Don't Forget the Little Guys - VRF Systems and Ductless Equipment
Posted on Jan 31, 2023 by Erik Schenck
Planning for HVAC Service
The goals of planned mechanical service can vary, but typically boils down to a short list: owners and operators are looking for opportunities to save money on energy, reduce repair costs, extend the life of mechanical equipment, make positive impacts on health, and ensure productive environments. Ductless HVAC equipment, including split and variable refrigerant (VRF) systems, are currently enjoying a boom in popularity for both retrofit and construction applications, yet seem to slip through the cracks when maintenance plans are made. It’s important to not forget the little guys.
The Importance of Ductless HVAC Equipment
It should be said that not all ductless systems are “little” – some are in fact quite large! However, in buildings where they operate alongside more traditional chillers, boilers, and towers, they can be overlooked. Just like most building equipment, these systems leverage technology to operate within tight parameters. Deviation from these parameters can have significant impacts on occupant comfort and the financial health of an organization.
A specific maintenance plan is critical to health of any building, whether implemented by the building owner or by a qualified contractor like LONG. While most VRF systems are prized for their discreet nature and low impact installations, they are not a simple as they may first appear. These systems leverage significant technologies that should be inspected by an expert regularly.
Inspections require specific software and training that allow a technician to search for faults in VRF systems and other HVAC components. Operational histories can be analyzed to detect abnormalities in operation or failures. Monitoring refrigerant levels is key for proper operation and to identify system leaks. Recognizing problems early is critical to maintaining uptime, conserving energy, and avoiding loss of productivity in the space.
Cleaning is also important. Making sure exterior and interior coils are free from contaminants can improve air quality and prevent inefficient heat transfer across coils. Filters should be inspected, washed, or replaced. Condensate lines and pumps should also be inspected for proper operation. Indoor coils are often packed with sensors and delicate damper sections that require trained hands.
LONG Can Service Your VRF Systems
LONG is in a unique position through our partnerships and status as an equipment distributor to secure OEM parts timely and at competitive prices. VRF and other ductless systems often provide cooling for the most critical spaces. When a system goes down, LONG is in the best position to provide expert labor and specific parts to ensure the best outcomes.
But ductless equipment services don’t just end with filter changes. Ask LONG about integrating these complex systems into your building automation system for enhanced visibility and control. Products to provide real time monitoring and fault detection are also available. Reach out to us today so we can ensure you don’t forget the little guys.
Erik leads Oregon’s Building Automation, Security, and Mechanical Service businesses. As the Branch Manager he is responsible for growth and for delivering on LONG’s customer focused values. A degree from Portland State University and twenty years of construction experience have prepared him well for this role. Erik is a lifelong Oregonian, raising three boys with his wife in the suburbs of Portland. He enjoys hiking, camping, and playing guitar.