Fan Coil Maintenance
Fan Coil Maintenance Program
All fan coil units require regular maintenance to ensure their proper operation. Proper Fan Coil Maintenance has the potential to save both property managers and condominium owners on utility expenses.
City Duct Cleaning offers annual fan coil cleaning and maintenance programs for all types of units. Our trained technicians will ensure that your maintenance is performed without any disruptions or mess. We take pride in ensuring that all work is completed according to project requirements. Our technicians protect walls and floors at all times. Detailed reports are created for each individual suite when needed.
To reduce maintenance costs and to improve indoor air quality, most fan coil units are equipped with an air filter that is easily removed. While performing regular fan coil maintenance we see that the best units have great access to the drain pan and fan/motor assembly. The air filter is usually quite easy to replace. In some units the blower motor and both sides of the coil are not always easy to gain access to. The time required to complete your fan coil maintenance will vary depending on how dirty each unit is as well as the specific model or configuration of your unit(s).
What Is A Fan Coil Unit?
A Fan Coil Unit in a condominium is somewhat similar to a furnace or air conditioner. They can supply heating or cooling, and consist of a heat exchanger or coil, a fan and an air filter. Additional components of a fan coil unit include the drip tray and an interior liner.
There are different configurations of fan coil units. Some are suspended from a ceiling (horizontal), while others are floor-mounted (vertical). Fan coil units are generally used in applications where individual zone temperature control is required. This makes them ideally suited for use in condominiums, apartment buildings, in hotels, and office buildings (ASHRAE, 2008a).
They are also used in many different commercial applications including offices, hotel rooms and meeting rooms.
Most manufacturers of these units certify the cooling performance of their products to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute standard AHRI Standard 440- 2008: Performance Ratings for Room Fan Coils. The standard was developed to provide classifications, test requirements and minimum data requirements pertaining to fan coil units delivering up to 1500 cfm.
How Does a Fan Coil Unit Work?
Fan coil units can be used to condition the air in a single room, or may have ductwork attached, thereby serving multiple spaces.
The heating or the cooling normally comes to each unit via the building’s water pipes… cold water to provide for cooling in the summer, and hot water through the pipes to supply heat during the winter.
Every fan coil is controlled by a manual on/off switch or by a thermostat, and also contains a fan, a coil, interior insulation (liner) and a replaceable air filter.
Some fan coil installations allow the introduction of fresh air from the outdoors. Since most fan coils are not designed to condition outdoor air, they normally do not have provisions for controlling the amount of outdoor air that can be admitted. The problem with introducing outdoor air is that coils must be protected from freezing during cold weather. And during the summer months, the units are not equipped to deal with the extra humidity that may be added. In short, the unit is really designed to re-condition indoor air only. Adding fresh outdoor air may be desirable in some ways but generally this feature could cause more harm than good.
Fan coil units that do allow fresh outdoor air typically have air filters on the outdoor air intake and on the recirculated air
entry to remove insects and airborne dirt particles.
Lack of Fan Coil Maintenance Can Cause These Problems:
Dust, dirt and other solid airborne particles collect on the surfaces inside the fan coil unit, which decreases efficiency and personal comfort.
In addition, collected dirt on the surfaces inside your fan coil unit may cause:
1. Blower and housing to become dirty enough to reduce fan speed;
2. Blower motor collects enough dirt on it to make the motor to run hot.
3. Dampers and mechanical connections will get dirty, which can also prevent normal operation of the unit;
4. The coil often becomes coated with dirt, which reduces air flow as well as heating and cooling effectiveness;
5. Air filters become dirt filled and need to be replaced before microbial growth occurs.
Inspection, cleaning and disinfection (if necessary) should be completed twice per year, before each summer and winter seasons.
Additional Fan Coil Unit Problem:
Black flakes blow out of the air vents. Sometimes the interior liner of the fan coil unit becomes damaged or aged, allowing these black flakes and dirt to be blown out of the system. There are two fixes for this:
1. Clean and seal the unit and the interior of the ductwork. All parts of the liner become encapsulated.
2. Remove and replace the liner. This procedure is more expensive than option 1 and requires more time to complete.
The Liner is basically an internal blanket adhered to the casing that is also used to reduce discharge sound levels. Materials that are used vary based on the application and performance required, however, fiberglass insulation with a black liner is most common in the Toronto area.
Sometimes the interior insulation (liner) on certain fan coil units need to be replaced in as little as eight years. This was an extreme case, as the fan/coil liner normally lasts for 20 years or more. The liner does break down after some period of time, and this could depend on a number of operating conditions such as temperature, humidity levels and the frequency of any previous fan coil maintenance schedule. If you’ve already got 30 years from your liner without any problems so far than that is very good!
Fan Coil Cleaning
The following video shows a fan coil unit cleaning being done. They did not show the fan being cleaned, but this is best done with high-pressure air and a strong vacuum. As we see below, this part of the job was done with a spray bottle. It is possible for the condo owner to clean their unit themselves with inexpensive tools.
For best results we use our 250psi air pressure combined with our portable electric duct vacuum. We have high pressure tools to blow out the fans and coils quite thoroughly. These specialty tool also allow us to power wash, rinse and air dry the coils with compressed air.
There are two levels of cleaning: light and heavy. Light cleaning involves checking the operation of the unit and its controls. We vacuum the coil, the fan housing and blower motor, as well as most parts of the interior liner. Condensate trays are cleaned and inspected. Drip lines and drain fittings are checked. The air filter is replaced, and we clean the exterior cover (front and back).
A heavy cleaning involves the same as above, but requires additional equipment such as compressed air and a special duct vacuum. We often clean any attached ductwork and the air registers at this time. This is also when we apply our duct sealer but only do that on an as-needed basis.
Keeping Your Fan Coil Unit Clean
There are a few things that the resident can do to help keep the fan coil unit clean. This includes replacing the air filter on a regular basis. Air filters must be replaced at least once every three months. More frequent filter changes are preferrable. Some people are really on top of this and change the air filter once per month.
Regular vacuum cleaning of the floor in the area of the fan coil unit also makes a big difference in the amount of dust that the unit will collect over time.
If you require fan coil maintenance then please contact our office for a detailed quotation. City Duct has trained technicians who get the job done right and on time. We can also help with fan coil mold remediation and repairs to any contaminated parts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Responsible for Annual Fan Coil Maintenance in a Condo?
Fan coil maintenance falls under the responsibility of condo owners. The owner should clean and maintain the fan coil units at least twice a year. However, the condo corporation usually handles fan coil air filter and unit maintenance work. Many owners do not know how to clean fan coil unit components or may forget.
How to Clean Fan Coil Unit?
Many condo owners do not know how to clean fan coil unit parts. Fan coil maintenance does not have to be difficult. First, turn the units off. Then remove the panel. Use a brush to remove dust and clean the casing with a cloth. Lastly, replace the panel on all types of fan coil units.
How Does a Fan Coil System Work in Condominiums?
There are many types of fan coil units. However, all units use water to heat up or cool down a condo. The unit uses hot water in the winter and cold water in the summer from the boiler or chiller. A fan coil blower pushes air across the coil until the air reaches the temperature the tenant wants.
Do You Repair or Replace a Fan Coil?
Professionals who service fan coil units can either repair or replace them. This is the case regardless of the types of units you have. The technicians will inspect the units to determine whether coil maintenance or a replacement is best. Older, more worn-out units will need replacement. For minor issues, repairs will be sufficient.