Spring is well underway and its time to discuss your ambulances’ air conditioning! For those of you in the south, it is a year-round event to keep the AC performing at its peak. For those of us in the snow-belt, we tend to forget about it for a few months; it is a good idea to just have a date on your Preventative Maintenance Schedule to make sure it is ready to go.
We recommend pulling the filter for cleaning or replacement. A dirty filter will restrict airflow which will reduce output CFMs. This will result in the blower motor having to work harder under higher amperage load, shortening its life. To support this claim, we’ve looked up our most common filter and our most common blower motor. With labor calculated in, your department can change 11 filters for the price of one blower motor, while at the same time increasing the performance of both the air and heat.
While you are at it, make sure the ends of the drain tubes are free and clear of anything that might block them. It could be road grime, a spider nest, etc. They hang down a few inches below the front corner of the module on the corner closest to the HVAC unit. If they are plugged, you will eventually get water from the condensation tray overflowing onto whatever is below it.
Check the blower to make sure it is operating freely. If it is dragging, it is on its way out and it will go out at the least convenient time.
Check the condenser for damage and to see if the fins need to be cleaned. There are many types of condensers, located in a variety of places. Some are more protected than others and some will need cleaning more often. The thing they all have in common is that they all work significantly better when they are clean and have the proper airflow around them.
While you are at it, look for oil seepage at the fittings which would be a sign of a failing o-ring or a loose-fitting. If you have the equipment, you can put gauges on the unit to see if the Freon level is correct. If you end-up adding a small amount, there could be a small leak and you could add dye. Also, remember that Freon lines naturally seep. Some publications say up to 0.6% annually
Finally, run it for a while to make sure it is making cold air!
Providing routine and preventative maintenance can help protect your ambulance from major repair expenses by eliminating issues or detecting issues early enough to prevent more extensive damage. As emergency response vehicles, ambulances must always be maintained to provide a safe and reliable response. Some mechanical failures are inevitable, but preventative and regularly scheduled maintenance checks can eliminate these failures. Remember that repairs on your ambulance are much easier when you can schedule them!