Facilities Experts Reveal How Often You Should Be Inspecting HVAC Systems (and Risks That Occur If You Neglect Them)

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Opinion

  Posted by: electime      14th June 2021

May marks the start of National Clean Air Month, when many businesses will be considering how they can do their part to reduce harm on the wider environment and work to improve air quality.

Poor air quality doesn’t always relate to the outdoors however, indoor venues also have to be conscious of maintaining a good quality air, even more so now facilities are reopening to the public.

Here, facilities management experts, MSL property care services, explain how often you should check your HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) as well as the risks that you may face if the correct inspections aren’t carried out.

How often should you check HVAC systems?

Regular inspections are vital to ensure business regulations are adhered to and air quality is maintained. There are a variety of different directives, for example the European Union’s F-Gas Regulation states that HVAC units should be checked regularly dependent on its weight.

  • Over 3kg Refrigerant – every 12 months
  • Over 30kg Refrigerant – every 6 months
  • Over 300kg Refrigerant – every 3 months

Additional regulations include the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2007), which states that if the HVAC unit is of 12kW or above, then it must be regularly inspected. These inspections are crucial to ensure the systems are running effectively.

Since December 2014, the R22 Phase Out has been in place, which prohibits the recycled use of R22, a potent greenhouse gas, hydrochlorofluorocarbon, which was once popular in HVAC systems. It’s important that you consult facility management professionals on your responsibility regarding R22 within a business and how to become compliant.

Poor attention to HVAC systems can lead to detrimental air quality, putting health at risk, and can also impact on the wellbeing and productivity of a workplace, causing both serious short and long-term effects.

Health effects

In the short term, poor air quality can lead to the exposure of pollutants, which consequently can result in various health issues such as dizziness, headaches, tiredness, and cold viruses.

However over long periods of time, exposure to poor air quality can lead to much more serious issues, such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and cancer. Longer term effects may not be visible at the time of exposure, showing the importance of maintaining indoor air quality for the health of employees or visitors.

Productivity

For staff and facility users, it is important that the environment is kept at a comfortable temperature, and that humidity is reduced in order to work at maximum productivity. If ignored, productivity levels can drop as people can become tired or uncomfortable in a poorly heated or overly warm workplaces.

Installing a HVAC unit if one isn’t already in place, can even improve on mood and increase intellectual activity.

Energy bills

A consequence of neglecting HVAC systems within your facility is the potential for a huge increase in energy bills. If a system is running with a fault it can use an increased amount of energy to achieve the same output. Implementing a planned maintenance schedule to ensure equipment lasts longer and runs efficiently throughout the year can help avoid costly bills or large repair costs should a small fault escalate.

There are many factors that can affect air quality within a workplace, from the use of cleaning products to newly installed carpets and flooring, so keeping on top of HVAC maintenance is key to ensuring a healthy and safe facility with clean air.