COPING WITH THE UNEXPECTED
As Carl Webb, Andrew Sykes Specialist Division & HVAC Director points out, “It’s not uncommon for HVAC systems to be overlooked and forgotten about until something goes wrong. When things are working as they should be, the chances are your clients won’t even notice the presence of air conditioning or heating. But when these vital amenities break down, there is no hiding place.”
So, what should you do when this situation arises?
In an ideal world, says Webb, you will already be in contact with a reliable HVAC supplier capable of fulfilling your needs. “The issue of climate control – or lack thereof – has the potential to seriously damage morale and productivity if not properly addressed. By hiring equipment on a temporary basis, temperature-related frustrations are quickly placated without the hassle of capital investment, relocation, set-up, storage, maintenance and other ownership costs.”
He believes that hiring heating or air-conditioning units on a short-term basis has several advantages over buying outright. The flexibility afforded to customers who rent equipment means that it can be removed as soon as any extreme seasonal temperatures subside. Should circumstances change unexpectedly, the quantity and capacity of units on the customer’s site can quickly be altered to accommodate the new requirement. This adaptable arrangement also circumvents the often protracted process of getting capital expenditure authorised for any equipment purchase.
“By recognising that cooling or heating equipment will be required before the winter or summer seasons arrive, facilities managers have more time to source and secure the right solution. In order to simplify this procedure, specialist engineers should be on hand to conduct a free site survey to establish the equipment configuration. This allows them to identify which units are most suitable for the building or space in question.”
Although a permanent heating system is installed in almost every facility, with air conditioning also installed in many, supplementary components are often required to work alongside what is there already.
“Perhaps the main benefit of renting air conditioning is not having to concern yourself with any maintenance or repair works,” says Webb. “As part of any contract you have in place with a supplier, you should ensure their technicians are on call 24 hours a day to support you in the event of a breakdown. This service ought to come at no extra cost and will afford your customers complete peace of mind.
“When a fixed system undergoes a period of planned upkeep, durable yet economical HVAC units represent the perfect replacement while necessary repairs are carried out. This equipment will therefore deliver a comfortable environment until scheduled work has concluded. Outdoor temperatures may fluctuate on a day-to-day basis, but with a rapid response to emergencies, your client’s business will continue to function normally.”
In March, a facilities manager working on behalf of the Bank of England contacted Andrews Air Conditioning regarding a planned shutdown, which involved air-handling units in their uninterrupted power supply (UPS) room being taken offline. The client wished to maintain temperatures of 23C inside the application, meaning some temporary air-conditioning units were required while onsite cooling services were decommissioned.
An Andrews technician recommended the use of 10 PAC 22 split-type units, which are specifically designed for use inside telecommunications facilities alongside temperature-sensitive hardware. “Once operational, the short-term arrangement succeeded in keeping temperatures at the desired level,” says Webb, “ensuring that the UPS room was completely unaffected by the transitory climate control change.”