Maintaining And Cleaning High Volume, Low Speed Fans
The basic steps to keep these effective money savers operating safely and efficiently.
High volume, low speed (HVLS) fans are a great solution to improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality, and the technology has surged in popularity in indoor and outdoor spaces across the country.
Although HVLS fans result in reduced maintenance and repair costs when compared to traditional HVAC systems, it’s still important for facility maintenance managers to know how to properly keep HVLS fans in the best condition for optimal performance.
Before beginning any routine maintenance procedures, make sure you turn the HVLS fan’s power off.
Refer to your warranty to find out what it covers, in terms of repairs and replacement parts, should any problems arise in the future.
The following maintenance procedure should be performed annually.
To successfully and safely complete the maintenance procedure, you will want to have:
- A utility ladder or scissor lift that extends high enough for you to comfortably reach the ceiling
- A socket wrench
- A combination wrench
- Extra bolts, nuts and lag screws
- Work gloves
- A rag or sponge
- Hot water or cleaning solution
- A broom and dust pan or a shop vacuum.
Initial overall check: Look for any missing parts, cracks on blades and frame or other signs of damage on the HVLS fans to avoid any injuries.
Mounting hardware check: Check all mounting bolts to be sure they have not loosened.
Guy wire check: Checking an HVLS fan’s guy wires (if applicable) for tension and inspecting for frayed sections could mitigate a problem before it occurs.
Properly installed guy wires will keep the fan stable in case of an earthquake or installations where high wind conditions may occur.
The guy wires should be tight at all times.
If they have been shocked and loosened they may need to be tightened.
Loose guy wires are more likely to break than tight guy wires.
Additionally, you should confirm that the guy wires are not wrapped around any sharp edges.
Our company recommends attaching guy wires to the building with eye bolts or eye lags in order to help keep the guy wires from fraying.
If guy wires are installed with turnbuckles, jam nuts should be checked to ensure tightness.
Power unit: The power unit should have proper lubricant for life; check to see that there are no lubrication leaks.
Also, check the unit to confirm nothing has vibrated loose.
Safety cable check: HVLS fans should come with a safety cable.
The safety cable will prevent the fan from falling in the unlikely event the mounting system should fail.
Depending on the fan model and installation method, the safety cable either wraps around the building structure and the fan frame or comes out of the top of the fan and wraps around the building structure.
The safety cable is an important part of the safety system and acts as a last resort should an earthquake, collision or similar catastrophic event occur.
As such, it’s vital for you to ensure that it is intact and properly secured.
Cleaning The HVLS Fan
Blade: Depending on the type of commercial application your HVLS fan is in, there can be quite a bit of dust or other particulates, including grease, clinging to the fan’s blades.
While this may not affect fan performance, we recommend you keep the blades clean by wiping the fan blades with a rag or sponge using hot water or regular cleaning solutions.
Please do not use chlorine or any chemicals containing chlorine.
Control panel: In a dusty and dirty environment, a can of compressed air works well to clean the inside of the panel.
Then, simply wipe down the outside of the enclosure with a cloth or duster.
Should any problems arise, refer to your warranty to find out what it covers, in terms of repairs and replacement parts.
Finding The Right HVLS For Your Facility
If you don’t have an HVLS fan in your facility and your facility manager is considering adding one, here are additional things to consider when comparing HVLS fans and manufacturers to ensure you’re getting the best performance for your application and need:
- Performance needs: Take a good look at your facility space and existing HVAC systems to see which HVLS fan best meets your need. Can you take advantage of natural ventilation or do you need to supplement a forced-air system?
- Installation: Building parameters, support beams or structures, clearance requirements and built-in control features will all affect installation and, ultimately, the fan’s performance. To maintain continuous air exchange, MacroAir recommends installing one HVLS fan per 20,000 square feet of space.
- Customer service and warranties: Bottom line, the HVLS fan manufacturer you select should be just as available as the representative group selling you the fan and should help you have a good understanding of the warranty coverage.
Supplementing traditional HVAC systems with HVLS fans continues to be an efficient solution to help reduce energy costs, increase energy efficiency and keep indoor temperatures balanced and regulated within any commercial application.
Eddie Boyd is president of MacroAir, which manufactures energy-efficient, long-lasting HVLS fans that can be found in warehouses, manufacturing plants, airplane hangars, agricultural arenas and retail establishments across the U.S. and around the world. The company is the exclusive HVLS fan supplier for independent auto dealerships of BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota. To learn more about the HVLS industry and MacroAir’s line of HVLS fans, visit www.MacroAirFans.com.