Over recent years, the summer heat has become more commonplace and life-threatening. Recently, a nationwide heatwave resulted in massive disruptions to the power grid, the loss of life, and extensive problems within today's facilities. Unfortunately, facility AC failure in the dead of summer is a real Midsummer day's nightmare, and facility managers need to understand a few things about AC failure and how to avoid asset problems, as well as get it fixed quickly.
Low Refrigerant May Lead to Facility AC Failure
The most common cause of facility AC failure happens to be the easiest to remedy. It arises when refrigerant levels within the AC, most often in the form of Freon, but also available in ammonia, run too low, notes FacilitiesNet. These chemicals are corrosive to both organic tissue and the environment. Depending on your area, recharging an AC unit with an appropriate refrigerant may require the use of a licensed technician. While this represents an added cost, no one wants to spend the day in an AC that blows warm air.
Frozen Evaporator Coils Arise From Poor Maintenance Practices
Frozen evaporator coils are another problem that may result in poor AC function and failure. Frozen evaporator coils tend to result from a buildup of dirt and debris surrounding the coils. As the coils remain cooled, the accumulation of debris inhibits the flow of warm air around them. As a result, they freeze, and frozen lines amounts to an inability to transfer heat and move refrigerant throughout the system.
Dirty Compressor Coils Prevent Outdoor Heat Release
The same principle that prevents the proper function of refrigerated with frozen evaporator coils may also affect compressor coils as well. Compressor coils release heat pumps from the inside to the warm air of the outdoor environment. When these coils become damaged or obstructed, they cannot release warm air. As a result, the AC unit will continue to blow warm air. If left unchecked, they may contribute to additional problems, including the overheating of the compressor unit, the burnout of the blower motor and more.
Fan Problems May Result From Dirty and Debris
Fan problems may also arise from dirt and debris within the fan assembly. While these represent a cost and disruptor, they also pose another risk. Such materials can become fire hazards when the unit overheats, and dirt is a harbinger of numerous pathogens. As the unit functions, it will spread such pathogens, including mold, mildew, and bacteria, throughout your facility. The only thing worse than being hot in the summer is being heated and sick.
Leaking Ducts Appear to Be AC Unit Failure
There will be occasions when facility AC failure is not a failure of the AC unit itself. For instance, this may arise when leaking ducts occur. Leaking ducts result in the loss of cold air within the system, and building occupants only see a duct that blows warm air or fails to blow at all. Identification of this problem is essential to finding the right solution and eliminating the costly repairs associated with replacing an HVAC unit.
Thermostat Problems Prevent the Proper Functioning of the Unit
The thermostat is another problem that may result in facility AC failure. When the thermostat does not function correctly, the unit will not turn on and off appropriately.
Clogged Drains Result in Failure to Function, If Not Water Damage
The final cause of AC failure during the summer within today's commercial facilities may involve clogged drains, AC units function by both removing excess humidity from the environment and pumping heat from an indoor environment to the outdoors. Unfortunately, this may result in the buildup of condensation, and condensation lines have drains as well. When such chains become obstructed, and condensation may increase within the line, resulting in the poor functioning of the system. Even worse, excess condensation resulting from clogged drains may result in water damage to your facility.
Avoid the Problems of Facility AC Failure With a Preventive Maintenance, an On-Demand Maintenance Program
Facility AC failure is a problem, but it is a life-threatening problem in the summer. To ensure the safety and health of building occupants, facility managers need an immediate plan of action to address any faulty AC unit. Unfortunately, the summer is also the busiest time for HVAC technicians, so having a plan in place in advance is critical to minimizing disruption and ensuring the comfort of building occupants. In other words, facility managers should have an established partnership with the facility maintenance and management provider, taking advantage of a nationwide network of field service technicians, to ensure your AC runs and functions as expected. Moreover, a robust preventative maintenance program will further your goals of reducing AC failure and extending its life expectancy.