Frequently Asked Questions

As a leading provider of commercial HVAC services in the areas of Rockford, IL and Madison, WI, our team at Northern Mechanical often receives questions from businesses regarding their heating, cooling, refrigeration, and food service equipment. Some questions are more common than others, and this page will answer the questions we receive the most frequently.

If you have an HVAC question or concern, talk to our experts at Northern Mechanical today. Simply dial 815-654-7900 or fill out our online contact form!

How long does a commercial boiler last?

With proper maintenance, an industrial or commercial boiler can last 20 years or more before replacement is necessary. Procedures like retubing and burner retrofits can extend that life span significantly.

How often does a commercial air conditioner need to be replaced?

Most commercial air conditioners will last between 12 to 15 years, though with proper maintenance they can last over 20 years. Improvements in efficiency and comfort may make early upgrades a cost-effective option, however.

What causes an air conditioner to freeze up?

The condenser or evaporator may be dirty, the air filter may be clogged, the blower may be faulty, or the refrigerant may be low.

How often should commercial HVAC equipment be serviced?

At Northern Mechanical, we recommend annual service for most HVAC equipment, and we offer a cost-effective preventative maintenance program that ensures your equipment receives the care it needs.

Why is routine HVAC maintenance important?

Not only can preventative maintenance help you avoid downtime at your business due to HVAC problems, but it can extend the life of your HVAC equipment, reduce repair costs, and keep energy costs to a minimum.

What is balanced airflow and why is it important?

Balanced airflow occurs when the exhaust, or air leaving the building, is equal in volume to the air coming in, called makeup air. When they are equal, contaminated air is not drawn in from outside and conditioned air is not forced outdoors, improving air quality and minimizing energy costs.

Where should extraction hoods be used?

Extraction hoods or fume hoods should be used in any area where large amounts of air contamination occurs, such as welding stations, paint booths, or over commercial stoves.

What can cause a walk-in cooler to ice up?

Common problems that cause a frozen evaporator in a walk-in include leaking door seals, a door that is opened too often, faulty evaporator fans, a dirty condenser, or an inoperable defrost system.

What causes high temperatures in a walk-in?

High temperatures in a walk-in can be caused by low refrigerant levels, damaged door seals, a frequently opened door, too much warm product added at once, faulty fans, or a damaged temperature controller.

How often should an ice machine be cleaned and serviced?

A commercial ice machine should be serviced at least once a year and cleaned every six months, or as often as necessary to remain sanitary.

Should I choose pneumatic or DDC controls?

If your building currently has a pneumatic system, repairing and servicing your current controls may be the most cost-effective option. For new installations, direct digital controls often offer greater flexibility, improved reliability, and lower costs.

What are the benefits of DDC controls?

DDC controls are more flexible than pneumatic controls, as well as less costly, and they can easily be integrated into a building automation system that offers simplified, centralized control over a building’s heating, air conditioning, and lighting systems, or even the systems of multiple buildings.

Want to learn more about any of these heating, cooling, or refrigeration topics? Call our experts today at 815-654-7900 or contact us online!