How to Maintain a Raised-Floor HVAC System in Sustainable Buildings How to Maintain a Raised-Floor HVAC System in Sustainable Buildings

What You'll Need
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Typical HVAC systems are unusual in sustainable buildings due to their notorious energy consumption. HVAC systems account for around 39 percent of all energy used in United States business buildings. Virtually any building which uses a raised-floor HVAC system could improve its energy use simply by removing the system, but some people are very attached to their HVAC systems. If you would like to continue running your HVAC, you can still practice greater sustainability.

Step 1 - Care for Your Raised-Floor HVAC

The most important maintenance job is to examine your raised-floor HVAC regularly. Yours should have a crawlspace access; use this access to inspect the space every three months or so, or when the HVAC is first being used after a period of inactivity. Check for general increases in moisture levels in the space, and also look for pools of water from plumbing or ducts. While you are inspecting the space, check for insects which may damage the HVAC and also for mold and rot which could be drawn into the system.

Step 2 - Change Filters Frequently

Inspecting the crawlspace also offers you the opportunity to clean or change the filters. Air flow is vital to the proper efficiency of the system, and a good filter can help to reduce energy costs. Keeping the filter clean can also help to improve air quality inside the building. Inspect the air filters. Clean them with a light cloth and a small amount of water. Changing filters is more complex, so if you buy from a local supplier, see if they will provide someone to help.

Step 3 - Insulate Properly

Sustainable buildings, like any others, can lose cold air in summer and hot air in winter if you do not have proper insulation. Hot air in particular will rise through rafters, so help to keep heat in (and also prevent damage to your roof), by putting insulation throughout the building. The reason this will help you to maintain your HVAC unit is that proper insulation cuts down the amount of usage on your system.

Step 4 - Get your System Checked

One of the biggest problems with running large air conditioners such as the HVAC is that it can become dirty and damaged very easily, then fail to run at full capacity. Maintaining the system twice a year can help to keep it functioning at its best. By practicing good cleaning and maintenance of the HVAC, you should be better able to keep it running better, even in sustainable buildings.

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