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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Go Green with Preventative Maintenance

Experience has clearly shown that some confusion does exist over just what people mean when they use the term "preventive maintenance." One significant factor stems from the evidence that a vast majority of our industrial plants and facilities have been operating for extended periods, years in many cases, in a reactive maintenance mode (fix it when it breaks.) That is to say that the maintenance resources have been almost totally committed to responding to unexpected equipment failures. This leaves very little time for preventive maintenance, changing filters, and verifying the systems are working at top efficiency. The effect of constantly fighting emergency problems can take a toll on the maintenance department and the equipment. The lack of proper preventive maintenance can be measured in downtime and loss of production. That turns into dollars lost that can never be recovered.

Preventive maintenance is the combination of inspections and/or servicing tasks that have been preplanned or scheduled for accomplishment at specific points in time to retain the functional capabilities of operating equipment or systems. The word "preplanned" is the key element in developing a proactive maintenance mode and culture. Properly performed preventive maintenance on your air conditioning equipment not only prolongs the life of the equipment, but if performed correctly, will save energy and downtime. These savings will help pay to implement a program for your equipment. The use of a preventive maintenance program and check list will help the service technician discover the small problems before they grow into monsters that steal your time and money.

Even if your systems seem to be heating and cooling correctly, are they? Is the heat and cooling coming on at the same time? Is the system shutting down at night? Is the compressor short cycling? Is the thermostat calling for the right temperature? Is the unit running as efficiently as possible?


Friday, April 23, 2010

Compressor Failures

Why the lowest bid can be so costly! When a compressor fails in a system there are two major causes:
  1. Mechanical failure
  2. Electrical failure
In a mechanical failure there are broken components, or bent and even damaged pieces inside the compressor. If a component breaks it could cause an electrical failure. The broken piece could lodge itself into the compressor windings and cause them to short out and cause a burnout. So a burnout could have been started by a mechanical failure. Now instead of only having one cause to troubleshoot, the job just got harder and more difficult to diagnose. When pricing out a replacement for a compressor failure, you would base it on what type of failure it was. In a mechanical failure the minimum parts are:
  • New or rebuilt compressor
  • Liquid line dryer shell and core
  • Suction line drier shell
  • Compressor contactor
  • New or properly check refrigerant
Every Contractor has his own way of quoting the cost for parts and labor. The unanswered and hardest question to each contractor is, "WHY DID IT FAIL?" This question is the key to the whole process, but the answer will determine their bid price and the quality of the replacement installation. Just installing a new compressor but not troubleshooting the cause is the cheapest in the short term and may work. However, if the original cause of the failure is not diagnosed and repaired, within weeks or months the new compressor could be out once again. So going with the lowest bid may not be the best decision to make. Determining what originally caused the failure can be difficult. Reports from Copeland Compressor Company and several other companies indicate that approximately 40% of the compressors returned for warranty are not a defect from the manufacturer. Most of the problems were cause by some off the following issues:
  • Lack of oil
  • Liquid slugging
  • Overheating
  • Electrical problems
So answering the question, "What Happened?" only can be determined properly after the new compressor is installed and running. This may show up immediately or may take a few hours of running time to troubleshoot. The extra time to troubleshoot is what separates the low bid from the best bid. So don't just look at the lowest guy out there. Read the bids and determine who is giving you the best price for the work performed to keep your problems from reoccurring. Contact Us today and we can make sure you get the most for your money!