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Mechanical Systems Maintenance | P2

Learn how to conserve energy through maintenance and repair of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, motors, compressed air, pumps, boilers and steam systems.



Replace air filters, clean coils and check for leaks frequently as part of a regular maintenance plan. Repair leaks with aerosol sealant, not duct tape

Clear the areas in front of vents for better air distribution in areas where heating or cooling are needed | Learn More >

Close vents or seal off ducts in areas that are not in use. Adjust thermostat settings based on local time and weather. Set temperatures higher in summer and lower in winter, or turn HVAC off when it is not needed.  Add insulation or use window coverings to minimize heat transfer with the outdoors and lessen heating and air conditioning demand.

See the Energy Efficiency in Industrial HVAC Systems1 document developed by North Carolina | See Document >

For more energy saving tips in HVAC systems, see Energy Star's guide for managing energy savings in manufacturing plants | Learn More >


Use energy-efficient motors and monitor their performance regularly, not just when they are installed or need repairs. Up to 95 percent of a motor’s costs come from energy; only five percent from purchasing, installation and maintenance.

Check for unusual temperatures or vibration and that the motor is properly vented and lubricated.

Install adjustable-speed drives in applications with variable motor load. These can reduce wear and prolong motor life, and reduce costs by over 50 percent.

Follow the Electric Apparatus Service Association’s Good Practice Guide to Maintain Motor Efficiency to repair or rewind motors without decreasing efficiency | Learn More >

Turn off motors when not in use. To minimize motor stress, consult the National Electrical Manufacturers' Association’s publication for acceptable starting frequencies and rest times for various motors | Learn More >

Compressed Air

Replace air filters frequently, when the pressure drop exceeds two to three pounds per square inch (psi). This prevents air contamination and can reduce energy consumption by 2 percent.

Inspect and maintain condensate traps regularly. Install pressure-driven valves to remove condensate rather than leaving traps open for constant draining. Identify leaks by using an ultrasonic acoustic detector or applying soapy water to problem areas, such as hoses, tubes, couplings, fittings, pipe joints and condensate traps2 | Learn More >

Consider alternatives to compressed air, especially for low-pressure applications. Blowers, fans, or other equipment may accomplish the same task at a lower cost. See the US Department of Energy’s (DOE's) website for compressed air systems | Learn More >


Conduct efficiency tests on large or commonly used pumps. Compare the actual efficiency to the design efficiency to determine the potential for energy savings and prioritize maintenance and repairs | Learn More >

See DOE website for pump systems | Learn More >

Regularly inspecting and maintaining pump impellers, bearings, lubrication and seals can reduce energy consumption by up to 7 percent.

Install control systems or adjustable-speed drives that automatically shut off or reduce pump speed when demand is low.

Identify pumps that are oversized for their application and trim or replace impellers to save energy and reduce costs.

Boilers and Steam

Inspect boilers and steam distribution systems for leaks which can emit air pollutants and impact performance. Insulate boilers with materials that have lower heat capacity and better insulation, allowing for more rapid heating and less heat lost to the surroundings. Inspect insulation around boilers and distribution systems for wear, and ensure that it is replaced after any repairs.

Control fouling on the fire side and scaling on the water side of boilers. Buildup can inhibit heat transfer and increase fuel consumption.

Inspect steam traps regularly, or use automated monitors to identify reduce performance. A typical system may have up to 20% of steam traps malfunctioning; repairs can reduce energy use by over 10 percent | Learn More >