Climate-controlled units are becoming increasingly popular in self-storage. They allow tenants to store environmentally sensitive items like furniture and antiques with assurance they won’t be ruined by mold, mildew and other deteriorating factors common in spaces without temperature and humidity regulation.
Climate control is made possible by your property’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, which must be in good working order at all times. Regular maintenance of this equipment is one of the many ways to ensure top performance. Let’s look at some of the benefits of regular “tune-ups” as well as some energy-saving tips and when to work with a professional.
Why Maintenance is Important
Better energy efficiency. HVAC equipment uses a lot of energy. Considering the system runs around the clock in a self-storage environment, its impact on your utility bill can be massive. It also tends to get dirty over time, which impedes airflow and reduces efficiency. Regular maintenance and cleaning ensures your system won’t have to work as hard to maintain an optimal temperature.
Lower risk of breakdown. The hardworking nature of an HVAC system makes it more susceptible to mechanical problems. Without regular maintenance, it’ll eventually malfunction, and you’ll have to call a contractor to perform costly repairs. Proper upkeep allows you to spot problems early before they have a chance to worsen. By nipping small issues in the bud, your system will continue to operate smoothly.
Longer lifespan. No business operator wants his HVAC to fail after only a few years of service, but machines aren’t designed to run forever. Your system works hard and will wear out over time. Regular tune-ups can help it run for the 10 to 15 years it was engineered to last. As long as it gets the regular attention it needs, your system should function at its peak.
Though the energy costs associated with HVAC systems tend to be high, there are strategies self-storage operators can deploy to keep their utility bills from going supernova.
Saving money begins with your building insulation. Determining how much your self-storage units need depends on several variables, including ceiling height, cubic area and amount of lighting. You may need to work with an electrical or mechanical engineer or an architect to determine your requirements. An excellent option is to use approximately six inches of fiberglass insulation for roofs and walls. You can also slow the loss of cooled or heated air by using plastic door curtains on your units.
Airflow is another essential factor in efficient HVAC operation. System components such as ductwork, filters and vents accumulate debris over time, which restricts flow. When air flows smoothly, the system needs less energy to move it where it needs to go. To maximize airflow, regularly clean filters, ducts and vents. These are tasks self-storage managers can do themselves, or you can have a contractor perform these duties.
Plan to Prevent
A system failure is the surest sign you’re going to have to call an professional, but waiting for something bad to happen isn’t a smart strategy. Repairs can be costly, and by the time a major issue is identified, the damage could be considerable enough to warrant an HVAC unit replacement.
The perfect time to call a technician is once per year, even if your system seems to be running perfectly. Annual tune-ups are vital to performance, so have a preventive-maintenance agreement with a qualified HVAC contractor. Service contracts are typically inexpensive and certainly cheaper over time than paying for one-off site visits. They're also a steal compared to having your system repair when it eventually breaks down.
Rebecca Anderson is the content-marketing strategist for FH Air Conditioning, a heating and AC service and repair company that’s served the Phoenix area since 1974. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys reading books and mountaineering with family and friends. For more information, visit www.fountainhillsair.com.