With harsh winters and blistering hot summers, those living in Chicagoland’s condominium and townhome communities 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.
David Burggren, vice president of sales at Midwest Mechanical in Lombard says that there are a variety of different HVAC systems. “It varies dramatically. Some buildings have systems that are very centralized, other buildings have systems that are very decentralized and have much more of the equipment in the tenant or owner's spaces. One of the common things that we are looking at with a condo or high rise building is that there will be some level of equipment that supports the building, the common spaces, even if the tenants each have their own air conditioning units,” he says.
Burggren says that water-cooled or chiller boiler systems are also popular and efficient for large condo buildings. They combine 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.
“Water cooled systems are more efficient than an air-cooled chiller. They cost more up front and there can some additional maintenance costs but they are 30 to 50 percent more efficient,” he says.