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29.05.2013, 08:09

The importance of HVAC maintenance in maximising employee efficiency

Author: ECEX Limited

Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) of mechanical systems is an important factor in the operation of any building or facility.


The planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedules of in-house and outsourced facilities teams can impact directly on the operation of buildings and facilities.

Ensuring mechanical systems provide adequate heating and cooling functionality is essential, if the objective is to create a comfortable and productive working environment for employees.

However, even routine condenser coil, air handling unit (AHU) and cooling tower maintenance can be laborious tasks that require valuable engineering input. The objective of any maintenance team must therefore be simpler: to achieve adequate levels of building cooling with minimum labour.

Research in 2006 by Seppänen, Fisk and Lei from the Helsinki University of Technology found that failing to ensure consistent temperatures in office environments can impact significantly on employee productivity. The researchers also reported that workers were at their most efficient when indoor temperatures were between 21Centigrade and 22Centigrade.

With building temperatures influenced heavily by the effectiveness of heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) equipment, it comes as no surprise that maintenance and preventative management are considered to be mission-critical tasks by most building and facilities managers.

In most parts of the UK pollen is a major contributor to cooling equipment fouling. When combined with a general buildup of debris caused by foliage, refuse and other airborne particulates, it can have a significant impact on the day-to-day running of equipment.  

Particularly during the Summer, coil cleaning, changing of internal air filters and general HVAC maintenance ought to be performed more frequently.

Figure 1: Clogging restricts airflow, placing greater strain upon HVAC equipment and costing more to run.
Figure 1: Clogging restricts airflow, placing greater strain upon HVAC equipment and costing more to run. © ECEX

The present economic climate has resulted in cutbacks on engineering staff and budgets, however. 

Fewer staff on site equates to reduced maintenance capacity and a focus on client-facing tasks.

Nevertheless, cooling equipment which is left unmaintained will operate with reduced efficiency until it can no longer support a site's cooling requirements - thereby impacting directly on productivity (and indirectly on company profits).

The simple solution is to prevent airborne debris before it can enter intake systems and clog coils, overload internal air filters or reduce airflow efficiency.

Air intake screens are the answer.  When affixed properly, these highly engineered mesh filters will prevent fouling of HVAC equipment in a way that does not restrict airflow. 

Designed to "self clean" when it rains, intake screens can also be cleaned manually with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner (this will reduce any requirement for coil cleaning significantly).

Figure 2: Air intake screens prevent airborne debris from entering your HVAC system and can be simply cleaned using a soft brush of vacuum.
Figure 2: Air intake screens prevent airborne debris from entering your HVAC system and can be simply cleaned using a soft brush of vacuum. © ECEX




As a consequence of installing a product that reduces maintenance times by protecting cooling systems, engineers can be re-deployed to other mission-critical tasks.

Given that happy employees make profitable ones, the case for deploying a solution that ensures adequate heating and cooling in office environments is compelling.

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  1. UK distributors of air intake filter screens manufactured in Chicago by Permatron. www.permatron.com

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