Spring Cleaning for Commercial HVAC System

The HVAC system is a major energy consumer especially for commercial buildings and over time it loses efficiency without proper care and maintenance. With the arrival of spring season, it is the perfect opportunity to pay attention to your commercial HVAC system and carry out some spring cleaning to get rid of accumulated dirt, dust, and germs in your HVAC system and upgrade your HVAC controls to improve efficiency and reduce utility bills.

There are several advantages for carrying out spring cleaning for your commercial HVAC system including improved ventilation, enhanced comfort, increased efficiency and reduced utility bills. In addition, it will also increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.
In this article, we take a look at some of the spring maintenance tips for your commercial HVAC system.

Replace the Air Filter

Over time, the air filter in your commercial HVAC system accumulates dust and dirt which not only contribute to indoor air pollution but also put extra load on the HVAC system.  Cleaning air filter will improve indoor air quality in your space as well reduce energy costs of your building. Operating your commercial HVAC systems with clean air filters can reduce energy usage by up to 15%.

Clean HVAC system components

HVAC system indoor components including evaporating coils, blower fans accumulate layers of dust, dirt, germs, scaling and so on which greatly reduce system efficiency and lower indoor air quality. Make sure during spring cleaning, these parts are properly cleaned for the upcoming season. Also do not forget to clean and lubricate fan blades for smooth function.

With the prevalent of covid-19, it is possible that the virus can circulate in the air through the system and increase risk of transmission within a building due to poor ventilation. This is why it is now imperative more than ever that before reopening you carry out a deep cleaning of your commercial HVAC system. You should ensure you get the services of professionals who follow covid-19 disinfection protocol.

Ensure proper refrigerant level

Cooling systems need to have the right amount of refrigerant to capture and release heat properly. The refrigerant in cooling system is found in evaporating coils- these evaporate the refrigerant to absorb heat from the surrounding area and is transferred to condenser coil where it reverts back to liquid form and heat is released either into or outside the building, ensuring the heat pump or cooling system is functioning properly.  It is imperative that the proper refrigerant level is maintained. Without it, commercial HVAC system will have lower efficiency and eventually lead to system breakdown, requiring major repairs.

Upgrade HVAC Controls

With commercial HVAC systems accounting for more than 50% to 60% of the total energy consumption, upgrading your HVAC controls can be the best investment for your HVAC system this season. Smart commercial HVAC controls such as DDC systems can increase your system efficiency up to 40%. Today’s smart commercial HVAC control also allows you to monitor and control multiple building systems in a unified platform and also provide a hassle-free energy management system, improving efficiency and reducing utility bills.

Inspect and clean drain lines

The cooling drain line can become clogged leading to the unit shutting down or worse, leaking and triggering serious water damage to the building. Inspect your drain lines and condensate pans and make sure that they are not clogged with debris, mold or mineral deposits and clean them properly. If you have a HVAC monitoring app or a newer HVAC system, it can notify you when the drain pan is filled with water so you know that the line is clogged and fix the problem before it causes any major damage.

Clean outdoor units

In addition to cleaning HVAC inner components, you should also ensure that the outdoor cabinet that holds the condenser unit and other components are clean. During winter season, there can be build-up of debris including leaves, branches or other materials that can obstruct the vents and reduce airflow, thereby reducing efficiency. Make sure these are removed and cleaned properly.

Inspect and repair electrical wiring

Another important thing to note during spring cleaning of your commercial HVAC system is to properly check and test control box, wiring and connections so that they are secure and without any damage. Examine all wiring for any signs of damage, including rodent nests, burnt wires, and loose connections and fix the issue before it leads to major problems.

HVAC system is an important building system component for any commercial building and with the arrival of spring season, it is important that you have it ready to prevent downtime and save on energy costs. With these tips, you can ensure your commercial HVAC system will be running smoothly and efficiently and you can enjoy both peace of mind as well as lower energy costs this spring. A-TECH Engineering  Ltd.- a leading HVAC controls contractor based in Toronto provides efficient HVAC system cleaning and maintenance services as well as smart building automation system that not only increase efficiency and reduce energy bills but also improve indoor air quality and occupants’ comfort. Connect with us to get a FREE assessment of your commercial HVAC system today.

What To Do After Covid-19 Has Been Confirmed In Your Building

With COVID-19 pandemic still hovering over us, it is prudent to take preventive measures that minimize the spread of transmission of the disease. But sometimes even with the best of prevention tactics, there can be an outbreak of COVID-19 in your building or facility. This guideline offers to shed light on what to do after COVID-19 has been confirmed in your building. This entails notifying people who have been in close contact to the person who tested positive, reporting to Toronto Public Health or concerned Public Health authority of the outbreak, cleaning and disinfecting the premises, improving air quality and taking steps to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 is transmitted from one person to another most commonly via respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking, or laughing during close contact of say within 2 meters. COVID-19 can be spread by infected individuals who have mild symptoms or no symptoms, i.e. asymptomatic. COVID-19 can also be transmitted through surface contact which is touching something that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Factors that increase risk of COVID-19 transmission include:

  • Close contact
  • Closed indoor spaces
  • High traffic places
  • Prolonged exposure
  • Forceful exhalation


What to do once you get a report of someone with COVID-19 in the building?

Making informed decisions and notifying appropriate authority and contacts

When someone in your facility reports to you that they have tested COVID-19 positive, ensure that the individual’s identity remains protected. Have a system in place to handle the situation. For instance, dedicate a team or a HR member to interview the person by phone and ask them basic questions such as:

  • When was the last time he or she was in the building?
  • What was the first day of their symptoms?
  • Were they diagnosed of COVID-19 through any test, if so what type?
  • Find out names of people in your facility with whom they have been in close contact.


Ensure that the individual follows isolation guidelines to minimize the risk of transmission. Individuals should stay home even if the symptoms are mild or have only one symptom. They should only return to the workplace after isolation criteria have been met and have been in consultation with a healthcare provider. As per updated WHO guidelines, the isolation criteria is:

For symptomatic patients: 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least 3 additional days without symptoms, including without fever and without respiratory symptoms.

For asymptomatic cases: 10 days after positive test for COVID-19

When someone in your building has tested COVID-19, it is mandatory for you to notify people who have been in close contact with the individual that they were exposed to someone with COVID-19, while protecting the identity of the individual. You should have a quick method of notifying the contacts, for example through an email.

If you reside in Toronto, then Toronto Public Health also mandates you to notify them of two or more COVID-19 cases within a 14-day interval at your workplace premises.

  • In addition, you should also have a designated person who can be contacted for any information or for implementing any measures by Toronto Public Health to minimize health risk of the community.
  • Have access to accurate and updated contact information for all workers that can be given to Toronto Public Health within 24 hours of request for contact tracing requirements for COVID19.
  • Notify the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and other relevant government authorities in case of two or more COVID-19 cases within a 14-day interval in your building or facility.
  • Cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from Toronto Public Health, such as permitting entry into the building for assessment and preventive measures.

You may also have to consider closing down the building or facility. It will depend on multiple factors, such as how fast disinfection or cleaning can occur, the number of employees affected, and whether you deal with people who are at high risk of COVID-19 such as the senior population.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Employers or business owners should follow established processes for cleaning and disinfecting the building after someone in the facility has tested positive for COVID-19.
For instance, high-touch surfaces such as desks, phones, keypads, doorknobs, door handles, handrails, light switches, chairs, credit/debit machine, elevator buttons and so on should be thoroughly cleaned. Cleaning and disinfection should also be carried out in shared spaces within the building premises such as kitchen and washrooms.

Coronaviruses are said to be one of the easiest types of viruses that can be killed with an effective disinfectant. Usually cleaning with soap and water reduces germs on surfaces which plays a critical role in reducing the risk of spreading infection.  When someone in your building has tested positive, it is imperative to thoroughly clean and disinfect the premises as well as high-touch surfaces.

Coronaviruses can be terminated effectively with an approved disinfectant solution. However, those solutions need to be used properly as stated on the label in order for the solution to be effective. For example, if a solution states that a wet contact time of 60 seconds is required the entire area needs to be evenly treated and left for 60 seconds prior to wiping. If not, the surfaces will not be properly disinfected. Surfaces such as computers, electronics, paperwork, carpets area generally left untreated unless disinfection services are completed by a certified infection control expert. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative that a complete decontamination of the environment to mitigate the risk of transmission.

Air Quality and COVID-19

Since COVID-19 has been revealed to be an air-borne virus, indoor air quality needs to be monitored and improved in order to reduce the risk of transmission. Closed spaces with a large number of occupants and poor ventilation are high risk factors for COVID-19 transmission. Moreover, the virus can linger through the HVAC system when it recirculates into the building. This is why it is important to have the HVAC system draw air from outside and have clean air filters.

In addition to having an efficient HVAC system checked and maintained by a professional, it is also important to disinfect the HVAC system once someone has been infected with COVID-19 in the building before reopening. A-TECH Engineering – a leading HVAC contractor – provides a unique HVAC system cleaning process that can kill germs and microbes including COVID-19 via trusted partners. In addition, A-TECH Engineering also has tie-ups with one of the top disinfection companies in Toronto currently being used in healthcare facilities including ambulances where the entire disinfection process can be done in as quickly as 15 minutes, whereas before it used to take 4-5 hours.

Workplace safety and minimizing risk of COVID-19


  • Prevention is better than cure. To ensure a safe workplace environment during this pandemic, as an employer or business owner, make sure your building is equipped with easily accessible hand sanitizer and hand wash at multiple points.
  • Premises and high touch areas are cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • There is scope of physical distance of at least 2 meters. Implement physical barriers like plexiglass where necessary.
  • Ensure air quality monitoring or HVAC monitoring to ensure the system is running efficiently.
  • Automate building systems where possible to minimize surface touching such as lights, doors and so on.


During this difficult time, it falls on all of us to adjust to the new normal and do everything we can to reduce the spread or transmission of COVID-19. As an employer or business owner, ensuring a safe building or facility can not only save lives but also establish goodwill among your staff and clients. Connect with an A-TECH Engineering team member to ensure the safety of your building and occupants today.

How Building Analytics Services Can Help You Save Big in Winter

During the winter season, it is a given that your commercial buildings consume more energy because of shorter days, increased use of lighting and heating systems. In commercial buildings, Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) as well as lighting are the biggest energy consumers as per EPA. As a commercial business owner or property manager, you might be struggling with running your business and paying the utility bills, especially in these trying times of COVID-19. Finding out how much energy your building systems are using can help you with useful information on how to mitigate energy consumption, reduce energy costs and increase the net profitability. This is where building analytics services come to the rescue.

So what is building analytics?

Building analytics services provide you with valuable insights and data pertaining to your building systems such as lighting, heating, temperature, humidity, automation building system and so on. It facilitates you to make improved and faster building management decisions, resulting in a better energy saving building and reduced carbon footprint.

In winter, your commercial building has higher energy consumption, and without building analytics services, it becomes harder to track and identify how energy is being used. In addition, large commercial buildings contain a plethora of data within their myriad of systems and equipment. However, all this data is useless if there is no analytical system to track, monitor and utilize those to implement actions that can improve the overall building system.

Although many progressive business owners have turned to Building Automation System to get better control over their various building systems, the system still has some shortcomings. For instance, not having a way to store data, set benchmark performance and so on are issues of a building automation system without the back up of building analytics services. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. provides building analytics services in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada that augment your Building Automation System and provide important data and insights pertaining to the various building systems. This facilitates business owners and building operators to observe and track the systems minutely in real-time, increase operational efficiency, reduce waste while ensuring occupants’ comfort.

How building analytics can help reduce energy cost in winter?


Winter can wreak havoc on your utility bills, especially when you have businesses operating in climate as harsh as that in Canada. It is your HVAC system that pulls most of the work to keep the building running as well as provide comfort to the occupants. In addition, the HVAC is also a critical component that affects air quality in your building, which is now more important than ever in the time of covid-19. Hence, it is imperative to ensure its servicing and maintenance is carried out regularly to prevent nasty interruptions. 

With building analytics services, you can easily optimize your HVAC performance by monitoring it acutely, getting insights on its usage, identifying sources of inefficiencies and making corrective actions faster. For example, with the internet of things – IoT solutions, combined with building analytics services, it is possible to get predictive analysis which can tell you of impending problems and save you major repair costs and reduce downtime.

In addition, having building analytics technology gives you remote access building systems data at all times to be monitored and analysed efficiently. For HVAC systems, this monitoring system measures and analyzes how frequently the system is running, how fast set points are met as well as when the building has occupants inside. For instance, your HVAC system may have a refrigerant leak due to which it is not performing optimally and on top of that wasting precious energy. Using data analytics, you can identify the system error and take corrective measures to rectify the problem sooner. This way, building analytics can be translated into actions that drive HVAC optimization, increase lifespan, reduce energy cost, and at the same time enhance the comfort of the building users.

Building analytics systems are a vast analytical tool that encompasses not only data related to your HVAC system but also lighting, automation systems, meters, alarms and so on providing you with insightful information that you can leverage to reduce energy consumption and maximize building efficiency. For example, during the winter period, due to shorter days, the lighting system can wreak up your electricity bills especially in commercial buildings. With data analytics, you can get real-time data on energy use, find out discrepancies and take actions to optimize use of lighting and lower energy costs.

Building analytics services can be implemented in any kind of industries – be it large commercial buildings, hotels and resorts, shopping malls, apartment complexes, or industrial facilities.

A-TECH Engineering Ltd provides building analytics services in Toronto as well as GTA and major cities in Canada that help you better manage your building facility and reduce energy costs while ensuring building efficiency. Connect with an A-TECH team member to discover your building’s potential savings. 

HVAC Monitoring App And Its Benefits

HVAC systems are important building systems when it comes to commercial space. Their core function in commercial buildings is to provide an optimum temperature for a multitude of reasons. HVAC system can differ in number and size depending on building size, functionality and so on. This is why it is imperative that you have a means to monitor your HVAC systems easily and efficiently. With the development of building automation and controls, you can find a plethora of HVAC monitoring systems, including HVAC monitoring app that allows you to remotely control your HVAC system connected through IoT.

What is a HVAC Monitoring App?

It is an application developed that can consistently track the performance as well as energy consumption of HVAC systems in a building, with an aim to provide alerts and notifications regarding any faults or inefficiencies. In addition, it also helps you reduce your energy costs as you can have better control of your system.

Importance of HVAC Monitoring Systems

HVAC is undoubtedly one of the massive energy consuming systems in a building so a proper monitoring system is crucial for maintaining the system and reducing energy costs. Without an efficient HVAC monitoring system, you may have issues that can go unnoticed for long periods of time and result in costly repairs. On top of giving you ridiculously high operating costs, persistent HVAC problems can also cause serious damage to your asset.

When you invest in monitoring your HVAC system that can screen the full system such as exhaust fans, chillers, compressors, air-filters and so on, it becomes easier for you to be on top of any impending issues and take preventive measures proactively. This results in fewer maintenance and servicing, saves you major headaches and costly repairs, thus lowering your expenses.

With a remote HVAC monitoring system, you can indulge in several benefits such as:

  • Access your HVAC systems in a building from anywhere connected to IOT.
  • Get real-time updates of your HVAC stats such as temperature, flow rates, pressure differential and so on.
  • Control temperature settings from anywhere via IOT. This results in increased occupants’ comfort as well as better performance of the overall system.
  • Ensure your HVAC system is operating at its maximum efficiency through better control of your HVAC system.
  • HVAC monitoring app gives you a unified platform with access to entire HVAC systems including chillers, exhaust fans, etc. through which issues can be perceived early on and fixed instantly.
  • In addition, energy consumption profiles can be analyzed by AI to predict when problems are going to occur so you can make minor fixes instead of costly repairs.
  • With remote HVAC monitoring app, you can view, change settings and get analytical data without the need to call a technician every time you run into an issue.


So how does it work?

HVAC monitoring apps are very simple and easy to use. The app uses temperature sensors and airflow sensors in the HVAC system. While temperature sensors give you an overview of temperature settings of the HVAC system, it does not give you the bigger picture. Airflow sensors allow you to monitor changes in airflow and detect problems not so easily visible, such as when your air filters are starting to clog and making your HVAC system work harder, reducing its efficiency.

A smart HVAC monitoring and alerting app will also let you see lead-lag functions of your system. For example, if you have multiple HVAC units, they are set up in a lead-lag fashion to provide the best results through rotation. A controller assures that this lead-lag is set up correctly so that all your HVAC systems run optimally. With HVAC monitoring app, you can view for yourself the comparative performance of each HVAC system and adjust accordingly for ensuring high performance. Apart from this, it provides real-time statistics on daily usage, on-off cycle data, overall operating summary for the HVAC units and so on, keeping you on top of things.

When you are considering to invest in a HVAC monitoring app, you need to keep in mind certain factors such as how easy it is easy to install and integrate into your current system, what are the prerequisites, how user-friendly it is and so on. A remote HVAC monitoring and alerting system will do the work for you while giving you peace of mind and reduce your energy costs.


A-TECH Engineering Ltd. a leading HVAC Controls Contractor in Toronto can help you with monitoring your HVAC system remotely from anywhere right at your fingertips with advanced IoT solutions. For details, contact one of our team members today.