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HVAC systems in senior living facilities are critically important. Not only must your senior living facility’s HVAC system be able to accommodate the current distinct environments within its walls, it must also be adaptable to accommodate expansion and the future need for additional versatility.

As more and more hospitals are outsourcing their senior care to senior living facilities, health facilities professionals are turning to packaged and split HVAC systems to meet the needs of these smaller facilities, and manufacturers are developing a wide array of options.

The Health Importance of HVAC Systems Senior Living Facilities

As important as healthy air quality is for everyone, it can be very well be a matter of life or death for people of advanced age. Seniors are at significantly increased risk for respiratory disease, and subsequent fatality.

The American Thoracic Society reports that respiratory tract infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Many factors, such as malnutrition and the presence of structural lung disease, increase the risk of respiratory infection in older individuals.

At the same time, risk of death from cold, flu and pneumonia are considerably increased among older people, as are complications from allergies. Air quality plays a significant role in the development and worsening of these issues. If your parent or grandparent is in a senior living center, you want to make sure the HVAC system is distributing clean air and properly heating and cooling the space.

What Are the Best Types of HVAC Systems for Senior Living Facilities?

There are multiple types of HVAC systems which can be ideal for your senior living facility in New Jersey, and understanding your options is critical when it comes time to install or replace your unit. Are you looking for something with more higher levels of energy efficiency? Are you looking for something with more power and performance? Do you need that something can seamlessly accommodate different environments simultaneously?

Whatever type of system you need, Universal Mechanical Group is ready to guide you in your decision-making and install the best system for your needs and budget. Some of the most common types of HVAC systems for senior living facilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Central Air Handling Units
  • Terminal Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems
  • Heating and Ventilation Systems
  • Heat Recovery Systems/Components
  • Exhaust Systems

Your location may require a hybrid type of HVAC system, depending upon the size and output expectations of your facility.

Accounting for Diversity of Operations in Senior Living HVAC Systems

Many different activities take place within a senior living facility. Every type of facility has a kitchen to keep clients and residents well fed during their stay. Higher-end facilities may have more climate-specific environments, like a sauna or steam room, fitness facility and more. It’s important to have an HVAC system that can effectively regulate all these different types of climate conditions.

Making sure your HVAC system is running up to code is also critical to keeping your doors open, and avoiding scrutiny and legal accountability. In a facility where many clients to go to temporarily heal from a serious or traumatic condition, the quality of air to which they’re exposed plays a key role in their recovery and their ability to reclaim their health and independence. Universal Mechanical group is ready to help you fully understand you HVAC needs, and how we can help you install or upgrade your heating or cooling unit.

In addition to design and installation, however, there are several key components to preserving and optimizing the life of your system including routine maintenance and necessary repair.

What Are Packaged and Split HVAC Systems in Senior Living Facilities?

Packaged and split HVAC systems are an increasingly common choice for senior living facilities, nursing homes and palliative care centers. They are usually classified as direct expansion (DX) systems, in which air is cooled directly from the evaporation of a refrigerant, as opposed to using chilled water or a similar product.

Packaged systems have the condenser and coil of the air conditioning unit located in the same section, and split systems house the two separately. While these systems are the increasingly preferred choice for all different types of medical organizations, they also come with their fair share of drawbacks and negatives.

What Kind of HVAC System Does My Senior Living Facility Need?

Some of the primary benefits of these two types of HVAC systems, include low initial cost, ease of operation, remote monitoring and minimal use of space inside a building. Some of the disadvantages, however, can include low energy-efficiency, limited longevity and limited humidity control capabilities without special features.

Packaged systems are the most commonly installed HVAC systems in the United States, and include distinct heating and cooling elements. Hybrid or and single-unit systems offer self-contained operation but limited versatility. Universal Mechanical Group is ready to help you navigate the different types of existing and emerging HVAC technologies that work best for you.

Properly Maintaining Your Senior Living Facility’s HVAC System

The stakes are simply too high to let your senior living center’s HVAC system’s maintenance get delayed or faulter. The smallest maintenance issues can have residual shockwaves that can impact the life, power and performance of the system. The average commercials heating and cooling system lasts around 15-20 years at peak performance; however, lack of proper maintenance can significantly shorten this range of time.

Having said that, you may be asking how and when you should have your system maintained. It is generally recommended that you have your senior living HVAC system maintained at least three times twice a year in conjunction with the hot and cold weather.

Some of the common routine tasks that are addressed during generally maintenance include:

Changing Air Filters

You would not believe how much something seemingly small like a filter can impede or disrupt the function of your system. A clogged filter can cause dirt and debris to get sucked up into the system. It can also place undue pressure on your blower motor to overperform because air isn’t circulating properly, and the room isn’t coming to the temperature on the thermostat. The air filter is the first and last line of defense between the inner components of your system and harmful debris.

Checking the Thermostat

You should make sure your thermostat is calibrated correctly to ensure comfort in every season. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat installed, our technicians may recommend one and install it for you during the maintenance routine.

Tighten All Lose Electrical Connections

Loose connections are dangerous and can cause improper operation that shortens the equipment’s lifespan. The technician also measures voltage and current on equipment motors.

Lubricate Moving Components

Lack of lubrication can cause incredible friction in the system. This can cause it to overheat and break down. Adding lubrication helps parts move smoothly against one another, decreasing electricity use and lowering your energy bills.

Additional Maintenance Tasks Include

Inspection of Condensate Drain

Cooling equipment and condensing furnaces produce condensate when they operate. Under normal conditions, the condensate collects in a pan and drains away to the outside. However, over time substances can form in the drainpipe and create a blockage. During times of high usage, the drain pan may overflow and cause water damage to the equipment or your home.

Check System Controls

Check the cycling of your unit to see if the thermostat is communicating with your system to turn off and on at the right intervals. The start cycle, operation and shut-off sequence should occur in a particular fashion.

Clean Evaporator and Condenser Coils in AC

 Dirty coils slowly decrease efficiency and make the equipment run longer. Cleaning the coils annually is an important part of maintaining the AC’s capacity, ensuring lower energy bills and prolonging equipment life.

Check Refrigerant Levels in AC

An undercharged system also can develop if the system has a leak. Our  technicians will check for any and all leaks or escapes within your refrigerant line, repair any leaks that are present, and recharge the system if necessary.

We will also inspect gas pressure and check fuel line connections to ensure optimal performance of your system. All of these seemingly routine maintenance tasks can add up to longer-living and higher-functioning system. While there are a great many maintenance tasks you can perform on your own, it is highly recommended that you leave the above maintenance procedures to a professional.

Let Universal Mechanical Group Help Keep Your Senior Residents Safe and Healthy

Universal Mechanical Group is committed to helping senior living facilities all over the New Jersey, including Union County, Bergen County and the rest of the state. We have helped countless senior living clients in Alpine, NJ; East Rutherford, NJ; Edgewater, NJ; Englewood, NJ; Franklin lakes, NJ; Glen Rock, NJ; Mahwah, NJ; Maywood, NJ; Palisades Park, NJ; Paramus, NJ or you own a larger fine-dining establishment or bar and grill in cities like Ridgewood, NJ; Rutherford, NJ; Saddle Brook, NJ; Saddle River, NJ; Ho Ho Kus, NJ; Demarest, NJ; Woodcliff Lakes, NJ and throughout the state keep their residents safe, healthy and comfortable. Call us today at (973) 866-5445 to see what we can do for you.