When it comes to any HVAC system, choosing the right one and getting it installed correctly is only part of the process. Once everything is up and running, these delicate systems require regular maintenance and repairs to keep them running smoothly and avoid any nasty surprises. Without regular maintenance work HVAC systems of any type and size can start to break down, leaving you with very expensive bills and maybe even some property damage to contend with. But maintenance isn’t just limited to tightening screws and changing out components. It’s also about one of the less glamorous jobs – cleaning.
What Is A FCU?
FCU stands for Fan Coil Unit, and it’s a fairly standard fixture in most commercial air conditioning and heating systems. It’s designed to move air from inside the system and through multiple components (including a filter, fan blower, condensing coil, plenum box and ductwork) to filter and heat/cool the air before delivering it to the assigned rooms. It’s one of the most efficient ways of heating and cooling air within an HVAC system, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its issues. As a fan coil unit gets older its needs will become more and more frequent, which is one of the reasons regular maintenance is an absolute must.
Why Does It Need Cleaning?
Cleaning is a key part of maintenance work, even though most businesses won’t think twice about it. But here’s the thing. Part of a fan coil unit’s job is to filter air, which means catching all the dust, debris and particles as they move through the system. But all of that debris has to go somewhere, and that’s the filter plate. As you can see in the image below, FCU filter plates can become so full of this debris and dust that they become dense, and air has a harder time moving through them. This means the system has to work harder to push the air through the filter, and the whole system becomes less efficient. Long term this could cause overheating and actually cause your FCU to completely break down – which is a much bigger bill than you want to receive!
To show you what we mean, we took temperature readings of this FCU filter and unit before and after we cleaned it all out. The before readings clock in at around 22.5°C, with a very uneven temperature distribution. You can see the heat is all in the centre, with the edges being left cool or receiving no heat whatsoever. But once the filter had been cleaned out, the temperature was not only more consistent across the whole unit, but it was also the right temperature – 33.3°C. So when we say it’s important to clean your FCU and its filters, we mean it!
Benefits Of Regular FCU Cleaning
Energy Savings: Studies have shown that a dirty or clogged up filter can not only reduce the effectiveness of your HVAC system, but it can increase your energy consumption by 15-25% – so regular cleaning is ultimately easier on your wallet.
Flood prevention: Most fan coil units have a drain line or pan, and if not cleaned and drained regularly it can become blocked up by dirt and debris. This can lead to flooding and cause mould to grow, both of which are bad news for your building.
Extend life expectancy: By regularly cleaning your filters you actively extend the lifespan of your FCU. It prevents things like overheating, burnout of components or unnecessary wear, all of which could contribute to a machine failure.
Better air quality: Indoor air quality is incredibly important, especially if you have people living or working in your building. Having clean filters means they can work more efficiently and filter air effectively, giving you better air quality in your building.
As a general rule, we recommend having your FCU cleaned at least once pr twice a year, to ensure it stays fully functional and running efficiently. At Bonus Eventus Maintenance Ltd we specialise in the maintenance and servicing of commercial HVAC systems. And we love a good clean! We view cleaning as a critical part of our job in keeping your systems healthy. If you’re not happy with your current maintenance provider, or if you don’t know when your filters were last cleaned out, we would love to help. Just get in touch with the team today to book a free consultation.