Anyone running their business in a commercial setting should optimize their HVAC systems. Otherwise, they’re simply wasting money. Optimized systems provide the same level of comfort without using as much energy. If you’d like to improve yours, here are several ideas to get you started.
Properly Seal and Insulate Your Ductwork
First, take a look at your ductwork. More than likely, if it’s not brand new, your ducts have developed a few leaks. These leaks won’t prevent the system from functioning, but they will sap its efficiency.
Sealing leaky ducts could improve your efficiency by 5% or greater. For even better results, you could have them insulated. Insulated ducts deliver air without losing energy to the ducts themselves.
Even a small layer of insulation could create a pretty significant difference. You’ll probably need to hire someone to insulate the whole building, though.
Switch to Smart Thermostats
Have you updated your thermostats already? If not, then you’re losing energy every month. Old thermostats don’t automate your HVAC system at all. And, they’re not as sensitive to temperature differences. As a result, they’ll keep your system running even though it’s unnecessary.
Upgrading to a smart thermostat system conveys several benefits. Above all, they’ll automate the system’s performance. If no climate control is needed, then it’ll turn it off, saving you money.
Plus, these thermostats tend to detect temperature differences a little better, too. That way, they’ll turn off the system as soon as the desired temperature has been reached.
Upgrade to a Zoned System
At your business, do you use every room in the building at the same time? Chances are you’re not really using all of them all the time. So, heating unoccupied rooms could be a huge drain on your company’s finances.
By using a zoned system, you’ll only expend energy wherever it’s necessary. These detect which parts of the building have people in them. And, then, they’ll direct the HVAC system to focus on those areas. At the end of the month, you could drastically cut your overhead with one of these.
Add a Dehumidifier
Humidity isn’t something most people think about when it comes to climate control. However, higher humidity levels increase demand for it. When there are high levels of humidity, temperatures conduct much faster.
So, if it’s hot, people will feel hotter, and when it’s cold, people will feel colder. As such, they’ll want to use the HVAC system a lot more. Installing a dehumidifier might not impact your system’s efficiency directly, but they’ll reduce how much they’re being used.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Maintaining your system regularly would be the simplest way to improve its performance. Even replacing the air filters could boost efficiency by up to 10% or more. Dirty filters impede airflow. So, the system must work harder to produce the same results.
Besides air filters, there are plenty of parts that should be maintained regularly. Each of them will perform their best whenever they’ve received regular maintenance.
Lubricate the Air Dampers
On top of your building, there are several boxes that help generate your system’s power. These have small flaps on them called air dampers. When your air dampers age, they’ll stop opening fully, limiting system efficiency. Lubricating them would help ensure they’ll operate at maximum efficiency for longer.
At some point, you might even want to have them replaced. If you do that, we’d suggest replacing them with economizers. Economizers are a newer model of air damper that is designed to improve performance. By replacing your old dampers with these, you could boost efficiency by up to 15%.
Clean Your Evaporator and Condenser Coils
Evaporator coils absorb heat energy from the air inside of your building. Then, condenser coils help to expel that heat outside. Over time, they’ll accumulate dust and debris. The dirtier they are, the less efficient they’ll be. Cleaning them could provide a huge increase in system performance. Plus, your coils should last even longer.
Dirty coils have a much harder time absorbing and expelling heat. Any heat must first pass through the dust layers. These aren’t nearly as conductive as the coils themselves. So, by cleaning the coils, you’ll improve system efficiency by a ton.
Reduce Load Capacity
Reducing load capacity simply refers to minimizing how much you use your system. You could add more insulation to the building. Better insulation would decrease the need for both heating and cooling. Even adding new windows could have an impact on load capacity.
Lots of heat is lost through your windows. Most of the time, business owners don’t think about what kind of windows are on their buildings. With energy-efficient windows, however, you will use your HVAC system much less.
If you have single-pane windows, you could replace them with double-paned models. If you’d rather save on new windows, you could simply apply a glaze. Window glazes cost a lot less than all-new windows, and they’ll prevent heat loss almost just as well.
Install a Variable Frequency Drive
Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are a type of blower or fan. These replace the existing fans within your system, and they’re a lot more efficient. Similar to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in a car, they’ll provide a continuous range of responses.
Usually, commercial HVAC systems work at discrete levels. For example, most modern systems feature a high and low mode. There’s nothing between these modes for the system to use. Either the fan is blowing on high, or it’s blowing on low.
VFDs change this completely. Instead of having modes, they’ll provide exactly how much power should be used. As the building approaches the target temperature, the fans slow down. This has several benefits.
First, you’ll experience fewer hot and cold spots in the building. Even better, you’ll see much less short cycling. That’s when you hear the system turn on and off rapidly. Not only is short cycling costly, but it’s also bad for the system’s integrity.
Use a Variable Refrigerant Flow System
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems change how refrigerants are distributed. Most of the time, refrigerants remain in the same areas all the time. This creates needless waste. Every time you turn on the system, all of the refrigerant begins absorbing energy. As a result, you’ll waste money controlling the climate of unoccupied areas.
VRFs change this dynamic by directing refrigerant to where it’s needed the most. By sending refrigerant to high-traffic areas, you’ll waste much less energy. Areas that need more climate control will receive it, and other parts of the building won’t drain system resources. Overall, VRFs could boost efficiency by as much as 20%.
Your Commercial HVAC Experts
At Beyer Mechanical, we’ve built our business to serve commercial clients with excellent service. From Corpus Christi to San Antonio and all the way to Austin, we’re devoted to our customers’ needs. We’d love to help maintain, repair, or install your commercial HVAC system. We could even help design systems for new construction projects. Contact Beyer Mechanical today to request a free quote.