2 essential steps you should take for HVAC health during COVID-19

Rows of rooftop HVAC units
Dylan Rogers

Whether you manage a network of convenience stores or are the regional facilities director for essential healthcare treatment locations, controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is of critical importance.

Here are a few simple steps you can take with your HVAC units to protect your physical locations, your employees, and those you serve during this global pandemic:

1. Maintain HVAC preventative maintenance even at inactive locations

HVAC units are under near-constant use in both warm and cold weather—they keep the indoor climate comfortable and clean year-round. In addition to expected wear and tear from frequent use, HVAC units are also continuously exposed to the elements. All the weather that we don’t experience indoors takes its toll, especially on rooftop HVAC units where the wind and weather hit hardest.

For these reasons, it’s important to maintain your HVAC preventative maintenance programs even if your organization’s physical locations are temporarily inactive in light of the coronavirus. If your HVAC units go unchecked during this time, vital components could suffer and repair needs could grow. Along with monitoring the physical units themselves, check to ensure that energy outputs and temperature readings are appropriate for the current activity levels within your facilities.

Without keeping up your HVAC preventative maintenance, your reactive maintenance spending will inevitably increase. And, on average, a reactive repair is 1.5 times the cost of preventative maintenance work (Diego Galar, Maintenance Costs and Life Cycle Cost Analysis, 2017.). Even in the short term, as we navigate the challenges presented by the coronavirus, it’s critical to maintain the state of your HVAC units across your portfolio.

2. Maintain clean airflow by performing regular filter changes

According to ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, proactively servicing HVAC units is a decisive step in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. When properly maintenanced, HVAC units perform a number of important functions, including:

  • Cleaning the air within the room
  • Supplying clean air to susceptible occupants
  • Diluting the air in a space with cleaner air from outdoors and/or by filtering the air
  • Containing contaminated air and exhausting it to the outdoors

Filter changes are critical to accomplishing all of the above. And it’s also worth noting that dirty air is the leading cause of compressor failures, one of the costliest of HVAC maintenance scenarios.

By contrast, new filters are inexpensive, easy to replace, and require minimal hardware in most cases—so facilities managers can perform these changes themselves, if HVAC units are easily accessible. Always seek out the services of an expert technician whenever rooftop units are involved.

Keeping up your HVAC units is essential to controlling costs and maintaining healthy environments. This is especially true as we navigate the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Stay connected with SMS Assist for more important information.