Although they are rarely seen and often ignored, air handling units (AHUs) are the life source of your facilities. After all, your AHU is responsible for circulating air throughout the ductwork of your entire building, providing necessary heating, cooling and ventilation.
These complex units consist of many different parts that work in conjunction, so it’s important each component is in good condition and running smoothly.
My AHU Isn't Cooling
Even well-maintained AHUs deteriorate over time. You can tell when your HVAC requires immediate attention, as it will no longer perform efficiently or malfunction altogether.
Leakages, dirty coils, and failing components lead to high energy consumption and compromised air quality. Corroded units actually spew contaminants into your work areas. This is bad news that requires more than an air duct cleaning to resolve.
The good news is, a proper refurbishment can get your AHU functioning as it should (without causing much workplace interference) for far less money than purchasing a new unit.
Don't Replace Your AHU Yet
On average, refurbished AHUs cost about 25–35% as much as a new unit. When done properly, reconditioning can add 15-plus years of life to your existing AHU.
Before/after views of the floor, one of the many components refurbished on this AHU.
AHU refurbishing typically involves:
Cleaning the heating and cooling coils and blower
Repairing/refurbishing/painting the interior surfaces of all components (louvers, dampers, fan blades, etc.) and drain pans (including coatings for deteriorated fiberglass and rusted metal surfaces)
Service-Tech recently refurbished an AHU at an insurance company's 40,000-square-foot call center in Tampa, Florida. The unit was emitting black particulates into the building. (During the cooler months, when the humidity is not as high, the microbial growth in the AHU tends to dry out and flake off during normal operation.)
In refurbishing the unit, STC technicians cleaned the coils, fan housing, and fan blades. Using a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) vacuum, we carefully cleaned the fiberglass liner, coated the fiberglass with a sealant, and then reconditioned the drain pan.
This reconditioning project proved to be an excellent investment. The customer invested only about one-third of what it would have cost to replace the unit, while extending its life five to 10 years.