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MSC Revives Facility HVAC System Suffering from Poor Maintenance

Several months ago, a Northern New Jersey manufacturing facility reached out to MSC to address several serious recurring issues with critical HVAC equipment. The 105,000 sq. ft. facility, which had been operating for just over four years, was served by equipment that included five 15-ton packaged units, various ductless split systems, a 100% outside air unit with associated exhaust, three hot water boilers, a chiller with cooling tower, and a dozen large unit heaters.

An applications engineer for the packaged unit manufacturer had been dispatched to the facility to determine why the equipment was malfunctioning. He traced the problems to poor system maintenance, not a defect in the equipment. This revelation came as somewhat of a surprise to the plant owners as a facilities management company had been under contract for several years and had ostensibly been performing preventive maintenance on a quarterly basis. The engineer recommended they call MSC to bring the mechanical systems back up to like-new operating conditions.


An MSC engineer, accompanied by a senior technician, sat down with the facilities director and his team to go over the overall building design, mechanical drawings, HVAC systems, and basic sequence of operation. This was followed by a complete inspection of the mechanical systems to identify existing and potential problems.


Next, we moved on to cleaning dirty evaporator and condenser coils, repairing broken damper linkages and bent filter racks, and replacing broken or missing filters. All other filters throughout the facility were changed and we ordered additional sets of filters for the next scheduled filter change. The chilled water system was drained, flushed, and filled with a rust inhibitor and 10% food-grade propylene glycol. The cooling tower received a thorough cleaning, several sump heaters were replaced, and new high-point vents were installed.


Once all of the cleaning and repairs had been completed, MSC focused our attention on the building automation system alarm history from the last several months. This alerted us to a number of temperature sensors throughout the facility that were malfunctioning; most of them needed to be replaced. Two VFDs needed to be replaced, and others required reprogramming for auto restart and catch-on-the-fly function. After testing the sequence of operation, we recommended several sequence changes as well as changes to alarm parameters to minimize nuisance alarms and shutdowns.

All of the work we performed was reviewed with the company owners along with before and after photos of the equipment. After a 2 ½ week period, all systems were up and running to design standards, and the owners gladly signed on to a preventive maintenance agreement with MSC.


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