March 3, 2022

Common Commercial HVAC Problems

Short Cycling

The compressor will short cycle when you hear it. Let's go. Let's stop. Now let's go. Pause. The compressor is rebooted continuously before it has finished cooling. Normally, air conditioners or heat pumps run their compressors until the thermostat instructs them to stop. Short cycling can occur due to a variety of reasons, ranging from a simple blocked air filter to a faulty thermostat to low refrigerant levels caused by leaks.

Leaking Refrigerant

A commercial HVAC system is most likely to experience a refrigerant leak. The loss of refrigerant may be indicated by oil or moisture around valves, service ports, or connections, as well as by the lack of airflow. An audible queue is short cycling. In the absence of quick action, refrigerant leaks can seriously damage your HVAC system.

Dirty Filters

The recommended frequency for changing your filters is between four times a year and once a month, which can be determined by your local HVAC technician. This post discusses filters and how they prevent noxious particles from entering your system, as well as protecting the evaporator coil. Due to clogged filters, air cannot flow through them, so negative air pressure will draw air through gaps, cracks, and holes and cause the coils to become dirty. In addition, dirty coils cannot do their job correctly - their efficiency is greatly reduced - and the building's air is heated or cooled two times harder. Such wear and tear reduce its lifespan.

Dirty Condenser Coils

It is obvious from a distance. Your split-system commercial heating and air conditioning unit contain an evaporator coil on the inside of your building, while the condenser coil is located outside the building. The coils are usually enclosed, often on a roof, in the containment unit for packaged rooftop units. By releasing heat outside, the condenser coils assist in keeping the rooftop unit cool. Dirty surfaces - such as those with a buildup of dust, debris, grass, leaves, animal hair, and other factors - tend to reduce heat transfer. As little as 0.042" of dirt on condensing coils resulted in a 21 percent drop in cooling efficiency, according to an EPA study.


There could be a symphony of noises coming from your commercial HVAC system. They are an indication that something is wrong. Squeaking can occur because of a lack of lubricant in the motor, vibration from an unbalanced fan, thudding from an encumbered fan, rattling from the blower, or because of loose ducts, buzzing or hissing from a refrigerant leak, booming from a pilot light failing to ignite the furnace, whistling from a boiler indicating trapped air. When you hear something strange, turn off your commercial HVAC system and call a technician.

Malfunctioning Economizer

Energy consumption for cooling can be reduced by using an economizer. An air damper opens if the outside air is cooler and lower in humidity than the indoor air, allowing the outside air to be circulated into the commercial HVAC system. The outdoor temperature sensors of the economizer may fail or the dampers may be stuck if they cannot operate at a certain outdoor temperature. Do these problems occur frequently? An NBI study examined 500 RTUs, and nearly two-thirds of them had malfunctioning economizers.

Clogged Drain

Moisture is collected on the coils of the evaporator when the liquid refrigerant is converted to a gas. Water should then drain down the drain. A clogged drain may result from slime buildup without proper maintenance. This will cause stale or moldy air to come out of the vents, and the water will damage the building or rust it.

Loose Evaporator Belt

As a result, a loose belt is hard on the pulley, it reduces the fan's speed, and eventually results in a frozen coil. It will not last as long if your evaporator belt is loose. Make sure your commercial AC belt is not loose by listening for noise or loss of airflow.

Or better yet, call us.

What is the best way to avoid all of these problems?

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

The maintenance of commercial HVAC systems is just as important as that of your car or kitchen appliances. It makes sense to invest in preventive maintenance because it can save you quite a bit of money.

Increasing the lifespan of HVAC components is the most important benefit of commercial HVAC maintenance. One bad actor ruins the show because their functions are interconnected. When HVAC parts malfunction or clog, they put extra strain on the system, causing it to work harder. By the time your commercial HVAC unit reaches its 15th year, this wear and tear and normal wear and tear have drastically reduced its life.

Indoor air quality needs to be consistent. Have you ever experienced difficulty breathing when entering an older building? Have your eyes ever watered? The air may have been contaminated by unwanted particles, and a simple maintenance check could have easily identified the dirty coils, filters, or blower parts. Retail businesses, which depend upon the positive experiences of their customers in-store to succeed, face the greatest risks from poor indoor air quality.

Running a business requires reducing costs. The list of expenses you have is long enough without adding high energy bills. Energy costs can be lowered by 5 to 40 percent with preventative commercial HVAC maintenance. When parts deteriorate due to poor maintenance, the equipment will not only be shortened in lifespan, but it will also work harder to achieve its purpose.

To maintain your HVAC system, you need an in-depth plan. Commercial buildings have a complex network of HVAC equipment for heating, cooling, and ventilating the air. It is therefore impossible to rely on a single maintenance program. A professional HVAC contractor is a must. Checklists will be compiled based on factors such as climate, budget, equipment type, etc.

Maintaining your home will vary depending on your schedule. You can be lenient in a warm climate, while harsh climates may necessitate monthly checks. At the very least, every commercial maintenance program should consist of four services per year.

Owners, managers, and superintendents of commercial buildings are notorious for waiting for something to go wrong before fixing their commercial HVAC equipment. Never do this.

Provide yourself and your staff with a checklist like the one below to avoid situations where you have to stop operations and initiate HVAC repairs.

There are several items on a typical HVAC checklist:

  • Monitoring general sounds and smells
  • Changing air filters
  • Setting and operating the thermostat
  • Cleaning air intakes and registers to remove dirt, dust, and debris
  • Conducting an inspection of wires and electronics
  • Drains and pans to be cleaned
  • Detecting corrosion or leaks in piping
  • Seals need to be checked
  • Air ducts and insulation inspection
  • Comparison of heating and cooling bills from the previous year
  • Examining and cleaning every component, inside and out
  • Maintaining your equipment professionally

You need a checklist for each building because each one is different. Upgrade the building if necessary.

Here For Your Assistance

Systems of connections, structures, and moving parts in commercial HVAC systems should be robust, durable, and sophisticated.

It can be intimidating.

The first step was to read this guide. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to look for and what to do to avoid costly issues in the future. When in doubt, talk to an expert. A good HVAC system will be trouble-free.

Let us know if something seems off with your commercial heating and cooling system in Maryland, whether it's your air conditioner, RTU, or VRF. You will receive a quick and informative HVAC repair or replacement experience from our team of experienced commercial HVAC technicians. Get in touch with us here or call 724 575 0005.

We provide comfort for you, your guests, and your staff with ART Industries Inc HVAC. Visit us at!


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