Looking after your AC with professional maintenance

Dec 4, 2023 | Air Conditioning

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) recently updated its guide to Maintenance Engineering and Management. Widely viewed as an invaluable resource for anyone working in building services, Guide M is based on industry best practice. This third edition once again highlights the importance of professional maintenance, alongside the responsibilities of building operators. Whatever the age of your air conditioning, HVAC or refrigeration system, the simple truth is that it needs looking after.

Energy-efficient equipment can only remain that way for so long without the benefit of professional maintenance. Most rational people would not splash out on an expensive car and then try recoup some of the cost by skipping major service intervals. Your system is also a significant investment, so it makes sense to take care of it. A regular maintenance programme also means that potential problems can often be identified and resolved before they have a serious impact on your business, in addition to adhering to legal requirements such as leak checking and system labelling.

All PPM quotations from Batchelor Air Conditioning & Refrigeration include labour and cleaning materials to ensure you stay compliant with REFCOM and F-Gas Regulations.

Since 2015, equipment that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases in quantities of 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) equivalent or more should have a routine leak detection inspection, which is covered in contracts. However, the ongoing proposed changes to the F-Gas Regulations reflect an increased awareness and the growing use of HFO refrigerants and suggest a mandatory leak check unless the system is hermetically sealed for systems with <10 TCO2e or 2kg of HFO (or <3kg in a residential building).  The period for leak checking above this TCO2e becomes more frequent as the system charge increases.  This applies to stationary refrigeration equipment, air conditioning equipment, heat pumps and fire protection equipment.

Only trained technicians can carry out work on equipment containing F-gases, including:

  • Testing for leaks
  • General maintenance
  • Disposal or decommissioning when you no longer need the product

The increasing use of hydrocarbons as low GWP alternative refrigerants poses a risk when using ‘trained technicians’ as there is currently no clear, all-encompassing industry standard for working with refrigerants that are fluorine free, or ‘natural’ as they are more commonly known.  CO₂ operates on extremely high pressures and most other natural refrigerants fall into an A3, highly flammable category.  This again is addressed in the current F-Gas proposals.

As part of maintaining a compliant record of fluorinated gases on site, notification of both:

  • Mass of F-gas in the equipment (in kg)
  • CO₂ equivalent mass of F-gas in the equipment (in tonnes)

are required to be labelled on the equipment and held in a site register. The CIBSE guide identifies a variety of contract options available to building operators, including Planned Preventative Maintenance and Inspection and Maintenance options.

Planned Preventative Maintenance

Often referred to as PPM, this type of contract involves the provider carrying out service tasks as part of an agreed plan or programme. The intention is that correct completion of this programme will minimise the risk of loss of service from the plant and also optimise its economic life. Maintenance tasks for a PPM contract should be both site and usage specific.

Inspection and Maintenance

For a fixed sum, the service provider will visit a site and look at the item of plant to confirm if it is working correctly. If the plant is capable of having any maintenance carried out on it (such as topping up oil, checking filters, etc.), this is also completed, possibly with materials charged as additional costs. Any work of a more specific nature or any repair will have an extra cost associated with it. CIBSE adds that the choice of service provider should be heavily influenced by their experience and familiarity with the specific plant.

Choosing your contract

The guide authors point out that choosing the correct maintenance contract can be affected by a number of factors, namely:

  • The client’s own in-house capabilities
  • The future property/estate strategy
  • The level of funding available
Choosing your contractor

Batchelor Air Conditioning & Refrigeration has been providing exceptional levels of service for more than three decades. We offer expert advice on the type of service agreement most suited to your business. Every customer is different and we pride ourselves on tailoring our packages accordingly. We won’t try to sell you something you don’t need; nor leave you exposed to unnecessary risk of disruption. For any system breakdown or problem, our experienced engineers will get you up and running as quickly as possible. Issues we can help with include:

  • Carbon emissions and leaks (F-gas)
  • Electricity consumption and operating costs
  • The integrity of pipework, filters or thermostats
  • The energy efficiency of your system
  • General repairs and updates

If you are looking for affordable and reliable air conditioning installation solutions, our team specialises in providing cost-effective options backed by our own 10-Year Workmanship Warranty. We believe in quality workmanship and proper maintenance, ensuring systems exceed manufacturer warranties. With a portfolio of satisfied clients, including Government agencies, MOD, councils, emergency services and blue-chip enterprises, we can provide references and contact details upon request. Use the contact form, call 01234 712 901 or email info@batchelor.co.uk

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