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.

Importance of Indoor Air Quality in the Workplace

Even though air pollution has been in the talks all over the world for decades, indoor air quality is still something that is not talked about or taken seriously enough. We tend to take the air we breathe for granted even though it is of grave importance and affects our day-to-day lives in a myriad of ways. Indoor air quality concerns are not something to be taken lightly. In addition, with the onset of covid-19 indoor air quality assessment has become even more important to ensure the safety of building occupants especially in the workplace as people spend a great amount of time at their work. In this article we delve into the importance of IAQ in the workplace and ways to improve air quality. 

Indoor Air Quality in Workplace

Whether you have workers employed for a few hours or for a full day, it is important for them to be in a healthy environment. For some sensitive or immunocompromised people, working for a few minutes in a building with poor air quality can have serious effects.  If the heating and cooling system in your workplace is outdated, then it is highly likely that you and your workers are breathing in years of pollutants or mold that has accumulated over time. It would definitely benefit you to get the air quality in your facility or building checked as indoor air quality does not only affect comfort of your workers but also the health and productivity of your staff, thus affecting your organization goal achievement.

How indoor air quality can affect your employees?

  • Poor workplace indoor air quality can negatively impact upon the physical and mental health of your workers.
  • If any of your workers suffer from asthma or allergies, poor air quality can worsen the symptoms.
  • It can result in eye, nose, throat, lung irritation, headaches, dizziness, fatigue.
  • In addition, medical problems from poor indoor air quality can include hypersensitivity pneumonitis, asthma, heart disease, flu and in extreme cases even cancer and others.
  • It can also increase absenteeism of your employees from work due to health issues and reduce productivity.
  • During covid-19, poor ventilation systems can increase spread and risk of transmission.


What causes poor indoor air quality in the workplace?

There are several factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality in the workplace including:

  • Inefficient, old, or improper functioning of the HVAC system.
  • Error in building design, architecture, or construction flaws such as not adequate windows or openings.
  • Tightly closed spaces with a high number of employees.
  • Environmental pollutants such as dust, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke due to poor ventilation systems.
  • Chemical pollutants such as formaldehyde from pressed-wood furniture, plywood wall paneling; asbestos from insulation ceiling tiles, etc; VOC from cleaners and disinfectants, air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothes, etc. 
  • Building renovation projects such as painting and cleaning work that release pollutants into the environment.
  • Improper disposal of garbage or storage of food products.
  • Presence of mold, especially if high humidity or unaddressed water damage issues exist in the building.

How can you improve indoor air quality in your workplace?

Indoor air quality in the workplace is equally important to both the employers and employees. As a result, both have to take steps to ensure that the workplace is free from air pollutants and harmful contaminants. This will improve the working environment for the employees, boost confidence and productivity of the staff and give better results for the organization as a whole.

Here are some steps to alleviate poor IAQ in workplace –

  • Find the contaminant sources of harmful chemicals and take the necessary steps to replace, contain, or eliminate them from the workplace. For example, if there is renovation work in a part of your building, make sure they are contained only in part of the workplace and not affecting your workers.
  • Educate your employees on the sources and effects of pollutants and motivate them to take action or notify the management in case of hazardous exposure or health issues.
  • Ensure that workplace premises are regularly cleaned and disinfected to minimize sickness.
  • Install efficient ventilation systems to ensure the uninterrupted flow of fresh air throughout your workplace.
  • Employ air-cleaning devices such as dehumidifiers and air purifiers in the workplace.
  • Make sure air ducts and filters are regularly cleaned and replaced when they become obsolete.
  • Perform routine maintenance of the HVAC system to ensure that it is functioning correctly. Hire professionals to evaluate and address poor IAQ issues at your workplace.
  • Use advanced building automation systems such as HVAC monitoring app to monitor the performance and health of your HVAC system.
  • If you are an employee who faces health issues only in the workplace notify your manager or concerned authority.

As an employer or a business owner, listen to your workers when they complain of health issues and take the necessary steps. It will not only alleviate the problem but also boost employee morale which is ultimately beneficial for your company as well as result in energy savings. The best approach is to use a multiple strategy such as use of air purifiers, HEPA air filters, regular cleaning and disinfecting of premises, maintenance of HVAC, proper workplace set up to ensure clean and healthy work environment. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a leading energy company based in Toronto aims to ensure high indoor air quality through unique and diverse strategies. Connect with us to know more about our zero-upfront cost indoor air quality monitoring program to help you reopen safely. 

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.

Importance of CO2, Temperature and Humidity in Our Spaces

Initially most people used to be concerned about outdoor air quality and pollution. However, with advancement in research and technology it has been revealed that indoor air quality is just as important if not more. Because of building structures, ventilation system, it is much more likely for pollutants and contaminants to linger in indoor spaces longer, thereby reducing air quality. Monitoring indoor air quality has gained a lot of momentum over the recent years, even more so with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic and detecting carbon dioxide, temperature as well as humidity are all correlated with air quality. In this article, we delve into the correlation among CO2, temperature, humidity, and air quality as well as the importance of CO2/T/H monitoring in our spaces.

CO2/T/H and Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality or IAQ is generally defined as air quality within and around buildings, especially in relation to its impact on the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can greatly help mitigate the risk of indoor health concerns, including transmission of diseases like COVID-19. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or even decades later down the road. IAQ is especially important in commercial buildings and offices in order to enhance employee productivity and morale.

IAQ is affected by both external and internal environments. It can be deteriorated by outdoor air pollution from traffic, surrounding industrial, construction and combustion activities whereas internal factors such as ventilation system, furniture, building users, etc. can also significantly influence IAQ. Usually, CO2 is the common indicator of air quality in buildings, whereas indoor air temperature and humidity are key indicators of occupant’s thermal comfort. In addition, high levels of relative humidity may pose additional problems such as condensation and mold formation which not only adversely affects building infrastructure but also causes health problems. 

Reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission indoors

Perhaps under current significance, the greatest role of having CO2/T/H monitoring comes in the form of reducing the transmission of pathogens like COVID-19. A high amount of CO2 in the air translates into a high number of aerosols and reduces indoor air quality. This increases the risk of infection for everyone in the room. Moreover, several studies have revealed that poorly ventilated indoor spaces can increase the possibility of aerosol transmission of COVID-19. With CO2/T/H monitoring this can be kept under control by controlling CO2 level. 

Boost staff productivity and morale

It has been seen that if CO2 is present in high concentration, it can negatively impact cognitive ability, thereby influencing work performance. With different levels of CO2 exposure, your symptoms can vary from a minor headache and lack of concentration to lightheadedness and reduced cognitive performance. Office workers, factory workers, and students are especially at risk of exposure to high CO2 levels – almost greater than even 2500 ppm whereas the recommended level is just under 1000 ppm. The fact that CO2 is an odorless and colorless gas makes it harder to detect. However, with a CO2/T/H sensor, you will know when CO2 levels are close to dangerous levels and take preventive measures. 

Lower your utility bills

Many people wrongly assume that turning on and off HVAC systems as required is enough to control utility bills. However, it actually has a contradictory effect on utility bills as HVAC systems will simply work harder when you turn it on to adjust to comfortable levels. With CO2/T/H monitoring you can improve CO2 level, temperature as well as humidity resulting in better ventilation and improved indoor air quality, thereby reducing workload on your HVAC and thus lowering your utility bills.

Achieve optimum humidity

Having a balanced humidity in your building is also a reflection of good IAQ. When the amount of water in the air surpasses the normal requirement, your immediate environment can become detrimental as increased humidity tends to make you feel stuffy and cause heavy breathing.

Too much humidity also causes mold growth which has its own health problems whereas less humidity leads to cold and dry environment. This can cause dry skin, static shock, and nose bleeding. With a CO2/T/H monitor, you can achieve balanced humidity and improve IAQ through regular checkup and adjustments.

Indoor air quality plays a pivotal role, especially in improving health and performance of building occupants as pathogens and pollutants linger for prolonged hours at typical air exchange rates in buildings. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – an advanced energy company is offering three months free CO2/T/H indoor monitoring to improve your indoor air quality and provide cost-saving solutions. Connect with us to learn more.