Clearing the Air on Air Conditioning Maintenance
By Todd McKeown Vice President Direct Sale Strategic Markets, Cintas | May 10, 2015
Upon arriving in their hotel room, a guest drops their bags and notices the room feels stuffy. They crank up the air conditioner (A/C) and leave, only to find the temperature hasn't changed much upon their return. When they try adjusting the temperature again, the A/C unit begins making noise as it struggles to push out cooler air. The room never reached the guest's desired temperature and they had to listen to the loud noise coming from the unit all night. Moral of the story? The hotel could have saved itself a negative review and hundreds in energy savings if it had properly maintained the A/C unit.
According to Green Lodging News, a dirty packaged terminal air conditioning unit (PTAC) often has to work twice as hard and consumes twice the electricity to reach the desired room temperatures. This can cause electric bills to skyrocket. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites energy-related expenses as the fastest-growing operating cost in the lodging industry. The EPA estimates that a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption would be equivalent to increasing RevPAR-revenue per available room-by $0.60 for limited service hotels and by more than $2 for full-service hotels. Further, if the entire lodging industry reduced their energy use by 10 percent, a whopping $745 million would be saved each year in energy costs.
But the issue goes beyond cost. J.D. Power and Associates' 2014 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study℠ notes: "hotel brands perceived as environmentally careless receive the highest number of negative comments."
PTAC and vertical fan coil units are expensive to replace and repair, so it's important for hotels to properly maintain them. Beyond pre-mature unit failure and high energy costs, poorly maintained A/C units can contaminate indoor air quality and emit foul odors, further impacting the guest experience. When units are not properly cleaned, mold spores and debris can form throughout the unit which can impact guests with allergies and sensitive respiratory systems.
How does your property maintain your A/C units? Do you wait until they start clanging and banging for attention, or does your housekeeping or engineering staff clean units when they have time? Studies have found that investing in a professional cleaning service can actually save your hotel money-while giving you and your guests a better night's sleep.
A/C Maintenance 101