snow covered HVAC unit

As summer wanes and we move into fall, it’s time to talk about HVAC tips for winter. The winter months often take a toll on commercial HVAC systems because everyone expects them to keep their buildings warm, but freezing temperatures plus ice and snow can make that more difficult. Let’s look at some common problems your HVAC system could face this winter and the services that resolve them.

What Are Some Common Winter-Related HVAC Problems?

While winter can bring a variety of HVAC problems, many of these problems are common, and your HVAC contractor should know how to deal with them. These problems include:

Frozen Pipes

Your HVAC system is full of pipes, especially if you have a steam boiler or a hydronic heating system. You may find your HVAC pipes frozen during the winter, particularly when the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find that your HVAC system has frozen pipes, call your HVAC contractor. Then they can assess the frozen pipes and determine whether they can unfreeze it or if they have to replace the pipe entirely.

Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

IAQ refers to the quality of air that your heating and cooling systems produce and your ventilation system circulates throughout the building. Poor indoor air quality in winter often occurs for a few different reasons.

First, the building may not be sealed properly. If you haven’t had your building sealed, it could let in cold outdoor air, along with allergens, dust, dirt, mold, and bacteria. Have your building sealed before winter hits to avoid this cause of poor indoor air quality.

Second, and more commonly, your HVAC system’s air filters may need changing. It’s best to change your air filters once per season. If you don’t replace the filters, dirt, mold, and other pollutants could build up inside them.

Your HVAC contractor should check and replace your filters when they perform routine maintenance tasks. If filter changes and building sealing don’t fix your winter IAQ problems, your contractor should examine your HVAC system for more serious problems.

Uneven Heating

When you turn on your commercial heating system for the winter, you may find it heats your facility unevenly. If this problem occurs, your air vents may be blocked. Reach out to your contractor to have them inspect your ventilation system and unblock the vents if necessary. If the vents are not blocked, then the air ducts could have cracks or holes in them. When your contractor inspects your ventilation system, they find and resolve these problems quickly.

Heating System Producing Cold Air

Another problem you might encounter when you turn on your heating system is how it may produce cool air instead of warm air. This problem often occurs for many reasons. Your thermostat’s sensors may be malfunctioning. However, your HVAC system could have a broken ignition or pilot light, faulty gas valves, or problems with the heating elements or coils. Your HVAC contractor can inspect your system to determine which problem has developed if your heating system keeps producing cold air.

Thermostats Malfunctions

If your HVAC system’s thermostats no longer communicate effectively with your heater or air conditioner, you may need new system controls. Malfunctioning thermostats often become noticeable in winter because building occupants may use them often to heat offices, warehouses, sales floors, and other commercial spaces. However, they can malfunction at any time of year. The thermostats’ equipment may be aging and unable to respond to manual or remote programming the way it once did. If you notice that your thermostats have problems, reach out to your contractor to discuss possible upgrades or replacements.

Connect with us to schedule a routine maintenance visit to resolve these problems and more before winter weather arrives. Reach Out to Us

How To Avoid Winter HVAC Problems

The best way to avoid HVAC problems in the winter is to schedule routine fall HVAC maintenance. Talk to your HVAC contractor about developing a customized maintenance plan for your system. This plan may include annual maintenance visits where they check the heating and cooling systems all at once. On the other hand, the plan could include spring and fall maintenance checks. In the fall, your contractor assesses the heating system to prepare it for winter. In the spring, they examine the air conditioner to ensure it withstands the summer heat. Some specific HVAC maintenance tasks they perform include the following:

  • Change air filters
  • Examine refrigerant levels
  • Check for refrigerant leaks
  • Clean condenser and evaporator coils
  • Check fan belts for wear and tear

These maintenance tasks ensure that your HVAC system is ready for winter and summer, which are the two seasons that demand the most from this system. Winter maintenance tasks may also include checking the heating system’s pilot line and burners and checking that the refrigerant line won’t freeze when snow and ice roll into your area. Overall, a fall maintenance check prevents your heating system from working harder during the winter months.

What Can You Do To Prepare Your HVAC System for Winter?

Just about all the tasks listed above should be performed by a certified HVAC technician, but you can perform one maintenance task yourself. As the weather starts to cool down, turn on your heating system once to see how it operates. Do this as a test before you completely switch over from your AC system to your heating system for fall and winter.

This test shows you any problems that the heating system has developed while it’s been dormant all summer. Once you see how the system performs, contact your HVAC contractor to schedule a fall maintenance visit. Tell them about the heating system’s current operations and any problems you noticed during the test. This test helps you prepare your heating system for winter and lets your contractor know which components need maintenance or repairs.

Prepare Your HVAC System for Winter With React Industries

Reach out to us today to schedule fall maintenance for your commercial HVAC system. We help businesses throughout the New York City area stay warm and improve indoor air quality in their facilities throughout the winter.