Addressing Hot And Cold Spots In Large Commercial Structures

Large commercial structures can be challenging to cool, and these buildings often require powerful equipment and careful maintenance to create an environment that can keep their occupants cool through the tough summer heat. Open structures, such as large retail spaces, can be particularly difficult to keep at a relatively even and comfortable temperature.

These structures often have numerous vulnerabilities in their building envelopes, creating many potential locations for conditioned air to escape. Additionally, cooling equipment for large buildings requires careful design to provide even heating. If you're experiencing hot and cold spots in your large commercial space, these three tips may help you address the underlying cause of the problem.

1. Look for Loading Issues

Loading issues are among the most straightforward causes of hot and cold spots in any structure. Your building's cooling load refers to the heat the system must remove from the air to maintain a desired temperature. Numerous factors can affect the cooling load, including the size of the building, the local climate, and building envelope issues, such as insulation.

If you're experiencing uneven cooling in your building, determine if affected areas may have an unusually high cooling load. For example, areas with many computers or appliances will add more heat to the environment, potentially creating a noticeably warmer environment. An experienced HVAC contractor may be able to make targeted upgrades to your system to address these overly warm areas.

2. Schedule Routine Maintenance

Surprisingly, a poorly maintained system can also lead to hot and cold areas, especially when dealing with large buildings. Ducted systems must be capable of delivering conditioned air to relatively distant locations, and poor maintenance can lead to airflow issues that will prevent conditioned air from reaching certain parts of your facility.

If you've been deferring routine maintenance on your facility's air conditioning system, it can lead to uneven cooling and hot and cold spots. Before moving on to more extensive and expensive diagnostics, consider working with an experienced commercial HVAC contractor to arrange for a routine service visit to bring your maintenance schedule up to date.

3. Check for Air Curtain Problems

Air curtains are essential for HVAC design in many large, customer-facing commercial structures, such as big box stores and supermarkets. The air curtain acts as part of your building's envelope, helping to keep conditioned air inside the structure. Issues with your store's air curtain can allow conditioned air to escape, creating unusual airflow patterns in the building as cold air rushes out.

Air curtain issues (or poorly placed or sized air curtains) are a common cause of cooling issues in large buildings, so it's an element worth checking if you're experiencing uneven heating in your structure. Ensuring your building's air curtains are working correctly may be a relatively easy fix for uneven cooling issues.

To learn more about HVAC system services, contact a professional near you.