Maintaining HVAC Equipment for an Aquatic Area

One of the most taxing environments on mechanical equipment is an indoor pool area, also known as a natatorium. The demand of keeping a large body of water and the space surrounding it at a comfortable temperature, the caustic substances that evaporate from the pool, and the potential for high humidity in the space all contribute to making a natatorium a complex zone to keep comfortable. Heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) units that condition these aquatic environments are specially engineered and designed for each facility’s unique needs.

While some natatorium systems look like standard HVAC units, don’t be fooled. They contain many differences that make them unique that only a trained technician may understand. As a result, their complexity dictates that they receive quality maintenance on a more robust schedule than most other equipment. If neglected, indoor air quality suffers, the system’s life expectancy drastically shortens, and the facility may face the risk of costly damages.

The air that circulates through a natatorium HVAC unit contains corrosive substances produced from the pool’s water. While required for maintaining quality water, elements such as chlorine or a brine mixture can wreak havoc on systems through chronic rust and deterioration. However, a proper maintenance plan will greatly assist in countering these negative effects and help ensure the system performs efficiently for its intended lifespan. The frequency of inspections, including steps to remove rust, and the use of specialized air filters make maintenance on natatorium units more specialized. For that reason, most major manufacturers include specific instructions on how their units should be maintained. It is important to follow those checklists carefully.

One of the primary roles of an HVAC system in a pool area is controlling humidity. Proper humidity regulation is dependent on unrestricted airflow. Cleaning return or fresh air grills, blower wheels, changing filters, and keeping proper belt tension are just a few of the routine maintenance steps required to control humidity. With inadequate dehumidification, facilities will suffer. Surfaces will start to rust, drywall and plaster will fall apart, and painted surfaces will peel. If that is not drastic enough, high humidity causes mold spores and when prolonged, that will lead to high costs of remediation.

An HVAC system designed to support an aquatic center will maintain good air quality through filtration, air circulation across the total area being conditioned, and the introduction of fresh outdoor air into the space. A natatorium system with an inadequate PM (preventative maintenance) plan will lead to poor IAQ. The previously discussed facility damage, stemming from high humidity, puts dust debris and spores into the air around the pool. In cases where maintenance lacks and airflow suffers, two problems are created, improper air circulation and decreased fresh air. In a natatorium, proper air circulation is needed to move all the air in a space through the system’s filters and to prevent caustic breathable air from pocketing in heavy concentrations. Even with good air circulation, it is critical that a portion of the air in the space is continually exhausted out of the building to be mechanically replaced by fresh outdoor air. With a quality maintenance plan, you can have your proper pool levels and indoor air quality too.

Frigi-Temp’s team of professionals is well versed in pairing the right maintenance plan with each piece of mechanical equipment. Trained by many of the leading manufactures of natatorium equipment and experienced in servicing all major brands (Seresco / PoolPak / AAON / Dectron) our service technicians will be able to help keep your HVAC systems operating properly. The right team and the right service can more than pay for itself in avoiding costly and risky system failures. To request a maintenance quote for your natatorium or other commercial facilities please contact us.