With harsh winters and blistering hot summers, those living in New Jersey co-ops, condos and HOAs understand the importance of properly working heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
That’s why it’s important for managers and residents to know who is responsible for what and how to properly maintain these systems, which could be a single heating/cooling system for the entire building or individual furnace or cooling systems in each unit. After all, in residences such as large high-rise buildings or townhome communities, a variety of HVAC technologies can be found. HVAC is the umbrella term for the system that includes all the equipment used to ventilate, heat and cool the building, move the air through the ductwork, and have that air filtered and clean for the occupants.
The basic components of an HVAC system are an outdoor air intake, mixed-air and outdoor air controls, an air filter, heating and cooling coils, humidification or de-humidification equipment, supply fans, ducts, a terminal device, a return air system, exhaust or relief fans, self-contained heating and cooling units, a control panel, the boiler, water chiller and cooling tower.
Doug Wong, manager at BC Express Inc. in Toms River, says that for New Jersey condos the most common HVAC system is a gas furnace with regular central air. Larger high rise residences may turn to a water-cooled or chiller boiler system, which combines the chiller, boiler, pumps and controls into a single package for simple installation and maintenance. A water-cooled system has a cooling tower which cools water that serves all units in a building, rather than each unit having its own. He adds that window AC units still exist but they are falling out of preference because they are noisy and not the most efficient.
“It's kind of the same as your car—if you don't check the oil and get a tune up on it, you run the risk of it creating a lot more wear and tear on the system and it does not run as efficiently,” says Kim Leary of Bill Leary Air Conditioning and Heating in Metuchen. “If you think about your air conditioning and heating system like a car, you only use a car a few hours out of the day but your air conditioning and heating system goes 24/7 so it needs more attention because of the work load that it has. It is definitely something that you want to stay on top of.”