Running a commercial operation entails a lot more than just telling people what to do. You’ve got to keep an eye on your overhead, and you’ll always be looking for ways to cut expenses. If you haven’t been paying attention, a commercial HVAC system could be costing you a lot more than it should. Fortunately, there are various ways you can minimize those expenses. Here are a few tricks to help your business reduce its operating costs.
Regularly Maintain Your Heating System
When was the last time you had someone maintain the HVAC system properly? The longer it’s been, the less efficient your system is. Regular maintenance is more than just something they stick in the manual. Every HVAC system is made up of many moving parts, and unless you’ve been maintaining them, they’ll wear out.
Call a professional and have them fully inspect the system. Usually, they’ll be able to identify a few things that need to be replaced. Replacing them might cost a little now, but you’d be surprised at how much you’ll save in the long run. Sometimes, you can see HVAC expenses reduced by as much as 15% or more.
Perform an Energy Audit
Energy audits tell you exactly where your HVAC system’s energy is being used and where it’s being lost. To run an energy audit, you’ll need to call a professional. They’ll utilize specialized equipment to measure your system’s performance. Afterward, they’ll analyze their data to identify potential sources of inefficiency.
You could also perform an amateur audit by looking at the previous three years of heating bills. Look for any spikes in usage. If those spikes led to a consistent expense increase, there’s a problem with your system. You’d have to call a professional to repair it for you at that point.
Replace Aged Cooling Towers
Over time, your system’s cooling towers will rust and corrode. Since they’re exposed to the elements, avoiding that fate would be impossible. Usually, they’ll still run despite the wear. However, as they age, they’ll become less and less efficient. Replacing them would be an easy way to boost your system’s efficiency.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses put off these expenses, trying to save money. Even though they’d save more from boosted efficiency, they’ll wait until tower failure. Replacing them sooner is always a good idea if you’re interested in being efficient.
Upgrade to Smart Thermostats
When was the last time you replaced your building’s thermostats? Chances are, even if you replaced them, you didn’t replace them with smart thermostats. Smart thermostats might sound like mere toys, but they’re great at saving you money.
By monitoring the business’s heating demand, they’ll automatically adjust the temperature. Whenever there’s diminished need, they’ll lower it to save on energy.
Switch to a Variable Refrigeration Flow Setup
Unless you’ve updated your HVAC system recently, you’re probably still using old technology. Nowadays, the latest refrigerant technology is a variable refrigerant flow setup or VRF. VRF systems send your system’s refrigerants to wherever it’s needed the most.
Older systems simply left the refrigerant where it was. That led to unoccupied rooms being kept warm, wasting precious energy. By only sending it to occupied rooms, you’ll only pay to heat rooms with people in them.
Clean Out Your Ducts
Even regular maintenance work doesn’t always mean the vents have been kept clean. As your system runs, dust and debris accumulate along the inside of the ventilation. Accumulated dust contributes to efficiency loss by needlessly absorbing heat. Instead of warming up the building, you’re essentially just warming up the vents. Hire someone to crawl inside of them and clean them out. In some cases, you’ll save 5% or more on your overall heating expenses.
Inspect and Replace Heat Exchangers
Modern furnaces all use something called a heat exchanger. These are the devices that actually create the heat inside of your system. However, they’ll eventually develop cracks.
While a cracked heat exchanger might still operate, it won’t work as well. Replacing them once they’ve cracked should keep your HVAC system performing efficiently.
Start Using Pleated Air Filters
Perhaps, you’ve been replacing the air filters once a month. However, you’ve most likely been using standard air filters. These will get the job done, but they’re not as efficient as pleated filters. Plus, pleated filters hold up better.
Have a Professional Recalibrate Your System
Properly calibrating your HVAC system is crucial. Whenever it was first installed, the technicians would have had it calibrated correctly. As with all technology, however, things begin to break down over the years. If your HVAC system is more than a few years old, you should have it recalibrated. That should help prevent it from performing poorly.
Take a Look at the Air Dampers
On the top of the building, there should be several air dampers. These control how much air is let into the vents. Ideally, they’ll open and close all the way when they’re in operation. In most cases, however, they’ll stop opening fully after a while.
If you’ve seen your dampers opening partway, it’s probably time for some replacements. Replacing them would improve your system’s efficiency by quite a bit.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
Humidity has a huge impact on how the air feels to us. While a dehumidifier won’t actually impact the HVAC system’s efficiency, you won’t need to use the system as much. Humid air conducts temperatures much faster than dry air. So, when it’s hot, you’ll get hot faster, and when it’s cold, you’ll feel that faster, too.
Removing the humidity from the air should make it feel a lot more comfortable. That way, you won’t have to rely on constantly adjusting the thermostat anymore.
Insulate Ducts and Ventilation Shafts
Aged ductwork usually begins to develop leaks. Those leaks won’t stop the system from working, but it will continually have to work harder and harder. Each bit of air that seeps through is a little bit that doesn’t make it to its intended destination. Get someone to reseal the ductwork for you, and while they’re at it, have them insulate it as well.
Well-insulated ductwork prevents extraneous heat loss. Plus, insulation tends to last for quite a while. So, after you’ve had it done once, you shouldn’t have to worry about it again.
Glaze Your Building’s Windows
Finally, a ton of a building’s heat escapes through its windows. Replacing windows could improve your building’s efficiency, but it would cost a fortune.
If you’re on a budget, you can still reduce heat loss through the windows by using a glaze. Glazing the windows should keep most of the heat in, and it’s much less expensive to have done.
Your Reliable Commercial HVAC Team
Beyer Mechanical has served the businesses of Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi for more than 25 years. Our commitment is to always deliver quality, affordable service. Since 1990, our NATE-certified technicians have worked with commercial HVAC systems across the region. We’d love to help you improve yours. We can assist with your next construction project, or we could redesign your existing system. Call us at Beyer Mechanical today to schedule a meeting.