9 Most Common HVAC Problems In Commercial Buildings

hvac problems

Your commercial building’s HVAC system is integral to the comfort of workers and visitors. As such, it is important to know how to identify HVAC problems early on to prevent irreversible damage.


Common HVAC Problems in Commercial Buildings

An HVAC system is essential to the operation of a commercial building. It allows for better airflow, cools the space in the summer, and warms it in the winter. But, like with any equipment, HVAC units are not immune to complications. There are several HVAC problems you may encounter during the lifetime of your unit. Learning how to identify and remedy them is a crucial aspect of extending the system’s useful life.

Here are the most common HVAC problems to watch out for.


1. Pilot or Ignition Issues

There are several reasons why you might be experiencing ignition issues. These include dirty flame sensors, pilots, and burners. When these parts are contaminated, they can cause pilot outages, furnace lockouts, short cycling, and delayed ignition. And then there’s the possibility of a problem with your gas supply or general wear and tear.

When this happens, your ignition or pilot will likely need to be repaired or replaced. Because these actions involve hazardous elements such as natural gas and high voltage, it is best to hire a trained professional to address the issue.


2 Dirty Filters

Another common HVAC issue is dirty filters. Filters allow for better airflow. If your HVAC system is making strange noises, burning more fuel, or not performing as well as before, then the filter is the first thing you should check.

When you have dirty filters, your HVAC unit will be forced to work twice as hard to get the air flowing. This will significantly shorten the system’s lifespan and cause the furnace to overheat. Fortunately, you can easily clean air filters by vacuuming, washing, and drying them. Make sure to remove the filters before you clean, though.


3. Filthy Condenser or Evaporator Coils

common hvac problemsAll sorts of dirt, filth, and even debris, can find their way into the unit’s condenser and evaporator coils. These result in clogs in your system, reducing its efficiency and shortening its lifespan. If your team is having a more challenging time cooling the space or is developing frost in the coils, there’s a good chance you need to clean it.

To fix this, shut off the power to the condenser. Then, take a hose and wash down the outdoor coil. As for the indoor evaporator coils, you can clean them yourself, though hiring a professional is always better, especially if it’s excessively filthy.


4. Blown Fuses

One of the top problems with HVAC systems is blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. A surefire sign of this is when your unit doesn’t turn on anymore. To fix this, you’ll need first to identify which fuse is connected to your HVAC unit. You can just open your fuse box and look for a fuse that has a broken interior metal line. That’s the fuse you have to replace. If it’s an issue with a tripped circuit breaker, switch it back to the on position.


5. Thermostat Problems

Commercial HVAC problems come in different forms, but one that puzzles many owners is a malfunctioning thermostat. Some owners mistakenly believe there is a problem with the unit itself because it’s not cooling correctly, only to discover that it’s a thermostat issue.

If your thermostat runs on batteries, try replacing them first. Often, this fixes the more significant problem. If you have a programmable thermostat, it is best to refer to your HVAC unit’s manual. Troubleshooting HVAC issues is always easier with a manual in hand. Make sure the settings are correct, and the interiors are clean. You may need to do some recalibration, too.


6. Irregular Temperature

hvac problems in commercial buildingsHave you found that your HVAC system is cooling different rooms unevenly? An excellent way to gauge this is to measure the temperature in each room. If the temperature is set equally, but one room feels warmer than the other, you may need help with temperature distribution.

Of course, consider other factors, such as the size of the room, the number of windows in the room, the placement of the air vents, and the temperature outside. Before concluding that your HVAC system is the problem, try other steps first. You may need better insulation in some rooms, and you may need to cover large windows with drapes or shades. Sometimes, dirty air filters are to blame, so give those a good cleaning.


7. Mechanical Issues

Your HVAC system is primarily made up of mechanical parts and features. HVAC units can suffer from wear and tear, as with any mechanical rig. Belts and bearings can wear out, while motors can turn rigid. Over time, you will find that your unit could be more effective and fuel efficient. While it is difficult to half the effects of time on your team, proper and frequent maintenance can slow them down.


8. Water Leaks

Air conditioners and furnaces produce moisture. And a well-functioning HVAC system directs water to drain pipes. But, when you have damaged or clogged drain lines, it can result in leaks. Though, leaks can also come from the evaporator drain pan, collector box, and heat exchanger.

If you have clogged drain pipes, pouring bleach down them is an easy fix. But if you have damaged drain pipes or leaks that come from somewhere else, you will need a service technician to identify the source of the problem and make repairs.


9. Strange Furnace Noises

commercial hvac problemsIt’s easy to hear strange noises from your furnace and dismiss them entirely as normal. But these peculiar noises could be telling you something. For instance, a whining or squealing sound could signify that the bearings are in bad shape, thus requiring replacement. Other noises can point to issues with airflow or filthy burners. If you hear a sound that you don’t usually hear from your HVAC system, it’s best to do a thorough inspection.


The Best Solution

As you can see, there are many HVAC problems that you might come across. And while you may feel tempted to address these problems yourself, it is always better to hire a service technician or have one on retainer to keep your unit in good condition.

This is where Maintenance Specialists Inc. comes in. We provide expert HVAC maintenance services and other building and facilities maintenance solutions. Call us today at 704.405.6000 or contact us online to learn more!



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