Check Rooftop Economizers in the Fall, Too

by Dave Galbreath

Fall is here, and it's time for the heating season begin. It's also a good time to make sure that the economizers on your customers' rooftop units are functioning properly.

In many cases, technicians tuning up rooftop units for heating season only concern themselves with the heating sections of the units. Unfortunately, they often overlook a real money-saving option on their customers' equipment. In fact, they overlook the one option the salesperson told the customer they "really couldn't afford not to have," because it would pay for itself with all the free cooling they would get in the winter.

Most technicians check economizers in the spring, and that's great. They should be checked in the spring. However, they should also be checked in the fall. A lot can happen over the summer. Besides, the cold months are when the customer really reaps the biggest benefit from their economizer option. It makes sense that that's when it should be working at its best.

A non-functioning economizer robs customers of the energy savings they were promised. In addition, it also dramaticallyincreases the potential for damage to the mechanical portion of the air conditioning system, mainly the compressor. This is because most manufactures don't include low ambient controls as standard equipment.

Include the economizer section in both your spring and fall rooftop unit tune-ups.

Finally, after you've spent the time to check over all the other components, don't forget to check the intake filter. Again, these items usually get checked in the spring, but are often overlooked in the fall. By the end of the summer they're usually pretty plugged up.

So do your customers a favor and check these often overlooked items. You'll also be doing yourself a favor, as you won't have to explain to the customer why their mechanical cooling ran most of the winter, and they now have a dead compressor.

Dave Galbreath is the service manager at Seaman's Heating/Air Conditioning/Refrigeration in Grand Rapids, MI. He can be reached at 616/458-1544.

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