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Performing regular maintenance on your cooling and heating systems saves energy and extends the useful life of these expensive appliances.

ChecklistEnergy efficiency expert David Lowe offers these tips to keep your systems in top condition:
  • Outdoor condensing units (the part of the cooling systems where hot air can be felt blowing) can become clogged. Dust and dirt will accumulate in between the small metal fins, blocking air flow. This will make the compressor work harder, increasing energy costs and shortening the lifetime of the compressor.
  • Inspect heating and cooling ducts and seal any leaks. Direct leaks in duct systems can result in large losses.

  • Check air filters throughout the facility. Dirty or clogged air filters reduce air flow thereby increasing the energy use all year round.
  • The operations of your heating and cooling system are regulated by thermostats. Calibrate these thermostats to ensure that they are functioning properly. Otherwise the cooling system will be receiving the wrong signals of when to start and stop.
  • A full system checkup will ensure that all parts (fan belts, air dampers, etc) are in working condition and operating properly. This ensures more efficient operations and helps avoid equipment failure disrupting employees and tenants.
  • Know the amount of outside air needed and the amount currently delivered, and ensure outside air dampers are working properly. Bringing in too much outside air can lead to high energy waste.
These tips can save even more energy if it is found that less fan, pump, and compressor energy is required to supply the facility with cooling (same can be said about heating). Allowing small items to go unchecked tends to result in greater demands on fans, pumps, and boilers than otherwise necessary, which leads to unnecessary energy use.
As a long term strategy that involves capital investment, consider variable speed technology to better control fans and pumps.
David Lowe is the founder of  ControlTemp Thermostats, which provides tamper-proof and programmable thermostats for rental properties.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your real estate investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at joinaaoa.
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