3 Common Commercial HVAC Problems During Hot Weather and How to Solve Them

Summer in South Carolina is not for the meek, or those without air conditioning, especially in their businesses. But the hot weather can really test the limits of your commercial HVAC system, and knowing what to do if a problem arises can make the difference between shutting down for the day or keeping the doors open for business. The pros have these five common commercial HVAC maintenance problems to look out for, plus some troubleshooting tips to help you solve them.

Problem #1: HVAC Is Not Cooling the Building

Not enough cooling is a problem common for residential and commercial HVAC systems during the hot summer months. If your business or commercial building heats up, you can lose business, productivity drops, and customers go elsewhere. If the issue is a lack of cooling, there are some potential causes for this common AC ailment. 

  • Your HVAC unit is the wrong size. If an AC unit for a commercial building is too big, it will cycle on and off frequently, compromising the cooling in your space and using excess energy in the process. If the unit is too small, it will run longer than it should to try to meet demand, putting excess wear and tear on the parts, putting the system at risk for overheating, and leaving you with insufficient cool air to make your building cool and comfortable. An HVAC inspection from a licensed technician can determine if the system is mid-sized for your square footage.
  • You have a faulty thermostat. The thermostat controls the HVAC system by telling it when to turn on and off. If your AC isn’t blowing out cool air, it could be a faulty thermostat. Make sure it’s turned to auto, ensure the temperature setting is correct, and make sure it has power. 
  • Your air filters are dirty or clogged. If your air filters get so dirty that air can’t pass through them, your commercial HVAC system will have difficulty circulating cool air through the spaces in your building. Change the air filters every three months to ensure proper airflow and effective cooling. 
  • The evaporator coils are dirty. Dirty coils can’t transfer heat to create cold air, leaving you with warm air coming through the vents. You can check the vents yourself to see if they’re dirty or grimy, but for cleaning, call a professional commercial HVAC technician.
  • The refrigerant is low due to a refrigerant leak. It’s difficult to tell if the refrigerant is low without an inspection, but it’s a common reason for the lack of cooling during hot weather. Call for service if you think this is the issue. 

Problem #2: You Notice Water Leaks

You should not see water leaks near your commercial HVAC equipment. If you do, it could be from a clogged condensate drain line. As the AC runs, condensation runs through the drain lines and out through a condensate drain. Dirt, debris, and algae can clog these lines, leading to an overflowing drain pan and water leaking around the unit. Even if it does not affect the cooling, it can create enormous water damage in and around the AC unit. This is an easy fix if you know where the lines and drains are. You can check for blockages and clear them to move the water where it’s supposed to go. When the weather is hot, and the air conditioner is working overtime, checking for water overflow regularly is a good idea. 

Problem #3: Strange Noises Coming from the AC Unit

Strange noises from your commercial HVAC system are never a good thing, but in the high summer heat, you don’t want those sounds to be the signs of a breakdown. Some of the most common, if unsettling, noises you might hear include:

  • Squealing: When you hear squealing from the cooling system, you may want to run screaming from the building because it’s annoying. What it could indicate are faulty belts. If the belts break, you won’t have a fan to circulate the cool air. Checking the belts can tell you if they’re misaligned, frayed, or worn out. 
  • Whistling: Air escaping through cracks in the ducts often sounds like whistling, and it could indicate some serious airflow leaks. You don’t want to let any of that cool air escape in the hot summer. If you hear whistling, check the ductwork for breaks at the seams or cracks along the vent system. An HVAC technician can help you locate any possible air leaks.
  • Rattling: Loose parts and components can lead to rattling when your air conditioning system runs. Identifying the problem requires a professional, but if you can narrow down the location of the sound, it can help with the diagnosis. 

Common problems in your commercial air conditioner can impact the comfort of your employees, clients, and customers during the hot summer months. Most significant issues require HVAC maintenance and repairs, but you can start the process with simple troubleshooting to help you identify if the issue is a simple fix or requires a call to your HVAC professional. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call in the experts. Contact Wilson’s Refrigeration and Air today to schedule a service call for any commercial HVAC problems. 

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