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Your HVAC System’s Most Critical Components

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is made up of many different parts. You may have heard of some of them, while others may be a mystery to you. Understanding how the most important HVAC components work will help you identify when your HVAC system has a problem. Below are the most critical components of your system and how they operate within it.

Visible Components

These are the HVAC parts you may be most familiar with. They are built into the building and connected to the HVAC system, and they are at least somewhat visible. These components carry the heated or cooled air between the system and the building’s rooms and hallways.

Thermostat

The thermostat is usually your system’s most visible component, and it is wired directly to your HVAC system. It has temperature sensors that turn on the heater or air conditioner based on the conditions in the building, room, or zone it heats or cools. You can install a programmable thermostat that allows you to set its temperatures in advance or control it manually. 

Additionally, you can use your thermostat to make your system more energy efficient. When you leave the building, lower the temperature only a few degrees in winter and raise it a couple of degrees in summer. This will reduce the amount of energy your HVAC system consumes when no one is using it. You can use remote thermostat controls to adjust the temperature back to its normal settings before you return.

Ductwork

Your building’s ductwork is the system of ducts that connect back to your HVAC unit or system. It carries the warm or cool air from the system out to the rest of the building. Ducts are often made of steel, but they can also be made from other materials, including fabric, fiberglass, polyurethane, and aluminum.

Registers, Grilles, & Diffusers

Registers, grilles, and diffusers are where the ductwork system meets a room or hallway. They can be round, square, or rectangular and are covered with angled slats that can be closed manually or controlled to change the airflow to a particular room. Registers, grilles, and diffusers can be made of temperature-safe metal, wood, or plastic.

Hidden Components

These are the HVAC system components you often cannot see, but that are critical for heating and cooling air within the system. Without these parts, the ducts and vents have nothing to carry to the rest of the building.

Condenser Coil and Compressor

The condenser coil and compressor are the parts of your air conditioner or heat pump that move and condense refrigerant to cool the building and release heat outside. A fan blows over the coil while the compressor pumps the refrigerant to release the captured heat more quickly. After the refrigerant is cooled and condensed, it travels through the refrigerant lines. These components are typically part of your HVAC system’s condensing unit, which is usually outside the building. 

You can maintain your condensing unit by annually clearing debris away from it and cleaning it off with a hose, or more often if necessary.

Refrigerant Lines

Refrigerant lines are copper tubes that carry refrigerant between the condensing unit and the evaporator coil. They carry superheated refrigerant vapor to the condensing unit where it is subcooled and delivered in liquid form to the evaporator. The liquid refrigerant is forced through a metering device installed between the refrigerant lines and the evaporator coil. This metering device lowers the pressure and subsequently the temperature of the refrigerant allowing it to flow into the coil for the absorption of heat.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is within your HVAC system’s indoor air handler. It receives liquid refrigerant from the condenser, and it uses warm air in the space to turn the refrigerant back into a gas. This process restarts the cooling cycle, so the refrigerant lines can carry the gas back to the condenser to be cooled and liquefied again.

Monitor your evaporator coil for mold growth and dust and dirt buildup, as well as ice caused by low pressures/temperatures. This could be an indicator of various system issues. If your HVAC system is not properly maintained, these problems can lead to breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Heat Exchanger

This component is present with fossil fuel burning heaters. The unit will burn the fuel and reject the products of combustion through the heat exchanger. This is basically an exhaust pipe reshaped to fit within the heaters casing. The cool air from the space is blown across it and it is heated by contacting the hot metal tubing. This tubing is consistently stressed with the acidic exhaust gases inside and the rapid heating and cooling of the metal.

Make sure your heat exchanger is properly inspected annually. If it isn’t, it could develop carbon monoxide leaks, which can cause headaches and nausea, and even lead to death. Installing carbon monoxide detectors around your office is recommended since carbon monoxide can’t be seen or smelled.

Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is the part of the furnace that combines oxygen with fuel. The fuel type depends on what kind of furnace or heating system you have. If you have a gas furnace, for instance, the fuel will be gas. Then either a pilot light, glow plug, or sparker ignites the fuel and oxygen mixture to create a controlled fire that is drawn through the heat exchanger.

A pilot light is a small flame that constantly burns fuel at the combustion chamber to light the main flame on a call for heat. It is found mostly in older heating systems. If it goes out, you may smell gas and a competent person must relight it. Glow plugs and sparkers, however, are electric ignition systems that light automatically. They are found in newer systems.

If you have an older heating system that contains a pilot leak, monitor it carefully. If the pilot light goes out, it will likely release gas into your building, which will cause major safety risks. 

Maintain Your HVAC Components With Us

At Service Unlimited, we provide preventive HVAC maintenance that will keep your system’s components in good working order. If you have any questions about our maintenance services, contact us today. We want to make sure your system produces conditioned air safely and efficiently.

7 Surefire Ways to Get Your HVAC Summer-Ready

Summer is creeping around the corner, so it’s time to start treating your commercial air conditioning system with some tender love and care.

Together, heating, cooling, and ventilation account for the largest energy expense for most Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This is especially true during the summer, when we crank up the air conditioning to cope with the weather outside. Pretty soon, the mild spring climate will vanish, paving the way for more expensive utility bills. Your AC system doesn’t have to be a cash vacuum, though. When your system is running efficiently, you’ll be able to cut your energy spending dramatically.

The Ultimate Guide to HVAC Preventative Maintenance

An HVAC system is built with lots of moving parts, and many of these parts have a short lifespan. A little bit of regular maintenance can go a long way. When tuning up your AC unit for the summer, follow these seven cooling tips:

Replace or Clean All Air Filters

The first step is to inspect each unit’s air filters. Most HVAC systems use disposable filters, so make sure you’re switching them out periodically throughout the year. For best results, it’s recommended that you replace your filters at least once a month. Many times, these filters can be reused, so be sure to clean off any pet dander, dirt, and debris that accumulates.

Keep the Outdoor Environment Clean

When it comes to HVAC maintenance, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Go outside and examine the HVAC system. If you start to notice a collection of leaves, branches, and other items piled up around the unit, you’ll need to do a thorough cleanup. Don’t wait until spring; this form of maintenance should be conducted throughout the year. You also may want to cover your cooling system with a tarp when it isn’t in use.

Install Programmable Thermostats

You can set a programmable thermostat to cool or heat your space only when it’s needed. These temperature gauge systems allow you to adjust the indoor climate to align with your schedule. So if you’re not home, you can schedule your unit to turn off until you return. This prevents your air conditioning system from exerting more energy, which helps reduce utility costs.

Use Fan Systems

Air fans are major assets to any HVAC system. By installing ceiling fans, you’ll be able to maximize the airflow in your building. These fans rotate clockwise to prevent excess heat from rising during the summer. Additionally, you should also consider using floor fans in certain rooms to keep the air flow circulating at a healthy level.

Take Advantage of Window Treatments

Windows can generate a lot of heat in a building. As the sun penetrates the glass, your windows can cause the temperature to rise indoors, which will cause the air conditioner to expend more energy. You can combat this heat buildup simply by hanging drapes, blinds, or other window coverings.

Clean Every Vent

When your air conditioner sits idle during the winter, your air vents become storage space for dust, debris, and other substances. Examine all vents and make note of any visible blockages. By unclogging your air vents, you’re opening up enough room for smoother and healthier air circulation. If there are issues that basic maintenance can’t resolve, contact a professional HVAC technician.

Practice Heat Reduction

Other appliances can have a massive effect on your air conditioner. Dryers, stoves, and ovens can generate more heat, which causes your HVAC system to work harder. Fortunately, several alternative practices can help amplify your energy savings. When cooking, try preparing your meals on outside grills. And instead of doing all your laundry at once, run smaller loads and hang your clothes to dry on a sunny day.

Finetune Your Air Conditioner With Service Unlimited

At Service Unlimited, we work tirelessly to help our customers get the most out of their mechanical equipment. Whether it’s residential or commercial HVAC, we have the tools and expertise to help lower energy bills and improve comfort.

Now’s the perfect time to start tuning up your air conditioner, so make sure to schedule your annual maintenance checkup with our team!

How to Prepare Your Commercial Air Conditioner for Summer

The key to smooth air conditioning in the summer is to establish an HVAC preventative maintenance plan with the experts at Service Unlimited.

The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and you’re already planning trips to the waterpark. That’s right, summer is just around the corner. Before you know it, you’ll need to blast the air conditioner on high, but before making that adjustment, you’ll need to perform some annual maintenance. This blog will uncover the secrets needed for you to get your HVAC system in peak form.

Summer Preparation for Your Commercial HVAC System

Most air conditioning systems sit idle during the winter, but when the weather starts getting warmer, the central AC unit becomes more than just a dust collector. This doesn’t mean you can immediately turn the system on full blast, though. That will only cause the equipment to work harder, resulting in higher energy bills, more frustration, and emergency visits from an HVAC technician.

To get your air conditioning equipment running optimally, you’ll need to design a preventative maintenance checklist with these critical steps:

Turn Off the Power

Safety always comes first, so make sure to shut off the cooling system’s power before performing any maintenance. Locate the service panel and flip the circuit breaker to shut off the condenser. Let the system sit for at least 30 minutes before taking the next steps.

Supply Clean Air Filters

Most HVAC systems are equipped with replaceable filters. Many times these filters can even be reused. Check each air-handler at least twice a year and remove any accumulated dust or debris. This helps create a healthier, more efficient airflow throughout the building.

Clean the Condensing Coils

It’s important to clean thoroughly behind the grills and fan blades of your AC system. This area covers the consing system, particularly its coils. These radiator-style fan blades rack up a tremendous amount of dirt and debris during the winter. If the coils remain clogged, it can cause your central AC system to circulate unhealthy air. Your HVAC provider will need to use a special refrigerator coil brush on a vacuum to gently clean out the condensing system.

Declutter the Rest of the Condenser

Once the coils are cleaned, you’ll need to get any excess debris or leaves out of the base of the condenser. It’s likely you’ll find weeds and vines in the system, so make sure to dispose of them. Later on, you’ll need to wipe down the blower’s fan blades and tighten any loose bolts or screws. 

Inspect the Coolant Lines

After cleaning the condenser, make sure the refrigerant pipes get checked out. These tubes are typically covered with foam coolant insulation, which helps prevent energy loss. Take note of any punctured or missing layers of coolant. New insulation sleeves will be needed before turning the power back on.

Run the AC Units

The final step in the process is a test run. After cleaning out the system, rinse all parts with a hose and allow the unit to dry. Once the equipment is dry, you’ll need to flip the thermostat off and then turn the system’s power back on. Turn on the circuit breaker and immediately set the thermostat to a “cool” setting. If you find the AC system still isn’t running properly, you may need to schedule a repair with one of our experts.

HVAC Maintenance Done Right

When it comes to heating and cooling, the experts at Service Unlimited are the best team to work with. Whether it’s preventive maintenance, an installation, or an emergency repair, we have the tools and expertise to bring comfort into your building and cost savings to your energy bills. When you’re ready to tune up your air conditioning equipment for the summer, give us a call to schedule your annual maintenance checkup.

Retrofit

The Benefits Of An HVAC Retrofit

The commercial heating and air conditioning system for your building is going to be one of your most significant investments over the life of your facility. Most standard systems have a life cycle that spans somewhere between 15 and 25 years, and when the time comes for a new system there are more options than just a straight replacement. In many cases, a high-efficiency commercial HVAC retrofit can save time and money while providing the level of service that your business needs.

The Benefits Of Retrofitting Your HVAC System

There is no perfect HVAC system that will last forever. Someday your existing system will either need to be replaced or retrofitted. Service Unlimited, Inc. has years of experience in retrofitting heating and cooling systems for a wide variety of facilities, from churches to manufacturing plants.

In this blog post, we cover the advantages of an HVAC retrofit and the ways it could benefit your business.

  • Energy Savings
    • Retrofitting existing systems is one of the fastest solutions for reducing energy usage. It is a quicker process than a complete replacement and can address chronic issues that have been dragging down your HVAC equipment’s efficiency.
  • System Longevity
    • An entire system replacement will deliver results, but it can be a costly and time-consuming process. Implementing a retrofit program to address defective or obsolete parts can give your HVAC system a whole new life. These strategies are designed to maintain your systems and give you more time to plan for that eventual replacement process.
  • Adaptability
    • Most commercial facilities change over time. You might build on an addition, renovate existing space, or add new structures. The retrofitting process will enable your systems to adapt to your changing needs. At SUI, we want your HVAC systems to work for you—not the other way around.
  • Improved Air Quality
    • Over time, older systems show signs of aging and a drop in performance, and some older HVAC equipment will become louder over the years. We want your heating and cooling equipment to be felt and not heard. A modern retrofit will deliver a quieter operation and a higher level of performance for your workplace. Providing comfortable workspaces is the most significant purpose of your HVAC devices; SUI is here to ensure they deliver.
  • Technology Upgrades
    • Technology is always growing and changing; the same is true for HVAC systems. You don’t want to miss out on new energy-efficient devices or ways of cutting energy costs because your system is too old or you can’t afford a total replacement. The retrofit process allows us to update your equipment to provide a system that runs consistently and productively.
  • Rapid Return On Investment
    • One of the major selling points of any HVAC service that we provide is that it will pay for itself in lower repair costs and increased efficiency. A retrofit will provide the same return on investment, but it does so faster than a total replacement or new HVAC installation.

There is no avoiding the fact that your HVAC systems will need to be replaced one day, but the retrofitting process from SUI can ensure that replacement is easier to plan for and is a less costly experience. To learn more about HVAC retrofitting and all of our other services, contact Service Unlimited today.

Why Preventative Maintenance

5 Advantages Of Preventative Maintenance

A significant part of our corporate vision at Service Unlimited is the idea of turning prospective customers into clients and those clients into long-term partners. The reason that we believe the greatest value comes from a long-term partnership is the nature of commercial HVAC systems. Like most pieces of equipment, they benefit from regular maintenance and that type is best performed by technicians that are familiar with the advantages of preventative maintenance within HVAC serving. This is especially true in commercial locations where the working conditions have a direct impact on the performance and productivity of your workplace.

Why does it matter?

Some building owners and managers might ask why they should worry about repairs when their systems are currently running adequately. This is reactive maintenance kind of thinking and it is an inefficient way of managing your resources. Just waiting until you have outwardly noticeable issues will end up costing you more in emergency repair services and the possibly lengthy downtime can disrupt your business operations. Commercial preventative maintenance works to get ahead of these problems proactively before they grind things to a halt.

Why HVAC Preventative Maintenance

  1. Energy Savings: Someone might look at maintenance costs as a waste of their resources, but one of our maintenance teams can more than make up for those expenses in the savings we’ll bring to your energy bills. Maintenance plans and building operation requires thinking for the long-term and, over time, your various pieces of HVAC equipment will run more efficiently when they are well-maintained.
  2. Equipment Longevity: HVAC systems for any location are not a minor investment. Commercial HVAC systems are typically one of the most expensive parts of your building and you want to get the longest life possible out of them. A routine preventive maintenance schedule is one of the best strategies for promoting the longevity of your overall system. We will spot issues before they become problems and help you plan for any costs that are likely to come in the future.
  3. Productivity In the Workplace: The temperatures in the workplace will have a direct impact on the productivity of your workforce. A well-maintained heating and cooling system will be better for your business. Routine HVAC maintenance maintained by a service provider like SUI will also mean there is one less thing on your plate. You can stay focused on your work and let us worry about your HVAC systems.
  4. Improved Comfort: The whole reason we install air conditioners and heaters to make ourselves more comfortable no matter what time of year it is. An HVAC system that is healthy will provide a higher level of comfort across the board. Creating comfortable work environments is what we do, we are the experts you need to maintain it.
  5. Healthy Air Quality: One type of air pollution that few people think about is indoor air pollution. The truth is that the quality of your indoor air can have a direct effect on your health and the health of anyone else in your building. Air needs to be efficiently distributed and vented to deliver the indoor air quality that you deserve.

The bottom line is that HVAC preventative maintenance is better for you, your employees, and your business. The advantages found within preventative maintenance are a necessary precaution to protect your business. Don’t let these needs go unchecked and partner with a team that has the expertise you need. Service Unlimited is equipped to maintain a healthy and safe working environment for you. Contact us today to learn more about our services.