The Importance Of HVAC Maintenance In Maximising Employee Efficiency
The planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedule of any facilities team, whether in-house or outsourced, is imperative to the successful operation of any building or facility. Ensuring that mechanical systems are able to provide adequate heating and cooling is essential in providing a comfortable and efficient work environment for employees. However, carrying out routine condenser coil, air handling unit (AHU) and cooling tower maintenance can often be a time consuming and difficult task, absorbing valuable engineer time. Therefore, the objective of any maintenance team is a simple one: Achieve adequate building cooling whilst minimising labour time.
After conducting a detailed research investigation, Seppänen,Fisk and Lei (2006) demonstrated that failing to provide office temperatures can have a significant impact upon employee productivity. The greatest levels of efficiency were achieved at temperatures of approximately 21-22oC; any temperature above or below this range caused a reduction in employee work rate. With building temperatures heavily influenced by the effectiveness of heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) equipment, it is no surprise that competent maintenance and management is considered a mission critical task among most building and facilities managers. After all, if cooling equipment were to fail due to system fouling in summer months for example, the temperature could increase causing a reduction in productivity which could have significant cost implications upon a business.
In most regions of the UK, pollen is a major contributor to cooling equipment fouling.This, combined with general debris caused by foliage, refuse and other airborne particulates, can have a significant impact upon the day-to-day running of the equipment. During the summer months in particular, coil cleaning, changing of internal air filters and general HVAC maintenance must be carried out more frequently, consuming much of the engineering team’s routine PPM schedule (often to the detriment of other key activities). This problem is only compounded by the present economic climate, which has caused nationwide cutbacks on staffing and budgets.
Fewer staff on site equates to a reduced capacity for maintenance output and often, client-facing tasks take precedent over the behind-the-scenes plant maintenance. Cooling equipment, if not attentively maintained, will operate at increasing levels of inefficiency until it can no longer support the cooling requirements of the site. Breakdowns will eventually occur, causing major issues for employers. After all, if a building is operating above or below the desired requirement, productivity will drop and company output/profitability will follow.
The solution is simple: Prevent airborne debris before it can enter the air intake systems, clogging coils, overloading internal air filters and reducing airflow efficiency.
An air intake screen does just that. Fixing to the external intakes, this highly engineered filtered mesh was designed specifically to prevent fouling to HVAC equipment. Many commercially mesh screen products can damage equipment by restricting airflow too greatly; the air intake screen was designed with airflow in mind.
Once installed, an air intake screen can be cleaned using a soft brush or vacuum cleaner, significantly reducing the requirement for coil cleaning; even the rain has a cleansing effect.
By installing a product that reduces maintenance time by protecting cooling systems, engineers can be re-deployed to other mission critical maintenance tasks on site. Engineer time aside, air intake screens assist in ensuring adequate heating and cooling can be provided to the valuable employees within the building, assisting in maximising their output potential.
After all, happy employees make profitable ones.
Research article: Seppänen, O; Fisk, W. J.; Lei, Q. H. (2006) Effects of Temperature on Task Performance in Office Environment, Helsinki University of Technology.