The Importance of Duct Cleaning For Your Facility

Commercial HVAC systems are put under high stress throughout the year. Unlike the HVAC system in your home, commercial appliances must control areas independently and account for high-volume, high production rooms within your facility. A commercial kitchen, medical facility, or manufacturing site also requires additional ventilation to ensure safe indoor air quality for all guests and employees. Because of this incredible workload, commercial HVAC units need preventative care throughout the year in order to perform well. 

 

One of the most important parts of commercial HVAC maintenance is air duct cleaning. This essential service should be performed on a regular schedule in order to maintain indoor air quality and climate control. Below are just a few of the reasons why air duct cleaning should be a critical and regular part of your maintenance schedule: 

 

Air duct cleaning reduces dust and indoor air contaminant circulation

Air ducts can become homes for dust, dirt, mold, mildew, and other indoor air contaminants if not cleaned regularly. When these begin to circulate through your system, they can cause health problems within your facility and performance issues within the system itself. By cleaning the air ducts, you can keep the air clean and breathable for tenants. 

 

Protect equipment

If air ducts are not cleaned regularly, mold and mildew can begin to spread, which will deteriorate the parts within the system. Cleaning can also help to improve the efficiency of parts and allow your technician to identify needed repairs. 

 

Improve energy-efficiency

An HVAC system that is constantly trying to fight dust and debris will have to work harder than one that is cleaned regularly. This extra work wastes energy even in a newer or energy-efficient unit. If you want to lower your heating and cooling costs, preventative maintenance is essential. 

 

MaintenX specializes in preventative repairs for commercial HVAC and refrigeration systems. We provide cleaning, monitoring, and preventative repairs to ensure your unit reaches the maximum extent of its service life and can perform with lower energy costs throughout the year. To learn more about what MaintenX can do for your commercial HVAC/R system, contact us today!

HVAC Myths That Are Costing Your Business Right Now

HVAC maintenance can be a mystery for new facility managers or new tenants in a building. If you’re lucky, your system will only need the occasional cleaning and monthly filter change. However, there are many myths that facility managers are led to believe can cause serious problems within our system. 

 

Don’t believe these HVAC maintenance myths you hear online or from your handyman down the street. MaintenX cares about the quality of preventative care, and we want you to follow the right rules for keeping your HVAC system in check.

 

If your HVAC system is running slow, turn the thermostat lower than you want it to be so it will cool down faster.

This is a common mistake made by both homeowners and commercial facility managers. If your HVAC system cannot cool your building to the temperature you set, it is running inefficiently and needs to be diagnosed for potential issues. 

 

A bigger HVAC system will cool more efficiently. 

Bigger is not better when it comes to your HVAC units. Commercial systems are designed to fit the exact space you’re trying to heat and cool. Going any bigger than what is needed is a waste of time, and may even cause inefficiencies. 

 

Turning off the AC when the office is closed will help you save money. 

While we do recommend changing the temperature for extended closures (such as during holidays or for temporary leave), you don’t need to turn it off completely. Your system will expend more energy changing the temperature dramatically than it would by maintaining a temperature that you can adjust easily. 

 

You should let your HVAC system completely wear out before replacing it. 

This strategy can cost you more on expensive repairs trying to keep a failing system alive. If you replace your HVAC system at the right time, you can save on pricey repairs and upgrade to a more energy-efficient model which will help you recoup the expenses in lower power bills. 

 

You don’t have to schedule preventative care on newer systems.

New systems will run more efficiently and need less care, but problems can arise even with an HVAC unit that was installed within the year. Be diligent about changing filters and scheduling cleanings regardless of the age of the system, so you can keep a high-performance unit working smoothly. 

 

At Maintenx, we pride ourselves in top-notch preventative care for commercial HVAC systems. To learn more about what you can do to better maintain your system, contact us today.

Maintaining Ideal Humidity Levels for Your Facility

In the summertime, keeping humidity under control is a hassle. In Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we struggle with 80% and 90% humidity levels throughout the months of June and July. However, in the wintertime, most of our clients are dealing with the opposite problem. They are struggling to create an ideal humidity level to keep guests and employees comfortable. 

 

Some of this balancing act has to do with your HVAC settings, while the rest is about proper maintenance of your system as a whole. Below are just a few tips you can follow to maintain the proper humidity levels for your facility, regardless of the season: 

 

Clean out air ducts and filters.

If the humidity levels in your building are too high, you may notice condensation near your vents, which will eventually lead to water damage and mildew inside the HVAC system. You don’t want this stuff circulating throughout our building, so be sure to clean your ducts and filters in the summer to prevent lower indoor air quality. 

 

Use humidifiers and dehumidifiers in rooms near entrances. 

If you have a small office, a humidifier or dehumidifier may be large enough to control your entire space. However, even if you operate a large building, you can use these to control the humidity in areas near entrances, where outside air is likely to come in. 

 

Monitor drastic changes in humidity levels. 

You can expect humidity levels to change throughout the season, but be on the lookout for drastic changes, especially increases. This could mean your HVAC system is having issues filtering or cooling air, and you may be in need of a check-up. 

 

Humidity can be a game-changer for controlling the comfort levels and health of your building. For more information, contact your HVAC technician at MaintenX today.

Benefits of Installing An Air Scrubber In Your Building

Improving indoor air quality is on everyone’s mind since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cleaner air leads to a reduced likelihood of spreading diseases, and not just COVID. By keeping your air clean and your ventilation system in tip-top shape, you can prevent sick building syndrome (SBS), where colds and other common illnesses spread rapidly within a building because of their presence within the air ducts. 

 

One of the newest ways to improve indoor air quality within a facility is by installing an air scrubber. This addition to your ventilation system can clean out dirt, dust, and other particles and help create cleaner air for your entire building. 

 

What does an air scrubber do?

Unlike a simple air filter, an air scrubber also releases particles in the air that can kill germs, VOCs, dust, and other indoor air contaminants within your facility. Typically, portable air scrubbers are used in office buildings to disinfect and filter the air in addition to the ventilation system. However, for offices in single-unit buildings, a whole-house air scrubber can be installed which reaches not only the air but contaminants on surfaces as well. 

 

Benefits of an air scrubber

 

  • Portability – If you have recently painted or undergone construction within your building, a portable air scrubber can help filter out contaminants in the days afterward when fumes and dust are still in the air.

 

  • Prevents and diminishes the effects of SBS – An air scrubber not only disinfects, but will filter the air within your building to help prevent the spread of dirt, VOCs, dust, bacteria, and viruses. If you’re experiencing sick building syndrome, they can help diminish the problem. 

 

  • Puts employees and customers at ease – If your building has had an outbreak of COVID-19, or even something as simple as the flu, you can put employees at ease by bringing in an air scrubber. This simple addition to your office will help employees and customers feel safer in the midst of cold and flu season. 

 

Air scrubbers are a simple but powerfully effective solution for improving indoor air quality. To learn more about installation and usage, contact your local MaintenX team today.

Everything You Need To Know About Furnace Flame Sensors

As winter rolls around, you’ll be using your heater much more frequently, which means preventative care is essential at your facility. Your furnace is a potentially dangerous component of the HVAC system. Without proper safety checks in place, your furnace can have undetected gas leaks or fires that cause catastrophic damage to your facility. 

 

That is why it is essential to take care of your furnace’s flame sensor before and during the winter months. This guide will help you learn more about this all-too-important component, and how to prevent it from having issues at critical moments. 

 

What is a flame sensor?

 

The flame sensor, located inside the burner assembly, is a sensor that detects flames inside the unit. If a flame is detected, the sensor will signal to shut off the furnace entirely to prevent fires and leaks of carbon monoxide. This is one of the most critical safety components of your entire HVAC system. In older systems, a different type of flame sensor called a thermocouple is present. This serves the same purpose but uses different technology to detect flames and turn off the furnace. 

 

How to tell if your flame sensor is working properly.

 

Flame sensors can eventually stop working, especially if they are from an older system. If you have an older HVAC unit, your HVAC technician will look for these signs that your sensor may not be working anymore: 

 

  • The furnace burners will turn on but shut off immediately after
  • The flame sensor is covered in ash or dust (which signals it’s time for cleaning)
  • The tip of the flame sensor is black
  • The casing is cracked or pieces are falling off

 

Flame sensor maintenance.

 

Luckily, unless the sensor needs to be replaced, this component has a fairly simple maintenance plan. Your HVAC technician may periodically clean and test it, but otherwise, your flame sensor should last 15 to 30 years with minimal maintenance. You may have to replace it once throughout your building ownership or management, but it’s unlikely to cause you too many problems. 

 

If you haven’t had an HVAC maintenance check in a while, call MaintenX for a simple tune-up before firing up the furnace. It could save your facility from a fire or gas leak, and help you save on emergency repairs.

Three Things You Didn’t Know About HVAC Technicians

In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we face brutally hot summers and rely on our HVAC systems for most of the year. When one stops working, HVAC technicians are our heroes! They come to the rescue to make our homes and businesses livable despite the intense summer heat, and do so without much recognition. 

 

The life of an HVAC technician is very different from your average office worker. Below are # things you probably didn’t know about your HVAC tech, and why you should be sure to thank them next time you see one: 

 

HVAC technicians are fully dedicated to their jobs. 

Most maintenance work requires technicians to work late, unpredictable hours as opposed to office work. If someone’s heater goes out in the dead of winter, they may be called early in the morning or after dark to fix it. They often work 10-12 hour days in order to earn overtime and get each job done as quickly as possible. These heroes are 100% dedicated to doing a great job with every service call. 

 

They are often in great shape. 

HVAC work is physical work, and often requires technicians to crawl into tight spaces or work outside. This means that most technicians, even as they age, stay in great shape throughout their lives. This is a unique perk that helps many technicians live long and healthy lives because of their jobs instead of in spite of their jobs. 

 

HVAC technicians make an excellent living. 

The average salary for a U.S. HVAC technician is over $75,000, which is great for a career that only requires a two-year education. Plus, technical work cannot be outsourced and isn’t as susceptible to variability during economic downturns. Air conditioning and heating are necessities, which means that even in times of economic struggle, you’ll still have a safe and stable job. 

 

The work of an HVAC repairman is always exciting and is greatly appreciated by everyone they serve. If you’re interested in starting or advancing a career in the HVAC maintenance field, contact us to learn about our open positions!

How To Know When It’s Time For A New HVAC System

HVAC systems, like all other commercial appliances, have a limited lifespan for effectiveness. While modern energy-efficient units can last 20 years or better, most will need replacement of parts or entire units between the 10-15 year mark. While most facility managers worry they’re replacing their units too soon, there are several reasons why you should budget for an HVAC replacement as soon as your technicians suggest. 

 

Why You Should Replace Your HVAC System

Replacing an entire HVAC system can cost upward of $10,000 for even a small commercial facility or office space. However, the long-term cost benefits outweigh the initial investment for several reasons: 

 

  • An older unit will expend more energy, leading to higher power bills every month
  • Outdated technology limits your ability to install cost-saving options like a smart thermostat or higher quality rooftop units
  • Older units are more costly to repair and need more frequent service, which will accumulate maintenance costs over time

 

By budgeting for a new HVAC in the upcoming year, you can begin saving on repair costs, while upgrading to newer technology that helps meet energy-saving goals. 

 

Signs Your HVAC System Needs To Be Replaced

If you’re unsure of when it’s time to replace your HVAC system, talk to your local MaintenX technician to determine when is the optimal time to upgrade. Some systems can be restored to their original performance with cleaning and repairs, while others are easier to replace. Below are some of the signs that your HVAC system is on its last leg and should be replaced within a year or two: 

 

Your system runs constantly

A properly functioning HVAC system should be able to maintain the temperature without running constantly. Even if you set it significantly lower or higher than the temperature outside, it should only run a few times throughout the day. If your system has to run constantly to maintain the temperature (or runs constantly and still can’t keep up), you are likely running into the end of your system’s service life. 

 

Your HVAC system makes these noises.

HVAC systems make noise occasionally, especially when they first turn on or run a cycle. However, if you notice any of these noises coming constantly from your unit or vents, it could mean signs of wear and tear: 

 

  • Constant humming from the blower
  • Banging noises from the furnace
  • Outdoor noise before the unit is in use

 

Your repairs don’t last

If you are paying for repairs that don’t last more than a few months, you’re likely past due for an HVAC replacement. Repair services are meant to fix problems, not stall them. If your MaintenX team is constantly redoing work and your system is over 10 years old, it’s time to start thinking about replacing your units. 

 

MaintenX can help you find an HVAC system that is clean, energy-efficient, and affordable. Contact us today for the latest industry recommendations. 

The Biggest Culprits of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is a hot topic in commercial facility maintenance today. Winter is notorious for the cold and flu season, which can cause what is known in the maintenance world as “sick building syndrome.” As indoor air quality worsens, bacteria, viruses, and mold can spread through the HVAC system of a facility and cause everyone in the building to feel sick. 

 

Maintaining indoor air quality is especially important as our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The cleaner the air in your facility, the better your chances of reducing the spread of illness and. Even if your employees do not get sick from COVID-19 or another virus, these indoor air contaminants can worsen respiratory health and cause other illnesses to affect them more severely. 

 

Watch out for these common indoor air contaminants that could be causing sick building syndrome:

 

Mold 

Mold is not only a common cause of drywall damage, it can easily circulate through your vents and cause serious illness among tenants and staff. If your employees are breathing it in, they can become sick on their own or have worsening symptoms of respiratory illnesses like asthma. 

 

Chemical cleaners 

Chemicals like polyurethane, formaldehyde and other VOCs are commonly present in commercial facilities. They are either used in chemical cleaners and solvents or brought in through upholstery or furniture used in the office. Be careful where you source these materials, as overexposure to VOCs can cause long-term respiratory damage. 

 

Radon and carbon monoxide 

These colorless, odorless gases are lethal if leaking into your facility. Radon, which is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, comes from uranium decay in soils. Carbon monoxide is also deadly if inhaled and can come from defective heaters, so be sure to test your facility for these gases and install a CO monitor to prevent injury or death. 

 

Maintaining indoor air quality not only helps keep everyone safe and healthy but creates a better atmosphere for productivity. To learn more about how you can keep your HVAC system and indoor air in the best condition, contact us today. 

Post-Summer HVAC Maintenance

In the summertime, your HVAC system is working overtime almost every day. If it is healthy and performing well, it can probably handle the added stress. However, even with a healthy HVAC system comes extra maintenance in the summer and early fall. At MaintenX, we encourage facility owners and managers to schedule time once the weather starts to cool to run a check-up on their HVAC system.

 

Before you begin scheduling repairs and preventative care services, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions about the state of your HVAC system and service over the summer: 

 

  • How many emergency service calls did I have to make this summer?
  • How much did I spend on emergency vs. preventative maintenance for my system?
  • Were issues resolved the first time, or did my maintenance team have to work on my system repeatedly to solve the same problems?
  • Is my equipment aged, overworked, or not maintained well enough to keep up with summer cooling demands? Or is it running as expected?
  • Is my equipment still under warranty?

 

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then begin working with your HVAC repair team to determine what preventative care services should be scheduled throughout the fall and winter. If you experienced several issues with your system, it could be time to start saving for a replacement. However, if your system is in good health for its age, you should consider scheduling these services to keep it in tip-top shape: 

 

  • Clean air ducts and vents
  • Reset thermostat to reflect cooling temperatures
  • Inspect rooftop units for damage 
  • Analyze energy consumption to detect performance loss over time
  • Inspect electrical components
  • Check refrigerant levels and look for leaks or condensation within the unit causing water damage
  • Clean heating components in preparation for the winter

 

All of these tasks can be performed during your end-of-summer inspection, as well as any specific maintenance tasks recommended by your HVAC technician. If you’re ready to start prepping for fall, contact your local MaintenX today to get started!

Common Problems With HVAC Systems During The Summer

It’s no surprise that your HVAC system is working double time in the summer. In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we experience many more service calls for HVAC systems in the summer as opposed to the winter, because our winters are mild in comparison to the many months of blistering heat and high humidity on the coast. For this reason, we encourage all facility managers to invest in preventative care for their HVAC systems during this time. 

 

If your system is older or has been having issues lately, it’s important you schedule preventative maintenance with your MaintenX provider. If you are proactive with preventative maintenance, you can avoid these three common HVAC issues during the summertime:

 

An overheated capacitor

One of the most common issues with HVAC systems during the summer is having the capacitor overheat. This can happen due to overuse or simply due to sun exposure. In either instance, it can cause the entire system to slow down or shut down. If this happens, you need to contact your MaintenX technician immediately. They are not safe to replace on your own because the capacitor has electrical components that require expert handling. Contact us immediately to have a serviceman onsite to fix the issue. 

 

Refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant leaks can happen at any time of the year, but they are especially problematic in the summertime. Without proper refrigerant levels, your system will not be able to absorb warm air and cool it properly to circulate. A refrigerant leak not only leads to discomfort in the building, but can be an environmental hazard if it leaks outside. To fix this, contact your MaintenX technician to repair the leak and to top off your system with refrigerant. It’s important to fix the leak first, so you don’t have a recurring problem on your hands. 

 

Clogged filters and drain lines

Because your HVAC system is running at full capacity, it is more likely for the system to experience clogs and buildup in the drain lines and air filters. The drain lines can develop mld and mildew as the humidity rises, and the air filters often become clogged faster because your system is running at maximum capacity. This is a simple fix, but requires the help of a MaintenX technician to properly clean the drain lines and ducts for better performance. 

 

With MaintenX by your side, we can help you avoid these issues and even improve your HVAC performance with preventative maintenance. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!