Finding the right HVAC company for commercial service can be tough. Not all contractors service businesses — many are residential-only — and it can be hard to know what to look for among those contractors that do provide commercial service.
While to some extent, servicing an air conditioner is similar whether the AC belongs to a home or business, there are some key differences for commercial units. If you’re looking for a commercial air conditioner service provider, here are three things to look for.
1. The maintenance plan must include cleaning.
First of all, the contractor needs to offer a regular maintenance plan for commercial clients. That’s essential. After that, you need to make sure that the maintenance plan includes the annual cleaning of the system’s condenser coil.
We find a lot of issues when we check the coils in commercial units. Either the business hasn’t serviced the AC lately, or the last contractor who came by didn’t clean it.
A dirty AC coil is bad news. You’ll be going about your business when you realize it’s hot inside. You’ll put your hand under the AC vent and feel air coming out, but it will feel like it’s the same temperature as the air inside the room.
That’s because the coil is so dirty, the heat stored in the refrigerant flowing through it can’t escape from the system. For the AC to work that heat must be removed from the indoors. Coil cleaning should be an essential item on any annual maintenance check for a commercial AC unit.
And while we’re on the subject of cleaning, let’s not forget air filters. Failing to change your air filter according to the manufacturer specifications is asking for trouble. A dirty filter starves the system for air and can lead to the coil freezing up. In a worst-case scenario, that frozen coil can lead to parts failure.
You can change the filter yourself, of course, but it’s something your HVAC contractor needs to at least check on during every visit.
2. Do they check the belts? They need to.
We see a lot of broken or nearly worn-out belts in commercial AC units. If you’re not sure whether your contractor checks on the integrity of your fan belt, ask them. They definitely should be checking!
The broken belts we see could only be the result of a lack of maintenance or a poor inspection by a previous contractor. In any case, it’s something business owners should know is a common point of failure in their AC units.
3. A comprehensive operational inspection
Be sure to ask a prospective commercial AC contractor about their inspection protocol for commercial air conditioning units. At a bare minimum, they need to do the following during a maintenance visit:
- Clean and test the condensate drain line
- Clean or replace the filter(s)
- Adjust airflow for temperature rise
- Inspect the condenser coil and clean it
- Verify proper airflow
- Check total static pressure in the system (if needed)
- Inspect the primary and secondary drains
- Monitor the AC cycles
- Verify the thermostat is working properly
- Monitor voltage and amperage draw
- Inspect all blower components
- Monitor AC operating pressures
- Ensure proper refrigerant charge
- Inspect electrical connections and tighten them as needed
Only by doing all of the above can a technician tell you with certainty that your air conditioner is working well. Feel free to ask your contractor whether they do all of these things during an inspection!
Need commercial AC service? We’ve got you.
If you live in Metro Atlanta and need service or maintenance for your commercial air conditioning unit, get in touch with us! Our team can address any problem or repair need or provide a comprehensive inspection to ensure your unit is in proper working order.