Dormant HVAC Systems Could Cause Hotels A Problem
The hospitality industry has been hit by the pandemic perhaps as badly as any other, but with restrictions slowly being lifted, hotels beginning to re-open could find that their problems haven’t ended yet. Over the past 12 months hotels have faced scenarios where they could have been partly occupied, fully occupied very briefly and also completely closed and unoccupied. In terms of systems maintenance, this causes great headaches for facilities managers, but the biggest problems may be yet to come.
HVAC industry experts have warned of a real danger that systems which haven’t been used at all over the last 12 months could lead to hotels experiencing system failures and poor indoor air quality.
Recommended procedure for HVAC systems in unoccupied hotels
The recommended procedure for operating and maintaining HVAC systems is to continue using them on the same set schedules during hotel closures, and regardless of occupancy, but on lower settings to aid efficiency. This will assist the long term health of the system and its components, as well as the health of the building itself.
If a hotel comes to reopen – as many are now preparing to do – and starts an HVAC system that has lay dormant and un-used for 12 months, problems can occur through blockages or mechanical failure. Also, if recommended temperatures and humidity levels are not maintained in individual rooms and other areas such as kitchens, during non-occupancy, then issues with mould and fungus can materialise and could also exist undetected for a significant period of time. This could lead to major problems and delays to re-opening, at a time when you can ill afford to remain closed.
A professionally operated hotel should have a proper shutdown procedure which will ensure all systems are closed down or operated on reduced settings when the building is closed or un-occupied. Such shutdown periods are also the best time to carry out scheduled maintenance.
Maintenance of HVAC systems during the pandemic
With an HVAC system there are a number of maintenance issues which need to be addressed during shutdown periods of any length, but particularly with the extended closures forced upon the hospitality industry during the pandemic. Such routine maintenance should be carried out by professional contractors such as Robinsons Facilities Services, and will involve:
- Cleaning air filters
- Cleaning vents and grills
- Checking pipework and seals for leaks
- Checking the system for blockages
- Changing refrigerant
If the system has been operating on the same set schedules as normal, then you should expect no major problems, particularly if a planned preventive maintenance schedule is already in place. It is always easier to ramp up a system to full operation in these circumstances, if it has been partly operating in the meantime, rather than flicking the ‘on’ switch after 12 months’ inactivity and expecting everything to be fine.
Planned preventive maintenance is always best practice, and you can talk to Robinsons Facilities Services if you wish to implement such a system in your hotel. Alternatively, if you are working towards re-opening you can contact us to discuss your HVAC system and to help bring the system back into full operation.
You can also use our HVAC Calculator to get an instant quote.