to protect them from flying debris. It is also a good idea to bolt bookshelves, display cases, and other large furniture to wall studs to prevent damages. Moving furniture and other important machinery onto wooden pallets can help limit the risk of water damage from flooding too.

Stay informed

Thankfully, technology today gives up the ability to predict the path and severity of hurricanes. It’s important to stay informed of the hurricane’s intended path so you can make the necessary preparations accordingly. If a minor hurricane or tropical storm is projected to hit your area, you may not need to pull out all the bells and whistles to prep your business. However, if it is a major storm and is projected to be a direct hit, then you will certainly want to take more extreme precautions.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to eliminate a lot of the risks a hurricane can pose on your facility.