Important HVAC Systems to Check Before Reopening

As we move into summer, more and more businesses are reopening. This is happening across the country. For this article, we are paying particular focus on Maryland, and Washington D.C. However, as more states are looking to reopen, this applies to any commercial business. As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, people will be returning to work and customers to businesses. So, before you do that, what are the important HVAC systems to check before reopening?

Minimum Maintenance

Many buildings have been operating at low capacity or shut down during quarantine. As many work-from-home and businesses couldn’t have in-store customers, it is understandable. If this is the case for your building, we recommend having your HVAC inspected. This is typical for any HVAC system that has a longer period of minimal operation. Here is the bare minimum that should be reviewed:

  • Review building codes to determine if an inspection is required before you turn the system back on. This also goes for those operating at minimal function.
  • Look at your equipment. Make sure you don’t see any leaks, damage, or possible fungal growth.
  • Hire a licensed HVAC service provider to address known issues or system deficiencies.
  • Check your air intakes for any debris or obstructions. When left for a long time, birds and other animals can make a home.
  • Chillers and boilers are not recommended to be turned off. Sitting water can cause many issues. If it was done, please consult an HVAC expert.
  • In this same vein, make sure to check the water quality before restarting your system.

These are just some of the recommended maintenance. To review the entire list, start with ASHRAE Standard 180-2018.

Regular Maintenance

Even if a building wasn’t shut down or there wasn’t a pandemic, regular maintenance is crucial. This is for the health of the occupants and the efficiency of your HVAC system. Many issues can occur during regular operations. Routine maintenance should be performed no matter if the building is unoccupied or not. If you have kept up with regular HVAC maintenance, we still recommend expanding efforts before reopening. This should include the above maintenance and the following:

General systems:
  • Make sure all setbacks and setup modes are changed back to normal.
  • Open outside air take dampers to 100% or their maximum.
  • Check temperature and humidity levels in the building.
  • Have your heat recovery wheels inspected by a professional.
Airside systems:
  • Turn on all fans and make sure air is moving in and out of the space.
  • Make sure the outside and return dampers are working properly.
  • Check overall building pressure to make sure it is positive.
  • Even if in acceptable conditions, replace all filters.
  • Increase Air Handling Units (AHUs) filtration levels for 1 or 2 cycles.
Cooling systems:
  • All refrigerant pressures should be checked and adequately charged.
  • Have the water quality tested, and levels checked, and add chemicals if needed.
  • Check coil leaving air temperatures to make sure the systems are providing dehumidification.
  • Make sure the pump operation is working and that water is flowing.

Additionally, review the ASHRAE FAQ page for more information on heating and business automation system maintenance.

Preventative Maintenance

At The Severn Group, we advocate for this. Not just for the health of occupants but also for long-term cost savings. And now, more than ever, these are crucial to your business. Our highly-skilled team works with commercial properties all over Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you are looking to reopen and not sure where your HVAC systems stand, we can help. Also, it is our business to educate our team on the CDC and state guidelines. Let us help you get your business back up and running and your HVAC system functioning the right way. Contact The Severn Group today.