There’s no running away from it – your HVAC system will be one of the most expensive components of your grow room. As such, HVAC is not something you want to replace every other year so your best bet is to choose a system that will last as long as possible.
But the idea of having an HVAC system for as long as possible comes with a condition; you have to take care of the system.
As your HVAC equipment ages, it will go through wear and tear. This wear and tear will reduce the equipment’s efficiency, thereby increasing your energy bills and forcing you to perform frequent repairs that are bound to be costly. Fortunately, you can extend the life of your grow room HVAC with proper care and maintenance.
Here are some top HVAC system maintenance tips to extend your HVAC’s life and delay system replacement:
1. Install your HVAC properly
Installation may be the last thing you think of when it comes to extending the life of your HVAC system, but it’s important nonetheless. How you install a system can have a significant impact on how long it lasts, so make sure you get the right people for the job.
Professional contractors may charge more for installations, but they will ensure that your HVAC components are placed correctly to avoid any damages and increase the life expectancy of your system.
2. Don’t overwork the system
HVAC systems are constantly working in the grow space, but overwork them, and you may end up with a broken system. You can save time and money by not burdening your system.
And how do you overwork a system?
Something as simple as a blocked vent or as complex as an undersized system can all make your HVAC overwork. When you force your system to work harder, its wear and tear increases. Decreasing your HVAC’s workload can be as simple as switching off the system when you don’t need it. For example, switching off your HVAC when undertaking activities such as filling pots or transplanting (activities that create lots of airborne particles that your HVAC system will pick) can help increase your system’s lifespan and avoid unnecessary wear and tear.
Insulation is also another big one when it comes to ensuring that your HVAC is not overworking. Make sure that your grow space has no leaks and spaces where air can escape. A well-insulated grow space means that your HVAC can do its job well without wasting energy or reducing its lifespan.
3. Change air filters regularly
Air filters (e.g. HEPA filters) trap dirt, dust and many other contaminants, preventing them from entering the cultivation space. However, filters get clogged over time and this does a number of things:
- your HVAC system will have to work harder to circulate air as well as cool and dehumidify
- the efficiency of the HVAC system diminishes and breakdowns are more likely
- the wear and tear of the HVAC system increases, and with it, the system’s extended life
Clogged or dirty filters are one of the common issues affecting the performance of HVAC systems. But they are also a problem that’s easy to fix or even avoid – you just need to change the filters on a regular basis.
Do note that your local air quality will affect how often you change filters – areas with poor air quality will require more regular filter replacement compared to areas with better air quality.
4. Inspect your outdoor unit/s
Your HVAC unit will come with an outdoor unit/s, which happens to be your system’s real workhorse. Nonetheless, outdoor units are sometimes victims of rough weather conditions and so it’s important to inspect them regularly.
For example, weather conditions such as harsh winds and storms can lodge debris inside the units. When operating, this debris can interfere with the system’s components and lead to leakages and possible damage.
Moreover, outdoor elements such as weeds and shrubs can block your outdoor unit/s. Such blockages can result in decreased efficiency of your HVAC, a problem that will likely decrease the average life of your entire system. Therefore, it’s also important to keep an eye out for these.
Outdoor units may be out of sight as you go about growing your crop in the cultivation space, but neglect them at risk of potentially losing your crop and operation profitability.
5. Have a preventative maintenance schedule in place
Routine HVAC maintenance will help protect your investment. How often you schedule your HVAC system check-ups will depend on your grow setup and your business goals, but generally, you should be aiming to have some form of HVAC maintenance activity at least twice a year.
The maintenance will have to be performed by HVAC professionals, and preferably those who are familiar with your system design and performance. This way, it will be easier to identify any problems and optimize your system’s performance.
Some of the things that are commonly done during routine preventative maintenance include:
- A thorough clean of the various HVAC equipment
- Lubrication of moving parts
- Tightening of electrical connections and making any other adjustments
If you don’t already have a maintenance plan in place, a good place to start is to schedule reminders and create a checklist to assess HVAC system components between each growing cycle. But here’s the thing; while a schedule and checklist are a good starting point, you can’t talk about a regular HVAC maintenance schedule without talking about HVAC maintenance plans.
What are HVAC system maintenance plans and are they worth it?
HVAC maintenance plans document all the regular work that needs to be undertaken to maintain an HVAC system. With a maintenance plan, you don’t wait for things to go wrong. Instead, you take all the necessary steps to avoid, or at least, identify and minimize any issues with your HVAC.
And now to the second part of that question: “are HVAC system maintenance plans worth it?” The short answer is, yes they are.
By investing in your HVAC system’s health and being proactive about identifying and minimizing (or eliminating) problems before they worsen, you’ll not only extend your system’s lifespan, but you’ll also get to enjoy cost savings.
For more comprehensive information on HVAC maintenance plans, check out HVAC Maintenance Plans: The What, Why and How of Maintaining Your HVAC System.
But eventually, you will need to replace your HVAC system…
Taking care of your grow room HVAC and ensuring that it works as long as possible is a great way to increase your ROI. But even if you do everything to extend the life of your system, you will eventually need to replace it.
The good news is that replacing your HVAC doesn’t have to be daunting. By leveraging the support of professionals who have extensive experience in the HVAC space, you can get a quality system that’s tailored to your grow. With the right system, you can enjoy some massive cost savings, increased efficiencies (think capital, energy and process efficiency), and ultimately, a good return on your investment.