I was recently at the IHACI conference and trade show in Pasadena, CA. Overall another great show for SpeedClean, and the new line we are distributing BBJ environmental.

Dirty Evaporator Coils

Dirty Evaporator Coils

This show is somewhat unique in that it has a lot of students attend. I love that. Most vendors don’t. In fact they tend to shun away the students, hiding in corners or running away from their booths. I do the opposite. I engage them, and try to understand what they are being taught. Try to show them how our products or product categories can help them prepare for a world that requires faster, cheaper and more efficient systems.

I think from a brand perspective this aligns to a long term health strategy. I mean what brand doesn’t want to influence a whole new generation of service providers – who will undoubtedly control wads of cash in the coming years? I digress and that topic is probably fodder for another post.

What I really want to talk about is how little maintenance of the coils in a an HVAC systems is taught to these students. Most are being taught the physics of the system, and rightly so. They are taught the specifics of controls, refrigeration and how these impact the performance of the system, but little about ongoing coil maintenance.  Now, admittedly this is a survey of about 25 people, but I’ve heard it before.  Low man get’s maintenance. It’s for the new guy etc. I think it’s counter intuitive.

Truth is in California where we were (and probably similar in other fair weather states), more than 50% of all power production in the state goes to environmental HVAC control systems. It’s a huge concern.  In fact, it could be even higher, closer to 70%. The utilities know it. The HVAC providers know…and special interest know it.

However, the students don’t know it. This is the new generation of service providers for the state and they don’t know the specific facts about how the quality of their work can dramatically impact the future. For example, if you talk about cleaning coils most roll their eyes. “Hit it with some acid”. “Clean it with a pressure washer”. Ask them what clogged coils can do to a system and they battle for answers. Few of them will talk of the freezing, the loss of efficiency etc.

Cleaning HVAC/R CoilsThese are some of the answers. Truth is that the heat exchange process between the coils and the environment could be argued as possible the MOST vital part of the whole HVAC system. I know, people will argue all parts of it. The real truth is if it all doesn’t work in concert then it’s a bunch of bolts, compressors, etc anyway.  However,  why the maintenance of coils in the HVAC system is NOT a major priority blows my mind…and not for the obvious reasons.

Just think of this. If students were told to spend as much time on coil cleaning and other routine maintenance as they do on the install or replacement of worn items then wouldn’t their be considerable revenue and savings in the long term realized. Not only does maintenance pay, but it builds relationships. It also saves countless dollars by increasing efficiency.

So what are we going to do about it? Well, firstly, I’m going to keep talking to students about coil cleaning, I know that. Then, I’m going to talk to their teachers. Then I;m going to help teach them.

What do you think? Where does cleaning coils fit in order of importance for you and your crew as it relates to efficiency? Am I off base here?

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