Like any installation, your building’s HVAC systems need regular maintenance to function correctly and at peak efficiency. However, as facilities nationwide begin to reopen after closing down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a thorough HVAC maintenance checklist may be more important than ever.
While your HVAC systems can’t single-handedly prevent the spread of the virus, like the EPA says, “when used along with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating the HVAC system can be part of a plan to protect” a building’s occupants. Here’s a quick rundown on what an HVAC maintenance checklist should look like and how you can adjust it as needed in response to COVID-19.
Make an HVAC Maintenance Checklist That’s Unique to Your Building
When it comes to HVAC maintenance, there will always be some fundamental things your technician(s) will need to pay attention to. These include things like checking:
- Electrical connections
- Thermostat settings
- Condensation drains
- The fan(s)
- Air filters
- Refrigerant levels
- Heating elements
This isn’t a comprehensive list (the ASHRAE offers a complete list on its website) but gives you as the building manager a solid introduction to the kind of work that goes into developing and following through with an HVAC maintenance checklist.
In normal circumstances, your building and HVAC engineers should do a routine check of your systems every month, but in the evolving wake of COVID-19, you might need to expedite that timeline to every two weeks or so. Ultimately, your building’s HVAC maintenance plan and checklist is dependent on how many people you’re welcoming back into the building and where those people primarily congregate—are they all on the same floor or spaced out across multiple levels?
Gradually Implement and Track Changes
If your building is reopening, you’re going to need to do thorough HVAC maintenance before they arrive to ensure that all your systems are still operating properly even after the time they’ve been used sparingly or not at all. You will also want to increase the circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, as recommended by the CDC. This will help improve your internal air quality and filter out old or stale air.
Whatever changes or adjustments you make to your HVAC maintenance checklist should be cataloged and tracked. ASHRAE encourages building managers to keep “good records and document all meetings, agreed to repairs, maintenance and changes with written communication,” as this will make it easier for you to follow-up on any changes made and assess their effectiveness.
Suppose a technician proposes and implements a setting adjustment to the HVAC system linked to a specific floor. In that case, you’re going to want a detailed breakdown of the adjustment so you can check in with it later and determine whether or not it’s a change you want to standardize.
This will be even easier to do with a building automation system like ODIN. If you’re looking for a versatile cloud-based app that empowers you to manage and delegate the different responsibilities involved in managing a building, get in touch with us today!