Air Filter and V-Belt Specifications
I didn't get any traction on this in the pro forum so I wanted to see if I could get any feedback tools section since this is along the lines of tool - more like materials:
I'm helping put together some PM contracts for a small chain restaurant operation and would like to create some specifications for parts the HVAC contractors use. We suspect we have some using quality stuff and others using the cheapest thing they can buy. Problem is I don't really know which is which. All RTUs are 5 - 7.5 tons.
So, air filters seem easy enough. Specify pleated, MERV 8 filters. Though I would like advice on what materials are better than others - cotton vs. synthetic. Is pleated, MERV 8 the correct specification for a restaurant's 5 - 7.5 ton unit?
I don't know what to specify for belts. I know cogged vs. standard, and would like to specify cogged, but with the small units the energy savings is small. I'm not sure if it is worth it and whether the contracts would push back on that. One has already told me they are not a stock item and they would have to order them. So, are there different types/qualities of the standard belts? I'm sure there are varying qualities, what makes one better than the other? Different materials? I'm looking for general stuff where I could state "contractor will use xxxxxx v-belts with a rating of xxxx" whether the x's are a material or rating or type... What makes a premium belt or filter premium?
Any guidance is very much appreciated.
Not sure how large of a geographical area your restaurants cover, but around here there are only a few major wholesalers that all the companies deal with.
As far as the belts, for those smaller rtu's in my experience there generally aren't different grades or specifications. You could figure out what size belts each location takes, then just specify the sizes, for example:
Qty 5: Cogged V-Belt, Browning BX-51 or Equivalent
Qty 2: Cogged V-Belt, Browning AX-46 or Equivalent
I prefer cogged v-belts. When you have the number of the belts, the first digit is the width of the belt (A, B, 3L, 4L, etc), the X means cogged, and the number is the size (length) of the belt. Example A-51 is the same belt as AX-51 except AX-51 is cogged. It wouldn't be bad to know the sizes, then if you change to a different contractor for your PMs you can provide them with the information so they are prepared when they come.
As far as filters, you could always figure out the sizes and provide them yourself at all locations. Then you know it would be consistent at all different restaurants. I'm not really an expert at filters, what would work best for you would probably be best answered by someone other than me. Generally in my experience, the units I see will have the lowest cost filter installed, just because its cheapest.
As far as your PM Contracts, you could just create a list of everything that needs to be done/checked and at what intervals. Example:
Clean Condenser Coil
Check Contactors for wear/pitting
Inspect for damaged/burnt wiring
Replace Filters, etc...
If you are worried about quality of parts, you could always specify that OEM parts must be used, but that could cause you issues as well, and I don't recommend you do that. Lets say for example, whether the unit be Trane, Lennox, York, Aaon, or whatever, if it has just a regular 24 volt coil, 40 amp contactor that goes bad, I don't carry an oem one of each brand in my van. I carry a selection of "generic" parts, and use those. If you specified only OEM parts, I would have to order one and come back and put it in. Could get complicated.
My best advise is just to try and find reputable, legitimate companies that do good work and have good technicians. Then you shouldn't have to worry about quality concerns. If you find a good company you can work with them to identify your needs and figure out a PM program that works for you.