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Water and Air System: Important HVAC Training for Your Employees

How important is your HVAC system to your business? If you’re like most managers or business owners, you can ill afford any down time. Maybe you have a reliable HVAC consultant who’s at your beck and call; chances are, however, when an emergency repair occurs, you may find yourself on a waiting list. Depending on the nature of your business, a malfunctioning HVAC system could spell disaster if it’s not up and running within 24 hours.

The solution just might be training someone on your maintenance team to learn HVAC preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting of HVAC Systems

Make no mistake: your HVAC system, be it a water- or air-cooled chiller, or a heating/air conditioning system that uses an air handler to distribute conditioned air, is a sophisticated piece of equipment. Whomever you assign to work on it should be well trained.

The type of work your employee might be called upon to do will likely fall within these categories:

  • preventative maintenance
  • repair
  • replacement of parts
  • installation

Preventative maintenance helps your system keep running without problems. A regular maintenance program helps you detect little problems before they become bigger ones and cost you more. Preventative maintenance usually includes the following, depending on what type of system you use:

  • filter change
  • refrigerant check
  • inspection of air handling system
  • heat exchanger and burner cleaning and inspection (for a gas- or oil-powered central heating system)
  • inspection and cleaning of condenser and evaporator coils
  • inspection of air distribution system
  • balancing building air pressure
  • inspection of boiler (for hydronic systems)
  • inspection of ductwork for connectivity and holes or cracks
  • testing of controls and thermostat
  • inspection of flue and exhaust system
  • inspection of wires for fraying and connectivity
  • inspection and cleaning of condensate drain and pan
  • inspection of water tower (for water-cooled chillers)

Learning how to inspect and test these various parts and systems will not only prevent breakdowns, but will also help your maintenance staff troubleshoot the system when something goes wrong.

Your staff may also need additional training for dealing with safety issues involving electricity, gas (carbon monoxide), or a boiler (high pressure).

Balancing Your System

One of the major things that goes wrong with HVAC systems, be they residential or commercial, is system imbalance. Some of the telltale signs for this problem are:

  • too much cool air in one room and not enough in another
  • drafts
  • high humidity
  • condensation

The reasons for improperly balanced systems, whether they are designed to move conditioned air or water for heating or cooling, are several, and often start before the system is even turned on due to improper sizing and installation. Other reasons for system imbalance:

  • duct runs are too long
  • cracks or holes in duct system
  • disconnected ducts
  • undersized branch ductwork
  • too many bends in ductwork
  • insufficient return air vents
  • loose dampers in ductwork
  • heat or cooling needs change in a room (adding heat-producing equipment, for instance)
  • leaking of conditioned air to the outdoors, resulting in negative pressure

In hydronic systems, the most common reason for system imbalance is improper design flow.

There are a number of other issues that can cause system imbalance. A technician will need to first check building pressure, then go step by step to determine the cause. Depending on which type of HVAC system you have, you may also have to provide your staff training in safe practices involving electricity, gas (carbon monoxide fumes), or preventing boiler fires or explosions.

Training Your Staff in HVAC Maintenance and Troubleshooting

The fastest way to bring your maintenance staff up to speed as HVAC technicians is to provide specialized training. They should be enrolled in basic HVAC technician courses, and upon successful completion, be given the opportunity to work on the system under supervision. More specialized courses or trainings may be taken as experience is accumulated.

One of the best ways to ensure that the temperature of your facility is what it needs to be is to check building pressure and correct negative pressure whenever it occurs. Your maintenance staff will need specific training for this task, which if successfully performed, will help assure employee comfort and energy savings for you.

Look for a training that goes systematically, instructing your team on methodical troubleshooting procedures aimed at achieving optimum results. Here are some of the topics a typical training should teach:

  • measurement of air flow
  • how to calculate CFM (cubic feet per minutes) of heat flow
  • ventilation (exhaust systems)
  • automatic valves
  • testing of chillers
  • testing cooling towers
  • valves (calibration)
  • balancing hydronic systems
  • digital manometer
  • proportional balancing
  • fan motor power
  • water temperature
  • wind velocity
  • electrical controls

Want to learn more about how to troubleshoot and fix HVAC system imbalance? Contact NTT Training today for more information about Balancing of Water and Air Systems.

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