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Addressing Lingering HVAC Problems with "Design/Repair" Projects

An MSC service technician arrived at our client’s manufacturing facility early one morning to perform HVAC preventive maintenance and was chatting with the facilities director escorting him through the building. As they passed through the production areas, the director remarked how the exhaust system doesn’t work as well as it used to, there were humidification problems in one of the office areas, and they were aware of a problem with excess oil vapor emissions.

This type of conversation between facilities personnel and our service technicians is common. They describe persistent or recurring HVAC problems, saying things like, “it’s always too warm here and too cold over there”, “we froze a pipe in there last winter”, “we can never seem to get enough exhaust”, etc. What these issues usually have in common is that though they are troublesome, they’re put off because they’re not considered to be emergencies. Solving them would require a bit of engineering, but most facilities managers are short-staffed and too busy addressing more urgent matters, so these problems tend to linger toward the bottom of the priority list.

In this particular case, our service technician offered to have one of our engineers come out to take a look at the areas of the HVAC system that were underperforming and group them all into one project. This was welcome news to the facilities director, who cleared it with top management. Within several hours of when our engineer arrived on site, he and our service technician were able to gather the information they needed to determine what was causing the problems and proposed the necessary fixes at a reasonable cost. The facilities manager dubbed the bundle of small design/build projects “design/repair”.

MSC received the go-ahead, set about ordering the parts, and returned to the facility a week later to perform the work. The exhaust problem was corrected with a thorough cleaning of the ducts and fans and new grilles with dampers. Several parts were replaced in the humidification system, which was also cleaned thoroughly, and a small RO/DI water system was installed to feed it with clean, low-TDS water. The oil vapor issue was remedied with the installation of two oil mist eliminators and detailed instructions were given to the facilities department on how to maintain them. All in all, the entire project was completed in two days.

If your to-do list of lingering, non-emergency HVAC problems has become too long to manage in-house, contact MSC at 973-884-5000 for more information on how we can help you.


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