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Commercial Heating Maintenance Canada

GTA Commercial Heating Systems

Commercial and institutional buildings represent 14% of end-use energy consumption and 13% of the country’s carbon emissions in Canada, according to Natural Resources Canada. A fundamental method of avoiding expensive and uncomfortable heating system breakdowns is to apply pre-emptive or proactive heating maintenance .Poor heating maintenance cost property owners and managers much more in energy losses than a simple quarterly heating maintenance schedule would cost. Inefficient operating conditions result in reduced heating capacity and higher energy costs to compensate for inefficient operations.

Knowing Your Envelope

A building’s ‘envelope’ refers to the internal space contained by the building’s structure, the external walls, windows, roof, and floor. To have consistently comfortable conditions, you need to understand your building’s envelope and how it is sealed. The envelope is your barrier between your interior space and the outdoor environment. Knowing your envelope means being completely aware of your heating, ventilation, and the insulation of your conditioned spaces.

A tight envelope means the more effectively your building contains its conditioned air—heated and air-conditioned air. Minimizing your building’s gaps and leaks helps to ensure a tighter envelope. Having a tight envelop means that you reduce the load or strain, or ‘heat-load,’ placed on your entire HVAC system and thereby increase your building’s operational efficiency—which in turn saves you money. Similarly, insulation helps slow heat-conduction through the walls and roof. Heating maintenance plan extends its life.

Types of Heating Systems

There are many types of commercial heating systems. Central heating systems are the most common in Canada. Central systems contain a boiler, furnace, or heat-pump to heat water, steam, or air in a central location and distribute it throughout the commercial space.

Hydronics – Using water to transfer heat is called hydronics. These systems contain either ductwork for forced-air systems or piping to distribute heated water and radiators to transfer the heat to the air.

The term radiant-heat is slightly misleading as most heat transfers from the heat-exchanger comes from convection, not radiation. Radiators are usually mounted on walls or installed beneath floors for heat distribution.

Boilers – Boilers heat commercial spaces via hot water or, rarely, steam. Residential boiler efficiency is rated in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). Commercial boilers, used in commercial office and institutional buildings as well as multi-family residential buildings, like condominiums, are rated by thermal-efficiency alone. Pumps circulate the water and ensure an equal distribution of heat to all the radiators. Heated water can also be fed through a heat exchanger to a storage cylinder to provide for use as hot water.

As part of a comprehensive and tailored maintenance program for your building’s envelope, Intelligent Comfort Solutions provides water tests on all makes of boilers to determine the hardness of the water, which, if too hard, can kill the integral boiler-loop which circulates the heated water. Let us discover this for you before it’s too late.

Forced Air – Forced-air systems send heated air through ductwork. During warm weather the same ductwork can be used for air conditioning. The forced air can also be filtered or passed through air cleaners.

Heat can also be provided electrically by resistive heating, in which conductive filaments are heated by the passage of electricity. This is used in baseboard heaters, portable heaters, and as backup or supplemental heating for heat-pump (or reverse heating) systems.

The heat-pump is a form of heating that gained popularity in the 1950s. Heat-pumps can extract heat from the air or suck heat from the ground (geothermal heat). Heat pumps work well in moderate climates, where summers are long and winters are mild. However, geothermal systems are more expensive than conventional heating systems, and although more energy efficient, a ground extraction system is much more costly.

Boilers are used for heating residential and commercial spaces via hot water or, less commonly, steam. Residential boiler efficiency is rated in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the boiler. Commercial boilers, used in commercial buildings and multi-family residential, are rated according to their thermal efficiency.

Furnaces – Furnaces provide space-heating through the delivery of forced warm through galvanized-steel duct-work networks. Forced-air furnaces are the most common form of residential interior-heating in North America but are rarely used in commercial contexts.

Heat Pumps – The most common method of commercial and multi-family residential heating comes through heat-pumps. The two primary types of heat-pumps used for high-rise residential and commercial applications are air-source heat-pumps (the most common) and ground-source (or geothermal) heat pumps. Heat-pumps work much like air-conditioners—venting cool air externally and forcing heat internally. Heat-pumps transfer rather than creating heat and therefore can be highly efficient methods of space conditioning.

Heat-pumps require a periodic heating maintenance schedule, particularly in high-rise condominiums—called ‘in-suite heat-pumps’—because of the common, or shared, elements directly related to the integral performance of the in-suite heat-pumps: the coil, piping system, boiler loop, and cooling tower, among others.

Heat-pump efficiency is measured in the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) metric when used as an air-conditioner, and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) when in heating mode.