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Transitioning a commercial building for the winter season while ensuring cost savings

Transitioning a commercial building for the winter season while ensuring cost savings

Transitioning a commercial building for the winter season while ensuring cost savings and effective maintenance can be a challenge, but it's certainly achievable with proper planning and education. Here’s a baseline strategy: 

HVAC Maintenance for Winter Season: 

  1. Optimize your Building Management System Settings: During the annual operation of your HVAC systems overrides are installed to address temporary comfort or performance issues. These overrides are temporary fixes that are left in place long after the duration of the issue.  

  2. Thermostat Settings: Use programmable thermostats. Set them to reduce heating when the building is unoccupied. 
  3. Filter Changes: Regularly change or clean filters. Clogged filters make the system work harder, increasing energy consumption and decreasing its lifespan. Filters protect the heat transfer capabilities of your HVAC elements, keeping them clean is paramount in maintaining optimal performance at the heating and cooling coils. 
  4. Inspect Heating Elements: Before the winter season, inspect heating coils and exchangers for signs of wear. This ensures they work efficiently when needed. If necessary, use compressed air to blow any debris or dust off the elements. Vacuum the compartment when finished. 
  5. Ductwork and Piping Insulation: Check insulation on ducts and piping. Proper insulation reduces energy loss. Overtime high traffic areas can lead to damaged, crushed or missing insulation. Address these areas with new insulation. All unnecessary heating loss costs your energy budget and can be prevented by being proactive about inspecting your insulation. This is one of the cheapest, proactive items that can be quickly remedied.  
  6. Fan Maintenance: Ensure fan blades are clean, belts are tight, and motors are working efficiently. 
  7. Calibration: Ensure thermostats and sensors are calibrated. Miscalibrations can lead to unnecessary heating. 
  8. Check for Leaks: Examine windows, doors, and other openings for leaks. Sealing these will prevent cold air intrusion and save heating costs. 
  9. Boiler and Furnace Maintenance: Schedule annual maintenance. Check for soot buildup, inspect for corrosion, and ensure optimal combustion. Ensuring that scaling and sludge build up in your boiler is kept to a minimum will not only ensure the energy cost to run and maintain are as forecast, but the life of your boiler will be longer when kept clean. 
  10. Chiller Maintenance: Even though it’s winter, ensure that chillers are winterized and ready for colder temperatures. 
  11. Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs): These can save energy by varying the speed of fans and pumps according to the demand. 

By integrating these practices, not only will you save money in the immediate winter season but you’ll also build a foundation for more efficient and proactive maintenance in the years to come. For more detailed or deeper discussion reach out to the building experts at Mechanical Testing here: 


Service Area: HVAC Test and Balance