Are the mechanical systems in your building functioning correctly? When we talk about mechanical systems in a building, we are talking about the machines and systems that help the building operate smoothly. Common mechanical systems include the HVAC system, electrical wiring, plumbing, ventilation, escalators and elevators. Basically, if it has moving components or helps something move, like water, gas or electricity, it’s probably a mechanical system. Below are the various types of mechanical systems that can be found in buildings.
Building Automation Systems (BAS) and Technology Systems
When we talk about Building Automation Systems (BAS), we are talking about the technology that helps you operate your building’s mechanical systems, including lighting, HVAC and security, more efficiently. These systems are comprised of sensors and wired or wireless systems that connect those sensors to a control network and a software program that can be accessed at one or more computer terminals and/or mobile devices. Through the software, property managers, superintendents, maintenance personnel and mechanical contractors can observe the systems, note any problems with the system to delve into warning and repair those issues efficiently.
Heating Cooling and Ventilation
Property managers and building owners often think of the HVAC system as the machinery that supplies the building with climate controlled air, but an HVAC system is far more complex than the rooftop or ground unit that facilitates heat transfer. Modern commercial HVAC systems are comprised of either rooftop units or , air ducts, CO2 sensors, thermostats, fans and dampeners. Some systems may even contain humidifiers and dehumidifiers as well as carbon monoxide detectors.
In order to keep the building comfortable, eliminate allergens and mold and prevent toxic gases from building up in the indoor environment, all of these pieces of equipment must work together. The thermostats must be programmed for the season as well as the time of day and anticipated occupancy levels. The CO2 sensors must detect the amounts of CO2 in the air and trigger the dampeners to open when CO2 levels are too high in order to allow fresh air into the building. The dehumidifiers and/or humidifiers must monitor the moisture in the air and turn on and off in order to maintain ideal humidity levels, and the fans and blowers must operate long enough to circulate the air in the building to prevent stagnation. Keeping all of these components working optically helps keep building occupants comfortable and prevents the development of sick building syndrome.
Your building’s electrical system powers all the components in the building from lights, and outlets to the security system, computers, servers and HVAC. To get an idea of the importance of this system, think about all the items in your building that cease to function during a power outage. This will give you an idea of the scale of your building’s electrical system. However, this system also includes safety features, like circuit breakers, GFI outlets, which are supposed to be installed in rooms that contain water fixtures, and arc fault interrupters. Older buildings may need power distribution systems in order to ensure the building has enough power for all the modern equipment that is now needed in buildings, and buildings with critical systems or life-saving systems that cannot be without power may need backup generators to supply power in case there is an electrical grid outage.
Plumbing and Piping
The plumbing and piping systems in modern buildings are often complex. They don’t just distribute liquids and gases. They also control flow, and there may be more than one system. For example, the potable water may feed more than just the indoor faucets, showers, bathtubs, washing machines and dishwashers. It may also be distributed to irrigation systems, hottubs, fountains and swimming pools. When potable water is fed to multiple systems, the water distribution system must contain backflow preventers in order to prevent contamination of the drinking water from water that may have come into contact with dirt or chemicals.
When we talk about piping, we’re talking about process piping, which is typically used in industrial buildings, chemical manufacturing plants and even in bakeries. These pipes may contain water, but they may also contain chemicals, natural gas, propane and even foodstuffs, like cola syrup, carbonated water, oil and grease and various baking and cooking ingredients. Process piping systems have to be regularly inspected, cleaned and monitored in order to ensure safe, reliable operation and to prevent containments from entering the system.
Energy-Efficiency and Energy-Saving Services
Most building owners, property managers and superintendents are keenly aware of the energy costs associated with operating a building, including the cost of water, electricity and gas. For that reason, most are interested in implementing energy-efficient upgrades and exploring alternative energy sources, including low flow faucets and showerheads, Energy Star rated appliances, solar panels and wind turbines. These energy-saving systems are considered mechanical systems because they relate to the overall performance of the building. Not to mention, these systems may be connected to other systems, such as the BAS system, plumbing system and electrical systems.
Mechanical Services from Althoff, Serving Chicago
Here at Althoff, we have the engineers, plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians you need to help keep your building operating smoothly. From minor repairs to major overhauls and replacements, we can handle your toughest mechanical system challenges, and we can help you implement energy-saving technologies, like BAS systems, water-saving systems and energy-efficient HVAC upgrades.
To learn more about how our mechanical building system services can hep keep your building comfortable and energy-efficient, give us a call at 800-225-2443. We also provide 24- hour emergency services, and our emergency line is always answered by a person.