Just because an air handling unit is old doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced. This is especially true when managing a large mechanical inventory and replacements cost both time and capital resources. HVAC restoration is an option that should be kept on the table.
Facility, engineering and operation directors often times have to wrestle with budgets that span portfolios of buildings and the HVAC systems that supply thermal their comfort. Some of these facilities are likely to be quite old with mechanical equipment in the 10 to 20 years of service range. The general rule of thought says that no matter how the equipment has been maintained that at a certain age it should just be replaced. The top brass at the organization may be working with energy consults or an outside mechanical contractor that is making sweeping plans for total equipment replacement. But unless that equipment has had a catastrophic failure does it really need to be replaced or can a HVAC restoration add economical longevity?
The basic design of an AHU cabinet has not changed in decades. It is the housing for the evaporator coils, drain pan, fan, belts, and blower motor. Therefore, it stands to reason that these components can be cleaned up and optimized for additional years of operation. To be clear, the mechanical components should be regularly maintained and properly serviced by a mechanical technician. HVAC restoration as it pertains to this article is defined at the hygienic cleaning of the entire AHU and evaporator coil and refinishing of interior and exterior of the cabinet, including the drain pan, blower cage assembly, structural rails, and insulation.
HVAC New Life
HVAC New Life is a proprietary HVAC restoration process from Pure Air Control Services Inc. that utilizes specialized remedial services to bring new life to aging HVAC equipment for about 1/10 the cost of replacing a unit. Here’s how it works.
Pure Air Controls will team with your engineering department or mechanical contractor to consult and advise on units that are good candidates for HVAC restoration. Then Pure Air’s Building Remediation Sciences (BRS) division is dispatched to the facility perform the HVAC New Life restorations.
Measurement & Verification
Prior to cleaning, very first step in the process is to perform a Coil Cleanliness Verification Test (CCVT) across the coils. This test logs Delta Pressure (ΔP) to determine which zones of the coil have the most fouling and require the most work to clean. This test is also performed when the cleaning has been complete to measure performance improvements.
PURE-Steam HVAC Hygienic Cleaning
After the CCVT is performed cleaning can commence. The entire interior of the cabinet is vacuumed, and a containment area established. Then the PURE-Steam cleaning begins. PURE-Steam is an eco-friendly process that utilizes high temperature (up to 350° F) and low pressure (up to 350 psi) steam to disinfect the unit top to bottom. Next focus shifts to the coils which are continuously worked until the steam pushes through to the opposite side, effectively eliminating buildup from deep within and in between the fins. Water extraction is maintained throughout the cleaning and the coils are finally flushed with clean water at up to 55 gallons a minute. PURE-Steam is integral to the HVAC restoration process as it is proven to optimize energy efficiency and improve Indoor Air Quality.
PURE-Coat and PURE-Liner 2.0 Refinishing
Once the coils have been cleaned the BRS crew moves on to prepping, priming and refinishing the interior and exterior of the AHU. PURE-Coat is a flexible siloxane coating with non-toxic antimicrobial properties that impedes corrosion. It is highly fire rated and has been evaluated in extreme conditions, including a rigorous sea salt spray test. It can stand up the toughest HVAC operations. PURE-Liner 2.0 is a similar compound to PURE-Coat but it is formulated to pour into drain pans and self-level. The BRS team will assess and perform minor repairs on the drain pan as needed, but there are cases in which a pan must be replaced. Both of these HVAC restoration processes have a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty, but clients have reported many additional years beyond that.
Cabinet Insulation, encapsulate or replace with PURE-Cell?
Fiberglass insulation can sag and deteriorate over time, especially in a cool and damp environment. During the HVAC restoration process careful inspection of this insulation must be performed. After all, fiberglass particles can loosen and be spread through the indoor environment which can pose a risk to the building occupants. If the insulation still possesses structural integrity, then it can likely be encapsulated to prevent further degradation. However, Pure Air Control Services Inc. also provides a safer retrofit option with their PURE-Cell zero-porosity, fiberglass free insulation. This insulation offers the same thermal properties as fiberglass but will not break down over time and it easy to keep clean.
HVAC New Life restoration is a viable option to consider before deciding on AHU replacement. Especially when dealing with a large, aging mechanical inventory. Of course, the units still need to have regular filter changes, and mechanical maintenance, but HVAC restoration can extend equipment life, reduce work orders, save energy and improve building health. Best of all, funds saved by HVAC New Life can used for other capital facility investments.
For more information on HVAC New Life or to request a complimentary consultation please call 1-800-422-7873 or Contact Us