Sub-Zero Temperatures And Protecting Your Facility

Cold snaps are no joke, especially when temperatures are well below freezing. This is often when the most service calls come in as your mechanical equipment is put to the test. So how can manage through extreme cold? Use the 7 tips below to help get your system through frigid weather.

1. Replace Filters More FrequentlyDirty and clean HVAC filter media

Cold weather means units running harder, for longer. This increases the amount of air being pushed through your filters and causes them to get dirty faster. And when a unit that is working hard to keep up with cold temperatures has to work even harder to force air through a dirty filter, you are asking for trouble.

Be proactive about changing filters and realize that you may need to do so more frequently when extreme cold temperatures are present.

Clogged Piping from HVAC Furnace exhaust 2. Clear Vents

Gasses carrying condensate are continually pushed out of vents around your building without much issue. However, when it gets very cold, that condensate can begin to freeze. What can start as a small icicle, can quickly turn into partially or completely blocked vent. When vents get restricted they not only reduce efficiency, but they can overwhelm the system as well.

Inspect flue stacks and other areas where vents exit the building and ensure they are clear of snow and ice.

3. Address Drainage Issues

Water from melted ice and snow should flow away from your rooftop units. You also want to ensure nothing is dripping onto the unit itself from a higher roof. If melted snow or ice pools causes your heat pump to freeze you could be in trouble. While some units have a built-in backup electrical coil that will engage, it will do so while consuming significantly more electricity.


[Like this article? Check out: Winter Is Coming: Make Sure Your Boiler System Is Ready]


4. Examine The Building Envelope

The winter weather of snow a facility's roof.

There is never a better time to catch weak spots in your building envelope than when we are in a cold snap. This is because you can easily feel where the frigid outside air is making it’s way in. This is also the most important time to perform an inspection because your building is working twice as hard to condition the space.

Thoroughly inspect all exterior openings, such as windows, pipe protrusions and doors. Identify gaps that may be leaking warm air, or allowing the cold air inside. Fill these gaps with caulk to ensure that the facility is sealed properly. Take this inspection one step further by looking at all exterior weather stripping. Guaranteeing an air-tight facility will help reduce the overhead costs of heating your facility and put less strain on your equipment.

5. Listen Closely

When temperatures are below freezing for prolonged periods of time there are a number of problems you can run into. That is why listening for unusual sounds becomes more important. Water freezing on blades, pulleys or other areas can throw rotating pieces off balance. This will commonly create a clinking or grinding noise as the system comes on that you may be able to hear.

Water line break in commercial facility6. Check Water Pipes and Gas Lines

Save yourself the hassle of unexpected downtime and emergency repair costs by inspecting your water pipes and gas lines. Water pipes are vulnerable to freeze damage and bursts, while gas lines can experience cracks, leaks, and deterioration during sub-zero temperatures.

If you do find any vulnerable areas in your water pipes or gas lines, it’s crucial to remedy the problem as soon as possible. To prevent your water pipes from freezing in the winter, incorporate these tactics:

Ensure outside water valves are turned off
Insulate your facility’s interior
Ensure doors in areas where water piping is prevalent are not left open
Know where to access the main water valve in case of an emergency

7. Preventative Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is hands down the easiest way to prevent major issues from arising during extremely cold weather. If you have neglected maintenance on your system over the past few years, you are in the high risk category. By maintaining a regular maintenance schedule, you can reduce the chances of system failure in the cold.

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