3 Steps to Troubleshooting Your Facility’s HVAC With Onsite Staff


Author: Darren Witter –

Have you identified that your facility is experiencing a potential air balance problem?  You might be experiencing doors that are hard to open, uncomfortable temperatures, poor smoke capture, odors, drafty areas, or any combination of the other common sick building symptoms.  The inevitable question at this stage is, “Who is best to resolve this?” Bringing in your facility’s mechanical contractor may be your first instinct, but troubleshooting with your onsite managers is actually the best place to start. Work through the following questions with your facility’s day-to-day manager:  

1.  Is the equipment running?

As basic as this may come across, it is absolutely crucial to check if all HVAC equipment is operating. Check all grilles to see if air is being blown out or sucked in. Check the equipment on the roof, can you hear the fans from the RTU, MUA, or EF units spinning? Have the manager record and communicate findings.

2.  Check the thermostats

Navigate to the wall mounted thermostats and ensure that they have the proper set points. Often, a thermostat is installed and connected to the system and then left alone. When this occurs the thermostat is left at factory settings which is often set at a random temperature, maybe even 100 degrees Fahrenheit!  Your staff should be able to follow the directions on this thermostat to program it for the desired temperatures.  As well, check the thermostats for “Fan ON.”

Thermostat

3.  Check the Circuit Breakers

Check your indoor and outdoor circuit breakers. Observe if any of them have tripped or been switched to “Off.” DO NOT flip the breaker back on. If it is tripped or left off, there is likely a reason for it and you don’t want to risk frying the electrical systems. We recommend calling an electrician for this type of deficiency.

 

Armed with your findings from these simple tests, you may have been able to save some money with a Do-It-Yourself fix.  It’s possible that the journey back to a healthy building ends here.  But if the problem persists, it’s time for the level of technical know-how. Call the mechanical contractor. With your observations to these preliminary steps above, you can approach your mechanical contractor with information that will help them to better understand your situation and get you closer to achieving a healthy building.

Authored By: Darren Witter

Darren Witter is the Vice President and General Manager of Melink T&B and has been with the company since 1996. Darren received his Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Cincinnati and is a State of Ohio Professional Engineer (PE). He is also certified as a LEED-accredited professional and an NEBB-certified professional. For more than 25 years, Melink T&B has been providing independent testing and balancing, and installation verification services to help building owners reduce operating costs and improve comfort.