Sweater Weather: Preparing your Units for Dropping Temperatures

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By Ryan Snyder – Service Manager

Fall is officially here! This time of year is understandably a lot of people’s favorite. It is filled with bonfires, apple cider, sweatshirts, football, friends, and family. That list is enough to make even the biggest summer-loving enthusiast happily wrap a plaid scarf around their neck…and it didn’t even include Thanksgiving!  Two words people: Pumpkin. Pie.

Clearly, fall is a beloved season. While colder weather is great for bringing family and friends together in toasty houses, it is also notorious for causing complications in your building’s systems. With low temperatures on the horizon, here are eight things you can do to make sure your systems are fully prepped:

HVAC Units:

  1. Check outside air damper for proper close off. This first point is incredibly important. Open dampers in cold temperatures are a recipe for frozen pipes. Make sure they are not left open over night to avoid costly repairs.
  2. Test freeze stats. Freeze stats function as the backup to your unit. If other devices fail, they protect the unit. You can test the freeze stats by blowing compressed air on the sensing element. Hold the can upside-down to release frost on the sensor.
  3. Check calibration of the mixed air sensor. The mixed air sensor will force the damper to close if it senses the air temperature around the coils is too low. Ensuring the accuracy of temperature readings will help you prevent damage.
  4. Verify operation of heating valves. There is nothing worse than turning the heat on, just to find that cold air still blows out. Before you actually need it, check to make sure the heating valve actuator is working properly.

Mechanical Room:

  1. Check functionality of hot water pumps. When it comes to water pumps, check both the commands and status. Faulty status sensors will keep the boiler from operating even if the pump itself is running.
  2. Test calibration of key hot water system sensors. If cold air blowing out of your HVAC unit in the dead of winter is bad, losing your hot water is even worse. If there is a mixing valve, the hot water supply sensor is imperative to making sure the equipment in the building has the necessary hot water available.
  3. Verify operation of water system valves. Ensure that the mixing valve, changeover valves, and isolation valves are all functioning properly.
  4. Examine combustion air dampers. It is important that the mechanical room is always ventilated while the boilers are running. Check the combustion air dampers to determine if the ventilation systems work.

Fall is a great season, but protecting your buildings by prepping them for low temperatures will ensure that you are home eating pumpkin pie when the Holidays come versus fixing your HVAC system.