The breakdown of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment can be a costly loss for a business or institution. Due to the design and location of this equipment, breakdowns not only occur at a greater frequency than other machinery, but the cost of repair tends to be higher.
These breakdowns can be classified into two categories – mechanical and electrical. Proper maintenance can help you avoid either of these disasters.
Mechanical breakdowns make up about 30-40% of air conditioning and refrigeration failures. Here are two ways to help avoid these types of breakdowns.
Have a lube analysis done whenever routine oil changes occur. Loss, lack of or contamination of lubricant directly results in the failure of mechanical parts.
Keep the condenser clean. Disassemble and thoroughly wash the condenser coils, especially the pollen buildup after the spring months. Dust and dirt in the coils can cause the motor to overheat and break down. Keeping the condensers in good condition extends the life of the motor and compressor units.
Electrical Failures are the greater risk, accounting for 60-70% of breakdowns. Taking the following precautions can help protect your equipment from voltage spikes, brownouts, power interruptions and even damage from lightning.
Install Transient Voltage Surge Suppression (TVSS) devices. These devices will work to block voltage spikes. Installing TVSS devices at each individual unit will be more cost effective than installing at the main electrical service entrance.
Make sure to properly ground your electrical system. Lightning has worse effects on systems that have been improperly grounded. The system should be set up with a single point and high quality ground.
Use start delay timers to prevent equipment from turning on and off too quickly and shortening the life of the motor and compressor.
The costs of protecting your air conditioning and refrigeration systems are nominal when compared to their value and the cost of major repairs. Practicing these maintenance procedures can provide effective protection against breakdowns and associated business downtime. Another thing to consider is installing Hail Deflectors. Most commercial policies have large Wind / Hail Deductibles, so protecting the unit and cooling fins from Hail can save thousands.