HVAC systems found on offshore facilities work in the most challenging marine environments there are.  From the freezing cold winter of the North Sea to the hot, humid summers of the Gulf of Mexico, HVAC systems are an essential part of keeping the crew comfortable and the facility operating smoothly. When HVAC systems go down, they not only become an inconvenience but can even become a health risk if extreme weather conditions happen. Given the harsh marine environment that offshore facilities and vessels operate in, there is no way to completely stop HVAC issues from occurring. Still, their frequency and severity can be greatly reduced with routine maintenance.

Armoda's operations team has provided maintenance and service support to offshore facilities around the world.

Why Perform Routine HVAC Maintenance Offshore?

Like most problems in life, catching issues while they are small is much easier and less costly to fix than when they become significant. This holds especially true for HVAC systems working on offshore facilities.

Performing routine maintenance on an HVAC system provides two cost-saving benefits. First, it reduces costly service calls by sending the service technician to ride with a supply run or scheduled crew boat so that the facility doesn't need to pay for expensive transportation for just one person.  Second, catching issues before they become major problems extends the working life of the HVAC system and cuts down on needing to replace units outright.

What Does HVAC Routine Maintenance Call For?

When Armoda service technicians perform routine maintenance of HVAC systems, they follow a checklist of six items that ensure the system is in working order and ready to keep the crew comfortable.

  1. Check filters - Like in your home, filters in an HVAC system need to be cleaned or replaced, depending on the type and condition of the filter. Clogged filters can strain the HVAC system by increasing how hard the system must work to move the same amount of air.
  2. Check the condition of the evaporator and condenser coils - The evaporator and condenser coils are where heat is dissipated from the system. If they become dirty or clogged, the more heat the system will retain, causing it to become less effective. This is why they are inspected and either cleaned or replaced depending on their condition.
  3. Check evaporator and condenser fans - In addition to coils, the evaporator and condenser also use a fan to help regulate the system's heat. If the fan is not running correctly or is broken, the system may only produce lukewarm air when running. This is why the fans are inspected for cleanliness and condition and either cleaned or replaced as needed.
  4. Check AMP Draws - Checking AMP draws on electrical components, such as compressor fan motors, can give the service technician insight into how the individual parts are performing. These power usage numbers help identify components that need to be replaced. It can also identify parts that, while they are currently working, are showing signs that they could soon start to fail and need replacing.
  5. Check batteries in thermostats - Checking the batteries in the thermostats helps ensure that the system will remain easily controllable.  While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, it can be a quick fix. But if the offshore location doesn't have a supply of the correct batteries on hand, it can quickly become more troublesome to allow the user to operate the system.
  6. Check freon level pre- and post-cleaning - Freon is a gas that circulates through the HVAC system and creates cold air.  As freon moves through the system, it changes from a gas to a liquid and back to a gas. It is through these changes that the freon absorbs heat and cools the air.  Checking freon levels pre- and post-service is critical. The pre-check can let the service technician know if there is a leak in the system and explain why the unit isn't running correctly. The post-check is done to ensure that while working on the unit, freon wasn't lost.  If some of the gas was lost, the technician could easily top off the system.

After the routine maintenance has been completed, the service technician will then provide a maintenance schedule that, if followed, will help in extending the functioning life of the HVAC system.

Performing routine maintenance on HVAC systems working on an offshore facility saves money in the long run. Through regular maintenance, the systems will perform better, and the life of the unit will be extended. It also cuts out costly unscheduled service calls and the need to replace units prematurely. An additional bonus to having this routine maintenance performed is that if the technician is skilled in multiple areas, like Armoda technicians are, they can perform additional checks. This includes services such as a facility survey where they look for anything that needs attention, like door gaskets closures, electrical components, and interior/exterior architectural repairs. They can also provide insight on any regulatory inspections that may be needed.

If you are experiencing issues with your offshore HVAC systems or would like to set up a routine maintenance schedule with an Armoda technician, please contact us today. If you'd like to read about more ways to keep your offshore facility running smoothly, check out our article:  7 Tips for Offshore Facilities Maintenance