On the Job with HVAC Mechanical Contractors: Tackling the Elements 

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By Jeffrey Stewart, Technical Sales Engineer – Kano Laboratories


Ask about a typical day in the life of a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) mechanical contractor and you’ll hear about all kinds of experiences. Installing, maintaining, and repairing climate control systems indoors or out, HVAC service technicians have seen it all.

The work often takes techs to job sites dramatically affected by the environment. Whether it’s a rooftop installation consistently exposed to the elements, or a waterfront location subject to humid, corrosive, and salt-filled air, these environmental factors can wreak havoc on expensive and sophisticated HVAC equipment.

“We work on the more complex type of projects and locations at technology and biotech facilities,” said Jeremy Goodland, VP, Services – Western Allied Mechanical, based in the San Francisco Bay area. “We contend with the environment and if we replace an outdoor piece of equipment that’s been set there for years, chances are there’s going to be rust and corrosion.”

One example of this was the servicing of a large rooftop HVAC system that was installed by Western Allied Mechanical ten years prior. The facility is located along the coast of the San Francisco Bay, which presented many challenges for the service team. The salt air had caused many parts to fail prematurely which required regular maintenance.

“We replaced a boiler pump that needed to be upsized,” Goodland said. “To remove it, our technicians had to break loose the pump’s mounting base and all connected equipment that had been in place for a decade and were quite rusted. That’s where a penetrant really helps us with the process and allows us to complete the job.”

“The best penetrating oils will quickly loosen, free, and remove stuck parts on isolation valves, heat exchangers, pump skid bolts, and pipe clamps, and more” said Sevan Demirdogen, CEO – Kano Laboratories, producer of Kroil Penetrants. “With Kroil, we have found no space is too tight to penetrate, due to its ability to seep into the smallest opening or crevice.”

A penetrating oil also helped the Western Allied Mechanical team as they worked to replace the belts on the air handler, which involved getting into an enclosed space through access panel doors. The galvanized steel bolts holding the doors in place were badly rusted and difficult to remove.

“Kroil was used to quickly loosen these bolts, allowing the crew to get in and do their job,” Goodland said.

The building’s relief dampers had also become seized after years of operation. The techs sprayed all damper linkages with the penetrant, which allowed them to be loosened, exercised and once again in working order.

Dealing with rust, corrosion, and locked-up parts are everyday tasks. Having the best tools and resources are essential to a properly prepared, well-organized service kit. Aerosol penetrants can easily be transported nearly anywhere, allowing HVAC service technicians to do their jobs effectively, saving service time and extending the life of costly commercial HVAC equipment.

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