As the winter season approaches, it becomes imperative to prepare Air Handling Units (AHUs) for the unique challenges posed by colder temperatures. Effective winter AHU maintenance not only optimises the performance of your HVAC system but also prolongs its operational lifespan. This comprehensive guide outlines key practices to ensure your AHUs are in top condition during the winter months.

Inspecting and Cleaning Components:

  • One of the initial steps in winter maintenance is a thorough examination of essential components within the AHU. Heating & Cooling Coils, vital for heat exchange, should be inspected for dirt and debris. A careful cleaning process, using a soft brush or vacuum, ensures efficient operation. It is all too common that we see first hand, the effect of coil deterioration. Lack of coil maintenance can result in costly future repairs that could have been avoided.
  • Regular checks and replacements of air filters are crucial to maintaining unrestricted airflow, particularly in colder climates where indoor air quality is paramount. Additionally, fans and belts should be examined for wear and tear, with fan bearings lubricated to maintain smooth operation.
  • Drain pans and condensate lines demand special attention. Regular inspection and cleaning of drain pans prevent clogs and microbial growth, while ensuring clear condensate lines is essential to avoid freezing in colder temperatures.

Checking Insulation

Insulation plays a vital role in preventing heat loss, making a thorough inspection imperative. Ductwork insulation should be evaluated and repaired or replaced if damaged to maintain energy efficiency. Similarly, insulation within the AHU cabinet must be inspected to prevent heat loss and ensure the unit operates optimally.

Ensuring Proper Lubrication

Proper lubrication are crucial for the smooth operation of various AHU components. Fan bearings and motors should be lubricated according to manufacturer recommendations, using high-quality lubricants suitable for specific components. Pulleys and belts also require inspection, with proper lubrication and tension adjustments to prevent slippage.

Protecting Against Freezing

In extremely cold conditions, preventive measures against freezing become paramount. Heat trace systems should be installed on critical components like condensate lines to prevent freezing. Additionally, the use of anti-freeze solutions in condensate pans is recommended to further safeguard against freezing.

Calibration & Testing

Calibration and testing ensure the accurate functioning of AHUs. Thermostats should be calibrated to reflect temperature settings accurately. Controls should be tested for functionality, ensuring they respond appropriately to temperature changes. Safety systems, including pressure switches and limit controls, should be verified for proper operation, and emergency shutdown procedures tested to guarantee system safety.

By adhering to these comprehensive winter maintenance tips, you can ensure that your AHUs operate efficiently, providing reliable heating and ventilation throughout the winter months. Regular inspections, cleaning routines, and preventive measures not only enhance performance but also contribute significantly to the overall longevity of your HVAC system.