CLEAN OR REPLACE FILTERS
According to the US Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program, air filters play a critical role in maintaining indoor air quality and protecting the downstream components of the cooling equipment (coils, blower, etc) from accumulating dirt that reduces equipment efficiency. Dirty filters force air to go around filtration sections and the unfiltered bypass air deposits diet on the cooling/heating coils rather than on the filter. Routinely change or replace filters based on either regular intervals or by visual inspection. Intervals can range from 1-6 months, depending on the dirt loading from both the indoor and outdoor air. In commercial facilities, measuring the pressure drop across the filter is the most reliable way to rate dirt loading on the filter.
INSPECT AND CLEAN EVAPORATOR AND CONDENSER COOLING COILS
A dirty evaporator coil will reduce cooling capacity and degrade equipment energy efficiency. A clogged evaporator coil reduces air flow through the coil, causing the compressor motor to consume more energy, Exposed to unfiltered outdoor air, condenser coils easily trap dust and debris, raising the condensing temperature and reducing the cooling capacity. According FEMP, a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) study showed that a dirty condenser coil can increase compressor energy consumption by 30%. The evaporator coils and condenser coils should, be inspected at least once per year for clean air-side passage. Replacing filters on a regular basis will also keep the evaporator coils relatively clean.
FACT: According to FEMP, a dirty condenser coil that raises condensing temperature from 95oF to 105oF cuts cooling capacity by 7% and increases power consumption by 10%, with a new (compressor) efficiency reduction of SIXTEEN PERCENT. In just one 10-ton unit operating 2,000 hours per year, this wastes about $250 per year in operating costs.
FIX LEAKS IN CABINET AND DUCTWORK
Pressurized air can easily find its way to leak through the unit cabinet and ductwork. Leaking air reduces the cooling capacity and wastes energy from the loss of the cooled air. According to FEMP, energy benefits from cabinet integrity and duct sealing are estimated to be about 20% of the annual cooling consumption, based on a recent study of HVAC systems in Southern California. Comfort in buildings with tight HVAC systems is expected to improve because the system will be able to deliver sufficient cooled air (as designed) to serve the space loads. First, an easy task is to to check the cabinets and correct air leakage. Some corrective actions include replacing screws or latches, patching or replacing gaskets, or replacing missing screws on loose access panels.
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