When are air conditioning inspections required?
All air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kw must be regularly inspected by an accredited air conditioning energy assessor. The inspections must be no more than five years apart.
What does the Air Conditioning Inspection entail?
Inspections examine the refrigeration and air movement equipment that make up the complete systems, including their controls. The first part of the inspection involves reviewing records, including:
• maintenance records
• information on the types, sizes and the location of the equipment
records of energy consumption
• the operating times of the equipment
From this information, the inspector may be able to indicate excessive use and potential issues such as simultaneous heating and cooling. The inspector also needs to estimate whether the system is suitably sized for the cooling loads in the treated areas and to provide advice on how the system’s performance can be improved. The inspector will:
• carry out a visual examination of the equipment, air-movement systems and their controls
• identify the system components
• confirm whether the plant matches the records
• record any issues such as external damage or blockage of heat exchangers, signs of leakage from refrigeration pipe work, and dirty or poorly maintained filters
• review system controls, the suitability of the sensor types, their locations and zoning
• randomly select fan coil units for review (approximately 10% should be sampled and inspected, with a minimum of three units).
The report should provide advice and guidance on how to improve the energy efficiency of the system and be kept with all ongoing maintenance records (ideally with the building’s log book, if available). The information should be readily available to help others act on the advice, such as those commissioning the air-conditioning system, preparing an EPC, or carrying out the next inspection.
Responsibilities for conducting air conditioning inspections
An energy inspection of an air conditioning system must be carried out by an accredited air conditioning energy assessor who is a current member of an accreditation scheme. The energy assessor must make a copy of the inspection report available to the client, or to the person who controls the operation of the system, as soon as practicable after the inspection date but only after the report is entered on the central register. Only inspection reports which have been produced and lodged by accredited air conditioning energy assessors are valid reports.
Failure to secure an air conditioning inspection report
For complaints regarding the availability of an air conditioning inspection report, you should contact the building occupier or an authorised officer of the local weights and measures authority (usually a trading standards officer). The authorised officers have the power to act on your complaint.
Robert Corbyn MRICS is the Director of Low Carbon Energy Assessors