RETROFIT – When prevention is better than the cure for aging HVAC systems

HVAC equipment coming to the end of its service life can mean expense and unplanned system downtime. Albion Valves Ltd, a leading UK valve supplier to the building services and air conditioning industry, believes that facilities managers can preempt potential issues with ageing HVAC systems by timely retrofitting.

A retrofit, carried out in conjunction with taking preventative measures with HVAC systems, can ultimately mean less investment, less operation downtime and less ongoing maintenance issues. For the purpose of refurbishments and renovations, Albion stocks a comprehensive range of valve models and HVAC components commonly specified in older buildings.

In addition, Albion’s specialist sales team can also help evaluate the system in question to identify potential technical issues that may arise effecting comfort, air quality and water flow issues, and recommend the best engineered solutions and products for the job.

Albion Valves, Technical Specifications Manager, Paul Wightman commented:

“To upgrade a water system, it is not always necessary to tear out all the building infrastructure and pipework. It is entirely feasible for a modern, efficient system to be created using existing materials with a few strategic tweaks. This will result in saving money on energy for a fraction of the cost of a new installation, as well as achieving a short payback period via the savings.

For example, on a hot water system, engineers could consider updating to 2port PICV hydronic balance control, meaning only the water required is delivered to a specific location with no wasted energy. Hence, the 4 port constant volume system could be upgraded quite easily and cost effectively at each terminal unit to a variable volume system, offering significant savings – even on older installations.”

Similarly, if the pipework is in good condition on a HVAC project, then the terminal units such as FCU’s, over door heaters and internal water coils are likely to be equally sound. This is central to the delivery of the water service and may not need replacing. However, to boost efficiency and comfort performance, the controls may benefit from improving speed control on the fan – to optimise air flow over the coil – which can add years to the system’s service life.

Additionally, another simple measure to be considered to help avoid problems in the longer term is that heating systems could have TRVs fitted on radiators. This would mean that the circuit closes down at optimum temperature, therefore preventing overheating and wasteful energy in terms of boiler gas consumption and circulatory pumping costs.

Building Management Services specifying technical products for retrofits, should also consider installing on-off control valves on HVAC systems to help prevent unnecessary heating or cooling of any unoccupied rooms or zones within the building.

Solenoids are another invaluable and inexpensive preventative measure that can be easily fitted to increase the efficiency credentials of older systems, by preventing dripping taps, non-closures and leaks to save water.

See Albion’s range of products which are suitable for Retrofit projects here