Problems happen. In HVAC Systems. In life. But I’ve always believed that for every problem there is a solution. Getting to a solution is not always easy, especially when it relates to a topic with which we aren’t confident or comfortable. We get intimidated and overwhelmed, which makes it difficult to think clearly. And because of this sometimes we amplify the issue. We want, and need, help. We have all been there.
Yes, this is an HVAC blog and I am getting a little philosophical. However, my purpose in this is to point out that in HVAC systems, as with many other things, the more the problem is understood, the easier it is to come to a solution. No matter what role you play, be it maintenance and repair, designer, installer, etc., you have resources that can help you. Here are three steps to get help to resolve your HVAC system issues:
- Remember the goal. What is the system NOT doing that you expected it to do? You must be examining it for a reason. Before getting too far “into the weeds” and “chasing different rabbits," don’t forget the reason the system got your attention in the first place, and keep that reason at the forefront.
- Clearly communicate and support the issue(s). Write down your observations and data. Include more than you think you need, like time of day, what was happening in the building, outside the building, weather conditions, sounds, noises, data trends, maintenance logs, and anything else that might be helpful. Use this information to support your now well-defined issue.
- Know your resources. Depending on the situation, you may reach out to a number of different professionals for help. This is where good relationships with your favorite design engineer, installing or service contractor, or controls or equipment vendor may go a long way. Look for someone with experience that consistently shows they value your best interests.
Simply telling someone that “this pump doesn’t work right” or “the water isn’t getting hot enough” or “the water is too hot” is not too productive. What about the pump’s operation is “not right?" Where isn’t the water hot enough? What temperature are you trying to make? Under what conditions? Remember, most consultants in this industry are engineers, and engineers like specifics! (I know I do. I am no mind reader – just ask my wife!)
A good consultant, be it a design engineer, contractor, vendor, etc., will guide you through the process of solving the ultimate system issues. You can help that process greatly by providing as much specific information as possible and communicating the issues and expectations clearly.