Facility Dude

Tips & Tricks to Beat the Heat

By Bob Bittner
Jul 26, 2012

Facilities Management

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Hot weather thermostat We have hit abnormally high temperatures across the country reaching over 100 degrees for several days at a time.  As you know, this can have a major impact on your buildings and equipment causing unexpected problems.  I would like to share some ideas that have worked for me in the past on dealing with this kind of situation as a Facility Manager.

General Tips:

  1. It’s important to communicate to your building occupants that on days the exceed 95 degrees that it is hotter outside than the building was designed to cool and there is a limited amount of things that can be done to offset that condition.
  2. I would set our buildings to run 24 hours a day at the normal occupied building temperature so the buildings would not have to recover from an unoccupied set point of 80 or 85 degrees.
  3. I would ask for window blinds to be closed where possible to help with the heat gain from the sun.
  4. I would close the outside air dampers on the air handlers where possible to keep from having to cool 100 degree air from the outside. (Note: this should not be done for prolonged periods of time as this will cause the CO2 levels in the building to rise.)
  5. I would notify all building occupants of the condition and to please be cautious of leaving doors or windows open during the time of high outside conditions.

Tips for Chillers:

  1. Make sure you have had your preventive maintenance task performed by a qualified chiller technician.
  2. On air cooled chillers make sure the coils on the chiller are clean.  Even a small amount of dirt will impact the chillers performance on such hot days as we are having. (Note: This is also important for your home air conditioner as well. Share that information with your building occupants as often they never think of cleaning all those grass clippings the mower blows up on the coils.)
  3. Make sure all the fans on your air cool chillers are working properly because if they aren’t your chiller will kick off on high head temperatures. Good air flow thru the chiller is extremely important.
  4. If your chiller is in an enclosed area make sure nothing is blocking air flow around the unit. If possible leave the doors on the chiller yard open during high outdoor temperature conditions to allow it to get as much air flow as possible.
  5. If you have a water cooled chiller make sure your cooling tower is properly maintained and that nothing is blocking air flow through or around the tower.
  6. If the fans on your cooling tower are belt driven make sure they have proper tension so the blades are turning at the proper rate.

Hopefully these tips will give you just a couple of ideas to get you through this extremely hot weather and help you keep your cool!

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