Using An Air Balance Report for HVAC Upkeep


Author: Derick Ramos –

There is much hype these days in the facilities management industry about the importance of preventative maintenance, especially for critically important HVAC systems. In our experience,  we are often urgently called out to a facility because the site’s HVAC hasn’t been well maintained. While we’re happy to help, we also want to share insights so you don’t have preventable crises.

In a recent FER magazine article Realizing ROI on Planned Maintenance – author Michael Sherer quotes David Pogach, LEED GA, Longhorn Steakhouse Facilities Manager, as saying:

“We look at planned maintenance as a way of making sure equipment lasts its expected life cycle. … We know these programs work. They save money, so for us it’s not a debate of whether to spend the money now or later. We maintain our equipment.

“Planned maintenance makes the most sense for equipment that in-house staff doesn’t have the expertise or time to maintain. Most operators who have programs in place start with HVAC because putting people on the roof is a liability issue, and most foodservice employees don’t have the expertise to service HVAC systems.”

Following are ways you can use your air balance report to help start a new preventative maintenance program or audit the effectiveness of an existing one:

1)    In your report, you’ll have a list of deficiencies and recommendations for optimal operation (figure 1). First and foremost, you should schedule completion of these tasks as part of your quarterly or semi-annual preventative maintenance program.

 

2)   Another great use of a test and balance report is using the unit inspection checklists to see what should be monitored by your HVAC contractor (figure 2).

figure 2
Rooftop inspection checklist

 

3)   The report will also include unit3)  A third way to make the most of your air balance report is to use the HVAC system layout drawings to locate and inventory all equipment that needs to be maintained (figure 3). Please note that not all test and balance contractors provide this. manufacturers, model numbers, serial numbers, pulley sizes, belts sizes, motor horsepower ratings, and a large amount of other useful data which would aid in the implementation or upkeep of any preventative maintenance program.

figure 3
Building and rooftop layout

 4)   Finally, make sure your preventative maintenance programs include all of the items below. Omitting regular service on these is a leading causes of problem stores.

  • Change belts when damaged and verify proper belt tension
  • Replace filters quarterly
  • Clean outside air filters
  • Clean kitchen hood filters
  • Clean fan blower wheels
  • Clean grease traps
  • Clean evaporator and condenser coils
  • Verify thermostat settings are correct and someone onsite is trained how to adjust programming

Additional Reading

1. Realizing ROI On Planned Maintenance, Foodservice Equipment Reports Magazine, Michael Sherer, Aug 3, 2015

2. How To Read A T&B Report,  Fresh Air Blog, Derick Ramos, Aug 27, 2015

3. Planned HVAC Maintenance Adds Up to Big Savings for Retailers, Energy Manager Today, Karen Henry, May 11, 2015

Authored By: Derick Ramos

Derick Ramos is a regional service manager at Melink T&B and has been with the company for 12 years. Derick is a LEED-Accredited Professional, NEBB Certified Professional. He has worked in the HVACR industry since 1998 and has optimized hundreds of systems across the country. 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.