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Pretty much every commercial building you see contains HVAC equipment, most notably ductwork that is housed on the roof and used to circulate and control airflow and temperature in the building. Because of this isolated location, it can be very easy to ignore problems that occur with system here, or simply forget to conduct regular maintenance checks in order to prevent a problem from occurring. Modern businesses are also faced with the burden of increasing operational costs, the demand for energy conservation, and the need for better air quality for people within the building, and, of course, the surrounding environment. That said, there are still five common and serious problems with HVAC systems that need to be addressed.
Material integrity. Most systems are made of fiberglass and mastic insulation material, which tends to last a few years before any problems begin to arise, or become significant. The most common problems are low spots in the surface that cause rainwater to form ponds, and UV damage to the mastic material from sun exposure. Animals also cause wear and tear on the equipment by digging out, and taking advantage of holes and cracks in the system. They leave behind corrosive droppings that, along with mold and insects, can also pose a threat to the integrity of your system.
Water penetration. Water also poses a threat to your system’s integrity, not only by collecting at the top, but also because it affects the insulating ability of the fiberglass material in your system. When water gets through a crack in the system, the fiberglass immediately looses its ability to retain heat, preventing your system from properly heating and circulating air in the building.
Air exfiltration. An issue that can cause your system to run less efficiently is air exfiltration. Exfiltration occurs when the pressure inside the air-duct system causes air to leak out of the system via cracks, holes, and other openings. This reduces air circulation throughout the building and also causes the system to work harder and run longer.
Air contamination. Water in your HVAC ducts promotes the growth of mold and mildew. Air flowing through your system will then carry these particles throughout the building, and potentially cause hazards to human health and safety, especially in buildings like hospitals.
Poor insulation. Insulation that is torn, or wet can also affect the efficiency of your system. It can allow cool, or warm air to escape at a much faster rate, making the system work harder and longer and consuming more energy in the process.
It is important that all of these issues be addressed upon instillation of a new system, as well as during regular maintenance in order to keep your system running effectively and efficiently.