Business owners often field complaints about odors, allergens, temperature, and related issues — sometimes daily. But in some cases, reports conflict, and a good leader knows it’s impossible to please everyone — so potential HVAC problems are often ignored unless, or until, the system breaks down entirely. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the comments and concerns of your employees. They could be noticing one of these four signs that your commercial HVAC system needs service.
Uneven Heating and Cooling
Thermostat settings can be one of the most contentious issues in an office setting, a constant tug-of-war between those who have to wear sweaters in the summer to stay warm and those who would blast the AC in the dead of winter. Although there is no magic temperature that will make everyone happy, you can’t afford to ignore every complaint about temperature. Instead, look for patterns. You might find that one part of the building really is cooler or warmer than the rest, and such uneven heating and cooling could indicate a problem with your HVAC system.
Strange Odors and Poor Ventilation
Lingering odors could also signal an HVAC issue such as poor ventilation, a refrigerant leak, or the presence of mold and mildew. If you can’t find the source of the smell yourself, give your HVAC company a call. It’s important to determine whether the odor originates in your HVAC system and to address the problem if so. Even if the odor is being caused by something else, a smell that sticks around longer than it should could mean your office space isn’t properly ventilated. In that case, an HVAC technician can recommend upgrades to improve indoor air quality (IAQ).
Sick Building Syndrome
You should also pay attention to your employees’ health. If you’ve noticed a slew of sneezes and sick days recently, it’s even more important to schedule an AC tune-up now. You could have a case of sick building syndrome on your hands. Sick building syndrome refers to a phenomenon in which employees experience symptoms of illness but no specific medical cause can be found.
Often these symptoms are tied directly to time spent in a certain building, such as an office, and dissipate when employees are not at work. A variety of IAQ issues can contribute to sick building syndrome, but an HVAC professional should be able to help you pinpoint the cause(s).
Have any of your employees complained about noise levels? Although some of the noise could be coming from outside, indicating that perhaps your building would benefit from more insulation, it’s wise to make sure it isn’t coming from your HVAC system. Anything from clicking or clanking to humming or buzzing could be your system’s cry for help.
When it comes to HVAC maintenance, “sooner or later” should always be “sooner.” The earlier that problems are caught and corrected, the less they will cost you — both on the repair bill and on monthly utility bills, which rise when an HVAC system isn’t working at its peak.
Note: this is a partnered post & consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image via Flickr by tinafranklindg.