Unaddressed air conditioning issues can lead to inefficient operation and increased utility bills. Leaving problems for long enough will also inevitably generate complaints from building occupants when the system fails to keep up with rising summer temperatures. Fixing problems before they can progress too far will help save you money on your operating costs over the long run.
But, how can you recognize early warning signs with your commercial air conditioning units? Even if you schedule routine annual maintenance, problems may still develop between these visits. To stay on top of problems, keep these three potential issues and their symptoms in mind for any commercial structure you manage.
1. Thermostat Problems
Commercial and residential systems have many qualities in common, including their reliance on thermostats for temperature management. Your building's thermostats command your HVAC system to turn the air conditioner on and off, so a failing thermostat can create many issues. Unfortunately, the symptoms can be subtle enough that you may not notice them at first.
If your building's occupants complain of inconsistent temperatures, hot and cold spots, or frequent AC cycling, then a thermostat may be to blame. With multi-zone systems, it's a good bet that a thermostat problem might be responsible if the issues are limited to a single portion of the building. A misbehaving thermostat will mean not only increased utility bills but also additional wear on your AC system.
2. Failing Run or Start Capacitors
Since many commercial structures install their AC units on rooftops, they can be especially vulnerable to heat damage. While most of a condenser unit is relatively heat resistant, high temperatures may negatively affect old or worn-out capacitors. A dead start capacitor might stop your AC cold, but a failing one might result in a few other symptoms.
Pay attention to occupant complaints about an AC system that struggles to start or shuts off too quickly. Although these issues can have many causes, a bad capacitor is a likely culprit.
3. Refrigerant Leaks
Refrigerant leaks are among the most frustrating AC problems to address. In commercial structures, refrigerant line sets are typically longer and more complicated than those found in the typical home. A small leak can reduce system pressure, causing the system to work harder and occasionally freeze up. A frozen evaporator might even increase building humidity, leading to potential mold damage.
Leaks can have many potential symptoms, so the best way to quickly address them is to bring in an HVAC technician any time building occupants complain about unusual system behavior to conduct commercial air conditioning repair. High humidity, frequent cycling, or even icy air from vents are all potential symptoms of a problem. Responding quickly to these problems can save you from a more costly repair bill in the future.